Not sure where the best places to invest your music marketing budget? In this video we explain where the best places would be to invest your money to promote your music as an emerging artist. Listen to more of our podcast: https://open.spotify.com/show/2myDi0W…
How Do I Know When It’s Time To Replace My Furnace?
Your furnace is the heart of your HVAC system. So, it’s important to make sure it is always running its best. Especially in an area like Edmonton, Alberta where temperatures can drop to extreme measures. Having your system fail, particularly in the winter, can not only be dangerous to your health but can cause further problems such as frozen pipes. At Legacy Heating and Cooling, it’s not about selling you the newest model but making sure you have the most efficient and safe system in your household.
Just like Murphy’s law states, “Things will go wrong in any given situation if you give them a chance.” Don’t give your furnace a chance to fail you. Make sure to set up annual maintenance visits with Legacy Heating and Cooling today. That way, you can anticipate future problems, repairs or replacements and be financially prepared for the worst.
The age of your furnace. Furnaces die out at an average of 18-20 years. If your furnace is nearing or exceeding the age of 15 years, then it’s definitely time to start looking into replacing your furnace. Statistically, the efficiency of furnaces 15 years and older has dropped below 80%. This means they break down more often, require more energy and simply will not perform in a way that suits the needs of your household. A good rule of thumb is, no matter the age of the furnace if the cost to repair is 50% of the cost of a new furnace, you should replace it.
Constant repair bills. After a while, the integrity of the mechanisms that run your furnace will deteriorate due to wear and tear over the years. They will break down more often than not, costing you more than it would cost to replace the furnace itself in the long run. If you don’t have a maintenance plan with your HVAC technician, this deterioration will happen more quickly, which could cause you to have to replace your furnace sooner.
Higher energy bills. Because of this natural deterioration, your unit will have to work harder to try and meet the needs of your household. This causes an uprise in energy needs, costing you more monthly.
Uneven heat distribution. When your furnace is rundown, it may not have the power to evenly distribute heat through your home properly anymore. This can cause a number of complications in your home.
Yellow flames. Your natural gas furnace should have a crisp and clear blue flame. This flame signifies a healthy and clean system with no leaks or safety issues. You can check the flame by checking through the furnace’s cover vent. If you happen to see a yellow flame, it’s within your best interest to contact a professional. A yellow flame may indicate a number of issues. It could be something as simple as the heat exchanger or burner needs cleaning or something as dangerous as a leak of carbon monoxide or other natural gas leaks.
15 video marketing statistics every business owner and content creator needs to know! ****** **** Ready to grow your YouTube channel faster in 2019? I just released a brand new 1-hour YouTube Masterclass and you can watch it free here ➡️ http://TubeInfluence.com 📒 Show Notes and Resources 📒 1. (Free Online YouTube Masterclass) Ready to grow your YouTube channel faster in 2019? I just released a brand new 1-hour YouTube Masterclass and you can watch it free here ➡️ http://TubeInfluence.com 2. (Think Media’s Online Video Conference) To learn more about Grow with Video LIVE in Las Vegas visit ➡️http://growwithvideolive.com 3. 📕 Get a copy of YouTube Secrets and $100 of exclusive free bonuses here: http://www.tubesecretsbook.com/ FACEBOOK PAGE — I do weekly Facebook Live Streams on this page. http://fb.com/seanthinks QUESTION — Have a question about Online Video, Video Production, Tech, Marketing, or Anything Else? Post in comments section of this video! Subscribe to THiNK Media TV Here: https://www.youtube.com/THiNKmediaTV Sean Cannell on Social Media: http://seancannell.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/seancannell/ https://twitter.com/seancannell https://instagram.com/seancannell https://www.facebook.com/seanthinks ———Cameras and Gear Used To Shoot This Video ——- Curious what camera we use? Here is a list of our current gear for Think Media: https://kit.com/SeanCannell/4k-think-… DISCLAIMER: This video and description contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. About: In this video Sean Cannell from Think Media shares 15 online video statistics you need to know in 2019. These YouTube video marketing tips where shared a Grow with Video LIVE in Las Vegas. To learn more visit: http://growwithvideolive.com
Today you’re going to learn how to rank your videos number one in YouTube in fact the YouTube SEO tips are about to share with you have helped me rank for hundreds of different keywords and thanks to these nine strategies I even ranked in the top three for the keyword video SEO now I should warn you I’m not gonna give you generic advice like use video tags you already know that stuff instead you’re gonna see little-known SEO tips that are working right now i’m brian dean the founder of backlinko and let’s dive right in when i launched my youtube channel a few years ago i felt great and to get ready i watched dozens of videos from so-called youtube SEO experts so i was super excited when my channel finally went live I thought to myself self it’s only a matter of time before your videos rank in YouTube and get lots of views there was only one problem it never happened in fact despite working really hard on my videos my views barely budged and one day I decided to stop following the advice from so called YouTube experts so I slapped on my lab coat and set out to figure this whole YouTube SEO thing out myself let’s do this and trust me I tested everything I tested different
combinations of keywords video lengths introductions tags and more it took months of almost non-stop testing for me to figure things out but in the end I developed a formula for ranking videos that actually worked in this formula quickly grew my rankings views subscribers in traffic and now it’s time for me to show you the nine most powerful strategies that I used so without further ado let’s kick things off with strategy number one front-load your keyword everyone and their mom knows you should use your target keyword in your video title but what you might not know is that YouTube puts more weight on words that appear in the beginning of your title for example let’s say you want to rank your video for cold brew coffee most people would use a title like this now that title isn’t horrible or anything but you can easily make that title even more SEO friendly by front-loading your keyword a title with a front-loader keyword would look something like this in fact this little tip works so well that it tend to front-load keywords and almost all of my titles and with that it’s time for our second strategy boost video engagement signals last year I conducted the largest YouTube ranking factor study ever specifically we analyzed million YouTube search results to figure out what makes certain videos rank higher than others so what are we fine we found that videos with lots of engagement signals outrank videos that didn’t get a lot of engagement so what our engagement signals exactly engagement signals are things like shares likes comments and subscribes basically whenever someone engages with your video it tells YouTube people are loving this video and our data found that comments correlated with rankings more than any other engagement signal the question is how can you get more people to comment on your videos from lots of
testing I’ve found that putting a hyper specific call to action at the end of your video works best you see most youtubers use a generic call-to-action like leave a comment or let me know what you think but I’ve found that hyper specific call to actions work much better so instead of a generic leave a comment give your viewer something specific to comment on for example at the end of this video I asked my viewers which of the two strategies from the video they’re gonna try first and because I make commenting insanely easy that video has racked up hundreds of comments our third strategy is to use the tab formula for video tags here’s the deal with video tags on YouTube according to a ranking factor study tags are as important as they used to be that said tags still make a difference so it’s worthwhile to spend some time in them unfortunately most people on YouTube used tags completely wrong remember your video tags are designed to help YouTube understand the content of your video which means you don’t need a lot of tags to get the job done in fact if you use lots of tags you’re just gonna confuse YouTube and Google and they’ll have no idea what your video is actually about for example take a look at this video it has a whopping 17 tags imagine for a second that your YouTube what these tags tell you well they tell you that the video is about 17 different topics and if YouTube doesn’t understand what your video is about they’re not gonna rank it for anything that’s why I recommend using a small number of highly specific tags I call my approach the tab formula the tab stands for target alternative and broad here’s exactly how it works first make sure that your first tag is your target keyword just like with your title YouTube puts more weight on tags that appear early on especially your first tag so if your keyword is green smoothie recipes you’d make your first tag green smoothie recipes simple next create two to three tags that are
