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  MUSIC INDUSTRY SERIES
Interview with Rick Goetz Part One


Ivan David

ivan david

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For all our readers interested in the music business, here's a new series of interviews where industry players will give us their insights on the current music environment and give words of advice to aspiring musicians and music business enthusiasts.

This particular interview is with Rick Goetz, who provides strategic music business advice and marketing services for artists and corporations based on his experience at record labels like EMI, Electra and Atlantic among others. You can visit him at http://rickgoetz.com/ and http://musiciancoaching.com.

Here's part one of the interview where we discussed how the climate of the music industry has changed in the digital age, particularly for aspiring and emerging artists. We also talked about how musicians can be more diligent about taking responsibility for the many aspects of managing their careers.

Article continues below...

   


How has the music industry changed, especially for new acts coming to the market?

  "This is a very stock answer and one you probably realize yourself: Technology has made recording much cheaper, and it has made digital distribution completely inexpensive. There were only six major labels that you could go to previously, and there was a certain curating process that those labels went through and invested in. And that was really the only way to have a career of any kind.

"What you find now is that people are able to put their music out for next to nothing, so a lot of people are doing just that and flooding the market. Therefore, the discovery process for your average consumer has become a real chore. We're so inundated with music that it becomes hard to stand out – to the point where the words "Oh, hey I'm in a band" make people cringe.

"15-20 years ago and even before that, if you had a record out, that really meant something. It meant you had found an investor (most likely a record label), passed through a taste-making process, gone on tour, etc. There used to be all these prerequisites you had to satisfy before you could put out music. Now, for relatively little money people can just press up a demo or a full album and put it out to the world.

"Of course, the ease of putting out music has made being a developing act easier in some ways: You have a better shot at making a living. On the other hand, it makes what people classically thought of as success much more difficult. At one time, Michael Jackson was the ultimate pop star in great part because there were three major television stations and he was on two of them at any given time. I'm not saying someone won't come around who is that talented but the media is no longer set up in a way that you can possibly dominate all the airwaves. There are just too many different avenues. You have a million different television channels and complete awareness of any time an artist comes into your town, so it's not like you missed it because you weren't paying attention; there are email alerts, YouTube, social media and everything's on demand.

"On the other hand, it's become possible for many more people to make a living. And we're being constantly sold this idea that success looks a certain way. In my opinion, being a successful musician means making a living at playing music. I think people have it in their heads that it's supposed to look a certain way, and you're supposed to get a record deal, because they watch VH1 behind the music. I wrote an article about this phenomenon called 'Everything You Need To Forget About The Industry'. It's about why a lot of people fail because they have a very dated and unrealistic viewpoint of what success is. Today, it's easier to make a living, it's harder to become an icon, and the challenges you face are much different. Building a viable business has become the artist's and sometimes management's responsibility.

"Record companies aren't what they used to be, and many artists do not have a record label's budget or resources at their disposal. Therefore, it becomes harder for all of us to make money in the traditional way. Music supervisors and music placement provide one gateway (albeit a difficult one), but really the best avenue that artists have today are touring and merchandise. And if these artists become more widely known, what brings in the most revenue is endorsements. But the bread and butter of your average band or solo performer is going to be touring and merch, because a lot of people are just not the type of bands that get their music placed in commercials. And touring is not the same as it used to be either. It used to be just something else to do along with getting local press to write a story about you, but now both those things are much more challenging."

Now that musicians must be in charge of the different aspects of their career, how can they demonstrate greater entrepreneurship and take responsibility for their success?

"I can speak a little bit about entrepreneurship in general. The most important thing artists can do, of course, is take responsibility, which a lot of them don't. I hear the words "I just want to be the artist" all the time, and that just doesn't fly in today's climate.

"If, as the owner of a marketing services business, I sat there and said, "Well, I just want to market my existing clients. I don't want to chase new clients, and I don't want to prepare my documents with my bookkeeper to do my taxes," my business would fail. The same rules apply to those running the business of being musicians. Being an artist no different from running any other type of business, and people forget that.

