Music Industry Advice
Expert guidance that I just made up.
As a seasoned music industry vet, I am rarely asked for tips on how to succeed in this complicated and constantly evolving business. That's why I've decided to offer my expert advice to admirers of mine who are just getting started in their careers. Here we go!
"Hi Nick, huge fan. I'm curious, what would you say is the best way to get people to discover my music?"
--Sally from Walla Walla, WA.
Hi Sally! Did you know that my music is on iTunes/Spotify and the like? Check it out and tell your friends. You can also buy my CDs at any show and at my website.
"Wow, can't believe I'm getting to ask you a question...huge fan. Anyway, what's more important, getting people to like your music or getting "likes" on Facebook?"
--Sam from Tulsa, OK
Ok, look. When I agreed to answer these questions, I was fully aware that the occasional idiot might slip a question in now and then. But this is a truly moronic question. Obviously, getting "likes" on Facebook is WAY more important than getting people to like your music. I am close personal friends with hundreds of artists who've received huge cash advances from major record labels the moment they hit 1,000 "likes" on Facebook. It's a fact. Look it up.
"In your hit song "Long Reign", you mention the Canadian beer "Labatt Blue". Was this a creative decision on your part or are you a complete sellout who has turned to product placement to make a few extra bucks?"
--Richard from Albion, NY
First of all, great question, DICK. Second of all, I wouldn't call $250.00 (USD) "a few extra bucks."
"Hi Mr. Young, thrilled to be asking you a question on here. Wow. I know this is a little personal but are you friends with any other famous musicians?"
--Jake from San Francisco, CA
Thanks for the question, Jake. However, due to the fact that this forum is dedicated solely to "music industry" questions, I'm going to have to pass on this one. For the record though, bragging to people that you're friends with Bono and Scott Stapp (which I am) is super flakey.
"Any advice for a struggling musician who is trying to make a name for themselves in this cutthroat business?"
--Joan from Asheville, NC
Thanks a lot for the kind words, I work really hard and it's nice to know that I am appreciated. I would say that the most tried and true way to make a name for yourself in this business is by securing random opening slots for national acts when they come through your town. It works best when you're the first act on a 10 band bill and your set starts at 10AM on a side stage. Sure, no one will see you play but (and here's the kicker) YOU CAN PUT IT IN YOUR BIO THAT YOU OPENED FOR (INSERT FAMOUS ARTIST)! Venues all over the country will be champing at the bit to book you once they see that you've "shared the stage" with Sugar Ray, Edgar Winter, Pure Prarie League and Modern English. Trust me.
"I can't seem to get people to my shows, how do I boost my draw?"
--Billy from Portland, OR
Another stupid question. This is something I thought everyone knew by now but I'll tell you anyway. Ever heard of FACEBOOK EVENTS?? Not only do people feel super special when you invite them to your event, but they are also able to confirm whether or not they will come to your show. When a fan clicks on the button indicating that they are attending, this forms a legally binding agreement between the fan and the performer. If the fan doesn't show up for some reason (which almost never happens), they must pay a civil penalty of $5,000 within ten business days. Another bonus to Facebook Events is that you can invite all of your friends to every show you have, even if said friend lives thousands of miles away and is unlikely to attend. But of course, a lot of times, they do!!
"I know this is a little deep, but when it's all said and done, what do you want to be remembered for?"
--Sarah in Plano, TX
GREAT question. Of course, it means a lot to me when a song I wrote affects someone on a deeply personal level. That's what drew me to music and songwriting in the first place. I can't count how many times a song has helped me through hard times and I really don't know what I'd do without it to tell you the truth. Sure, the money, the fame, the adoration and the moving to the front of lines at amusement parks are all wonderful, but making someone's day a little brighter or maybe helping two people fall in love with my timeless music is what it's really all about. With that said, when it's all said and done, I want to be remembered for how many Twitter followers I had.