alternative versions of your main keyword for example you’d use variations of green smoothie recipes like green smoothie recipes for breakfast and easy green smoothie recipes you can easily find these variations by popping a target keyword into the YouTube search field and seeing what YouTube suggests these suggestions make perfect alternative versions of your main keyword to use as tags finally include one or two broad terms as your last set of tags these tags should describe your videos overall topic or industry the goal of these broad tags is just to give YouTube more context about your video for example broad keywords for green smoothie recipes would be things like nutrition and smoothies next up we have CTR magnet thumbnails you probably already know that click-through rate is an important YouTube ranking factor in other words if your video gets an above average amount of clicks in the search results YouTube’s going to give you a rankings bump the question is how can you get more clicks use CTR magnet thumbnails so what are CTR magnet thumbnails they’re thumbnails that are strategically designed to get more clicks from YouTube searchers here’s the step by step process first use non youtube colors in your thumbnail what do I mean by non youtube colors well the main colors on youtubes website are white red and black so if you use those same colors in your thumbnail you’re gonna blend in instead I recommend using colors that contrast with YouTube’s color scheme like green blue purple gray and orange for example I use green blue and gray in most of my thumbnails and these colors help Myra’s I’ll stand out from the others which brings me more clicks next use big bold text in your thumbnail my experiments have taught me that thumbnails with text get more clicks and thumbnails without any text
that said your thumbnail is pretty small so you don’t have a lot of room to work with that’s why I recommend using 30 characters of text max for example the thumbnail of my video that ranks number one for e-commerce SEO has a grand total of 23 characters our fifth youtube SEO tip is to write mini blog posts for your video descriptions when I first started my youtube channel I put 0 thought into my video descriptions this video is awesome and description done and it turns out this was a huge mistake from lots of testing I’ve found that long descriptions help videos rank better in YouTube because longer descriptions help YouTube better understand what your video is all about that’s why I recommend making your descriptions between 100 and 200 words for example check out this video of mine that’s done really well the description for this video is a hundred and forty-two words and that long description has helped that video make its way to the top of YouTube for competitive keywords like SEO you might be wondering what do I actually write in my description well you want to outline the content of your video without giving away the farm for example here’s a description for my ecommerce SEO video as you can see I describe the content of the video but I don’t get into the meaty details that way even if someone reads a description they still need to watch the video to see the actual content let’s jump right into our next strategy boost video length when it comes to video SEO what
works better long videos or short videos well when we analyzed million YouTube videos we discovered that longer videos tended to outrank short videos in fact our data showed that the average video on the first page of YouTube is 14 minutes 50 seconds long what’s going on here well a few years ago YouTube said we focus on those videos that increase the amount of time that the viewer will spend watching videos on YouTube in other words YouTube loves videos that keep but watching for long periods of time for example check out this video from my channel it’s almost 14 minutes long because that video is on the longer side it racks up lots of watch time automatically and that simply wouldn’t be possible if my video was only 2 minutes bottom line whenever it makes sense make your videos between 8 and 15 minutes long in my experience that’s the sweet spot for ranking in YouTube search results moving right along to our next strategy strategy number seven which is to use brackets and parentheses in your video title like I mentioned earlier YouTube uses click the rate as a ranking factor and yes your thumbnail is a big part of the equation but don’t forget about your title it’s huge in fact YouTube themselves state that well-written titles can be the difference between someone watching and sharing your video or scrolling right past it and one of the easiest ways to increase your click-through rate is to add brackets or parentheses to your video title in fact a study commissioned by HubSpot discovered that
simply adding brackets and parentheses to titles boosts the click-through rate by up to 38% for example let’s say you just published a video that outlined 10 video marketing tips and your original title look like this well according to hub spots research by changing your title to this you can increase your clicks by more than a third actually parentheses works so well that I tend to use them in almost all of my video titles and here are some examples of things that you can include in brackets or parentheses that work really well and now it’s time for strategy number 8 ranked and suggested video here’s the deal youtube SEO is more than just ranking in the search results in fact you can get just as many views if not more by getting your video to appear as a suggestive video suggestive video is when your video shows up next to another video in the sidebar so if you can get your video to show up next to a really popular video you’ll steal some of their views and the best way to show up as to suggest a video use the same tags that video uses when YouTube sees that some of your tags match the tags from a popular video they’ll understand that your video is about the same topic which means they’ll likely rank your video as a suggestive video for example let’s say you wanted to rank as a suggestive video next to this video first check out the tags that video uses to see if videos tags you need to look at the source code of the page to do this with Google Chrome just right-click on the page and click view page source then look at the keywords section of the page the keywords that appear here are the tags for that video you can also use a tool like to buddy or vidiq you which will show you a videos tags without needing to look through the source code next use a few of the tags that video uses on your video and make sure to copy the tags exactly word for word if your video is high-quality and closely related to the popular video YouTube will start to rank you as a
suggestive video with that let’s dive into our last strategy turn donkeys into unicorns the fact is this whether you’re a small Channel or have a million subscribers we all have videos that do better than others why is that well there are a lot of reasons behind this but from analyzing millions of videos I found the videos that do well tend to have one thing in common lots of watch time we talked about watch time a little bit before it’s the total amount of time that people spend watching your video and I’ve recently discovered a great way to increase my watch time turning donkeys into unicorns here’s how it works first log into your YouTube analytics and click on audience retention this report shows you how much of a video people watch and where they tend to drop off then search for a video you’ve published on your channel that’s done really well finally keep an eye out for audience retention peaks peaks are sections of your video that have above-average audience retention then just watch that section of your video to figure out what kept people watching that part did you put a graphic on screen say something funny or maybe you did something simple like change the camera angle take note of that then apply what you learned to future videos for example here’s an audience retention report from a video I
published a while back see that peak right there in that section of the video I outlined a real-life example of how someone increased their Google rankings so I made sure to use real-life examples in the beginning of all of my future videos and it helped those videos go from potential donkeys to amazing unicorns okay so I know I said I’d show you nine video SEO strategies but I recently came across a cool little hack that’s working really well for me and I wanted to share it with you and that hack is include the current year in your video title YouTube users want to see content that’s current and relevant I know thanks Captain Obvious but here’s the thing how do you actually demonstrate that your content is useful today include the current year in your video title when you include the current year in your video title your result instantly stands out in the search results and in the suggested video sidebar which means you’ll get more clicks and views Plus as a bonus lots of people search for keyword plus year in Google and YouTube so when you add the year to your video title and
description you’ll rank higher for these keyword plus year keywords for example if your title look like this just add the current year and you instantly have a title that’s gonna get you a higher click-through rate so did you learn something new from today’s video and make sure to subscribe to my youtube channel right now just click on the subscribe button below this video also if you want exclusive SEO strategies that I only share with subscribers head over Rebecca link accom and sign up for the newsletter it’s free now I want to turn it over to you which of the youtube SEO tips from this video are you gonna use first are you gonna try front-loading your keywords or maybe you’re ready to turn donkeys into unicorns either way let me know by leaving a comment below right now I’m rollin yeah I really don’t want to say that do you hear that okay yeah it’s possible because when I you know I didn’t mean what button goggles
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We don’t have a photographer. We have a team of photographers. And we aren’t talking highly skilled cellphone photogs, we are talking the real deal. Our highly trained photography team takes their passion to the next level when it comes to getting your good side and making your business pop.
