Saturday, February 19, 2011

Poughkeepsie News: Update: Cop dies after shoot out with gunman who killed his own wife, 3 dead.

Poughkeepsie cop died after being shot in the head Friday during a gunfight with a man who had fatally shot his own wife in a train station parking lot, police said.
The suspect was also killed - but it wasn't clear whether he committed suicide or was taken out by a police bullet.
The 44-year-old officer, who wasn't identified last night, died after undergoing surgery at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, Police Chief Ron Knapp said.
"This is a tragic day in the city of Poughkeepsie for our citizens and for our uniformed personnel," Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik said.
The incident unfolded about 1p.m., when police received a report of a shooting at a parking lot near a Metro-North railroad station in Poughkeepsie.
The first officer who arrived at the scene spotted a man running with a toddler in his arms.
He gave chase.
After a brief confrontation, the officer snatched the 3-year-old from the suspect's hands, and the man took off.
The cop handed the child to a bystander and again raced after the suspect, authorities said.
Several officers joined in the chase, which ended with a cop, an 18-year veteran of the force, shot in the head and the suspect mortally wounded. He died hours later at a local hospital.
Knapp said it appeared the gunman shot the officer.
The suspect's wife was found shot in a car in the parking lot. She died at an area hospital, authorities said.
At least half a dozen cops were involved in the chase. One officer was treated for a minor injury.
"All this happened in a five-minute period of time," said Knapp, from the moment police received the first call to a report that an officer was down.
With News Wire Services
With News Wire Services

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here's the journal article on something that happened yesterday, that's made the headlines though... sad news though, 

heres the article from the journal


A City of Poughkeepsie police officer has died after he was shot in the head this afternoon. Police did not release the name of the officer pending notification of his extended family. The suspect and his wife are dead,
The officer underwent surgery at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, City of Poughkeepsie Police Chief Ron Knapp said during a press conference this afternoon. A 3-year-old child involved in the incident is in the custody of police.
The officer underwent surgery at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie. A second officer suffered a dislocated shoulder and was taken to Vassar Brothers following the incident on lower Main Street, which took place shortly after 1 p.m.
The suspect was holding a 3-year-old child when confronted by police. The child was handed off to a witness and is now in the custody of police. A woman sitting in a car nearby during the incident was shot dead.
"This is a tragic day in the City of Poughkeepsie for our citizens and for our uniformed personnel," Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik said during a press conference held in the Common Council Chambes at City Hall. "And at this point, I can only ask that you keep the officers and their families in your thoughts and prayers."
The suspect was shot and had been listed in 'very critical condition' at St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, but according to communications director Greg Zurawik, died about 2:10 p.m.
City police shut down Main Street, from the Route 44/55 intersection to the Hudson River. They had shut down access to the rear entrance to the Poughkeepsie train station, but the station is open and trains are on schedule, Metro-North Railroad spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said. In addition to the City of Poughkeepsie police, officers from the Town of Poughkeepsie, state police and Dutchess County Sheriff's Office responded.
The incident unfolded about 1:07 p.m. in a parking lot on lower Main Street in the area of Railroad Avenue, Knapp said. Police received a report of a shooting and the first officer arrived from about a block-and-a-half away.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011 Grammy Award Recap

Well, to preface seems typical of award shows that there are less artist nominated for more awards. Its like 20 artist compete over 50 awards... no one leaves empty handed. somehow rappers are in 10 categories cuz they're all pop acts now, these are all signs of a dark day in music. but nonetheless here is my recap of the show...

it kicks off with a tribute to Aretha Franklin, done by Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Martina Mcbride, Florence (without The Machine) and Yolanda Adams others singing some Aretha songs. As the tears pour down Christina's face she belts out for redemption for her super-bowl performance. A Personal favorite though, Jennifer Hudson proves that although she may have shrank, her voice just grows bigger and bigger, she might be able to tour her next album without a microphone.

...Side note: They mention its Mick Jagger's first time on the Grammy stage, I didn't know the grammy's alway had a No british coke head policy, I figured it was put in effect just for Amy Winehouse.

The first televised award of the night is Pop Duo, A Glee song is nominated which now makes it so songs can win grammy's over and over now. The winner though, is Train.. "Hey Soul Sister", the ukulele ballad that brought back there career, which they are being most appreciative of. The speech cut short though by the music coming in cueing Lady Gaga's highly Anticipated Performance of "Born This Way"

The Gaga Freak show starts with her coming outta an updated Egg from the Bad Romance Video, accompanied by backup dancers all sporting yellowish see-thru garbs, To match her own of course. I really don't get this song, or her comparing it to Thriller... But if resembling the Michael Jackson video where he's like dancing in Egypt, that she's accomplished. The songs bridge had a short break where she climbs to an organ to slow the pace of the song for a second, then jumps back down to her dancers who all rip off their clothes and they continue celebrating the fact that their born whatever way they were blah blah blah...
I really hope this first single is not setting the tone of her upcoming album, or upcoming musical trends.

