Here is a thought.....

Okay, so let me take a moment to just rant.
The Arts is something that may be beneficial or evil, soothing or painful.  Which way do you want to take it?  Me?  Well, it is nothing but pleasure that eases my soul.  I mean, think about music and how it is truly a universal language.  It doesn't  matter the language it is sung it cause if you can comprehend the lyrics you can definitely feel the music.  Well, at least with the good music.
Yeah I said it, good music!  We all know that everything that is put on the radio is not the real nitty gritty good.  When I say good I mean that you will be humming the music years after it is taken off the radio and off the shelves.  That the song or album left a marker in your life.  The song, that every time you here it will, send your mind and body to the exact spot you were in when you heard it for the first time.  I know you know exactly what I am talking about.  This is not just in one genre either.  It is just music in general.   Oh, and just so you know I am still here on planet earth I know that my comments are not true for everyone, but I have yet to meet that one person who can say that music has not moved them.  

So here is a thought for you.  What do you think is happening to the music industry? Are we (the general fan base) too focused on the lives and latest gossip of the artist's life and less on the music they put out?  If so how does that effect the world on a daily basis?  I would say that too many songs encourage the make the money motto.
Yes I said it! Their tends to be to many artist that is focused more on making the money and less on creating art.  Oh no!!! I may be in trouble now!  We will see!  What do you have to say about that?


What do you think?

      I am so excited that I have complete my masters in Entertainment Business, but now what!  There are so many different options out there of things to do in music.  Should I pursue my own career or focus on others? What is the best way to choose?  Who knows!  Until the dust settles and things become more apparent I  will continue to write a long as you are willing to read and discuss.  

The music industry has many opportunities (maybe too many) to take advantage of.  Since I am more focused on the Christian/Gospel music I know that I may have a lot of digging to do since this genre, although up and coming in the main categories, is still working to be recognized.   However, I will be discussing many aspects of music.  This would also include music education.  In fact education is another topic that could just go on and on forever  (kind of like this blog)!  

Let me tell you, it is amazing to be able to sit back and see so many changes in the industry happening.  It seems like it is all happening at one time also!  If you just took the time to listen to the music that is played on the radio (granted the radio station is a versatile one) to the different types of songs that are being played you would understand where I was coming from.  Well to keep from getting to detail at this moment I will just challenge you to, when you have a moment to yourself, to sit still, listen and then tell me what you hear.  Compare it to some of the songs from your younger years and tell me how it has change for you.  
So what are you waiting for go... listen.... compare!

Music is a part of life!


Trends in Christian/Gospel Music

In today’s society it is not uncommon to hear a Christian/Gospel artist singing with a hip-hop, R&B, or Country artist.  This effort to blend more with the modern sound is becoming more of the trend and more of an exception.  It doesn’t stop there though.   It has always been said that the word needs to reach everyone in every form possible.  Should it stop with Christian/Gospel artist blending in with the more common genres like rock?  Mar Mary for example not have not only sung with rap artist but now they are partnering with different companies like Pillsbury to advertise a new product that is being introduce to the market.  Is it safe for Mary Mary to associate them selves in such manner?  Will it put a splinter in their career to sing the jingle for the new product?  I would think not.  This is a trend that is catching and resourceful.   This would more than likely increase the number of listeners as well as the number of shoppers who may purchase the product.     “On Monday morning, August 28th at Chicago's Union Station, the duo joined brand ambassador the Pillsbury Doughboy for the thrilling kick-off event, during which morning commuters received a complimentary taste of the new Pillsbury Grands! Biscuit Sandwiches.”


They are not the only ones starting something new though.  A crew call H4P is starting a new trend of gospel music in the theatres. “Even though the group is very young, it has taken up a social responsibility to save lives through the distribution of mosquito treated nets throughout the country.”  H4P follows in the same idea that Tyler Perry has created.  One of the differences is that H4P was created to encourage, inspire, and motivate Ghanaians.  There artistic abilities have caught on to the general public and now they are able to work nationally, spreading their message through voice and theater. 

The music industry has always had a trend of artist that is able to adventure out of the form of music.  The trend that is different over all for Christian/Gospel artist is the multitude of recognition they seem to receiving more of.  This does not come in only one form.  The recognition is in music, theater and now food.  Who knows what will be added to the Christian/Gospel trends.  I will definitely be keeping my eyes open.