Hiring your first employees can be tricky because you really don’t want to mess up when you business is just in the process of growing. One thing that I preach on a consistent basis is that the goal should not be to take a long time to find the right employee and then hire them, but instead, hire a lot of different people and then fire anyone that is not working like you need them to quickly. It’s much better to hire fast and fire fast than it is to hire slow and fire slow… Absolutely humbled to have my good friend Adam Braun be on this episode of the #AskGaryVee show. If you don’t know, Adam is an entrepreneur, New York Times best selling author, and philanthropist. Adam created Pencils of Promise, a non-profit educational organization, as well as MissionU. If you want to go follow Adam on social media, you can find him here: Twitter – https://twitter.com/adambraun Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/itsadambraun If you guys want to check out the full episode of this #AskGaryVee show, you can find it here: https://youtu.be/SZfoc7tw1u0 — ► Check out my main YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/c/garyvee ► Find #AskGaryVee here: https://www.facebook.com/askgaryvee — Gary Vaynerchuk is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of VaynerMedia, a full-service digital agency servicing Fortune 500 clients across the company’s 5 locations. Gary is also a prolific public speaker, venture capitalist, 4-time New York Times Bestselling Author, and has been named to both Crain’s and Fortune’s 40 Under 40 lists. Gary is the host of the #AskGaryVee Show, a business and marketing focused Q&A video show and podcast, as well as DailyVee, a docu-series highlighting what it’s like to be a CEO, investor, speaker, and public figure in today’s digital age. Make sure to stay tuned for Gary’s latest project Planet of the Apps, Apple’s very first video series, where Gary is a judge alongside Will.I.Am, Jessica Alba, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Hey there, everybody, Daniel from Grow Your Music Studio.com. In this video I want to talk to you about how to allocate money for marketing in your studio. Now there’s such a thing as “good spend” and “bad spend”, we’ll call it that. There are expenses that are worth making and there are expenses that are not worth making. And I want to go through that. Now, here’s what’s prompting the story today. I was at a gathering of friends yesterday. There was quite a few people there. There was almost two dozen people at this gathering.
I was talking to this young guy and he’s kind of an acquaintance. And he has just started a business. And he’s talking about some expenses that he has coming up. But I began to ask about them and he had been proposed by a marketing company, a huge branding campaign and writing and all these things. And as I listened, I was kind of horrified because he’s this young guy, he’s just started his business, he doesn’t have a lot of customers yet. And what I heard was things that I heard early on when I was first starting out.
So whether you are a brand new studio owner or you’ve been in business for 20 years, whether you’re a small studio or large studio, what I want to talk about today. .. It’s so fresh in my mind. I just had to throw this camera up so I could do this video. But no matter how experienced you are or how long you’ve been in business, when I’m about ready to talk about is hugely important and even reminded me and kind of got me thinking about where I’m allocating marketing dollars to and where I am spending money.
So here’s the deal. I want to tell you three decisions that I had that are an example of a bad way to spend marketing dollars, okay? So number one: I had my website redesigned a number of years ago and I went to an SEO company. And this company that was specializing in SEO – if you don’t mind, it isn’t really that important. It is kind of a new attraction technique, okay? This company pitched this huge deal to me where they were going to, you know, make my piano studio website so visible. Everyone’s going to see this. And I asked them how I knew that would happen.
And what they said to me was that, “Well, you know, this is the technique we specialize in and if we do all of these things, it’s going to make your website be the most visible if someone types in the word “piano lessons” in your area.” And I asked him what the ongoing costs of it would be and exactly how many visitors I could expect. Now here’s the thing, they could tell me exactly how much it was going to cost, but they could not tell me what the outcome would be. They couldn’t tell me how to measure whether the strategy was working or not, other than general platitudes. Okay, so that’s the first one. The second one: Another time I went to a designer and asked them to help me rebrand my studio. And this designer did all this work. He was even going to bring in other people to work on the job. And once again I asked him, “How many sales is this going to contribute? How am I going to know if this is working or not?” And he said, “Well, you know, branding is just the thing you have to do. People have to know who you are.
People have to know you’re out there. You’ve got to make a good impression when they see your site. You’ve got to look professional. This is how you’re going to make sales.” I say, “Yeah, but how will I be able to measure it?” He couldn’t tell me. Okay, you might see where this is going. Third: Many years ago, before I really got my digital advertising working for me, I actually contacted Google. Google themselves built me a Google Ads account. And they set me up with an ad specialist, and this ad specialist built my account for me for free. And we got to the end of it and we were going over the settings. He was explaining some things in the settings and I knew just enough to know that some of the settings there were going to really cost me a lot of money, but they weren’t going to have a big return. And I don’t think the guy was trying to scam me. I don’t think Google was out to do the worst for me. I think that the advice is probably true for most businesses. What he was trying to tell me I should do is true for most businesses, but it wouldn’t work for a business like ours.
And I kept insisting that I didn’t want to do this, that it was going to cost me literally hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars, and I wouldn’t see any sales. I wouldn’t see any return from the spend on the advertising. And know said to me? You’re going to love this. I said, “How do I know this is going to turn into customers or how do you know?” He says, “Just trust me. I know what I’m doing. I built a lot of accounts from people. Just trust me.” So here’s the thing, here’s how to waste $10,000 marketing your studio. Talk to people in marketing who are trying to sell you services, who can’t tell you exactly how you’re going to get sales, who can’t explain to you – down to the numbers – how you know whether the strategy is working or not. I see so many studio owners when it comes time to build a website, the first thing they say is, “Well, who can build me those beautiful websites?” Now, website builders …
Unless they’re focused on sales – which I found the majority of them aren’t – website builders are really good at building websites. They’re not good at making you sales. Logo designers are really good at building you logos. They’re not good at making you sales. Do you see where I’m going with this? This is how you waste a lot of money when you work with people in marketing who cannot tell you the exact pathway and cannot help you measure and cannot tell you – in the numbers – whether or not the strategy is working.