The show comes back with Miranda Lambert, who I'm unfamiliar with. She's got a nomination for the song she's preforming tonight. She's a country starlit who's probably standing in the shadow of Taylor Swift. She though, is singing country about her dog being buried in her back yard and forgetting her roots, while baby pictures are displayed in the background.  Not as pretty as taylor swift, which is probably why she opts towards singing genuine country songs rather than about fairly tale high school love.

Lenny Kravitz then comes to the stage briefly to introduce Muse, The show at this point has been 1 award and 3 performances. The Muse preform that single of there's that has taken off...I don't know the name... i just identify it by the "BOW-WOW" noise that abruptly goes through it. The performance has videos of banks falling and a riot going on beneath the artists. The Muse maybe one of the only groups at this event with a message, or a worthwhile message. There performers was pretty awesome overall.

The next performance is to showcase new artist, Bruno Mars, B.O.B, & Janelle Mone. All of which are nominated tonight and have joined forces for a medley starting with "Nothing On You", The rendition is just piano and strings, and is much more appeasing than the original. Then it cuts to a 1950's Black & White T.V interlude to introduce Bruno Mars, preforming a doo-whop version of "Grenade", also better than the original. I do find it really obnoxious for live performances when the camera is set to Black & White though, I understand why they artistically do it...but come'on. It's not the 50's dude, my Tv is color and I prefer it that way.  Janelle's part of the set is a lot more animated including her stage diving, and not missing a beat while being carried by the fans.

Finally, an award segment...
Female vocal country up for grabs between Miranda Lambert, Jewel, Leann Rimes, Carrie Underwood, & Gretchen Wilson. (WOW, maybe the industry doesn't recognize taylor swifts latest album as country.) Either way, these country singers are beautiful. I thought Shania Twain was hot 10 years ago...but now country music is just outright sexy. weird. Miranda Lambert won the award though for the song she preformed earlier in the evening.

The show comes back from a commercial break with another performance, this time from Justin Bieber, Usher, & Jaden Smith. They start with Usher & Justin talking about the first time they met and how he got to where he is. Bieber then breaks into preforming "Baby" with just his acoustic guitar. I have to say, I do really admire this kid. he has accomplished a lot at such a young age, and i'm left wondering how much creativity he possesses that isn't being utilized because it may not fit his marketing scheme.
Although, this has completely turned corny with the "Never Say Never" karate kid chinese motif.
Usher then resurfaces to put the nail in the coffin with a performance of "O.M.G", he's been doing the same routine of this track at every award show in the past year, this is when a good manager should tell him this "oh..oh..oh..ohoh...oh oh oh.." while dancing shit isn't cutting it anymore.

Best Rock album is the next award, which of course goes to The Muse, who had some decent competition in the form of Neil Young, Jeff Beck, Tom Petty, & Pearl Jam. It's pretty much assumed though the performers will be the winners. The award show functions more like a showcase nowadays.
They get all the Top 40 radio artist together, with a handful of the greats, have them all preform the songs you've heard all year long and let them thank people. The awards serve as a front for a who's who on the radio concert at this rate.

The award for best pop album of course went to Lady Gaga, the reigning queen of pop music. Gaga now wearing a black outfit making her look like some sort of superhero, who ends her thank you's by thanking Whitney Houston who she says was the inspiring voice for "Born This Way" because she couldn't imagine herself singing it.

Mumford & Sons follow with a performance of banjo rock, that's surprisingly awesome. There was a small bluegrass set up backing them with a horn section. They then go to another band...this must be the solemn rock section of the show. I didn't catch their name, but they aren't as impressive. The legend Bob Dylan comes though to save the day, with both bands backing him up on "Maggie's Farm". Dylan sounds really rough though, like his throat is made of tree bark.

Lady Antebellum pays tribute covering "If You Don't Know Me By Now" before breaking into "American Honey". These guys are one of the best groups to come out recently. There is something really refreshing, honest, and simple about their music. They follow by going into "Need You Now" which was the breakout single that right after won them their first grammy award.

Jamie Foxx comes out to introduce grammy award winner Cee-Lo Green to preform "F*** You", censored of course to "Forget You"... Cee-Lo, taking an outfit from George Clinton has an entourage of muppet like puppets on stage with him. Gwyneth Paltrow joins him on stage in the later part of the  song considering her performance of it on Glee was a huge hit. Paltrow who's day job is actress, is upstaging a handful of the actual singers in the room. Maybe her and Chris Martin duet lullabies for Apple & Mosses at night.

Katy Perry who in my opinion had one of the best albums of 2010 with Teenage Dream, starts her performance of "Not Like The Movies" on a swing set, looking beautiful as always. The swing lifts her up as video of her and Russell Brands wedding play in the back. Perry's guest of honor for the night was her grandmother for her 90th birthday who came in matching Armani attire with a bedazzled diamond cane holding her up. Perry then broke into "Teenage Dream" with a very valentines day in vegas-esque set behind her.