Investment for you and the community

When looking for funding one should be aware of he amount as well as the purpose for the financing.  It is also useful to be aware of the different types of funding that may be available and in what form you are seeking the funding.  It is not required to seek funding just from a bank or form individuals who are looking to invest.  Depending on ones needs one may also look to community financial institutions.

Coalition of Community Development Financial Institutions is one of many examples.  This institution not only offers funding towards small business owners, they seek to do so in lower income communities. Financial opportunities vary from financing a small business to providing capitol to rebuild communities.  There financing is focused towards fair financial options for underserved people and communities.  This would be useful for those who are currently considered to be in the lower income status and are seeking to start or continue a small business.  Microenterprise Development Loan Fund is one form of funding in which they seek to encourage social and business development.  After 11 years of service, they have continued to grow not only in the funding but in memberships as well.  This allows the company to continue to be a positive resource for those who are seeking funding for a small business.

If one is looking for something that may be more a specific support, there are also options of financing.   Oweesta is another financing opportunity that looks to provide financing and assistance to Native communities. Like Microenterprise, Oweesta has a variety of funding for the Native community, fostering their growth and the rebuilding.   Their Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Development is created to assist with the change in the economic movement allowing private businesses, and homeownership to prosper.   This allows entrepreneurs to receive funding it also creates more opportunities of employment for the community. 

Both financial institutions are geared towards the betterment of the community. They offer opportunity for the small business entrepreneurs, support for education and support for creating new or more employment opportunities.  If one is seeking a financial supporter that is looking to invest in your community as well as your business the two mention companies would be good options to look at if you qualify for them. 


The Inspiration

When creating a business plan there are many specifics that need to be address. Specifics such as Management plan, financial control, Technology plan or principal location.  These are just a few of the many components that are required to created a thorough and well thought out business plan.  There are classes and seminars on the best ways to do this, but how many of this resources give you the simply advice to be professional and your-self.  

I understand this to mean, to make your plans according to what fits to you, yet make them factual.  So many of us get caught up in the process that we loose ourselves or forget the main reason we started.  This in the end causes many of us to create something that, when it is all said and done, are not happy with.  For those who are successful in receive necessary funding and follow through with the plan anyway end up failing a few miles down the road.  Do you think there is a large chance this is due to the fact they followed through with someone else dreams, hopes and idea.

 After researching Jay-Z and Russell Simmons, I was able to see the entire process in a new light.  Through there techniques and styles I realized that knowing the business, and having the education is not enough to run or create your own business.   It is important that you keep your main goals in mind during the entire process and while the business continues to grow.  To many times companies, after reaching a numerous amount of goals or after being in business for so long, tend to get, well, comfortable where they are and feel no need to continue to grow.
Jay-Z and Russell have yet to settle in their seats.  Once their companies have reach a certain plateau they are able to move on to bigger and better things.  They were able to start something new or partner with someone that would make a change or difference.  Mr. Summons now has a corporation with many establishments under its name.  These companies are set up not only to make money but also to help make a change.  Looking at the purpose of most of his business it is obvious he works to create a pathway for those who are having harder times than the average moneymaker.

While being honest with myself I have made changes to my plan that reflect more of what I find realistic to what I am capable of when starting my business.  Some changes include the property where the company will be established, the numbers of employees that will work for me to the type of music I plan to focus on.  Of course changes to any business plan can be made in the future, however these changes better focus on the start of the company, as well as the immediate future.

These two experts were an inspiration to me, in that they prove creativity is something that is not lost, but instead redirected as you grow in your abilities to keep the business wheel moving.  I have learned that having knowledge of the business is not enough.  Running a business requires me to know the business, as well as myself.  Being aware of my week points, strong points and my limits is very important in that it can help or hurt my success.  These factors combined with the personality can make a long lasting impression on an investor.  Therefore it is important that in the process of creating my business plan, to remember to stay true to what my goals are, research the market well, establish the uniqueness of my plan in a way that portrays who I am, and the excitement of the possibilities of the future.   


Expert View on Business Plans

There are many people who come to mind when thinking of business planners.   Knowing I write about music, I will focus more on those in the Entertainment industry.  For example, Shawn Carter, also known as Jay-Z, would be a wonderful example of a business planner.  Starting at a very early age he began to think outside of the box and make a name for himself.  At an early age he learned to become self sufficient as well as how to hustle to survive.  He dove into the world of rap music and learned quickly in his endeavors that he did not want to follow the usual path to success.


