Steve Palfreyman Shares 3 Keys To Success For Musicians & Creative Businesses

Steve Palfreyman

Steve Palfreyman

I’ve known Steve Palfreyman for a long time. Honestly, he’s a good friend and mentor, which is why having him on the DIY Artist Route Podcast is such an honor. He and I share a lot of the same ethos, our philosophies and ideas on how to grow and build are similar and synced in many ways.

One of the coolest things about Steve, which he shares in this episode, is that what we do determines our legacy, which is the most important piece of our success as human beings. Never mind success in the world of art or music or business. Legacy is a big deal, and you can see (and hear) from everything he says that this is what drives the quest for growth.

This is the first episode of the podcast that I’m doing Show Notes (see below) to capture some of the specific parts talked about. It’s also one of the only times (with the exception of Derek Webb), where the conversation lasted close to an hour. Still, this is one of the best conversations I’ve had with a colleague and fellow growth farmer on the pursuit of success for all of us in the creative industries. Steve is known for the gold that is produced from his words (through quotes). That is certainly true here.

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 5.10.08 PMOne other big point to make is that the Music Launch Summit, which he is the creator and host of, is kicking off soon. I’m privileged to join friends and past guests of the podcast like Benji Rogers & Andrew Apanov, along with Yann Ilunga, Wendy Parr, Arial Hyatt, and a bunch more folks in the creative industries. It’s free to sign up now, so get in. Get in to the Music Launch Summit here.

Podcast Show Notes:

*There are a few spots in the recording where the audio gets a little crackled or poppy. Don’t worry it’s not your speakers or your web connection.

It has to do with the recording from Skype to Logic X. I’m a bit of an audiophile and these little spots irk me on a technical side. However, this conversation was so good, and the time difference being what it is, that I stuck with this session instead of rescheduling to run the gambit of audio-syncing again.

In this conversation we’ll cover a lot of ground including

-Why you need to know your values to truly build powerful connections with the right people

-What marketing actually is (and it’s not pitching your music or work)

-Emotional intelligence, what it is, why it matters, and why your growth in emotional intelligence can determine how successful you are at anything

-Why reflection and empathy are essential tools to build solid relationships

Steve1PURE GOLD-Great quotes from Steve Palfreyman in this podcast episode:

“Marketing is just delivering stuff that is awesome.”

“Our industry is unempathetic and that’s what needs to change.”

“Emotional intelligence comes from life experiences. We all reflect, but not as much as we could.The deeper I dive, the more gold I dig.”

“Without it (emotional intelligence), the art will stagnate.”

“Social media and managing your career is no different than learning an instrument.”

“If we’re more thankful we’re all going to have more oxygen to keep doing the things that we’re doing and not feel like we’re just running on fumes all the time because it takes so much grit to get anything creative off the ground and we need so much to help each other keep going until we can get the monetary benefit too.”

Ryan Kairalla Helps Protect Musician’s Artistry On New Podcast

Ryan Kairalla, entertainment attorney, podcast host, and author of Break The Business

Ryan Kairalla, entertainment attorney, podcast host, and author of Break The Business

Something I haven’t spent much time with on the DIY Artist Route Podcast is talk about the legal issues that arise in the music industry.

It’s interesting because law is a side of the business that most of us just relegate to someone else if a need arises. However, IF a need arises, you want someone in your corner who knows the rules, has experience dealing with the legal jargon, and can get you back on track.

That man is Ryan Kairalla.

Truthfully, Ryan is more than just a legal professional (also called entertainment attorney in some circles).

He’s a podcast host and author of Break The Business: Declaring Your Independence & Achieving True Success In The Music Industry. His advice and counsel on both his podcast and in his book helps to protect your artistry as a musician and creative entrepreneur before something happens that could throw you off course.

Ryan Kairalla is a music entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word. Entrepreneurship is pervasive in our industry, and those who are winning big in the music space are those who embrace the entrepreneurial path they’re on.

Yes, this is music.

Yes this is creativity.

And yes, to be successful in this space with limitless competition, you have to understand some basic pieces of business. The ones who are winning in music do just that.

In this podcast Ryan breaks down how the new model for business in music requires all of us to know a little about music, a little about business and a little about law. He’s helping us with the law side.

Ryan shares with us in this podcast episode (listen through the player above or below this post) about how musicians can be better entrepreneurs.