Eminem took the stage with Rihanna, Adam Lavine (of Maroon 5), & Dr.Dre. Eminem is the greatest example of an artist having to adjust himself to fit in with an ever changing industry. the new Eminem is pro-collaborating, pro-endorsements, pro-selling out. Not as if Eminem wasn't huge before his hiatus, and he was always a sell-out star. who at least seemed to have a firm stance on what he'd do and wouldn't. Since Rap died, and this bubble gum hip hop took over Eminem had to soften his image. Also the image of his mentor Dr.Dre who joined for "I Need a Doctor" with Skylar Grey. which is the first lead single of the Detox, the doc's long awaited upcoming album. The song is lack-luster and sounds like what it is, an Alex da kid track...Airplanes, Love the way you lie, ect. All over again though.

The award for best new artist goes to Esmeralda Spalding, A Jazz bassist and singer who defeated Justin Bieber for the award. Proving that real music is still recognized over cookie cutter pop. I personally don't like when artist from different genres are pitted against each other. Each genre has its own time, place, & fans, but when they face off I do think the more "musical" compositions should be regarded higher.

John Mayer, Norah Jones, & Keith Urban preformed "Jolene" and announced Dolly Parton's induction into the hall of fame. Then they proceeded to present the song of the year, which again was another score for country music with Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" winning it's second award.

The most comedic part of the show is the head honcho of the Grammy's talking about their foundation and the work they do,the musicians, free speech, pirating music, and such while a background band of jazz musicians play in the back. Then the music cuts, while he starts talking about the economy being horrible but that music will keep going (no, it stopped when you got to the negative stuff). They then go into a video montonge of the musicians and other key players in the industry who have passed in the last year.  There unfortunately were too many too count.

This long list of the deceased though was the intro to a man that may live forever Mick Jagger, paying tribute to Solomon Burke. He preformed "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love". Which managed to get the crowd going like he was closing out the show.

I prefer seeing the youngsters honor the legends, granted Jagger is moving' around like he's in his 20's. Legends honoring other legends though always seems a little odd to me. Especially because these seems to be the performances that i'd guess are some network executive's ideas.

Babs, Better known as Barbra Streisand was presented an artist of the year, or lifetime regeconition something or other. They didn't make it too clear, although Stresiand's age now, 68 was clear. She is finally starting to age but manages to retain the voice of an angel.

To follow that up, the bring out two of the shows biggest weirdos Nicki Minaj & Will.I.Am to present best Rap Album of the year. Minaj & Will were just a few of the artist decked out in cheetah print for the ceremony. The winner though, Eminem for his Recovery album. Em, who comes out and thanks the usual suspects Jimmy Iovine, Dr.Dre, and everyone at Interscope for making the record as big as it is.

Rihanna and Drake took the stage together to preform "What's My Name". Rihanna as usual is having her pitch problems. Also known as her real voice, considering most of her recordings she's digitized to perfection. The set on the stage is some sort of weird bond fire with rihanna dressed like a tribal cowgirl.

The Latino super couple  Marc Anthony & J.Lo presented record of the year to Lady Antebellum, another one for "Need you Now". This goes to prove you can have a huge cross over single that can go from Top 40, country, rock, & even get played on more urban stations. Its the songs like this one that end up being timeless classics. Although a song like this can cross over into urban music and gain acceptance. An urban song though is less likely cross so many boundaries and still stand the test of time.

Arcade Fire makes their Grammy debut with a performance towards at the end of the show. The Arcade Fire is one of those groups that's hit or miss, like Broken Social Scene. Like all art, some times the more you add to it, the bigger mess your gonna end up with. Artists need to know when enough is enough, and not to noises in there music just because.
I believe all sounds have there place in musical compositions of all sorts. Although some musicians will put stuff into songs that there is no place for, just because they felt like it...not because it improves there creation. Just because they can, this is a typical artistic flaw caused by ego.

Album of the year is the final award, being up for grabs between Katy Perry, Arcade Fire, Eminem, Lady Antebellum, & Lady Gaga. The Arcade Fire won the award and closed the show with an encore. They also pointed out they are from Canada...when Canadians became such a musical force, that i don't know. Between Bieber, Drake, Arcade Fire, and all the other Canadian acts it really makes you wonder what's gonna be the Next Big Thing and where will it come from. Maybe this surge in Canadian artists is like the Brit Rock Invasions, or just coincidence. Who knows.

In closing, the music industry sucks. It wears it on it's sleeve at this point. There's some good mixed in there, and the good got the recognition it deserved. I'm glad to see if there was one act that cleaned house so to speak it was Lady Antebellum.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

You Hear Them Bells Go <--Another funny rapper parody cartoon

This guy @BYOBent is histerical...

Shawt Bus Shawty... Southern Rappers Join Forces for ultimate banger!?!?!?