He worked with a few artists and participated with a group called Original Flavor for a short while.  He soon realized that he did not want to follow the same route as his associates but instead he, along with his friends Damon Dash and Kareem Burke decided to start his own record label call Roc-a-Fella Records.  Once the distribution was established he was later able to release his debut album.  This was in 1996, today Roc-a-Fella has become an empire and includes more business such as Roc-a-Fella Films and Rockawear.  Today Jay-Z has partnered with Live Nation to create ROC Nation.  Live Nation is spread across 33 countries and is know to be one of the top producers of live concerts and their partnership with Jay-z has proven to be nothing but successful.   He later went on to become the president of Def Jam which was started by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin. He did not stop there though.  He went on to become part owner of the New Jersey Nets.  

 Through all of this some of the basic things that he believes that makes you successful is being true to who you are.  He believes that the businesses that he partners with he does because they are a part of him and who he is.  Starting a business because it is something you like and want to do is a key factor as well as being able to see ahead.

Russell Simmons has generally the same thought in mind.  He believes you should be true to yourself and know what you want and stick with it.  As mentioned earlier Russell Simmons is part founder of Def Jams, he is also one who has been a large influence in the music, fashion, poetry and comedic world of the industry.  Russell Simmons, like Jay-Z, born in NewYork.  However unlike Jay-Z he was raised in a home with parents who had stable careers. 


As mentioned earlier Russell Simmons is part founder of Def Jams, he is also one who has been a large influence in the music, fashion, poetry and comedic world of the industry.  He started in the music industry with the Def Jam label and later became more of a businessman through his Corporation Rush Communications which encompasses a management company, a clothing line, a production company a magazine, Financial services and much more.  Today, even though he is still known for the music he produced, he is now well known as a media and fashion mogul.  He speaks on his success and he believes the key factor is believing in yourself and your ideas.  

This key factor helps when you are alone it what you want to do but continue to try and work it on your own.  Others around see how hard you are working to make it happen and they may want to participate.  Not being in a rush to make it is also something that you would have to keep in mind.  Success is something that may take time.   Apparently these key factors have worked for him since he is still up and running and continuously adding more business to his corporation.  He is currently working on producing another reality show about his office.  

Even with the negative publicity reality TV has been receiving he has found a way to turn it positive.  He believes through the shows he has produces it has given some form of positive influence to those who watch.  Whether it is show like Run house or his new show about his office that focus on the Career of the woman that work for him.   He has learned to take the things he has interest in and roll it into a package that he can show and sell to the consumer.




Let's recognize them

Have you ever wondered why gospel music does not get the same hype that R&B, Hip Hop or Dance music receives?  For many years people have pondered if the religious aspect of this music is its kiss of death.   I wonder what would happen if people just looked at it as an R&B, Hip Hop or dance song with a religious connotation? It would seem that they would receive more attention because it is music with a positive statement...like a "The climb" by Miley Cyrus or "I'm a survivor" by Destiny's child.  Shouldn’t they receive more attention or just as much attention as those of the same style.  Is it because their positivity comes from God?  Shouldn’t they receive more attention or just as much attention as those of the same style?

For example Mary Mary made a name for themselves with the cross over song "Shackles" and ten years later they have gone on to win 3 Grammies, 2 American Music, an NAACP, and a BET award.  With every album they produce they are able to entertain different styles of music yet are mainly recognized for gospel.  Moreover, Mary Mary has gone on to explore more ventures to reach more people.  In doing this they have been able to include other artist such as David Banner.

Now knowing this, think about how often you here about them or any gospel artist who is in the main stream.  It would seem the media receive more from promoting artist with less of a positive message.
There has also been gospel artist who have crossed over and has received both positive and negative media.  Such artist as Kirk Franklin and Tye Tribbett are two good examples of this.
You would think that through their negative media is would show the world those gospel artists are still human.  This would normally help to the Urban, Hip Hop or R&B artist gain more recognition and yet nothing changes for gospel music.

Tye Tribbetts music has crossed over in more than one genre.  His latest album Fresh has styles that range from R&B to Hip Hop.  With songs like "Good in the Hood", you would think his album would be a shoe in for more recognition in the secular world.  This is not true.
Gospel music seems to be the only genre that is categorized by the lyric content instead of sound.  This is not a bad thing, but it may be one of the reasons many are not able to give gospel artist who have crossed over the attention that is earned.  This of course may not be a concern for the religious artist as they are working for God and not the media.