He also talks about the importance of establishing your career now with the right structures to protect your music and creative entity.

And he has a great piece of advice for entering into contracts with producers, labels, and management so that you don’t end up like a prominent musician (Ke$ha).

We talk about a lot of areas that tend to throw musicians off course. Ryan and I agree that your product as a musician isn’t the songs you write.

Your job isn’t to write and perform music. There’s something more that you’re doing. Details on what that more is can be found about midway through our podcast conversation.

On a podcast production note, this conversation was recorded several months ago, but due to my schedule with radio stuff, book promotion, and speaking engagements, I wasn’t able to get this episode published until now.

I highly recommend you subscribing to Ryan Kairalla’s Break The Business Podcast. Each episode is full of very useful tips and truths about the music business that you need to know to grow  your career.

BreakTheBusinessBookHis book Break The Business: Declaring Your Independence & Achieving True Success In The Music Industry is also outstanding, and should be a part of your reading list for this year.

I’ve read it and gained a ton of useful tips on growth from it. You will too. Dive into Ryan’s work and educate yourself on both the legal side of music, as well as more of the entrepreneurial side.

Ryan Kairalla is a Growth Farmer you can trust, and his work speaks for itself.

We’re both active on Twitter, and welcome your thoughts and comments on this episode. Reach Ryan on Twitter here, and hit me up on Twitter here.

 

Growth Farming Tip: Get Positive Mindset

Graphic by Psychologymd

Graphic by Psychologymd

Do ever have negative thoughts about who you are and what you’re capable of? Are you positive that you’re going to win, or do you question yourself each day? Does “be positive” make you cringe a little because it’s either cliche or seemingly impossible?

I ask these questions because they’re obstacles I’m facing now, and have been facing for about 30 years or more. I just didn’t realize that the thoughts in my head that tell me I can’t do what I aspire to, or that I’m not capable of success in the goals I have are what most people deal with each and every day.

I just took those attitudes and thoughts as the way things are. In other words, I didn’t question it, or challenge it. I just believed it.

Negative thoughts can destroy our momentum, causing us to spin our wheels instead of move forward. These mindsets create negative progress, or periods where growth is so slow and we’re left to just wonder why.

DGS-StairsProfileHeadshotIf you can relate to that there is a simple solution I’m experiencing transformation with right now. It’s really just a matter of a positive mindset. Here’s the truth: what you put in your mind and in your heart creates pathways that lead you to new opportunities, or keep you from the growth you want.

Does that mean that if you’re not “thinking positive thoughts” all the time, that you can’t succeed at your goals? No, it doesn’t. However, it may mean that you’ll have to work harder, longer, and face more obstacles than you would have if you evicted the negativity from having residence in your life.

Positive thoughts and a positive mindset can work together, but they’re not always the same thing. Thoughts feed our mindset, and determine what our mindset is. If you set your mind on what is positive and affirming, you attract those things to your life. If you let negativity be present in what you think, you’ll attract negative people and closed doors. That’s been true in places in my life.

Here’s one thing I’ve struggled with for most of my life: a perpetual thought that I can’t be or have something that I want. It really has been just like that. If I talked with someone who wanted to build something new to impact people on a big scale, the first thought that has come into my head has been literally this: “You can’t do that.”

The “you” in my head is talking to me. It’s the voice that doesn’t believe in me, and will never believe in me. That voice may live in your head too. It’s not you, but it’s living in you and it’s working against you. It’s not your job or mine to convince the negativity that it’s wrong. It’s our job to instead choose to ignore or not listen, to give no credence to that thought. This was a foreign concept to me until a few months ago.

I’ve shared a bit here on this blog about facing fears, and overcoming many of them through a boxing gym. That’s a part of the journey into personal wholeness. That’s the journey I’m still on. The mindset we have determines a lot about our progress forward as people who are building something of value, whether that’s music or business, or anything else. As growth farmers, our attitude about other people and with other people is impacted by what we believe about ourselves.

Here’s a little bit of my story about overcoming fears. The mindset we have determines a lot in achieving this too.

 

I realize now that my attitude towards some people in the communities I’ve operated in over the past few years hasn’t been great, and it’s because of the internal beliefs I had about myself. I’ve felt overlooked or invisible to people, which put a little chip on my shoulder. That led to me working to prove them wrong, pushing me to succeed to beat some perceived attitude in someone else. However, the real attitude was still alive and well in me, and that negativity was what needed to be dealt with the whole time.