This video is an accurate depiction of the current state of hip hop music...and to think people will debate who's the nicest outta these guys. People really compare who's the nicest retard with a mic, that must make the people debating just as dumb

Friday, February 4, 2011


And People like this guy's music? he looks like he's retarded, or dusted...the radio guy is histerical though..check this waka flocka clip on Jackedurstv

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Music Business Mistakes of 2010 -#5C Industry

#1 – Waiting
#2 – Unreasonable Expectations
#3 – Poor Planning
#4 – Comparing Apples To Oranges
#5a – Black and White Thinking (Day Job)
#5b – Black and White Thinking (Career Trajectory)
#5c – Black and White Thinking (The Industry)
Perhaps the most stunning example of black and white thinking for musicians is the way they interact with or react to the industry.  A large percentage of the musicians I encounter either despise the industry for reasons that don’t seem to be well articulated or are enamored with the industry and desperate for the attention, validation and information that these executives may or may not really have.
I know I am not stating anything that isn’t obvious but sometimes stating the obvious is helpful.  Simply put- record label executives, music managers, music supervisors, booking agents and music publishers are really just people like any other group of people.  There are those who are brilliant and others who are dim, those who are really good and caring and others who seem to be fashioned out of pure evil.  Why mention this?  I guess because it’s important to have some perspective on what elicits such strong feelings from the musician community.  Mind you, I’m not saying anyone’s feelings are unjustified but I do believe they could often be tempered with a bit of perspective that might make things feel a bit less personal and unpleasant.
So why demonize the music industry? Yes- there are many people out there who prey on the entrepreneurial hope of musicians- so please be careful.  The monetary losses aside it would just take one of these awful experiences to sour anyone on the music business and / or humankind in general.  It’s a bit more subtle than that though.  Everyone knows going in that there are long odds in “making it” in the classic sense of the term otherwise everyone would be a famous musician.  That said when artist and executive partnerships don’t work out both sides like to play the blame game.  Can executives poorly handle and in fact harm an artist’s career?  Sure.  Can music executives do everything right and still have an artist not connect to an audience in a meaningful way?   Yes- Absolutely.  So is it the fault of the industry if things don’t work out?
Even if there were no industry this is a game of long odds so what good would finding someone or something to blame really do for you?  One thing is for sure if a partnership doesn’t work out and the artist gives up on music as a result (this is far more common that you would think) – that is not the industry’s fault.
As for executives who have gatekeeper jobs like music supervisors and A&R executives – well – these people are easy to resent.  I know first hand- I’ve been both.  These are weird jobs and it is a difficult balance to even inquire about someone’s music without feeling like you are leading them on.  People who hold these roles often feel like being too personable isn’t in their best interest.  It is overwhelming and uncomfortable to always question what people’s motives are when they are being friendly.  Yes- these types of people can do significant things for your career and are worth pursuing relationships with provided you are spending much more time connecting with people who buy music and tickets.  Keep in mind with gatekeepers that their decision isn’t personal.  They select artists not always based on talent but on what would fit their needs at that moment in time.  Also keep in mind that these people have to spend a huge amount of their time making sure they play politics with clients or senior executives to ensure that they keep their gigs so it’s not as comfortable as it may appear from the outside.
Why Be Enamored with the Music Industry? Well, in truth, I don’t think you should be enamored with the industry nor do I think that you should believe they have the holy grail of music and marketing promotional ideas for developing artists.  I think many of the strengths in the industry are centered around maintaining or growing existing brands rather than developing new ones.  This is no one’s fault really- one never knows if a new artist will convert fans when exposed to new audiences.  This being the case I think many musicians put too much time and effort into looking for partners and industry help rather than in figuring out much of their development on their own.
I remember signing my first band at Lava / Atlantic when I was about twenty-four.  I was thrilled because not only did I really believe in the group but I was beyond excited to have a first hand look at what really went in to marketing and promoting a band.  I had all the knowledge that a total of two years being an A&R assistant and whatever I learned from self-managing a band I was in at college at my disposal.  Through the process I learned the following (and not much else):
1)   People and opportunities will flock to an artist that is perceived to be on the cusp of success and the same people and opportunities will vanish when people think a project isn’t going anywhere.  (The phrase “Success has a thousand fathers” comes to mind)
2)   An interesting press story (even ten years ago) is not “Artist releases Record” the best publicists will help pull a story out of the soul of an artist and make it interesting before even making a call to the press.
3)   Marketing plans seem to compile existing information, cover very general objectives and often present more questions than answers.
4)   Publishing splits between band members should be made while the money is theoretical.  Real money on the table can make things very ugly.
5)   The more I learned about radio promotion – the less I understood it and the more I resented it.
6)   The vast majority of industry people I encountered at the time had never played a live show after high school let alone gigged regularly.  As such, they weren’t much help with grass roots and developing artists.
When I say that was all I learned – I’m not exaggerating much.  I met some interesting people along the way but as far as the information I found it was a major disappointment.  I kept on thinking there was going to be some great reveal.  There never was and I have yet to find one even twelve years later.  It has been a series of little pieces of information that have been the most helpful to me over the years.
Many people in the industry are capable of guiding an established business.  Very few are willing or able to build one from scratch.  Long story short (Too Late?)  The Industry like most things is never as good as it seems and never as bad as it seems.  Industry relationships are worth pursuing but I’m of the opinion that such relationships are of much more value to the artist who has developed even a small following than those who have yet to build one.
That does it for this series – I will be back with some interviews very soon.
-Rick Goetz