So why is it hard for us to recognize them in other genres?  While we ponder though let's recognize them just a little more.  This is something that will forever be pondered in all of our minds.


Behind the scenes


When most people think of fame they think, lots of money, big houses, unique cars, large wardrobe, and unlimited access to all forms of jewelry.  This has become more of the thought process for many people as time goes on and more stars are flaunting their success.  What many people do not take into consideration though, is the sweat, blood, and tears that many artist put into their work to earn those things.  As the common saying goes the grass is always greener on the other side.  If we were to take a moment a listen to what many artists are saying, you may here warnings and truth about the inside work of the entertainment industry.  You may also here encouragement to stay strong in who you are and what you believe in.  These types of interviews are not posted or aired as much as those that tell the drama and horror of many of their lives.  Why is that?  If we were to stop focusing on drama in their personal lives and more on the positive effects that their art has on us what would happen? 
This video was put together as an example of some of the things that is put out in the media but not enough for most of the population to catch.


What is it about the negative news that makes the industry seem to thrive even more?  Why is there so much pier pressure on artist to be, act, and live a certain way?  There was once a time when being an artist meant you had some form of freedom to express your art.  Whether it is through music, photography, sports, modeling etc.  Now it seems that art expression and the entertainment industry are becoming two separate entities. 

There are a few, who you will not or rarely here of in the tabloids.  How did they escape the masquerade of drama?  Entertainers such as Denzel Washington, Tom hanks, Julia Roberts, or Will Smith are heard of in advertisements not tabloids. So why is their story different?  Could it be they are part of the few who held strong to their beliefs and morals and did not allow the drama that swarms the entertainment industry to damage or destroy their lives or careers? 

Well in Will Smiths case, he seems to take it and spit it back in the tabloids face by being a open with his life and letting them know that there are no lies for them to scrape up and spread across the tabloids.  This doesn’t always work for everyone though.  It would seem that each artist should in the beginning figure out what it is they want and stick with that and not let anyone tell them different.  That is what seems to work for those who are successful and are not negatively affected by the industry.  This of course is always easier said than done.


Music and the Internet

As the Internet use grows the music industry is becoming more aware of their lack of control of music sharing and the decrease in CD sales.  Consumers are bypassing the store for a more convenient ways to purchase and share music.  One of the main issues that companies have to deal with is piracy. Piracy will continue to be a problem because the industry is becoming more digital.   Is it possible to control the sharing of music files or create software that tracks the sharing of music in order to continue to receive the profits? What does this mean for the industry?  How can the Labels gain control over the Internet to ensure artists are receiving the full profit that is due to them?  These are just a few questions that the industry are asking, and trying to figure out since the Internet has become the main source for everything.  This will be an ongoing issue since these are issues are not ones that can be solved overnight.
According to the article like Business Week the industry is expected to loose 4% until 2013.  They discuss the facts of how the digital market is effecting the music industry and how the industry is slow establishing ways to working better with the digital world in order to secure the full profit for the artist.
Artist such as Pharell discusses the changes that should have been when the Internet was still new and how this may have avoided a lot of the issues they have today.  

In many minds it would seem that the industry is slow to fully grasp the digital world because of the control they loose or the profits they may loose.  Pharell also points out that many may not be as rushed to make certain changes because they have the money that others are working so hard to get.  
While others see the industry fighting against something that is going to happen whether they want it to or not.  By fighting the digital movement it is causing more damage not only to the artist, but also to the companies themselves.  I don't believe there will ever be a full proof way to collect all profits in the digital world but by not finding some form, program, or method to receive profits on the ones that can be tracked subscribed, or logged, it will cause more artist to do more on their own.  

Making the most of it

In today's society the Internet is becoming the way of business for everything.  This is something that can be grabbed by the horns or fought against it every step of the way.  For an artist, it is becoming more of an advantage to go with the flow.  Artist are able to not only connect on a more personal level with their fans, but they are also able to advertise, promote, and distribute more through the Internet than any other form.  For example, Justin Beiber started out with YouTube and Twitter, by sending simply messages of where he was and what he was doing and sharing home videos of his self performing in different places.  He took the industry by surprise with his resourcefulness as well as his charm and voice.  He was able to establish a large fan base before he was a "well-known" artist.  Of course his determination and persistence in achieving his goals has a lot to do with it, but his and his mothers ability to use proper resources on the Internet is what helped to bring it all together.