A friend of mine gave a kickass speech yesterday in our local Toastmasters group that talked about the power of positive beliefs over negative ones. She talked about how it’s scientifically proven that positive people live longer, have more personal happiness, and are more successful than people who foster negative attitudes. I managed to record the tail end of her speech, and wish I had gotten the whole thing because it was incredibly powerful.

One takeaway was a challenge she laid down to us to make a gratefulness journal. Every day for the next 2 months, write down 3 things you’re grateful for and thankful for. I started last night. I’m finding that the things I’m the most thankful for are relationships with specific people. Relationships are our fruit, and the more we work to grow them the more whole we can become, and the more successful we are.

Our attitudes towards ourselves plays a huge role in our ability to connect with others, and build the relationships that lead to more success. But how do we change our attitude and thoughts if we have negativity brewing inside our heads?

IMG_1333Here’s what I’m doing to change the attitude and be more positive:

I start my day with a walk. While I’m moving (activity is a great way to get out of the doldrums and create literal action that changes things), I affirm myself with new beliefs and attitudes that serve to create what I truly want. Here’s what I tell myself:

“I believe in me. My heart and mind are filled with love, joy, peace, passion, wealth, and prosperity. My life produces love, joy, peace, passion, wealth, and prosperity. What people experience from me is love, joy, peace, passion, wealth, and prosperity.”

This is the opposite of listening to a perpetual negative attitude that says “you can’t.” It’s also powerful to call out that voice and tell it to shut the hell up, and get the hell out. Do that too. It’s a stubborn attitude, but it will obey you. Then affirm yourself with positive thoughts.

I’m about a month into this part of the process and I’m already seeing results. A good friend & mentor today told me that they get more centered and balanced every time we talk. She’s mentoring me, and she’s gaining balance from our talks. That tells me this growth farming method is working.

It will work for you too. Put it into action in your life. And let me know how your garden grows. I look forward to hearing from you.

Build Stronger Audience Connection With Amy Schmittauer

AmySchmittauerMost of us in the music and creative business space are seeing more and more videos in our social news feeds. Why is that? One big reason is video’s ability to build engagement. We’re naturally drawn to the power of moving visual and audio media. This is especially true when people are present in the videos. That’s the power that Amy Schmittauer shows us how to excel at.

I was not aware of how excellent Amy’s work is as a video blog coach until my friend Chandler Coyle pointed me to a video she did that talked about the power of radio for musicians. Her reference points are more in the pop realm of radio airplay, but the points she makes are spot on. In this example alone, we can see how the power of effective communication through video can convert people into becoming not only fans, but tribesmen. I’m not in her tribe, because one video wasn’t enough. I wanted to see what else she was teaching.

This video is how I first saw her work. Is it a How-To for getting radio airplay? NO. She’s talking about how getting your music in front of radio should be the first thing you think of when you think of marketing because it’s a natural fit. That’s completely true.

Amy’s site is full of her numerous videos, all showcasing ways to grow your audience using the power of video. I wanted to connect with her to learn more about her story, get her insights into how to take this platform of video production and translate it into the DIY music space, and build a dialogue. Her helpful personality isn’t just something on screen. It’s who she is  (authenticity is a key to building a solid core audience of super fans in any realm).

Does she talk about doing things in a digital space to build a big audience? Yes. Does that go against the grain for Audience Growth Farming? No. Here’s why: All of Amy’s content is about creating content for an audience you want to build a connection with. She talks about doing something from the perspective of the person you want to reach. That is EXACTLY the Growth Farming Method.

If you hear her talking about “mainstream” media or marketing in this piece, don’t ignore her words altogether because she’s still talking to you. She’s talking about all of us. We need to look at how we can present our

There are some really insightful and strong pieces of advice that Amy shares in this podcast episode (download and stream via iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker). Among them are how to focus on being consistent with your videos instead of trying to start out with the best equipment.

From my days back in the university world of media and journalism, I worked with a lot of young people starting their media experience.  They would hold off starting to work on their dreams of making videos until they got the best gear. Then they’d spend a fortune on gear that sat in a closet unused. Amy’s wisdom and advice here to start with what you have is spot on.