At best, they’re just, you know, recycling platitudes. They’re doing what they know how to do best. At worst, they’re out to get you, so to speak. Your worst fears have come true. What I found is most of the time people who are doing this, they have your best interest at heart, but what they’re really good at doing is building you a product. They’re not good at helping you make sales. And here’s the thing, okay? This is the lesson to learn from all this. And it leads into the lesson that I want to teach. And it’s this: In a business, cash flow is king. Unless something is directly contributing to your bottom line, it’s an expense and you have to be very careful with expenses. There’s all kinds of tools you can buy. There’s all kinds of ways that you can spend money. But unless it’s directly contributing to cash flow, it is an expense and it should be looked at with suspicion. So if they cannot tell you how it’s going to directly impact your cashflow, if they cannot tell you, if they cannot falsify their premise, if they can’t say, “Here’s how you know it isn’t working,” you can’t …
You have to go into that with your eyes open. It might not be the best strategy to be following. Now, one extra tip tip here, okay? And this is a little to the point. If you decide to DIY your marketing, if you’re doing your marketing and YOU can’t explain how the marketing technique is going to help you, you are the problem. You might be a danger to yourself, okay? And I love to read the comments right below. Have you done some sort of marketing technique? I know it’s a little bit exposing but hey, I’m exposing some bad things I’ve done here too. Have you gone and bought Facebook ads and see no students from it. And then said, “Oh, Facebook ads must not work.” Or you know, if you’re being honest, “Oh, well I guess I don’t know how to make Facebook ads work.” Well, the reason is you didn’t know how to measure whether they’re gonna work and if you had known how to measure, you probably would’ve gotten a result from it.
If you had known the metrics to be looking for, if you’d known how to know whether beforehand it was going to work or not, you probably would’ve gotten the result you were looking for. And the same thing goes with these contractors I was telling you about a little bit earlier. Okay, so here is the number one, what I’ll call “expense” that you should have in your studio business. The number one “expense”, alright? And it’s really not an expense because in reality, what you should be doing, the way you should be thinking about marketing is not, “Oh, I’m going to trade some money for a website,” or “Oh, I’m going to trade some money for a logo,” or “Oh, I’m going to trade some money for a consultant to come in and tell me what I should do.” And I mean, right there exactly what Richard just said: “I know the person that spent a thousand bucks and they got likes, but no conversions.” Okay, here’s the number one expense you should have, and it goes right along with what Richard just said there.
You don’t buy a website, you don’t buy marketing, you don’t buy ads. You buy new customers. If your marketing is working really, really well, for every dollar that you spend in an ad, you should be making 5 or 10 or 15 dollars back. And if you don’t know the mechanism by which you can do that, then you shouldn’t be investing in that marketing medium. You shouldn’t just be buying a website because “studios should have a website”. The person who’s building that website or you should understand the exact metrics that turns a visitor to your site. They should know the exact process that turns a visitor to your site into a customer. If they can’t explain that process or they can’t explain exactly how many visitors should be coming to your site or how many visitors that come to your site should be turning into an actual customer, I would be very leery. I would be very careful. I’d be very cautious. So don’t buy marketing. Don’t buy advertising.
Buy new customers. That’s the only expense you should have in your business. This is how a business grows. This is how a business scales: when you take money and you turn it into new customers. What I can tell you is that all the ads that I ran on Google last year cost me $1,700 and over the course of the year, the amount of money that I made back from the students that I got from Google was well over $10,000. Same thing with Facebook ads. Same thing from other ad mediums. I’m taking money that I have and turning it into actual new customers, not buying a website. Any purchase that I make in the marketing department has to be backed up by some sort of metric that lets me know whether or not I’m wasting my money. So that is the thought for the day.
I’m very passionate about this. I was just talking about this guy, and I was kind of getting upset as I was talking to this guy at this cook out that we had yesterday, because he’s looking at working with a marketing company and they’re talking about branding and they’re talking about logos and they’re talking about having a beautiful website. And when I asked him, “Well, what’d they tell you about the kinds of sales you could expect?” Zip, not a word had been said by that company. He didn’t even know what I was talking about.
And so I just got done writing him an email letting him know that he needs to be very, very careful. And I thought I’d share this with you all. So, hope this has been helpful. If you like this video, please share it, like. I’d love to hear a comment down below. And I will see you in the next video from Grow Your Music Studio. Talk to you later. Bye, bye. .
The company Spotify is a very interesting case study. The amount that Spotify pays the creators, by way of the record companies, for the licensing of the recordings for streaming, as well as the publishers– the people who license the public performance of the song– amounts to about 70% of their revenue that they generate from selling advertising, or from their subscriptions. And they are continuing to increase the number of paid subscribers.
So as they make more strides for attracting more paid subscribers for their services, it’s creating a situation where they are making more money, but can they survive and become profitable on the 30% that they are left with? The margin just isn’t big enough. So what Spotify has decided to do, and just did recently, was renegotiated their agreements with all of the major record labels.
The record labels used to get about 58%– I mean, we talked about 70%. 12 of that would go to the publishers. 58% would go to the record companies for those recordings, to license the recordings for the streaming services. And Spotify decided to, and did, renegotiate all of their agreements with the three major record labels, and even the association of independent labels– Merlin– where they reduced those payments, based on the initial payments that they’re paying now. So they went from about 58%– it’s been said, these are confidential agreements– down to almost maybe 52% with some of the labels. However, the labels have agreed, and Spotify has agreed, that the more subscribers they get, the royalty rates will come up, because the more money they are going to be able to make.
Which is a very, very interesting development. Another interesting development is that Spotify is finding that there are many, many artists, independent artists, that they feel that they can do direct deals with, and may not have to pay that 52% or 58%. The major labels demand it, and they have to pay it. But if there are some independent artists– Chance the Rapper, or other independent artists– that they can make a deal directly with them.
They could possibly play those artists less. Why? Because the artist, if they’re signed to a major label, the major label is making 58% of the revenue, and they’re paying the artist on the artist’s royalty rate of 15%, which is what? Maybe 7% of that? So Spotify feels that they can go directly to the artists, have them license their recordings to them, they could pay the artists maybe 40%, rather than the 50% they’re paying to the major labels.
So that they’re going to be able to benefit more. Spotify has done that on occasion, although they don’t want to create any problems with the major labels, or they they’re really trying to not do that on a broad level at this point. But you have to figure there’s more and more independent artists that may not even be interested in signing with a major label, might be interested because streaming is really taking over, and doing deals directly with Spotify.
So the future for Spotify and streaming is going to continue to grow, and it’s going to be a very fascinating subject for years to come. .