Sites such as Myspace were one of the first with the ability to advertise and promote oneself, but YouTube has become one of the largest methods to search and find new and up coming artist.  Justin's mother could see his potential and love for music and began sharing that with friends family and the world through YouTube.  Little did she know he would receive so much attention.  With managers and labels searching YouTube on a daily basis it is not surprising that this young artist was soon discovered.  It was not long before he was able to communicate his wants and goals to Labels and artist such as Usher and Justin Timberlake.  Once his career officially took off, it did not stop him from communicating with his fans in the same fashion.  His humble and kind personality only help to gain more respect and fans.  Even those who could careless for his music or him in general still know who he is or at least have heard his name and sometimes that is all it takes.
Now of course he is not the only artist found from YouTube, but he is a great example of how the Internet can be something positive for artist and labels, if it is used to their advantage.  
Another amazing factor is that it is not just for vocal artist and musicians.  The full spectrum of entertainment can use and has used Youtube and other sites like it to put their product out their for all to see.  Whether it is a dancer like Chang Chang or seminars about entertainment, one has a whole world of opportunities to explore.   

Knowing what the people want and giving it to them along with easy access to the artist are both plus factors in helping the artist grow in their career. Many may see YouTube as a free for all website that causes loss of profits for the artist, however it can also be a free tool for the artist to be seen and further promote themselves for years to come.


Looking out for your business

Rock Star Slash sells Guitar Hero III to the first fans in line at the launch party for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock presented by Best Buy with a special performance by Poison and hosted by Brooke Burke with DJ sets by Joel Madden of Good Charlotte  held at Best Buy in West Los Angeles, California.From Copyright infringement to fair use their seems to always be something that you should be prepared for.   When starting a business it may seem like a simply task to sign initial contracts for copyrights, permission and/or distributions, but their are so many tedious factors that you have to consider.  It is always wise to seek legal and business planning advisement when starting any business.  I just believe that it is especially necessary in the entertainment business.  Not just for your company but also for the clients that you will sign.  Cases such as the Axl Rose v Activision for fraudulent contracts, in which Axl is suing for mis representation of the information that was given to him.  He was led to believe that a past band member would not be a part of the Guitar Hero III.  He was suing for 20 million dollars.  This issues could be two example for you depending on which point of you you would take after reading the facts.  1. Be aware of who you are hiring because they could be feeding lies to your clients that could cost you money in the future. 2.  Be sure your contract is thorough and comprehensive by clients so that they are able to understand what they are signing.
Case are not just based on the facts or common sense issues.  A company should be prepared for anything that can be construed or misunderstood.  The best way to be prepared for that is to have all papers current and expert legal assistance.  If not your company will be waisting money more on cases, which may not even be worth a dime, and less on building the business.  Other issues such as fair use of music may come into play many times before the year is over.

For example, Threshold Media is suing Universal and Relativity Media for statutory damages for using a song in a documentary that may not be a documentary.  The documentary film Catfish used a song from youtube that was created by Amy Kuney  Their is confusion as to whether the seen that the song is being used in is scene that may not be part of the documentary.  This promotes the debate of whether the song is fair use.  These types of law suites could be avoided if the song was research and if the documentary was better written to have such issues discovered and resolved initially.  Again, another example of how some of the simplest mistakes can be costly.


Trial and tribulations of copyrights

There are many cases in which companies or people are being sued and questions about copyrights infringements.  Whether it is for a cause, a business or within the music industry, there seems to be much issue with name and/or use infringements.  Who is the original owner or who has the exclusive rights? Many of these issues would be null and void had all taken the proper steps to ensure their product were registered as well as proper steps to ensure name, product or material was not claimed.  

Arbaaz Khan and Abhinar are said to be in controversy of the ownership of the Bollywood movie DaBang.  With DaBang 2 in the works Arbaaz is questioned as too who is to be credited for the second movie and whether Abhinar is the creator of the first film.  Arbaaz establishes the true writer to be Dilip Shukla, while at the same establishing Abhinar was given credit due for his contributions to the writing of the first movie DaBang.

With the constant technology improvements it is no wonder the industry is in constant battle for copyrights.  File sharing to cancelations of local performances Copyright laws seem to be a persistent issue in the industry. 