One key (very BIG key) that she points out repeatedly is something that’s covered extensively in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. Your focus with your marketing and engagement methods must be on the person you want to reach. Think about what matters to them. This is your tribe of super fans, your core audience we’re talking about. What do these people care the most about? How can you serve their interests? By making your end user your focus, you will not only stand out, but you will find that the right people are magnetized to you.

“No one’s thinking about what the end user really wants, they just put out what they want to put out, and that’s NOT how you get people to like you.”

Amy Schmittauer goes beyond just talking about how to make videos that people want to see. She’s a master at building engagement. It’s not enough to just make a video that has you playing your song, or acting out drama for a music video. The audio element is key too. As Amy puts it, “Audio will kill your video. If it’s not good audio or it’s windy, or it’s crackly, no one’s going to watch that video. But if the video of the video is not the best quality in the world, people still watch it, which is why Snap-chat is a thing and crappy video is fine. It’s relatable. People think, ‘That’s probably the best I can do with a camera too.’ ”

“The best thing you can do is use what you have and actually make a video. Find out what the mistakes are. Find out how important lighting is, how important audio is. Your phone is a powerful device. You don’t need a bunch of gear. You’ve got to test and you have to practice. People want the perfect set before they get started, but we never get the perfect set.”

Everything we do to growth farm our audience involves a process of building trust and relationships. Flash-in-the-pan methods of getting attention are short-lived. They don’t create the connection and growth that we need as creatives to have sustainable careers. For musicians, radio airplay is a big part of this journey, because it builds upon the trust that they listener has with the station they tune into for great music.

“We want to say things a certain way but our audience is not going to understand it until they know, like, and trust us and want to go down that path with us. I think musicians and radio speak to that because if you see somebody come out on the radio, a lot of times it’s because they’ve been working really hard and finally come out with an album or a single track that’s perfect for radio in a popular nature. That’s the thing that gets them the exposure and the eyeballs and the influence and then the second album comes out and it’s like ‘I want to know who this guy is.’”

Listen and stream the full podcast episode here:

 

This is a realm of engagement I’m working on too, concerning video. I’m doing more and more of it, particularly on Youtube and Facebook. It’s important for us to learn more about what actions we can take to get our messages out to the right people who are wanting and needing us. Amy’s insights here are a great resource for that. Follow her on Youtube to gain more insights into effective video production for growth and great tips on being successful in this creative space.

Take what Amy Schmittauer talks about in building a stronger audience with radio airplay to the next level. Sign up for the Indie Radio Course now to get your music in front of more music super fans on indie radio.

How To Reshape Our Understanding Of True Strength

What does “true strength” mean to you?

Original Superman Art by Joe Mad

Original Superman Art by Joe Mad

I used to think of most things in the context of the comic book characters whose posters and movies which would adorn my walls. I sometimes still think of athletes who can do incredible feats with their bodies. I think of inner courage, heart, and perseverance, especially in the face of near impossible odds.

I think of Bo Jackson. Self-explanatory there.

Yet when I want to look for an example that we can learn from, I spend my time searching the internet for the things I listed and come up short. Isn’t it odd, the things that I want to associate with being true strength I only half-heartedly support, instead relying on some physical example to fulfill the need to “see it” in action?

Are Superman’s limitless powers true strength? Of course, flying into the sun takes some balls. In his case, it also maxes his pedigree and bench press by doing so. Moving mountains and trains and other giant objects that weigh more than what can be defined numerically counts as strength too. It’s also impossible strength.

Moving to athletics. Bo Jackson highlight videos are illustrations of strength. As are JJ Watt and any defensive end who can push over a 300 lbs man. Finesse is also in there, and combining those two elements makes for some magical video viewing.

Rocky's true strength is physical and internal in Rocky 3

Rocky’s true strength is physical and internal in Rocky 3

True strength is harder to characterize than only in a physical embodiment. Perhaps that’s one of the draws to Rocky Balboa, despite the fact that he had a considerable physical ability. That inner voice that won’t allow you to quit, no matter what, is something that only the truly strong have.

Speaking of Rocky, it takes strength to face our fears, especially when that fear stands 6’2″, weighs 230 lbs, has a mohawk and delivers pain. Strength isn’t just a physical attribute, it’s internal too. Rocky showed me how to face and overcome fears in powerful ways.