Tiffany Ballard: Let’s say an artist blows up and has a song on the radio or a song that goes viral or whatever. One of the good things is being able to say, “Okay, I’m going to go to this label. I’m going to see what they have to say. I’m going to go to this label. I may try to do something with this company, Apple Music, directly, however it goes.” But it’s good that you have those options, you know what I mean? If these people start getting together and making these major corporations, it’s kind of like, would I really benefit the artist or would I harm the artist because now they can’t use their leverage to actually play these labels against each other or whatever the situation may be, you know? Rob Markman: Sounds messy. Rob Markman: What’s up, Geniuses? Welcome back to For the Record. I’m your host, Rob Markman. Now today’s show is a very important one. As much as we talk about the creation of music, to artists about how music is made, and how it gets delivered to us, the music business is really just as important.
Rob Markman: Now last week, I was pretty shocked, man. I read a Business Insider article which revealed that musicians only get 12 percent of the 43 billion dollars the music generated in 2017. I reacted crazy. I saw a lot of artists react crazy, a lot of industry people react crazy. And so I decided to bring a panel here to discuss this, alright? Rob Markman: First up, we have John Lynch. He actually wrote the article for Business Insider, which is based on the Citigroup. He’s the entertainment editor over at Business Insider. John, welcome to For the Record. John Lynch: Welcome. Thanks for having me. Rob Markman: Now next up we have an entertainment attorney. She is one of the stars of the We TV show ‘Money, Power, Respect’ Actually, the only reason that I watch ‘Money, Power, Respect’ is to see Tiffany Ballard. Tiffany Ballard: Thanks for having me. Rob Markman: Thank you. And one of my favorite MCs from Brooklyn. Maybe I’m a little biased, but he just released his new album called ‘Crown Fried.’ Sitting right next to me is my man Dyme-A-Duzin.
Dyme, welcome to the Genius for the Record. Dyme-A-Duzin: Thank you for having me. Rob Markman: Thank you for coming. I wanted to get because everybody has different expertise. John, you know, you work at Business Insider. You really kind of synthesized the Citigroup report that blew this up and made it go viral. Tiffany, you represent so many artists, producers, and songwriters that work with big artists, like Beyonce and Drake and Kendrick Lamar. So you’re in here crafting these deals and fighting for your artists to get their fair share. And Dyme, you’re just out here on your independent grind and hustle. You’re actually a musician. You live, you don’t have a 9-to-5, this is not a side hustle for you.
Music is what you do. So I wanted to get all these three perspectives. Rob Markman: John, I wanted to start with you. The article that you wrote for Business Insider. Can you give us a summary of what it was about? John Lynch: Yeah, so I wrote the Citigroup report that you’re talking about, and I was taken aback to see 12 percent was what artists were making of this 43 billion that the music industry was generating in total. Basically that 12 percent is up from past years, but it’s mostly due to touring. So artists are nowadays mostly making their money off of touring as opposed to purchased music, which is down quite a bit, and streaming. Rob Markman: Right. What we’re being told every time you look around, that Drake is breaking streaming records. Bruno, Taylor Swift, is like keeping her thing off streaming, really selling real well and then going back to streaming. But we keep getting these stories that in the streaming era it’s really a good time, they brought the money back to music. John Lynch: Right. Rob Markman: And, which is cool, but it’s like, Tiffany, where does the money go? Tiffany Ballard: Well, I wonder, too.
No, I’m kidding. A part of it, I would say, there are multiple people and entities that have their hands in the pie. You have to pay a personal manager, business managers, you have labels. You have publishers. You have accountants, you have attorneys, so I would need to know the exact methodology behind, I don’t know enough of what went into- Tiffany Ballard: Even when I think about artists, I think from what I read in the article they’re talking about performing artists, but all performing artists don’t write their music, so sometimes some of that income may go to songwriters. They may go to producers. I’m not really sure exactly what all went into the article and the data they used, but there are a lot of hands in the pie before the artists get paid. Makeup artists, barbers. There’s a lot. Drivers. Rob Markman: And operating costs. The labels have operating costs.
The streaming services, the retailers, the DSPs all have operating costs that have to get recouped before any creatives get to see a dime. John, just going back to you, was it clear in that Citigroup report, it said musicians received 12 percent of 43 billion. Was that all musicians, or was this just recording artists, like your Beyonce’s, your Bruno mars, and not necessarily the songwriters, producers, and session musicians who played on the album? John Lynch: It seemed to me like it was all-encompassing. I think producers were included in it, too. One of the things the Citigroup report got criticized for overgeneralizing a bit, so I’d be interested to hear what that 12 percent was a part of, who is getting that money, necessarily? Rob Markman: And we’re going to get into that, too, because Billboard just recently published an article as a rebuttal to the Citigroup report and the headlines that are out there. I know the RIAA is asking people to look at it differently, but Dyme, man, I want to get to you.
One thing, Business Insider, you guys use is the image of Kanye West as the thumbnail image, as the lead image for this. And with all due respect, Kanye’s going to be fine. Financially, Kanye, your Beyonces of the world, your Bruno Mars, your Jay-Z’s, these artists aren’t starving at all. Dyme, I want to talk to you because you’re an indie artist from Brooklyn. You just released your album, ‘Crown Fried.’ Dyme-A-Duzin: ‘Crown Fried.’ Now serving. Rob Markman: There you go. I just wanted to know, first of all, for me for example, I work here at Genius, and I released an album. Tiffany helped me construct the contracts for and get my legal thing. Music is my side thing. I still gotta maintain a 9-to-5. Music is all you do. Music is the only way that you work, the only way that you eat, the only way that you get fed, correct? Dyme-A-Duzin: Yeah.
I’m an artist first. Artist, MC. That’s my passion. But at the same time, like you said, living the life. You gotta live. But that kind of forced me, not forced me. I enjoy doing jingles. I did something for Domino’s, like jingles and other songwriting opportunities and things like that, so when I first saw the article, I thought 12 percent. Damn. What would Kool Herc, these guys from back in the day think about this? And then knowing the fact that it’s all because the bulk of the artists, what they’re generalizing that 12 percent to be, artists, producers, the fact that it’s touring shows that this is a change in time. The digital age is more about the connection to the artist and the fans besides this big, everybody hands in the pot type. Dyme-A-Duzin: We need teams, but at the same time I feel like the consumption is different nowadays. We’re directly connected to the people that want to hear us. Tiffany Ballard: Can I? Rob Markman: Yeah, yeah. Tiffany Ballard: A couple of points. I know in the article it mentioned, though, which I thought was interesting, was that the 12 percent was actually an increase and back in 2000 it was actually seven percent.
Rob Markman: Seven percent. Tiffany Ballard: And I know they did say it was from touring but mostly from touring because now they tour, but I didn’t understand it fully only because now there’s also 360 deals which didn’t exist back in the day, so now they’re actually participating in touring income, where they would not have in the past, they being labels. So I’m a little bit confused as to why. Because artists have always toured.
We go back to, I don’t say back to Mariah because she’s still relevant, but Whitney, so many people. Michael Jackson. When didn’t they tour? So I don’t know why they would say that now it’s increased because of tours especially when now labels eat off of tour income, too, whereas they didn’t in the past. It was mostly sales. John Lynch: They were saying that artists were touring more, too, to get more revenue.