As members of singing duo Xuriyanggang, Wang Xu and Liu Gang became popular through the use of Wang Feng song In the Spring.  Once it was clear that Xuriyanggang were making way in the industry Wang Feng forbade them any further use of the song.  The permission was initially given to help open the way on their path, but it became increasingly clear that those privileges were being taken advantage of.  There are many in China that feel Wang Feng is being selfish but in the end it is his right and quite considerate of him to allow them that use and not sue for the money they began to make from the use of his music.   Xuriyanggang was making up to 7,500 a show and part of that success is believed to be from the use of Feng’s material.  In the end, this is one story that ends with a positive that the new artist apologizes to the writer and actually apologizes for the over use of his material.  Also stating their understanding of such decision.  Yet and still Yeng may have lost some followers because of this event.

Will there ever be a moment that all the ducks will be lined in a row when it comes to copyright infringements.  Well only time will tell, but events and issues such as the Napstar or better yet Limewire, does not give much hope. 
Still today Mark Gorton is dealing with lawsuits over copyright infringement of recordings.  Lime Wire, founded by Mark, is considered to have the highest rate of damages in the recording industry. On October 26, 2010, they were ordered to stop distribution of downloads. Today Limewire is still on hold.  This is a primary example of how technology can ruin the industry if the music industry can not find a way to incorporate these benefits. While it is not fair to the artist to loose out on so much of the profit, it is also hurting them to continue to fight something that is becoming more and more inevitable.  So again I ask how long will it take before the industry creates different ways and update laws better  handles such issues? 


The Artist Ego

There are times when confidence is a plus and moments when it is down right rude.  Where is the middle for the ego?  In order to make in the entertainment industry is is a requirement to have some confidence.  Without confidence it would be hard to make it in a industry that uses the word No more than a baby cries. This does not mean the artist is to think they are the end all, and be all of their craft, rather it is for them to understand and believe in their capabilities all the while being open to constructive criticism.  It is in the criticism that one can continue to grow in their art.  So when do you know you have to much confidence? Well, take a look at your performance track. The more cocky you get the less work you may receive.  There are many people who like the cocky attitude and confidence but even their patience can run thin after while.  It is better to have confidence and be able to be humble at the same time.  There are many sites and books that offer different tips on gaining confidence.  Grab a book and read it.  Really read it and not skim through it.  Realize that the constant NO's can be the practice tool to help you toughen up a little and not to be too crushed with every rejection.  Take the no's and making them into yes's.  Their are many stars today who will be quick to tell you they receive many rejections before they got the golden yes.  While learning to except No and learning how to use them as building blocks, remember that your body, your voice, your image is part of your confidence package.  So you must keep it is in very good shape.  Eat right, exercise and eventually all aspects will come together at the right time.



Gospel/Christian music crossing over

In today’s society it is becoming more and more common for gospel and Christian artist to be heard in the main music stream of pop and R&B.  Knowing the simple facts the words Gospel and Christian hold, there used to be mixed feelings about this movement.  Artist such as Kirk Franklin or Abandon are often heard in the main stream and fit right in.  Does this change the meaning of the music?  I wouldn't think so.  It serves its purpose, which is to reach everyone so that all can hear the word of God.  This crossover provides listeners who are turned off by the religious genre, a way to enjoy their choice in style of music while being inspired and encouraged at the same time.  Religious music is suppose to help those who seek God and those who want and/or need that guidance and the additional positive factor in this is that others who have not taken the time to think about the Higher power will be able to enjoy and hear the word without it being forced down there throats.  This gives the manager of such artist much work to do.  The artist are now not only being promoted in the religious genres but now the manager has to work with through connections of the R&B, Pop, Heavy Metal, etc, to ensure their artist are getting optimal exposure and not being pushed to the side. 
  This may happen to many artists who do not have management that is knowledgeable in the industry or understands how to use their networks and connections to guarantee their success.  Another factor the manager has to take into consideration is the image.  With religious artist crossing over into the mainstream their image will be looked at through a magnifying glass.  Is this fair?  No not really but that is part of the life.  It is the same as the congregation that views their minister, pastor or preacher in the same way.  The fans already hold a high caliber for their mainstream artist, and so the religious artist not only is held to those standards, but a level even higher because of who they are representing through their music.  So managers are taking a look at the artist image in some of the same ways a fan does knowing that the personal life of an artist can hurt their career that much more.  Tye Tribbett and Kirk Franklin have experienced some of this. They both have been exposed for doing things that goes against what God stands for, and for how they portray themselves. Even so their management team has been able to use these factors as a positive to help their careers instead of allowing it to be ruin it. 