What about Mother Teressa or Ghandi? Those two people stood up against oppressive regimes, fighting for the ignored and abandoned, and didn’t use violence as their weapons, even in the midst of violence. That takes real strength, strength that no physical attribute can grant you.
I’ve been reading the autobiography of Muhummad Ali. It shows the man’s inner strength was the real force to be reckoned with.

The most endearing attribute of Ali has more to do with how he stood up for his beliefs in the wake of the draft and the war in Vietnam than any of his championship belts. How he stood in the face of hatred from his own countrymen and women because he didn’t want to shed the blood of another man, how he was ostracized and called anti-American because he didn’t want war is incredible to conceive. Withstanding that kind of rhetoric and public sentiment while not lashing out against anyone took more strength than anything else he did in or out of the ring. And yet it’s not something we would associate with him as strength until we’re confronted with it ourselves.

In this space of growth farming, where cultivating seeds of connections with new people is the method of achieving success, it takes a different kind of strength to win. It takes inner determination, love, grace, empathy and compassion. It takes us going first, initiating the connections and doing things differently than what has come before us.

It takes us finding that we’re made of more than just what we think. Inside you and I are what looks like the muscle-bound warriors whose physical appearance gives us inspiration. Yet that need for leadership, courage, risk-taking, vulnerability, and perseverance are the true measures of strength that draws our tribe in.

It’s actually these qualities that make us grow, because that’s the change that we all want to see in the world. Your heart makes you strong. What you put into it is what fruits will come out from it, and what will draw others to you.

 

Music Entrepreneur & Super Fan Tom Giles Joins The DIY Artist Route

Tom Giles

Tom Giles

Networking seems like it’s becoming a bad word in the music and marketing world. I’m not sure how else to talk about relationship building through our existing friends and contacts. Networking just seems like the best word. That’s how I came to know Tom Giles (pronounced with a “J”), the serial musician, entrepreneur and music super fan whose business SoundBloc was recently acquired by Full Screen to further serve the needs of musicians and creative entrepreneurs in the direct-to-fan space.

Hosting the DIY Artist Route Podcast has been a real joy and privilege. This episode marks the 20th of the series. Each new person we learn from teaches some incredible and profound new things. It was past Router and friend Chandler Coyle who put me in Tom’s sphere, helping to set up this chat. But real relationship building and networking, as I’m discovering and living out, is about more than just an interview for a media post. We’ve talked at length about our respective projects before doing the podcast session, and will continue to do so. This is the power of “knowing you back.”

I was very impressed from the start with Tom’s pedigree in music and business. He’s built record labels and promotions companies while also being a musician. His mantra for audience growth is mirrored by Benji Rogers and Derek Webb, who both built similar platforms to help musicians do the same thing: connect directly with their most ardent tribe of fans.

This was also one of the first times for someone to be a guest on the podcast but treat it like a real conversation, turning questions back in my direction to get this side of the story. I appreciate that. It’s uncommon, and made me more connected from the outset.

Plus, there’s a chance that Tom Giles and JJ Watt played backyard football together at some point. Being a Houston Texans fan and having a little bit of a man-crush on Watt, that’s just cool. Chalk up another point for Mr. Giles.

Big takeaways for you in this podcast episode (download and share via iTunes, Spreaker, & Stitcher via the right hand margin) include:

  • How your brand defines everything you’re doing, and why you having full control over how your brand is marketed is very important
  • Insights into artist management and indie labels
  • The power of networking and relationship building to create new collaborations with industry professionals and how you can have those connections too
  • Why you should focus on building relationships to truly grow because it’s the most important thing, even if you don’t think you’re naturally good at relationships or marketing

Tons of good stuff to dive into here and learn from. You should have questions when you’re finished listening. I did. Reach out to me and let’s figure out how to solve your questions together.

Success In Music & Business Is In The Knowing Relationship

The music industry is just like any business. It’s relationship driven. Go to Hollywood and the people who continue to grow and land new opportunities are the ones utilizing their relationship connections. The tech world is the same. So are most business industries. The knowing is where the secret sauce of success is.

Relationship

Why then is it so hard for musicians in the indie, unsigned, and DIY world having such a hard time understanding this simple truth? The mantra of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and go out into the world” is a bit of a misnomer.