Just the growth of tours has skyrocketed. I was looking at this graph, and it was like the past five years or so it was a lot of money. Rob Markman: It goes back to this thing. There’s these general reports, I hate these articles. Millennials kill Applebee’s. But one of the things that’s important to this generation that is seen through reports is experiences, right? This generation would much rather pay for experiences, so while we technically aren’t paying for music, if you’re streaming, you’re paying for the access to listen to music, but you’re not paying to own music, that it seems that fans are willing to go out more and pay a little more for a concert ticket. Rob Markman: Drake and the Migos will be coming to New York in a couple of weeks, and I think they got about six or seven dates, like four dates in MSG alone. Those will run into Billy Joel numbers and things that we used to see from these touring giants. Rob Markman: Tiffany, I want to go back to you because a lot of the clients that you represent are songwriters and producers.
Tiffany Ballard: Yes. Rob Markman: Musicians who can’t tour, who aren’t able to make any of this touring revenue, this touring boom that we so hear about. How do you navigate that with your clients, how do you make sure that they get their fair share? Tiffany Ballard: That’s a good question. One thing I will say is the name of the game of course is leverage. One thing I try to do is, how do I go without being so technical? In terms of producers, let’s say, all right? You have these things that are called producer decks, where you sign. You say, “Okay, you can use my song. I’ll get half now and the other half of the advance later. We’ll work out the technicalities later.” One thing I try to do is say, “Okay, let’s not do a deck. Let’s go straight to the long-form agreement. That way, you have leverage because once you sign this deck, we can argue back and forth about points all day long. About what the splits are going to be, who is going to actually, how the sample is gonna be allocated, whether or not the artist is actually, whatever it is.” Tiffany Ballard: One of the things I try to do is to go past the producer deck aspect and go straight to a long-form that we can agree to negotiate the actual points.
But a lot of it is leverage. What’s your last hot track? Who have you worked with? This client is not going to take, he’s not willing to take this percentage because x, y, z. He got this percentage on a different deal with an artist who’s must bigger than the artist that you’re talking about right now, so why would he be willing to take just 10 percent from you when he got 50 percent from a Grammy-winning artist, you know what I mean? Tiffany Ballard: So really it’s looking at the facts, looking at the leverage and actually being willing to forgo the producer deck, which gives you more leverage and to just stick it through. Rob Markman: Negotiate the front is what you’re saying? Sign it out up front. Tiffany Ballard: I’m saying don’t do the deck. Don’t do the upfront because some people need that first half of the advance.
Forgo that first half of the advance and get the entire advance once the long form is done because then you still have the leverage. They can’t put that song on that album until you finish that long form, whereas if you sign that producer deck, they can use that song on the album, and you guys can fight for the next year about the second half of your advance and what the terms are going to be of the competition. Why do that? John Lynch: Sounds messy. Tiffany Ballard: (laughs) Rob Markman: John, I want to get with you because the Citigroup report has, and we mentioned it a little bit, faced criticism. I know Billboard wrote a couple of articles, the RIAA. People are questioning how did they get to this accounting, how did you get to this number, and that they may not be looking at things the right way because essentially they’re an investment firm and may not have the expertise or the ins and outs of the music industry.
What’s your take on all that? John Lynch: Yeah. They had a couple bullet points of things that they took issue with it it. One thing was the Citigroup report was saying a lot of consolidation in the industry could help young artists, up-and-coming artists, and they took issue with that, saying that Sirius XM, for example, they’ve got crazy profits, but it’s not necessarily going down to the artists. So consolidating of, if Spotify, as the Citigroup was saying, if Spotify started to act as a music label for emerging artists, it might not necessarily be good for those artists because who’s to say that the profits will go on to the musicians. John Lynch: There were a couple of other things. They took issue with just numbers, overgeneralizing, too. Yeah. Rob Markman: It’s interesting because, Tiffany, maybe you can speak to this, the consolidations of streaming services, partnering with Live Nation and kind of, then you get to this point of almost a 360 situation where it’s like every aspect of where artists eat forms under one umbrella.
Can artists truly benefit from that? Some may say that the leverage of this consolidation will allow more money to come in from the marketplace because you have a more powerful entity negotiating on your behalf, but in reality is this really a good thing for artists? Tiffany Ballard: It’s kind of hard to say because theoretically, if you’re cutting out the middle man. Well, the label isn’t necessarily the middle man, but if you’re cutting the label out, then theoretically you would think there is more of the pie to split between the Spotifys, and the Live Nations, and the artists.
Tiffany Ballard: Theoretically. But we know that doesn’t necessarily happen. That’s if you are an employee of a company and the company merges with another conglomerate, to form a conglomerate, does that mean your paycheck is going to change? Not necessarily. They may keep whatever is shared, they were keeping, and just split it amongst the partners. So it’s just, it could go either way. Theoretically, you know I could see someone arguing that cutting a label out would increase the pie for the artists below, but in reality I’m just not sure how that would work.
Tiffany Ballard: And I think even having these conglomerates and these mergers I don’t think is necessarily a good thing because part of an artist, let’s say an artist blows up and has a song on the radio or a song that goes viral or whatever. One of the good things is being able to say, “Okay, I’m going to go to this label. I’m going to see what they have to say. I’m going to go to this label. I may try to do something with this company, Apple Music, directly, however it goes.” But it’s good that you have those options, you know what I mean? If these people start getting together and making these major corporations, it’s kind of like, would I really benefit the artist or would I harm the artist because now they can’t use their leverage to actually play these labels against each other or whatever the situation may be, you know? Rob Markman: Key word again coming up, leverage.
Dyme, I want to speak to you. I want to get more insight. If you can paint a picture of what you have to plan for financially. How do you handle your business? You just put out this album, and there’s costs to create the album before you put it out. You have to plan to recoup and then pay yourself and somehow profit so you can maintain a living and a lifestyle.
Rob Markman: Outside of the work that goes in the studio, how hands-on are you with the business and balancing your own books and making sure that you get to eat and keep the lights on at the end of the day? Dyme-A-Duzin: As much as this is an ever changing game, the game plan and the strategies also adjust within that. Like I said earlier, it’s a changing game. It’s a digital age. A lot of effort goes into my merch, putting out merch and with that assisting with the music, I get a lot of people who take the ‘Ghetto Olympics,’ the ‘Crown Fried,’ so I put out projects with that attached to it, and that really helps me navigate. Rob Markman: So it’s telling the story, not just through the music but through the merch that you put out.
Again, with the experiences that you’re able to create. We can’t touch the album if you’re streaming it, but merch you can touch, you can touch it, you can feel it, you can, it’s ranked within real life. Dyme-A-Duzin: I’ve yet to tour as a solo artist myself. I was in a band a few years ago, and through that I learned a lot just touring with them and seeing how you can keep it going with getting on the road. That’s why I can understand why touring is so important and why it’s the bulk. But I look at that, too, like, damn, 360 and the tour is, too. So shit, that’s the most we’re getting, and they’ve got their hands in there, too? It’s like, sheesh! Rob Markman: Let me ask you a question just for the fans listening.