Music Business Mistakes of 2010 -#5b Career Trajectory

* #1 – Waiting
* #2 – Unreasonable Expectations
* #3 – Poor Planning
* #4 – Comparing Apples To Oranges
*#5a – Black and White Thinking (Day Job)
*#5b – Black and White Thinking (Career Trajectory)
It’s a very odd thing to talk to your average musician about their career goals.  As I have mentioned before I often hear things like “getting to the next level” or wanting to “make it”.  Part of the problem is that statements like these aren’t specific enough to be of much use to those who utter them.   I’m not here to tell anyone that the music business isn’t difficult or isn’t filled with frustration – it is absolutely frustrating and the pace at which it moves (especially when you are starting out) makes glaciers look like Ferraris.  Many musicians need to get a grip on what the majority of career trajectories look like and stop comparing themselves to so-called overnight successes.  The harsh reality is that yes- some seemingly talentless people get rich and famous doing music and as much as that can mess with your sense of justice – there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
I should mention that I don’t blame anyone for their perception of what the music business really is and what making a living making music looks like.  Pop Culture and Hollywood have done a number on us all by presenting us a constantly whispered message that anyone can be a celebrity for seemingly no reason at all.  The VH1 behind the music series (which I loved and still do love) was a classic representation of what is broadcast about a musician’s career.  It had an hour slot and usually was about 43 minutes long.  It usually looked like this:
Minutes 1-4 – Where the musician grew up, who their parents were and how they always wanted to be a singer / guitarist / rockstar / rapper
Minute 5-7: – Quotes from Mom, family and friends about how this person was very driven
Minutes 7-10:  some footage from a talent show, the chance meeting of a collaborator or label executive – perhaps some brief mention of the artist gigging in obscurity for an unmentioned period of time and at least once getting close to calling it quits.
Minutes 10 onwards – Minor problems in the studio and then rocket ship ride to superstardom including the obligatory dark period (usually someone close to the subject dying or a drug habit) followed by the redemption of them still being on top – and everything being okay.
The point is it is not an interesting Hollywood story that it took a ton of hard work and someone built their fan base one fan at a time over years and years.  It is not an interesting Hollywood story that people slowly but surely got better at the craft and kept moving forward.  The hard work, the struggle, the doubt, the waiting for better…   this is a great deal of the process but it is presented as little more than a footnote in the folklore of being a successful musician.
What I mean to say is that it is easy to think in absolutes when this is the cultural message we receive every day.  Try to avoid this.  If you don’t avoid this it becomes far too easy to be that older crabby musician or ex musician who has a chip on his or her shoulder about how the business (and everything else) sucks.
Try to remember you are slowly building a business and that as long as you are slowly aligning your work life with your passion for music you are on the right track.  Your career isn’t nowhere if you aren’t drawing 500 people a night nor is it nowhere if you aren’t 100% self-sustainable yet.  Startup businesses take time and very often the ones that survive are the ones that are flexible enough to adapt to whatever is put into their path.  Your career in music might not look like the one you envision.  God knows when I was a nineteen and getting my first tattoo I thought I was going to be in a touring band for the rest of my life.
The biggest lesson I think I ever learned about the business or probably even life in general (and it hit me like a ton of bricks) was when I interviewed an old band mate of mine who had gone on to be very successful.  He said quite simply “I haven’t done anything different in 15 years”.  It was when I realized that I had never worked towards anything with consistent daily effort for more than 2-3 years without losing my focus that I lost my right to bitch.

-Rick Goetz

Music Business Mistakes of 2010 -#5a B&W Thinking

Top 5 Music Business Mistakes of 2010 #5 Black and White Thinking
* #1 – Waiting
* #2 – Unreasonable Expectations
* #3 – Poor Planning
* #4 – Comparing Apples To Oranges
*#5a – Black and White Thinking (Day Job)
For me personally, this is the bitch of the bunch. When I hit a speed bump along the road of life like not getting one of my client’s a much needed tour or losing out on a new client to a larger company it is often the case that my thought process and solutions to these problems are far worse than the problems themselves. When I don’t close a new client I really wanted my mind doesn’t automatically jump to “Well, I’d better find some more potential clients to pitch” it jumps to “I’m going to wind up dying homeless on the street in a cardboard box and I won’t even have any pets to love me”. The upside to my having this warped way of thinking is that it is VERY common among musicians and creative folks. Doing what I do it’s important that I relate to this issue and believe you me- I understand.