Yes, you have to do the work for yourself to make growth happen. You can outsource some of the pieces, but you have to build your career to a place where outsourcing is possible and efficient. However, your ability to build relationships with other professionals in the industry is the main ingredient to short term growth, and long term success. This truth and the method for making it happen for you is detailed in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “It’s all who you know in this business” to become successful. That’s true. Yet it’s only partially true. There’s another side to this that determines whether the people you know who have clout and influence will be beneficial to you. And there’s a way to know if you have this other side solved or if you need to dive deeper into the relationship-building process.

Who knows you back?

Over the past 2 months while connecting with new professionals, musicians, industry insiders, and business experts, this subject has come up multiple times. We all agree that relationships are both the engine and the fuel that propel all of us forward. However, we get confused too often into believing that if we just get an industry pro to follow us on social media or like something we post, that now we’re connected. It’s partially true at best.

Networking, in the classic business sense, has to do with a collaboration. There’s a mutual benefit between two parties, who come to know of this reciprocal connection from having interactions and conversations. You don’t get that relationship interaction from clicking “Like” on a post, or even exchanging a few words in a comment thread.

You can start this kind of connection through dialogue. Asking questions, getting answers, and opening yourself up for communication that is back and forth is how any relationship is built. It’s how you go from the idea of “knowing someone” to them knowing you back. Until someone knows you back, and there’s a dialogue that leads to some kind of collaboration, you’ve only solved part of the problem.

handshake

When we reach out to new folks online, we’re extending our hand to create a digital handshake. This can be done through email, Facebook message, DM on Twitter, or comment on a site. The response is where the beginning of them reaching back out to you happens. When that outreach is reciprocated and conversation happens, a relationship connection can be built.

The knowing goes both ways

I’ve got to give credit to putting the phrasing of “knowing you back” to my friend Shaine Freeman of The Miews Podcast. Shaine and I see growth and success for musicians very similarly. It seems like the business world understands the need for relationship connection to grow and find success. Music and musicians seem to have missed the bus on this reality. If you want to really have a successful career, understand that it’s not just who you know, but who knows you back.

DGS_RadioHandbook_Cover-1AMake building reciprocal relationships your goal and you’ll win. Discover the proven step-by-step process for doing this in your music career through outreach to radio and media in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook, now in Audiobook for a limited time on Noisetrade for free. Get it now.

Grow Your Online Audience With Help From Brandon Gaille

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 7.07.44 PMBrandon Gaille is an inspirational dude. I’m drawn to folks who overcome obstacles, and Brandon certainly has overcome much in his quest for success.

One big thing he’s faced and risen above is being bullied every single day as a kid. For someone who faced some bullying in my youth, I never dealt with the terror that Brandon did. Yet he overcame.

He also was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Then he found out that his pregnant wife had cancer. Talk about serious challenges and potential setbacks. When I start to feel overwhelmed at the challenges in front of me, I think of this guy and his perseverance.

Did he overcome the brain tumor? Yep. Did his wife successfully deliver their baby without complications? Yep. And deal with cancer? Yep, that’s right.

So what does any of this have to do with building our online audience? I reached out to Brandon to learn more about his story and discover how he has drawn over 1 million people to his blog every month. That’s right, a million people read his content each month. Those are pretty good numbers.

Did I Change Course By Talking To Brandon Gaille Away From Growth Farming?

Let me be clear: I’m not a “massive growth,” “big audience,” “look like a rock star with a zillion fans” kinda dude. You know me. I’m big on slow growth, farming for stronger connections. So why on earth would I double back and talk to a guy whose platform is all about building a massive following?

The answer is simple: Brandon Gaille is an uncommon person who overcame big challenges and rose above them to do big things. That by itself warrants a closer look at his work.

Plus, building relationships and connections with folks is one of my biggest passions. Getting to talk with him on his podcast was a real joy and honor. AND he talks about stuff I really don’t know a lot about.

Despite the fact that I do marketing online for a living, there’s a lot of what he talks about that I’m still learning. It’s also interesting to me that his growth methods take a little bit of time, a lot of focus on details, and dedication to the process. I’m big on that and talk about it a lot.

So…..even if you want to build a massive following of fans or audience members, the magic beans theory of overnight success is a crock. The Blog Millionaire’s philosophy and methods will get you many more online viewers to build your audience. It won’t happen overnight.