"Part of the reason people forget that being a musician is a real business is because music is so sexy. There are stories of people who spend their entire lives in banking who want to sleep with supermodels or something, so they invest in musicians to get closer to rock n' roll. You might laugh, but there is always some guy out there who has done nothing but chase money his whole life, hits forty or fifty and thinks, "Maybe if I'm in the music business I'll get a younger girlfriend or the respect of my peers or I will finally be cool.

"I think the first thing that musicians should do that many of them don't is take an honest self-assessment. I also think everyone should start as a one-person company. There are a lot of people that run out and say, "I need a manager. I need an agent. I need a...” What people don't understand is, when you're starting from zero with one album, there's no business; there's nothing to manage and no reason for a nationwide tour. It seems that most artists think, "Well, I recorded an album. I have spent all this money, and now I'm going to be big." People don't realize that there is a lot involved between making an album and establishing a real career.

"The people who I've seen that are successful as both musicians and entrepreneurs are people who start off keeping their overheads very low. They don't spend major label budgets (or the budgets major labels used to have) on recording. They really invest. They say, "You know what? I'm going to make sure I continue doing this over a long period of time."

"I've often watched artists spend $30,000 on their first album and max out all their credit cards. They go deep into debt, because they believe that they will be big, and will be able to recoup what they spent. I'm not saying this isn't possible but the odds of recouping a $30,000 expenditure on a first album (especially without a touring base) are about the same as getting hit by lightning. I believe all musicians should start out trying to run everything themselves. I think it is best to start a career thinking, "I'm going to be the person that books my shows and handle all of the business aspects of my career so I at least know what this job is that I will eventually hire someone to do." This might mean you have to learn how to do some of these things on the fly and by trial and error.

"The more artists take on and the more honest they are with themselves about what their strengths and weaknesses are, the more valuable lessons they can learn from the process. I think people should look at their first album as series of learning experiences and not much else. If I were an artist just starting out, I might say, "You know what? I'm going to buy some basic recording equipment, because I am really interested in developing a set of skills. I'm going to try to record some demos and to book my own shows." And after I do these things to the best of my ability, I might realize I am failing miserably at certain aspects.

"I can actually point to my own marketing business as an example, because I have run it a lot like a musician's business. I found myself trying to do my own taxes and really messed them up. I had to say, "I don't have the money, but I have to find it so I can hire a bookkeeper and an accountant," because I just couldn't do it myself. And I noticed that I kept putting off sending out my newsletter. I started out saying, "I'm going to put it out twelve times a year." And six months would go by without me sending one out. I realized I was never going to be able to do it myself, so I had to hire someone else.

"I realize that not everybody has the funds or the flexibility to do exactly what I did. But musicians have to realize that somehow they have to find people to complement them. And sometimes this can be very simple and affordable. As an example, I mentioned earlier that there is a lot of sex appeal attached to the music industry. And there are music business students all over who just need a reason to speak to people in the music industry, or what I call 'conversation currency'. They want to develop their skills as music business executives, so they pick up their projects just to meet people and get school credit. And if you are an artist, they would often be happy to help you out as part of their own development process. There are a lot people that you can find if you're diligent who will support your efforts simply because they want to better their career. I tell people who want to work in the business side of the industry, whether they want to do A&R, be a publisher or work in some other capacity that they need to find the best band they can, manage them and try to get them opportunities.

"Going back to the topic of entrepreneurship, what musicians often don't realize is that it is much easier to get an existing company additional funding than it is to run around with a blueprint of a business and say, "This is going to be great". You can have the best idea in the world and still not get funded unless you prove your concept to a potential investor. That's just common sense. If you look at guys who invest in companies – venture capitalists or bankers – they're going to go down to the balance sheets and say, "Okay, this company is making this much money and spending this much money to do so". Nothing predicts future success like existing success. For years, record companies would hear of an indie artist being spun on radio, call retail and say, "There's an independent artist spinning in Los Angeles, and we were wondering if anybody was requesting their album". Everyone wants to be a part of project that seems to be gathering momentum on its own.

"Today the process of getting attention in the music industry is more complicated than it once was, but it still comes down to the same thing: As an artist, you have to use the biggest bullet point on your resume, work on that and then make it grow into the next big bullet point. So, you might have a friend of a friend that is a producer and willing to do a track on your album for a small amount of money. You're not necessarily paying because you think the song is going to be so much better than the rest of the songs on the album; you're paying because it makes it possible for you to attach to a name brand: "I worked with X producer". Then, when you go to take another meeting with an executive and that person asks, "Why should I care?" you can say, "Because I have been working with this well-known producer."