Learning the business


 I had the opportunity to speak with a talented trombonist who believes in hard work.  After finishing college in 2003 he later started his own business, Inner City All Stars.  Calvin Sexton has proven to be a man of passion when it comes to music.  They have had the opportunity to perform in places such as Japan, New York, and Florida.  The band is a mixture of brass and percussion instruments that play different styles of music.  They have performed in many different venues from the Apollo to ABC’s 33/40 Talk to Alabama.  Even though they may have a booking agent, Calvin still works as the manager for the group, and continues to search for different opportunities for the band.  

     I had the pleasure of talking with him a little about the business side of his activities.  He continues to look for different performing opportunities for the band in hopes to optimize their exposure.  According to Calvin, finding a manager is not as easy as many artists believe it to be.  An artist must optimize their exposure in order to be seen, so the artist ends up investing a lot of time and money at the start of their career.  The more positive exposure a group receives the better chance they will have of a manger or producer approaching them.  He believes in searching for the next opportunity and not just waiting for someone else to bring it to you.   With these thoughts in mind he is able to keep focus on the main goal when he deals with contracts and negotiations.  To better assist him he researches the companies that he may be working with in order to establish a better understanding of all that they can offer him as well as to assure they are able to fill their end of the agreement. 


  Through his research he has been able to find opportunities for the band to work with artist such as Eryka Badu, and Gladys Knight.    His tactics in negotiating are, to him simple and basic, yet they provide him with the skills needed to ensure the best deals for his business.  He believes in researching a venue before signing with them.  He takes the time to research the venues, possible attendance and pays attention to the budget.  When looking to signing a contract he has an initial offer sheet that he sends, which gives the basics information of what is expected, which in turn gives the venue time to look over the initial arrangement before contacting him to negotiate a contract.  Through some of the basic techniques and skills from experience he is able to negotiate contracts that not only provide the needed exposure but it also creates a positive working relationship for future opportunities.  He believes that when negotiating both parties should be able to gain something from the contract.  This is a mind set that I am sure has aided in much of his success.


New to the scene

Today’s businesses are faced with a lot of discussions, choices and risk from day one of creating and establishing their company. Knowing I myself, want to manage and promote I look for ways to help level if not delete most of the stresses of starting your own business. There are many articles papers, books and advice online to read but I find it more aspiring to talk with those who have experienced the process first hand. After speaking with a few people who have worked on their own they have the same thing to say. It is easier with a partner than going at it alone. Kevin Yule is one who has worked for the past 4 years to get his music promotions business going. Kevin is a proficient saxophonist who says that one of his biggest conflicts is holding a day job. Because of prior obligations that he is required to fill, it makes it difficult to focus 100% into the company. Because of this he has little time to promote his business and only a few artist. He invested 100% of his own money and he is still working to break even. For some this may not be bad if you have the money to do it and a day job that is enjoyed just as much as the company that is being invested in. These trials do not discourage him though. He encourages anyone who wants to do the same to find others with the same common goal and want to partner with.
I also had a chance to speak with Ally Quinn from Q2. Ally and her husband Jim have had the pleasure of working together to promote themselves for the past 4 years. For her it has been wonderful to have her husband to work with. She says, for her one of the biggest pushers for promoting themselves is advertising. They have found that most of their success comes from word of mouth. By keeping themselves busy with a multitude of gigs it brings in a steady flow of profit. Q2 also has day jobs but because it is in their chosen field so it is seems less of a hindrance for them. Regardless in which direction one decides to go it seems to be a common thought and goal to advertise and network as much a possible before your business opens and even more so once it is up and running. Your business will depend on the connections you make with other people in the industry. (Gilmore)

Gilmore James (2010) How to Start a Music Promotion Business | eHow.com 


keeping up with the Industry

The New Music Seminar (NMS) is a great tool that is beneficial to the artist, the entrepreneur and the fan. In a do it yourself society there are many things to learn about the music industry. New Music Seminar brings all aspects of the music industry under one roof for only a few days, so that one may get a chance to network, learn, or mentor. With participants such as Nile Rogers, David Goodman and Jamie Dominquez, there will be a wide variety of topics. The purpose of the seminar is for all, those with a love for music, to meet in one place to share new ideas, new trends, to be mentor or to mentor or to simply network with others in your field. It is a chance for those who have a strong passion to work in the music industry to bump elbows with great people who have established themselves in the industry.