Overnight successes disappear just as fast as they arrive. Be different. Be uncommon. Be like Brandon Gaille.

Listen and download from Spreaker:

Why Culture Determines Your Growth & Success

 

The entrance to Bonnaroo

The entrance to Bonnaroo, escaping a place of fear and into a place of love & acceptance

There are so many areas in our world that we blame our culture on. The perpetual violence in the US, especially in places where children or minorities are the victims, leads to division among our own people. When we look deeper into the causes of these problems, a destructive culture is at the root.

How can culture be such a powerful influence on the behavior or people? That’s the question I am searching for answers to right now, especially after returning from a trip where a culture of love and unity had created an amazing culture.

What does “culture” mean

I live in a small town in West Texas. The predominant culture is older and white. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, as the world has become more diverse with different ethnic groups, beliefs, races, and cultures inter-mingling together, we’re starting to taste the beauty of multi-culturalism in ways we haven’t before. There are positives and negatives that come out of this, but I am going to focus on what we can take away from the growth of culture in our every day lives, as well as how we have the responsibility of determining our own culture for growth and success.

Culture is simply this: the collection of arts and expressions of human intellectual achievement and growth.

Culture determines growth because that’s a part of what it is. A=A in simple math terms.

Bonnaroo Main Stage

Bonnaroo Main Stage

As you know, I recently treked halfway across the country to attend Bonnaroo 2016. We had a little caravan of friends go together, and we all had a lot of fun. There were some standout bands who performed including Pearl Jam, LCD Soundsystem, Brett Dennen, and Band of Horses. I also was turned on to the music of Bob Moses, Chvrches, Chris Stapleton, and Dresden  (among others). The music was simply amazing.

However, it wasn’t the music that impacted me the most. It was something else: the predominant culture of love and acceptance to EVERYONE, regardless of race, age, belief, creed, heritage, or ideology.

When you have over 65,000 people converging on one location, you’re going to experience diversity. There’s inevitable (remember A=A). As soon as we entered into the farm (Bonnaroo sits on a 700 acre farm in Manchester, TN), the overall feeling of being safe as ourselves, being accepted for who we are, and love for each fellow person was the established rule of order.

Our Team & New Friends

Our Team & New Friends

The best thing about this culture was that we all knew it going in based solely on what we saw and felt around us. There were no “10 Rules Of Attending Bonnaroo” when we entered in. There wasn’t a form we had to sign that said we agreed to be kind, loving, and supportive of each other before being admitted in. And there wasn’t a punishment of being banished if anyone didn’t adhere to this loving culture. It was the opposite of what our modern society is and does, where rules try to dictate the behaviors of people.

Am I saying that rules and laws are not good and are a problem? NOT AT ALL.

DressedForDay1What I am saying is that it was the cultivation, seeding, nourishing, and continual harvesting of a loving culture that makes this 4 day music festival continue to grow. Any musician who has tried to get on stage at a festival like this runs up against some pretty big-named bands. There’s a reason for that.

Anyone who has tried to start a music festival and build up momentum to keep it going the following year has experienced the difficulties of building something new. The Bonnaroo guys did too 15 years ago.  A farm in the middle of nowhere Tennessee isn’t a beacon light for most people. However, give people great music (arts) and a supportive atmosphere of love (culture) and you can build a winner year after year.

What culture are you building

The tragedies of the Orlando shooting took place on the Saturday (day 3) of Bonnaroo, and we all had a lot of serious conversations with fellow Roo-vians that day and the days that followed. It made us confront ourselves, and look closer at this societal disparity in our modern culture where we turn ideologies into things that divide us to the point of death. Terrorism is all about creating more division by killing off people who cause them no harm, yet whose beliefs contradict their own. It’s bullshit. And it’s cowardly. That’s the terrorist culture.

Is the response to terrorism more violence to send a message? I don’t know. Hopefully our political leaders are discernible enough to find a path that works. My response to these acts of violence in our local and national areas is to operate from a culture that is loving and accepting. AND THAT IS FREAKING HARD TO DO IN THE FACE OF HATE AND VIOLENCE.