So what does this look like? Well, in my experience there are three very common topics in a musician’s existence where this thinking really shines through namely in their relationship to their day job, their relationship to their career trajectory and their relationship to the industry.
1. Your Day job.
So this is usually among the younger set of musicians but have you ever heard a statement like this? “I just quit my job so I can focus on music full time”. Now before you rip my head off- yes, in general this is the plan and we all want to be in a place to do this BUT there is a small matter of timing here that is crucial. This transition needs to be well thought out and handled very delicately and with the understanding that you are going to need some source of funding for your life for at least a few years. This is very much an A to Z move so if you just got your Daisy Rock Acoustic Guitar Starter pack in the mail and wrote your first song about your pet ferret George – welcome to letter A – and don’t quit that job yet.
Daisy Rock Acoustic Starter Pack - A reason to have kids.
This step is really difficult for many a musician especially if there isn’t some kind of structure in place. Few people take in to account the paralyzing effect of being granted nearly limitless options with your day after having been part of a routine (no matter how unpleasant that routine may have been for you). Back to the black and white part- the point is it is very difficult to jump into full time music without having built something. If you work a job and have a music business on the side that is beginning to make less money because you can’t break away from the day job it may be time to transition from full time to part time at your main gig or to lobby your boss to let you work from home or to find a job with more flexibility (even if it means less pay).   None of this is easy but it is possible.
A steady gig has the obvious benefits of stability and insurance but it also provides a regular source of human contact. People often forget how isolating self-employment can be and let’s not forget- you have to invite someone to your shows, right? I’m all in favor of going to music full time but I am also of the belief when you are shifting a car from first gear to overdrive that you will have a much easier transition by shifting through the intermediate gears.

-Rick Goetz

Top Music Business Mistakes of 2010 #4

Top 5 Music Business Mistakes of 2010 #4 Apples to Oranges
  • #1 – Waiting
  • #2 – Unreasonable Expectations
  • #3 – Poor Planning
  • #4 – Comparing Apples To Oranges
On the off chance that the title of this article is a piece of slang that was unique to my parents (I ran the title by someone who was baffled by the fact that a music blog would be discussing fruit) I am speaking about comparing two things that can’t be accurately compared.  I have found that is very common for artists to have the belief that exposure = sales and that all songs and all artists if given the same exposure would get the same response from the public.  This issue gets especially cloudy when an artist is comparing his or her own career to the career of someone in the public eye.
The most hate mail I ever got was from an article I wrote that contained the words “Great bands make great managers”.  Musicians and managers alike hated this statement but it is one that I still stand by.  What did I mean when I said it?  Well, there is an old (and awful) saying I heard in my record company days – “You can’t polish a turd.”  There were simply some acts back then that no matter how much a label spent on getting them on Radio, MTV and on great tours they just never connected with people.
Many things have changed in the music business but I don’t think this has changed at all – sometimes all of the exposure in the world just doesn’t matter.   I get into a ton of trouble using the word “great” so let me clear that up for the comments you are writing in your head about how much Nickelback sucks and how could Lady Gaga and Kesha possibly be considered great and how I don’t know what I’m talking about…  First off you should know that on any given week I actively dislike about 90% of the top 200 albums on the Billboard charts.  Secondly I neither know nor do I think it is entirely knowable why something connects with a mass audience and some things don’t.  I do know that some artists seem to be opportunity magnets and many more are not.
Back to the statement about managers – very few people refer to managers without successful clients as “great.”  Even if a manager does everything right and gets his or her clients exposure, if they don’t yield results very few people take notice of that manager’s ability.  There are other times when you can’t seem to stop opportunities from arising for a song or for an artist and contrary to popular belief this really isn’t always related to an artist’s team.  Yes- a good team can bring in great opportunities and tip the balance in an artist’s favor but generally speaking it is as much the music as the artist’s handlers that makes things happen for an artist.
We see this phenomenon in a much more overt way with viral video in the digital age.  People either see something and pass it on to their friends or they don’t.  I always find it interesting when someone sets out to “Make a viral video”.  Barring a Trojan type virus that would automatically make a video play every time someone turned on their machine (please don’t do this) there is no way of predicting what will be viral and what won’t be.  You can market and spend all you want but some things catch fire and other things just don’t.
Okay, I have probably beaten this point to death and depressed a bunch of you.  Not at all my intent and not at all the focus of this article.  If such things are believed to be truly out of your hands then what is an artist to do?  My suggestions are two-fold:
One:  Acceptance-
Acceptance is not the Acceptance of failure.  It is the acceptance that if you are doing everything you can to promote yourself- at this moment in time it may not be your turn to be widely embraced by mass media.  Enduring and building the best you can is sometimes all you can do until the stars align for you.
Two: Growth-
It could be the passage of time alone might make the world ready for your music, stranger things have happened.  If it were my music career though I would err on the side of caution and make sure that I put the time in to get better at my craft just a little bit every day.  Perhaps your abilities are just a tweak away from being ready to react with people in a different way.  The Plain White Tees released “Hey There Delilah” a few different times before a version of the song finally caught fire.
While I never heard the words come directly out of his mouth Ahmet Ertegun was often quoted as saying “A hit will find a way”.  I think there is a very real feeling that is not at all subtle when you have hit upon a formula with a song or with a group that is really connecting.  I also think that there is no telling when (or if) that moment will ever grow in to being.  Until such time keep improving your craft and stop comparing yourself to others – it tends not to do any good.  If all the exposure in the world was suddenly heaped on you- you might not be ready for it yet.