There will be opportunities during break out sessions to sit in a relaxed environment and pick the speakers or host brain with questions. NMS is about meeting together with like minds to discuss the new movement in music, to be innovative and encouraged. NMS is a great place to send employees for refreshers or to stay abreast of current trends and topics in the industry. Being able to sit with many of the established professionals, whether it is the CEO artist or manager, of a company New Music Seminar should be a requirement for most if not all to attend in order to network, gather ideas of what could be done for better opportunities for their company or just to simply learn for them selves. There will be many topics discuss about the industry it self, for example, and how many artist are able to do so much on their own. Once given the chance to I too, plan to take advantage of such an opportunity to learn, and network as well as scout for clients. It is because of seminars such as this one that those who are working with a do it your-self attitude, are able to get ahead in the industry.


Gospel Music Assoiciation

“Gospel Music Association serves as the face and voice for the Christian/Gospel music community…” (GMA).  This association was founded 1964 and with over 4000 members it continues to assist many organizations, artist and individual professionals in creating a positive environment and good name for the Gospel community.  While looking for an organization to participate with, I found that this organization would also help to fulfill many of the goals for my company.  Through programs such as the Dove Awards, IMMERSE or GMA Music Week, members are able to join together for achievement awards, different seminars performances and networking. “ Dove Awards is a televised awards ceremony that recognizes achievements in all genres of Christian and Gospel music.”(GMA). The GMA Music Week is an event that meets yearly in April for educational seminars, networking and more.  Immerse is a talent competition and training for artists, songwriters, worship leasers and future music business professionals.  These are the type of tools that would be useful within my company.  Our goals to educate our employees as well as the clients would fit well with these opportunities.  This would only be the start.  There are other opportunities we would be able to take advantage of, such as the advertisements and the resources.
    As an organizational member my company could have an ePROFILE, a direct link to my companies website as well as use of the GMA”S logo in all corporate communications.  They have also added a new feature in which platinum members would have two weeks of banner advertisement in the GMA’s official newsletter.
GMA also offers a Weekly Industry Newsletter Access as well as a discount to Christian SoundScan subscription.  With these subscriptions the company will have access to current news in the industry through the GMAS newsletter, which is offered to the entire staff.  They have added a new resource is which we would also have access to the GMA’s staff.  This would include staff members from the board of directors, volunteers, and members.  This could be a daily access of networking. 

GMA also offers a Weekly Industry Newsletter Access as well as a discount to Christian SoundScan subscription.  With these subscriptions the company will have access to current news in the industry through the GMAS newsletter, which is offered to the entire staff.  They have added a new resource is which we would also have access to the GMA’s staff.  This would include staff members from the board of directors, volunteers, and members.  These opportunities would help to establish the family environment in which we nurture and encourage. 

Singing after a double lung transplant

In life many people are quick to give up and follow the advice of the experts that may tell them they cant, wont or ever be able to fulfill their dream. When you do this you give up on your dreams and in most cases on life.  Well Charity Tillemann is wonderful example of what can happen if we stop settling for what we are told and continue to work hard to succeed.
     Just at the start of Charity’s career to become a professional opera singer she was diagnosed with this disease called PH (pulmonary hypertension), and was initially told she would not ever sing again
This is inspiring to me because of perseverance and determination.  I have lost my mother, who was my number one supporter; to cancer and with the many ailments that I fight through now, it is hard to hold on to my dream to work in music.  I have long given up on the dream to perform vocally and instead strive to help others to achieve what I was afraid to do.  After seeing so many conquer so much through pain and strife it creates a bowl of inspiration for me to pull from.  She used her life experience with PH and the loss of her grandfather and father with months of each to stress how hard it was for her.  This better exemplified her story of her struggles to becoming an opera singer.  After facing death once and enduring a stressful surgery, in which she flat line twice, she awoke after months of recovery, and said nothing, just smiled.  Because of her passion and determination she inspired the doctors to search and find ways to help her continue on her path in singing. 
After listening to this story, I am encouraged to work harder and not settle for anything but the best.  I am able to see my life in a different light, because in all honest if one woman is able to endure so much and still smile and sing so beautifully then who am I to say it is not possible.  Who am I to just throw my hands in the air and say, “Oh well"?  I haven’t experienced half of what she has, so it makes it harder for me to make excuses to give up or just settle.