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Here's some advice that can help take your career up a level or two. These are very important guidelines that should keep you moving forward - towards success!

Rule #1. Ultimately you must be conscious that you are seeking to do something that is much greater than yourself. With this in mind, please surround yourself with the best energy and then the best people you can find - to help you reach your goals and dreams of being successful. My advice is to begin with God - ALWAYS keeping Him first! Then get a great team of people around you to help you out. For the most part, "You" must have enough faith to "march" what you believe you can accomplish. You should never leisurely walk towards a goal. You must also realize that believing in yourself, without doing for lifeless!"

I highly suggest the following reading:
Chapter 4 - Faith: The Prerequisite to Power
From "Think And Grow Rich" by Dennis Kimbro & Napoleon

The Music Powers That Be

2. Learn as much as you can about the music industry. Seek out the help of insiders and key players to help you along. Market what you know, and know your market. This means that you should never advertise that you're an idiot. Always be aware that knowledge is POWER! So if you fail to prepare, you may be preparing to fail! Learn that being successful is about what you know, whom you know, and understanding how & when to apply it all.

3. Make sure that every single one of your presentations is as tight as possible. This means that you should get a professional package made up for yourself. Bad presentations hurt more than most artists, producers, songwriters, managers and Indie labels realize... and the 2nd time around may never come. Remember the rule about 1st impressions.

4. Always have an Entertainment Attorney check over any contract(s) before signing. Don't let anyone rush you into committing to anything before seeking out wise counsel... especially when making crucial decisions.

5. Seek to build a very, very strong fan base doing live shows. And you should be performing as much as possible. Definitely do not limit yourself to just the clubs. Do High Schools, Colleges, City & County Events and Private Parties too. Believe it or not, The Indie Label BME Recordings (Lil' Jon & The Eastside Boys, Lil Scrappy, etc.) got jump-started by doing House Party Promotions and Events. All of these performing opportunities will help to get your name and company out to the community. And if your show is tight, you never know who might be there, and listening.

6. Once you get your live show happening, then it's time to take your Music release production and marketing "quality" up a notch. So when you get an established and solid work schedule... spend the time, effort and extra money to invest in making your CD and promotional materials the absolute best they can be.

7. Seriously consider hiring a Professional Media Consultant, a Marketing Team and/or Publicist. These professionals will help get you the exposure you want and need. You must also make the most of the Internet as much as possible to expose and create a sense of legitimacy "online". People these days want to look on the web for information about any and everything. So make sure you have a good and positive Web presence. This is very important!

8. Always have your CD ready for sale (or as a promo giveaway) at all of your live performances or any music networking events - like artist showcases or any Music Community or Industry Trade shows.

9. For the Indie artists and labels - If you live in one of the Major Cities, don't limit your marketing to that one city. Get out to all of the smaller markets (cities & states) around that region. Many, many new (and established) artists and companies build a very strong fan base in the smaller markets... with more support and luv than in their own hometowns. So make sure you do live performances and "big-time" promote your music, products, etc. to the smaller markets around the major areas.

10. Never send unsolicited packages or music to industry people, companies or radio stations...period! Always contact them (call ...or write) for approval and someone to be on the look out for your hard work and efforts you have put into your package. If you are a new artist - this also means that you should not just ‘show up' at a company or radio station... and then think they will be open to greeting you with open arms. If you don't have a big name or some type of relationship with the place you are visiting, don't just pop up without any warning. Most Industry people, labels and radio stations are busy.

11. Go to as many of the Music Seminars, trade shows, networking events, DJ Pool meetings and Music Industry conferences, as your time (and sometimes your budget) will allow. You will often meet many of the people who can very much help you, along with gaining more knowledge about how the music business side works. (Oh, and always have a copy of the Music Powers Book with you :)

12. Even if you've got talent and skills, you better know that "The Powers That Be"... able to help you - have to want to help you. This probably means that you have the energy, heart, know-how and sense of focus (...and business) that will allow them to risk giving you a shot. You really will need them to like you, and like working with and for you too. I know of many artists, producers and managers that have played themselves, and dealt themselves "out" of the music game... simply because no one wants to deal with their attitudes or the way they handle their opportunities. Attitude & Altitude go hand in hand.

13. Once you get a grip on the music business basics, some promotion, a little marketing, your team of players you will need and industry networking (making friends), don't forget that ultimately - it is your music and yourself that will need to represent you the most (to the fans and public).

14. Whenever possible... get your money, or at least some of it - up front ...and still seek a residual or back-end payment!

15. When it's time to pay your bills, sign your own checks!

And If you ever find yourself getting confused, stumbling or frustrated, please ...see # 1.

Music Business Book