-Rick Goetz

Top 5 Music Business Mistakes of 2010 (#3) – Poor Planning

Top 5 Music Business Mistakes of 2010 (#3) – Poor Planning
#1 – Waiting
#3 – Poor Planning
Once again, I don’t mean to appear unsympathetic.  I know first hand how difficult it is to remain objective once you have put your heart and soul into a project but I have to point out that I have seen far too many careers that have suffered greatly due to poor planning or even worse – no planning.
It sounds ridiculous but something as simple as writing out a list of goals for your business can force you to clarify that vague plan you have in your head – I highly recommend it as I have made the mistake of winging it one too many times when an organized written document would have saved me time, effort and expense.  When I am at my best I find that I am often re-visiting revising such documents for my business because I am continually moving closer to my goals.  When I am at my worst I am unable to carve out the time to extract myself from daily distractions to reflect on the big picture.  I am certainly not saying it is easy but it can be done.
There are two main areas in which musicians seem to flounder the most.  Probably not coincidentally they are two of the most important events in a musician’s life – Music releases and Touring.
Music Releases:
With regard to music releases I am always surprised to hear how many people will start looking for a promotion and marketing strategy after their album, single or E.P. has been released.  While it is never too late for someone to start such efforts it is probably a good idea to start thinking of such things the minute you enter the studio or even the minute you start writing the next release if possible.  I have said it before and I will say it again that websites have ceased being billboards and have become like 24 hour news channels.  With this in mind it is important to collect as much content (Journaling, photos, videos, rough mixes, live takes etc) from the writing and recording process as possible.  “Why?” You might ask.  Simply because there are only so many ways you can say to the people who you hope will care about your music that you have a new record coming out.  If you’ve collected no material about the making of your latest product you will not have nearly as many interesting ways to hype your release.  Saying “New record coming next week” is not nearly as interesting as even a goofy video of you spilling Bong water on the console (not that I recommend it).
Another rookie mistake (and again – I empathize – I really do) is rushing a product to market.  I watch artists record an album, master it, order a few hundred CDs and schedule a release so they can get it out to market as fast as humanly possible.  Oh, I get it, you are excited and you have made sacrifices to create your latest work and you are anxious for the world to hear it.  Resist this at all costs.  If possible have advance copies of your CD or digital album in the hands of those who can expose it to more people than you can (Journalists, music supervisors, bloggers, morning TV shows, local radio, podcasters, promoters, club owners or even your most successful friends in music for a testimonial about your work).  Make sure that you have all of your marketing and promotional materials in hand to the best of your ability – a bio, an EPK, compelling live footage, press clips, artwork, a video (even if it is just the album artwork synced up with your single).  Make sure you have events lined up – a record release party, a listening party, a Ustream concert, a house party, some kind of album giveaway, a tie in with a local retail store – anything that gets people talking and anything that exposes your music to new people.
The longer you promote a record the better chances it has of doing something…  try your best to line up several months worth of marketing and promotional ideas if possible.  The most obvious of these of course is…
Think about touring for a second.  You have a new release or you finally got transportation to take your act on the road – what is your plan?  I’ve watched countless acts bleed money on cross country tours before they have even built up their own home market, let alone several regional markets.  I suppose that’s okay if you’re in your early 20s and just want to compare the taste of beer in New York to the beer in Los Angeles (it’s the same as near as I can tell by the way.  Pizza though?  A different story – don’t leave New York).  Most of the good agents I know tell me that barring very exceptional gigs it is generally not worth touring in any market unless you can revisit that market every 3-4 months to maintain and build a following.  What this means for most on a budget is concentric circles around your hometown.  It is much easier to do several three day weekends or pull the occasional sick day on a regional build than it is to take two weeks off of work to visit a dozen markets that you won’t revisit more than once per year.
It is generally not worth touring any given market unless you can find some kind of support in said market.  This can be as simple as family and friends with a place to crash or a good opportunity like finding a local act that does well to trade gigs with.  If you pick five markets to target there are only so many college radio stations, indie record stores and local readers you have to service and create relationships with.  Yes- easier said than done but it is do-able.  Prior to this step is of course making sure you mean something in your home town so you will have a crowd to trade on with other out of town acts.
This post turned into rather random musings about releases and touring but I urge you to write out a plan and think about having a long term strategy for record releases, tours and your career in general.