So, musicians need to become multi-skilled. Is only focusing on the music ever a good idea in today's environment?

"The music always has to come first because without great music everything else will fail but I've been seeing people spending a lot of time marketing inferior products. It is as if the thought process was, "I'm going to skimp on the artistic side so I can rush this out." The artist will have only played five shows and suddenly feel a real need for a release as if there were legions of fans waiting for a new product. I don't recommend that.

"But once you have the music together (and the live show) then yes, you've got to give the business side a shot. It sounds so obvious but I get so many people coming to me as if the only way to make any headway in the business is with professional guidance.

"It is as if the concept of trial and error never occurred to them. I'm not suggesting that musicians have to do everything themselves forever, but I do recommend that they try everything so they at least know their strengths and weaknesses.

"This includes playing shows at a variety of venues, promoting their own shows, doing their own work on social media, working in the studio with different people etc. You have to act as if there is no help coming, because if you sit around waiting for help, you will likely be waiting for a very long time.

"I know this is a bit of a tangent to your question but there is no shortcut for hard work. You can find a million people out there who will point to an overnight success story. But then you will look at the story more closely and see that it was not actually an overnight success. So, if somebody wrote songs for ten years and then one hit, that person did not just suddenly get lucky.

"I think people like to believe it is possible to miraculously get 'discovered' without putting in the work. There's a popular cultural myth that tells aspiring artists, "You can be very lucky, and somebody is going to take you from obscurity to superstardom." It tells them that success can happen without hard work. This mentality comes up again and again, and I battle against it daily because of what I do for a living. But even someone like Justin Bieber may have been lucky at the beginning, but then he put a lot of hard work behind it after the fact to stay at that level."

You're saying you cannot avoid hard work and have to pay your dues?   "Most artists do, yes. There are some musicians who don't have to do as much as others. But when people hear that one success story that looks like it happened due to pure luck, they want to believe that it can happen to them, too. And maybe it can, but just think about the Boy Scout motto: "Luck favours the well prepared."

"If you want to be lucky in the industry, you still need go out and make sure you are working hard and being seen. It's the same thing if you want to be struck by lightning: Make sure you build a big metal wand and wave it around on a rainy day."

Stay tuned for part two...


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9.9.13




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abgott ABGOTT PLAY ONLY UK SHOW OF 2014 IN DECEMBER
The Black Metal heroes will play the Boston Music Rooms on December 5th...

fear factory FEAR FACTORY CANCEL EUROPEAN TOUR
Fear Factory will be concentrating on finishing their new studio album and will return in the Summer of 2015...

download KISS AND MUSE ANNOUNCED AS DOWNLOAD 2015 HEADLINERS
British rock trio Muse will headline the Saturday night of next year's event, which runs between June 12th and 14th...

magnum MAGNUM RELEASE NEW SINGLE 'ON CHRISTMAS DAY' ON DECEMBER 1ST
The poignant song is based on a true life incident in the WW1 trenches...

sonata arctica SONATA ARCTICA DANCE ACROSS NORTH AMERICA IN HILARIOUS NEW VIDEO FOR GENESIS COVER 'I CAN'T DANCE'
"The experience ranged from no one even paid too much attention to us to people looking a little scared..."

manowar MANOWAR ANNOUNCE GERMAN DATES FOR 2016 WORLD TOUR
The German dates are just the first of many live appearances, with plenty more to be announced. "And for 2016, we will have more surprises and an even bigger production..."

ensiferum ENSIFERUM ANNOUNCE ALBUM TITLE AND RELEASE DATE FOR 2015
"Kippo kicked our asses to make us do the very best, and you can hear that in this album. It's a killer album with killer sound. I'm very proud to a part of this masterpiece..."

hellfest BREAKING NEWS: HELLFEST ANNOUNCE MOTORHEAD, SCORPIONS, ALESTORM, SLASH, ZZ TOP, VENOM AND MANY, MANY MORE FOR 2015
Hellfest have announced a stellar line-up for the 2015 edition of the festival which will take place at on June 19th to 21st 2015...

