"The 360 Deal" is not actually about contracts that seek to involve a label in everything an artist does in order to expand the label's revenue streams. Instead it's a collection growing to include "360 words of wisdom by 360 musicians and music professionals" with a minimum price of $3.60. More importantly it's full of useful advice and insights from many different perspectives that should be of value to any musician or music industry worker seeking to build a life in music.
In some respects "The 360 Deal" is incredibly badly named. Editor Andrew Dubber of New Music Strategies is growing the collection to include more participants, with future updates to be delivered to those who buy it now, but articles vary in length and the association with a potentially draconian legal document is a poor marketing device for such a valuable collection.
The participants cover an exceptionally broad range, even some writer/publishers are included, and they address expected topics from the importance of learning the business and of putting on a great show every night to the unexpected including why you need custom earplugs to whether or not you should go to college.
"The 360 Deal" is a rich assortment though it's not designed to make editor Andrew Dubber rich. Instead it will benefit Music Basti, a "youth-led charitable organisation that organises music workshops in special homes for street children." For example, they put out "Monkey on the Roof," an album of music by children made for children.
It's a good reason to purchase "The 360 Deal" but so is getting a chance to read this excellent collection.
Connecting With People Is Part Of The Business
MJ Hibbett (pp. 23-4)
"Go out and talk to the prospective audience. If you set yourself up as an Actual Human Being then they’re much more likely to give you a chance, rather than just standing at the bar and talking...By going out and acting like a normal person you’ll end up making friends with a whole swathe of delightful people all over the country, many of whom will become proper pals for life."
Steve Lawson (p. 28)
"Ask 100 musicians what ‘success’ means and you’ll get 100 different answers. Some nuanced and smart, some pointlessly nostalgic and impossible. But your journey is yours, and you need to start by asking the best questions you can."
"Find other people - musicians, thinkers, academics, ‘industry people’ - who care about art, who care about you, who care about the journey - and use them to get better at asking questions. That’s the only journey that matters."
Dave Seaman (p. 32)
"Don’t surround yourself with sycophants but with good honest people instead. If you choose the team around you correctly, then you’re halfway there already. Listen to their criticisms and suggestions. Of course, it’s entirely your prerogative to dismiss them but don’t do so out of hand. Sometimes the truth is hard to take but honesty is the best policy."
John Kieffer (p. 37)
"Look after your fan base and your audience. Talk to them online and meet them face to face. Don’t be shy. Tell them (lots) about what you’re doing. Ask them what they think about what you’re doing. A lot of people love talking about music. Take time to find out what they’re saying about you..."
"Resist the temptation (however busy you are or however successful you become) to delegate all the contact with your fan base to someone else - particularly a marketing department or a PR company. They have a job to do but so do you. If you...get a deal - insist on keeping a direct channel open to your audience. You may need them later."
Syd Schwartz (pp. 52-3)
"You will do your best to appreciate your fans at difficult times. Even after an 11 hour van ride where the whole band had food poisoning and the gig that night sucked. You won’t always say the right thing or have the time for them that you or they would like. This will suck, but you are only human, and shit happens."
"Just remember that the small moment with you is a huge moment for them. Trying to make it a good one often costs little and means a lot. Some of these interactions may be cool. Some of these interactions may be a little creepy. And some may be life altering in profound ways–for them, for you, or both."
Louis Barabbas (p. 64)
"Aspiring and emerging artists need to be aware that they share a common goal with legions of hopefuls, all hurling themselves at the same venues, media spots, labels and audiences. The common mistake is thinking all these people are in competition. They are not. This isn’t gladiator school. Your peers are your potential co-conspirators. No artist can exist in a vacuum; inspiration simply does not survive in such an environment."
"Listen to what others are creating. Get to know them. Help one another, recommend one another and share contacts. Collaborate! If you get a break, share that progress and take someone with you. And don’t stop at performers. Promoters emerge the same way artists do. So do labels and magazines and radio shows and websites."
"Too many artists pitch themselves to the establishment, to the existing success stories, hoping for a short cut. That kind of ambition is as transparent as it is boring and often the best you can hope for is becoming a chapter in someone else’s story."
"Find the people who have recently started out. These people are trying to build something they are passionate about and they need help just like you do."
Ed Waring (p. 99)
"As human beings we are storytelling animals. We continually share stories about the experiences we have and the people we meet. What stories do you want people to tell about you? What do you want your legend to be? You were rude? You were late? You were unrehearsed? Be self-aware. Try to see yourself as other people do. Craft your legend through how you act and what you do."
Peter McLennan (p. 104)
"So, all those people you met on the way up? You’ll meet them again on the way back down. Be nice to them, they’ll be nice to you. You might need it."
"That young kid the promoter sent to meet you at the airport in that faraway town? Next time you come to that town, he’s now running the venue, and he remembers you as that guy/girl who was nice to them. He won’t remember your music, maybe your band name, but he remembers you were nice. That counts for something."
Jez Collins (p. 134)
"More than anything, music is a communal act. While it may be made sometimes by individuals, it really comes alive when we create, share and experience music together. Even the individual musician makes music with the intention of other people hearing it, somehow, somewhere."
"Music brings people together to create shared experiences, in live events for example, it provides us with identity and meaning, it speaks to, and for, communities and it can help articulate our feelings, of hope, sorrow, happiness or anger."
Stephen Hutton (p. 148)
"Effective musicking is built around making contacts, strengthening and maintaining those contacts in sincere and organic ways. Try to be the face of what you are trying to do, get out and tell people what you are doing and sell what you’re trying to do. If you get a good response you might be onto a winner, if people don’t care, what you’re doing might not be interesting enough. Ask yourself the difficult questions, ‘why should people care about what I’m doing?’"
In addition to nuts and bolts advice and psychological insights, The 360 Deal also includes some unique and surprising voices. Perhaps when the collection expands I'll be able to return and focus on those.
Buy The 360 Deal.
- 10 Truths From 10 Established Artists On Making It In Music
- Music Pros Offer Their "Most Important Piece Of Advice" For Young Bands
- 10 Tips For Emerging Indie Musicians: Planning For Survival & Success
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at All World Dance: Videos and maintains Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.