-Rick Goetz

Top 5 Music Business Mistakes of 2010 – #2

Top 5 Music Business Mistakes of 2010 (#2)
#1 – Waiting
#2 – Unreasonable Expectations
Before I start on another rant about the top mistakes let me point out that I find these mistakes frustrating because I am often guilty of them myself from time to time.  I am especially guilty of #2 – unreasonable expectations.
Roughly twice per day I get an email from a musician who tells me that he or she “just wants to get to the next level.”
In my head my first response is usually “Oh that’s easy just press Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right A B Select Start.”  (This got you many extra lives on the game Contra for Nintendo)  For better or for worse – there is no special code for the elusive “next level” in the music business.
This kind of message is always a bit disheartening as I am pretty sure that when I ask people who send me these messages to clarify their needs they either will not have defined it for themselves or they have just started out promoting their businesses in the last 2-3 months and they want Jay-Z’s phone number (Which I don’t have by the way).
Yes, that is absolutely an extreme example and no- I’m not suggesting that everyone out there has such a warped perspective but I do find that people unfairly compare themselves to people who have become icons.  If you look around long enough you will find that most overnight successes were not so overnight.
I was fortunate enough to work with Kid Rock in the 90s and most people remember when he arrived with his first big single “Bawitdaba”.  What most people forget (or never knew) is that ten years earlier he was signed and subsequently dropped from Jive Records, signed an indie label deal (with a label that went out of business), put out two records on his own (before such things were as turn-key as they are now) and built up a network of over 50 very active street team members all over the U.S..  Prior to “Bawitdaba” was also a single called “I am the Bull God” that only mid charted at radio and there were moments where one could feel that the culture of Atlantic Records could have gone either way in supporting (or not supporting) his career.  There is an obvious lesson in such perseverance and I know many people who would have given up over any one of those setbacks let alone the whole string of them.
Perhaps Kid Rock is another example that is too large or too exceptional.
How about this?
The majority of people I encounter don’t appreciate that it takes a long time (often many years) to get anyone to care about you or your music.  Most people need the time to get better at what they do.  It takes a ton of mistakes and gigs where you say to the crowd  “Be sure and tip your bartend…Oh…. You are the Bartenders and waitresses…” I don’t think people appreciate that those kind of gigs are the formative gigs where musicians get better at what they do.
I keep hearing the implication that the Internet was supposed to usher in this era where anyone and everyone could make a living at music.  Really?  So everyone is a rock star?  That means there is no one in the audience because everyone is on the stage.  That would all of a sudden makes my accountant a rock star…  God forbid!
This is what I’ve learned about expectations being around the business of music for the last eighteen years – I hope it takes you less time to learn these things than it took me:
1)   The artists who seemed to make a living / become well known were simply the artists who were still artists ten years later
2)   You can look around and compare and despair almost no matter who you are.  I wonder if Chris Martin from Coldplay laments that he isn’t Bono or if Bono laments that he isn’t Elvis…
3)   The awful saying “It’s a marathon – not a sprint” really does apply.  Far too often I see people blowing their budgets and wrecking their credit on high cost / short term promotional strategies over the course of weeks when better investments would be strategies that endure.
4)   People who don’t invest in their careers (with both their money and time) don’t grow their careers.
5)   Those who were consistent in their efforts tended to fare better than those who were sporadic.

-Rick Goetz

Top 5 Music Business Mistakes of 2010 (#1)

Sounds innocuous enough, right?
We should be good at waiting given all of the waiting that goes on with the craft of music.
Waiting on our fellow notoriously late collaborators, waiting on getting things tracked right in the studio, waiting to load in, waiting on sound check.  There are a million things that we have to hurry up and wait for before we even get to the business side of things.  This is of course not the waiting I am talking about though.
The biggest mistake I have seen in the past year (although admittedly it is certainly not unique to 2010) is that people wait on outside help to starting their businesses.  Anyone who has tried to raise money can tell you that it is easier to raise money when you have momentum with a project then when you only have a blueprint and some high hopes.  This is in no way saying that I think people do everything themselves.  DIY in my opinion is a condition of last resort but a condition that almost all of us are stuck with at some point or another.
Keep this in mind – when you are someone looking for outside help from someone like a potential manager or an agent you have to remember that you are asking someone for their time.  Given that time = money – you are in fact asking someone to invest in you and your company.  When you are preparing to approach someone for help of this kind ask yourself “What would make me invest in an artist’s career?”  When I ask myself this question I almost always come up with wanting to see that my time and money would be going into a business is already showing signs of life.  I would want to see that in spite of or in addition to what my eyes and ears tell me that real consumers are responding to this musician’s material.  Generally speaking those artists who have a spark and have a fledgling business are people who didn’t wait on outside help to get those businesses going.
I will let you in on a little insider secret – since the un-bundling of the album EVERYONE is making this shit up as they go along.  There is no hard science to the initial stages of breaking new artists – it is a series of best guesses.  Since no one is ever going to care about your career more than you do (at least I hope not) you may as well give it a try for yourself.  Even if you fail you will no more about the job and be better qualified to find the right person who compliments your strengths and weaknesses.
There will, of course, be times when you are forced to wait for circumstances to change.  It happens to all of us no matter what business we are in but I urge you to find ways of making these periods productive.  No matter what major event in your career is looming large – get out and play, meet people and record as much as possible and remember – there is never going to be a perfect time to start that next phase of your career.  Something will always be in your way if you let it.

-Rick Goetz

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