download BREAKING NEWS: JUDAS PRIEST, SLIPKNOT AND MORE ANNOUNCED FOR DOWNLOAD 2015
Slipknot will play the main stage at Donington on Friday June 12th, following Judas Priest...

chris appleton CHRIS APPLETON ANNOUNCES ACOUSTIC ALBUM & TOUR
In the downtime between Absolva projects, Chris Appleton applies his skills to solo album 'Restless'...

out and loud NAPALM RECORDS ANNOUNCE LABEL NIGHT AT OUT & LOUD FESTIVAL 2015
The German festival gets off to a quality start with the warm up night on July 3rd featuring a fine cross-section of the label repertoire...

jeff loomis ARCH ENEMY WELCOME JEFF LOOMIS AS NEW GUITARIST
The ex-Nevermore guitarist will debut for Arch Enemy on the European tour starting November 26th as Nick Cordle's replacement...

wildfire WILDFIRE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2014 CHRISTMAS SHOWCASE
The two day showcase promises to give Glasgow a Rock and Metal party to remember...

periphery PERIPHERY ANNOUNCE DUAL ALBUMS FOR 2015
There will also be plenty of touring in next year, including a stint on the road with Devin Townsend Project...

anathema ANATHEMA ANNOUNCE 'RESONANCE' SHOW AT SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE IN APRIL 2015
This special show will be a celebration of the entire history of Anathema music...

cradle of filth CRADLE OF FILTH SIGN WORLDWIDE DEAL WITH NUCLEAR BLAST
"For the full frontal assault we have planned for the awesome new album, Nuclear Blast are the perfect war stallion to carry us screaming into the heart of the next chapter of COF's dark, enigmatic history..."

yardbirds THE YARDBIRDS RETURN TO LONDON WITH SPECIAL GUESTS SOME VELVET MORNING
The Yardbirds will play Bush Hall on November 21st, fifty years after the release of the seminal 'Five Live Yardbirds'...

marilyn manson NEW MARILYN MANSON ALBUM 'THE PALE EMPEROR' COMING JANUARY 19th
The album is available for pre-orders now...

udo UDO, ONE OF GERMAN CLASSIC ROCK'S GREATEST, ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM
'Decadent' is mastered and due for release in January 2015...

fozzy FOZZY LAUNCH VIDEO CLIP FOR 'DO YOU WANNA START A WAR'
"Fog, slow motion camera shots, and chicks in military uniforms. Touchdown!..."

phil rudd 'PROCURE TO KILL' CHARGE AGAINST AC/DC DRUMMER PHIL RUDD DROPPED BUT OTHER CHARGES REMAIN
Rudd is on bail and is scheduled to reappear in court on November 27th and still faces one charge of threatening to kill...

blind guardian BLIND GUARDIAN TO RELEASE 'BEYOND THE RED MIRROR' IN FEBRUARY 2015
"A story between science fiction and fantasy. While there used to be several passages between the worlds, there is only one gate left now: The Red Mirror. It has to be found at any cost..."

arch enemy ARCH ENEMY LAUNCH LIVE VIDEO FOR 'AS THE PAGES BURN'
Arch Enemy are about to start a major European tour with Kreator, including seven UK dates in December...

paradise lost PARADISE LOST BEGIN RECORDING NEW ALBUM
"We have written a very dark yet melodic album but this time many songs definitely have a Death Metal edge..."

rainbow RAINBOW RELEASE 'THE POLYDOR YEARS' - 8 CLASSIC ALBUMS IN 1 AMAZING VINYL BOX SET
All the classics are here - relive the very best of the era in the box set released on November 24th...

nothing more NOTHING MORE TO SUPPORT THE PRETTY RECKLESS
The passion and relentless sonic experimentation of the live show comes to the UK this November...

phil rudd AC/DC DRUMMER PHIL RUDD ON NEW ZEALAND MURDER PLOT AND DRUGS CHARGE
Michael Browning, AC/DC's former manager told Daily Mail Australia it was a "bit of a shock, but there you go"....

hrh 9 HRH 9 ON TRACK FOR A XMAS SELL OUT
Due to huge demand the last batch of rooms are on sale for November 2015's spectacular event...