Don’t get me wrong, none of this is easy. But we’re uncommon people creating remarkable actions. It’s who we are. A=A. I believe that loving culture creates positive change, where people can be more whole and more themselves. Is this a utopian ideal? Hell if I know. I’ve seen and experienced part of this. What if we carried the heart of Bonnaroo with us in our personal lives, our social interactions, and the communities we’re a part of with our art and business? How would that change our society for the better?

These are the questions I’m asking myself, and the question I’m asking you. Are you the difference that you want to see in the world? Ghandi was. In the face of direct violence, hatred, and a negative culture he became the change he wanted to experience. And he changed his world. More on that in this video:

How To Have Success In Business & LIfe- BE The Change You Want from DGrantSmith on Vimeo.

 

How To Get Solid Radio Airplay The Right Way

This blog article is also published on Dotted Music as a resource to impact and benefit more artists and musicians around the world with radio airplay done right.

Radio Mic Old FashionedGetting radio airplay isn’t a dice roll and it’s not a matter of doing multi-million dollar promotion campaigns, especially not in public or indie radio (where your attention should be if you’re a DIY artist). As I’ve written in a variety of past blog articles here (do a search for Radio and you can have your pick of tips and insights), the science to getting radio airplay has more to do with only a few specific things, AND they must be made a high priority. Community building is top of that list.

Everyone who makes the decision on what songs get played on the radio and what doesn’t has their own individual perspectives and motives. These motives and preferences determine what they play and what they don’t, as well as how often some songs get rotation versus others. The truth on how radio stations decide which songs get played actually has to do with a few factors that you might not realize.

Station managers with commercial radio will give a few spins here and there to “unknown” or DIY musicians if it fits with the format and if they earn the respect of either the DJ or the station management. Once songs begin to chart more (meaning that the music ranking organizations like Billboard and CMJ are recording more plays nationwide) those songs will get more rotation. Much of this is based on requests and promotion dollars from the labels.

As a DIY artist, your plan is to get your music on stations who are be looking to add indie and unsigned artists to their station playlists. These are the radio stations and managers who you should be trying to figure out how to gain the interest of. Indie radio is your ticket here. What does that look like?

What determines an indie radio station playlist and spin count

There are essentially three factors that determine whether a radio station manager or music director will add a new song to their rotation. You can see where your music fits into these factors and be Radio Ready Here. The three things are:

1. Great Sound Quality

2. Great Songwriting

3. Personal Preferences

The songs that get airplay first off have to meet these three qualification. Sound quality and production value are paramount. Most professional radio outlets qualify potential music submissions on the quality of the recording first. It’s instinctive, we aren’t going to play a poorly mixed song.

Great songwriting involves lyricism as well as composition and arrangement. Some great songs have very clever, witty, or thought-provoking lyrics. Yet others simply have a good arrangement with a nice melody but nothing very complicated about how it is written.

The last qualification plays the largest role in not only whether as song will get added to the rotation of a radio station but also how often it will be played. Simply put, if a radio station manager, music director, or approved station personality likes a song, it will probably get some radio airplay. If that song also catches on with other station staff and especially with listeners, that song is going to get a lot more spins.

Radio station managers are people too. We like what we play. We have a personal interest in the content that we put on our platforms. It’s just simple human nature.

To be in this industry an din this creative space, you have to be a fan. Radio station managers are fans of music too, and often we’re fans of artists who not only make music that we enjoy but also who have engaged with us in some manner.

What DIY musicians can do to gain radio airplay consideration

How someone feels about you as a musician can play almost a bigger role than whether they only like your music. When you try to just separate yourself out and away from your art you limit the reach and connection-building power you have.

Instead, focus your energies on building connections and communities with the radio stations that you want airplay on. It’s not a matter of getting your music out to every single station in existence, or even every station that plays music in the same genre as you.

Take your music and your radio submission 1 step further

Just like how a runner will study the track, prepare for the best start, have the best equipment, and train well before ever launching from the starting line, it’s essential that you have the right preparation tools to get started.

Get Your Music On INdie RadioOften times, as musicians we don’t always think about the pieces that need to be in place aside from having our recording ready, graphics laid out and perhaps have assembled an EPK. There are some other key elements that will ensure you have the most success with your music submission from the get go.

All of these tools are in the Indie Radio Course, along with a free PDF copy of The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook and a ton of insights into how to make radio airplay work for your music by building relationships with the people behind the microphone. Get your spot on the course here.