Why Me Listening To Your Music Doesn’t Help You (Or Me) -or- Why Me Listening To Your Music Is A Waste of BOTH Of Our Time By, Wendy Day (2/2013)
You’re an artist. Your goal is to be heard by people who will tell you how great you are or who will get you a record deal, whether you admit that or not. I am a workaholic who prefers to be working every waking hour so that I don’t have to deal with people or uncomfortable situations in life, whether I admit that or not (which I do not).
You send me your song, or mix CD, or a link to your video. I ignore it. You get annoyed. I get back an email, tweet, or Facebook post that asks me to reconsider because you are 1) the best rapper and more deserving than any other, 2) broke and in need of a helping hand, or 3) naively willing to give me a percentage of everything you do for the rest of your career. None of these are appealing to me. You may think I am being mean, hating on you, or blocking you…but I’m not! I want to see you succeed. I want to see you win. I’ve helped many, many, many people over the life of my career (which I assume you already know or why would you have sent me your music?). But they were in a position where I could help them. Put yourself in that position and I’d be happy to help you, too!
In the 21 years that I’ve been in the music industry, listening to music has never benefitted me OR the artist(s). Here’s why…
Why Me Listening To Your Music Doesn’t Help You
1. The BEST way to attract a label (or industry insider) is with a buzz. If you don’t already have a fan base in place or are known pretty well in your own region, you haven’t removed enough of the risk for a label to comfortably sign you to their label.
2. This is a business. If I even COULD help you get signed to a label, don’t you think I’d be putting on everyone I liked already? Plus, I’d probably have turned getting deals into an assembly line business twenty years ago, and since I haven’t, that should tell you something.
3. What if I have other artists around me and someone accidentally jacks your beat, or a verse, or your hook, or even just the idea of your song?! How much would that suck?!
4. What I think of your music doesn’t matter. What matters is what fans and DJs think. Why aren’t you getting THEIR feedback? Additionally, your goal should be to sell your music to fans. I will probably never buy your music, so why waste your time on me?
5. By sending me your music, or spamming me your links on Twitter or Facebook, etc, it says you don’t know what you are doing. It’s a basic mistake. I do this for a living. You obviously don’t take this seriously because you haven’t spent the time to learn how to do it properly. You just assumed you knew how it worked, but now you look like an amateur. Why would I, or anyone professional, want to work with someone who makes such a basic, entry level mistake? If I listen to your music, it’s like telling you it’s okay to be ignorant of the way to build a career in music. It’s not. Don’t be lazy; do the research.
6. Most feedback is useless. Music is subjective and whether I like or dislike your music is just my opinion. Everyone has an opinion, and they are usually different. You could spend your life changing your music going from person to person listening to their opinions, instead of letting the fans vote for what they like with their dollars. I’m not your market–asking my opinion doesn’t even make sense.
Why Listening To Your Music Doesn’t Benefit Me
1. Whether I like your music or not, there’s nothing I can do with it, so it’s a 100% waste of my effort.
2. It’s time consuming to listen to your music or watch your video, and I work for a living. I spend time doing something I am blessed to be good at, and money flows into my company in direct proportion to how hard I work. Listening to music is free. It makes terrible business sense to put aside work that brings in income for something that does not. I can’t charge you for my time because I know it won’t really benefit you in the long run. I’ve seen this movie before–I know how it ends. You don’t…the movie is brand new to you.
3. After 21 years, it’s painful to listen to your music or watch your videos. What have you done that I haven’t already seen a thousand times before?
4. I work in the music industry for a living. You’re asking me to spend my free time listening, and possibly even giving you feedback that you don’t really want to hear anyway. Truth is, you want a deal (not happening) or you want to be told you’re super skilled and talented (which you probably are not, but even if you are, without a buzz, I can’t get you a deal. Not ever). Want my attention? Build a buzz…I’ll come looking for you!
5. You’re not the only person who sent me music. I get close to a hundred songs every week (plus mixed CDs, plus albums, plus artists that I know sending me stuff). A hundred songs a week at 5 minutes per song is over 8 hours of music. That’s 8 hours of my life I will never get back, not to mention the time it would take to give you feedback. There are other things I need and want to do with that 8+ hours. By randomly spamming music to me, you are saying you don’t respect my time and that I owe you something (a listen to your music).
Not everyone in the industry feels the way I do. Plenty of folks will listen to your music and offer you feedback if you first build a relationship with them (networking). Some legitimate folks may even try to help you move forward because they see you are a novice. Many not-so-legitimate people will try to get money out of you somehow. The reality is that if you study this industry and do the proper research, you will learn how to move your career forward and avoid these basic pitfalls. Don’t you owe it to yourself to give yourself the best shot possible at success?
The reality of the situation is that if you’d do research on the business side of music, you’d already know how to succeed. Hell, I was able to learn even before we had the convenience of the Internet. In fact, I wrote a book that explains how to get the attention of record labels and taste-makers in the music industry. It’s a very inexpensive e-book that you can read on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. The Knowledge To Succeed: How To Get A Record Deal is available digitally at Amazon for $6 ( http://ow.ly/6KKi3 ) and at iTunes for $7 ( http://ht.ly/6PC0O ). Being successful in the music industry takes hard work, knowledge of what to do and how to do it, and money to invest into your own marketing and promotions to build your career by increasing your awareness and fan base (building a buzz) in your region and online. I’d like very much to see you succeed.