engel ENGEL RELEASE ALBUM TEASER FOR 'RAVEN KINGS'
The eagerly awaited release from the Swedish Death Metallers is nearly upon us...

blackberry smoke BLACKBERRY SMOKE UNVEIL NEW ALBUM 'HOLDING ALL THE ROSES' PRODUCED BY BRENDAN O'BRIEN
The album will land in February 2015. "The plan for this record is to go out and play as much as we can, and just take it to the people..."

broken chords BROKEN CHORDS TO HEADLINE SECOND STAGE AT HARD ROCK HELL
The band have been grabbing attention thanks to the Bernie Tormé tour, and look to build on that with their appearance at HRH...

linkin park LINKIN PARK ANNOUNCE 2015 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR WITH RISE AGAINST AND OF MICE AND MEN
'The Hunting Party' goes on the road for nineteen dates in January and February...

skarlett gus tour THE SKYS HEAD UP ANOTHER BATCH OF PROGTASTIC BANDS FOR HRH PROG 3
Another five quaity bands will join headliner Rick Wakeman in next year's prog extravaganza...

ramblin man fair BREAKING NEWS: SCORPIONS, GREGG ALLMAN, CAMEL AND MARILLION ANNOUNCED FOR RAMBLIN' MAN FAIR 2015
The Rock Collective and TeamRock are proud to announce a brand new UK festival...

skarlett gus tour MACHINE HEAD REVEAL SECOND TRAILER FOR THEIR FORTHCOMING ALBUM, 'BLOODSTONE & DIAMONDS'
The album will be released on November 10, 2014 on a variety of formats. "It's been a heck of a ride, but man, this album is a milestone for us..."

skarlett gus tour SKARLETT RIOT CONFIRMED FOR GUS G UK TOUR
Skarlett Riot will open for the four UK dates of the 2015 headlining European tour...

wayne static WAYNE STATIC DIES AT 48
The founder of industrial Metal band Static-X died on November 1st...

emigrate VIDEO FOR NEW SINGLE, 'EAT YOU ALIVE', UNVEILED BY RAMMSTEIN GUITARIST RICHARD KRUSPE'S EMIGRATE
The second Emigrate album 'Silent So Long' is set for release via Spinefarm Records on November 24th...

slash GUITAR LEGEND SLASH AND THE UK'S BEST LIVE BAND BIFFY CLYRO SET TO ROCK GLASGOW AHEAD OF THE 2014 MTV EMA
The rock show will kick off the MTV EMA weekend at The O2 Academy on 7 November...

devil you know DEVIL YOU KNOW PULL OUT OF UK AND EUROPEAN MACHINE HEAD TOUR
"The business side of this industry is very ugly at times and this is one of those unforeseen instances where the band has to suffer..."

cavelera conspiracy CAVALERA CONSPIRACY RELEASE OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO FOR TRACK 'BABYLONIAN PANDEMONIUM'
The video's imagery conveys the raw emotions of Brazil's impoverished people percolating just beneath the surface of the country's natural beauty...

rock goddess ROCK GODDESS CONFIRMED FOR HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR 2015
Rock Goddess join Masterplan, Blitzkrieg, Iron Angel and many others at HOA...

monument MONUMENT RELEASE NEW LYRIC VIDEO
The video for 'Renegades' features artwork by the band's exclusive illustrator Stan W Decker...

dog house WEST LONDON'S NEW ROCK BAR OPENS
The Dog House has opened in Acton, the first new rock bar for many years in the W post code area...

western sand WESTERN SAND ANNOUNCE NEW EP RELEASE, 'CUT YOU DOWN TO SIZE'
The band's second EP is released on Monday 17th November through Believe Digital...

lawnmower deth LAWNMOWER DETH ANNOUNCE CHRISTMAS SHOW
Join Lawnmower Deth at The Underworld on 13th December with Evil Scarecrow, Savage Messiah and Bull Riff Stampede...

giants of rock BLACK STAR RIDERS ADDED TO GIANTS OF ROCK FESTIVAL
The first opportunity to see the band live in the UK in 2015 will be at Giants Of Rock, in a line-up which includes Slade, Magnum and many more...

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