Usually we have artists up here talking about their music and it’s the fandom around the artist. And we know you have very passionate fans, but to the people out there, and anybody can jump in for the fans, watching the fans here, for them, they’re like, “Man, I just want to listen to the artist that I love.” Dyme-A-Duzin: Even looking at that article, that quote. Damn, I was disappointed as a fan. Rob Markman: Right. Dyme-A-Duzin: People go and they say, “Hey, I’m supporting my favorite artists when I’m streaming, so I’m buying this.” At the end of the day, is it going to them? Like you said earlier, who is it going to? Tiffany Ballard: That’s a good point.
If I was looking at it purely from a fan standpoint, and I thought I was supporting one of my favorite artist growing up. Let’s say it was Lil’ Kim or something like that. I was too young to be bumping hardcore. (laughs) I was definitely bumping hardcore. Dyme-A-Duzin: There you go. Tiffany Ballard: Thank you! So let’s say that I was younger, I’m bumping Lil’ Kim, and I bought hardcore, but let’s say an article came out that said Lil’ Kim was getting 12 percent or whatever. I’m like, “Well, I’m just going to illegally download it. I’m not going to, no.” I’m going to be upset, you know what I mean? Tiffany Ballard: But on the flip side, the incentive. It could also give more incentive to fans to go purchase tickets for tours and to purchase merchandise. So I guess that’s the flip side because I would probably say I might download the music illegally, but I’m going to go to her concert, and I’m going to buy whatever merchandise she puts out because I know she’s making more on that side.
So now I want to make sure Lil’ Kim is eating off of what it is that I’m buying. You know what I mean? Rob Markman: But you do find that these fan armies are really invested in the artist. First of all, you can’t tell Lil’ Kim fans nothing. (laughs) I like this new , y’all, I’m gonna have a couple of Lil’ Kim fans in my mentions. You say you like Kim, you got the Nicky fans. You can’t tell these fan armies nothing. They will go to hell and back for their favorite artists and to support their favorite artists. Rob Markman: John, I wanted to pick your brain on the music monetization act and what you knew about that because that’s a bill that’s in front of Congress which they’re promising will ensure that the digital music services or the streamers will pay fair royalties to the right holders and also give the streaming companies certain leverage and legal wiggle room to protect their business so their not losing out.
How can this potentially help the music industry? John Lynch: It’s supposed to streamline the whole process. The music industry is working at still the old-school model when we’re selling physical copies and stuff like. So it’s like, hopefully updating that to boost royalties and, yeah. I know it’s like, supposedly passed the House, but Congress is a mess, so who knows? Trump’s gotta sign it, too, which I’m kind of dismayed about, right? (laughs) Who knows? It could help people out, though. Tiffany Ballard: They’re gonna have to put it in Russian if they want him to sign it. I’m kidding. (laughs) Rob Markman: Put it in Russian if they want him to sign it.
I like that. (laughs) Just closing remarks. Look, the truth is we wanted to do this episode to educate the fans. I know a lot of fans were upset when they saw this. A lot of artists was upset, the artist community. We wanted to have the discussion. We don’t necessarily have all the answers, but it’s really interesting. Rob Markman: We consume more music than ever. If you’re on YouTube, chances are you’re listening to music. If you have Spotify or Apple or Tidal, damn near every song created is at your fingertips, as people, as fans are consuming more music than ever. And it’s important to understand the business and where is it going.
Just closing remarks, things that you think is important, especially for the people to know. Rob Markman: Dyme, man, let’s start with you. Dyme-A-Duzin: I was just thinking about the MMA. It’s about to be passed, I mean, hopefully. I’ve been looking into it, and it was like, oh, dude, what was the question. I had a question in there, but I wanted to keep the conversation going, so should I just close it? Rob Markman: Keep going! If you’ve got the answer to the question, yeah, yeah, yeah. Dyme-A-Duzin: Okay, so the MMA passes. So that allows us to receive more from streaming through all the companies, Spotifys. Rob Markman: In theory, yeah. There’s a lot of paperwork that goes on with who gets the royalties, and it just really, like John was saying, streamlines the whole process and frees up a lot more money or a portion of more money.
I don’t exactly know how much but musicians of all kinds, artists, recording artists, producers, songwriters, get a bigger split of the pie is what the promise of this bill, what this act is. Tiffany Ballard: I think this will move some of the bureaucracy. People have catalogs, they don’t want to license stuff or whatever the situation may be, and I believe it’s like a panel that oversees it, that are like publishers and actual music people, you know? So they supposedly have more, you know, insight. Actually, songwriters, artists, songwriters are like, “Yes, let’s do it.” And a lot of publishers are like, “Yes, let’s do it.” Which is actually rare because usually their interests are opposed, they have opposing interests, but if you can get publishers and songwriters on the same page, it seems like it should be something that they should at least attempt.
Dyme-A-Duzin: The creatives, the creatives that y’all hate, man. Creatives, we’re here, it’s a new town, man. (laughs) Rob Markman: John, what should we look out for just going forward in the future as this bill is about to get passed and a lot of information is coming. I think a lot of sides, like Citigroup is one side, and they’ve got their own interests. The RIAA has their own interests, and you’re seeing a lot of back and forth.
What’s the most important things that we should be looking out for, you think? John Lynch: I think some of the alternative stuff, I was talking to Lupe Fiasco earlier this year, and he was really excited about blockchain technology. Through raising money through Blockchain it goes right to you, it’s direct, and that’s something that seems super-exciting as an up-and-coming technology and stuff. And I saw Grammatik, this DJ from Slovenia, he raised million dollars for his music off of that. Some of that intrigues me, but artists aren’t making enough off of streaming. There’s got to be alternate revenues and avenues to find that. Dyme-A-Duzin: Write jingles for Domino’s man. It’s a good hustle! Rob Markman: I’d like to thank all of my guests, John, man.
Tiffany, thank you. Dyme-A-Duzin, man, ‘Crown Fried’ is in stores now. Thank you for being a guest today, thank you for the information, thank you for sharing. Tiffany Ballard: Let me add one thing. You didn’t ask about my closing remarks. Rob Markman: Go ahead. Did I ask you about them? I’m sorry. Tiffany Ballard: I butted in. I butted in and gave my two cents. What I do want to say is something that is important, no matter what, is for artists. Whether the day, if the aspiration, because all artists don’t want to go major. If an artist knows that at some point they want to get in bed with a major, I think to do as much groundwork and as much hustle as much possible because, like you mentioned, the word leverage, word of the day, leverage. No matter what, even though it’s not gonna be fair, it’s just a system, it’s set up how it is, you know, an artist is not going to ever get 100% of their income generated, not even 50% but at least if there’s a certain amount of leverage going in because you have a song that’s or you have fans that are committed to you, you can demonstrate, look, I have people who are checking for me.
At least you can get the best terms possible for you, as opposed to going through just with a catalog of music that no one’s ever heard. Tiffany Ballard: And maybe go to the A&R guy that’s gonna sign you, but that A&R guy is not going to be able to get the book opened up or get certain things for you, make a deal situated a certain way if you can’t demonstrate that you’re a good, you know, that you’re worth the investment.
You know what I mean? So I think it is important for people to put in the ground work. If they need a 9-to-5, they gotta work at McDonald’s in order to pay for studio time, to pay for some decent quality mixing and masters, whatever it is. I think it is important for people to invest in their product before they even try to make that step and go to pursue a major record deal. Rob Markman: And that’s a good word. Thank you. I know we’ve got a lot of fans that watch this show that are actually musicians or aspiring musicians, and they’re commenting all the time, so hopefully you guys got a jewel out of this for real.
But again, I’d like to thank everybody for joining us. This was a very different episode of For the Record, but an important one, so I hope you guys learned something. .
I love music. I hate the industry. It’s an entirely shitty situation. I’m all over the fucking radio. These motherfuckers love me. Why the fuck am I broke? You know D, that’s how you felt, like Goddamn. That’s the fee you pay to get into the game. Wow. So this piece of paper really holds this much power. They just spend these kids, man. People get fucked over all the time. Where do you learn it? There’s no school for hip hop. Well, Puff is like my idol. You know what I mean? He’s one of the reasons why I wanted to be a part of Bad Boy, why I wanted to be hit man. So Puff was like, “I wanna sign you to a publishing thing.
I wanna do this, I wanna manage you,” and I was like, “This is, like, Puff wants to do this for me?” And I’m thinking, I’m like, “Wait a minute … If I sign all this stuff, that means he gets paid from everything I do. And even if I produce with him, it’s like he’s getting paid twice.” And I was like, “Get the fuck outta here.” I remember we were in the studio and I screamed at him, it was the first time I screamed at Puff. I was like, “How am I supposed to get any money?” And he was like, “Alright then.” It wasn’t like there was no beef, but then it was like, alright so you about to go to this party afterwards. So at that moment, I realized is a difference between friends and business. He never stopped being my friend because I didn’t sign those papers, but like, shit, if you gonna let me do it, I’m a try. I never told him, I appreciate you for that because that was one of the best learning experiences I ever had in the music industry.
We are about to sign our recording contract. Over here, we got all the Cristal we about to pop. They have fucking clauses in these shitty contracts that say, “We’re only gonna pay you 15%.” In that 15%, the label’s charging you for every fucking thing that takes place. Yeah, you see we’re getting D Dots joint down there now. Proof. The artist has to pay everybody. The producers, the songwriters. Every dime they spend, they either gonna charge you half or 100%.
So most of us, including myself, had no clue what the fuck that meant. All these motherfuckers with your shitty paperwork, your money’s gotta go through all them. Damn, we only getting 12 cents off a dollar? And outta my 12, I gotta pay you, you, you, you and you? What the fuck? Damn, can you at least put some Vaseline on it? Can we have some wine and cheese before? Goddamn, like, what’s happening here? You have a lot of kids coming from these inner cities that never even seen 10,000 dollars cash before. So if you have a person that’s coming to you like, “Here’s 20,000. Sign to me, I’m a put your album out.” They’re not looking at no legal team where like, “Let me call my lawyer and make sure that this deal is right.” You’re taking the 20,000, you’re going to sign the contract and you’re going to figure it out later on when the money is gone. It’s too much coming at them too fast. A lot of people just are so thirsty for a platform that they sell themselves short. You just see a big label, and you’re like, “They wouldn’t do me wrong.” Where do you learn that? There’s no school for hip hop.
You know, I definitely signed some bad contracts in my time. Some still pending. Now, I’ve got a piece of paper. It make you just think, like, “Wow. Do this piece of paper really hold this much power?” You dangled, like, this fucking career in my face and, like, yeah, I want to do it. Of course I’m not reading this shit, like, not to say that, like, it’s the smart thing to do, but you’re young. But, at the same time, you a grown man. You know how to read, too. You told not to read that contract. So I don’t get when people say, like, “Oh, don’t sign with such and such, you know, they be fuckin’ people.” You know, hell, they aint fuck nobody. You had it, you could have read it.
You chose not to read it. You look at the fact, that they put this two bit stats of a minor over here next to the contract. This is all you gonna ever get. You aint even look at the contract. We have a frustrated artist who wakes up one day and realizes that, “I’m all over the fucking radio. These mother fuckers love me. Why the fuck am I broke?” And then they explain to you, like, “This is why. Paragraph 64 clause B says you don’t get shit.” When you’re a artist, you gotta make hot records. That’s what your job is to do.
You’re not making hot records, we have to move on. It’s nothing personal. It’s business. Even as a executive, if I’m not putting out hit records or I’m not signing hot artists, they’re gonna be like, “I think we can find somebody else to fill your position.” Everybody at the label could get fired just like the artist could get dropped. You could go to war with your label and the label war is probably, like, one of the major contributions to failed careers. At the end of the day, I’m trying to take care of my family, too, just like you are, so what makes your life better than mine? You start arguing with these executives, and they just fucking turn the switch off on your ass. Don’t like you anymore. First thing you gonna say is, “Well, let me go.” They don’t do that shit.
Obviously, all the cash money we single doin this. Tyga claims that Birdman owes him like 12 million dollars. You know, hey, Birdman, you robbed me, so I’m going to put on a loud speakerphone and tell everybody that you robbed me and everybody else that comes to you is going to be very careful about how you, you know, they do those contacts. If anybody can take that stuff personal and have stuff goin, they might not want to choose this job. Literally everything in the industry, they will try to get over on you if you let it slide. I’m the type, like, I will pull up the complex, you know what I’m saying? Like, “Hey, where’s the footage?” You know, to be a boss, sometimes, you have to be a bitch. You don’t work a nine to five, so you don’t get, like, you know, your insurance and your income tax check. You don’t get none of that shit. Published shit is kind of like your paycheck for writing. You get paid for when people listen to your music over and over again. Those are checks that just come.
You don’t want to give that shit up. Sometimes, you might have to, like, break a little piece off of somebody, you know what I’m saying? But make it worth it. Don’t give it all up. Ever. Ever. Yo, Kanye, you gonna play something? Yo, West! Kanye! Talk about Kanye and the publishing. To manage him, I had an opportunity to own some of his publishing. I didn’t want to do that to any producer I manage because they were my startup guys and Kanye was a sample producer. He took a sample from Jay-Z. Sample from this music, and then you put it together. I was gonna pretty much let him know that you’re not gonna make no fuckin’ money in royalties with all these samples you’re doing.
I rearranged the deal for everybody to where he got his publishing back. The industry just wants to rape and take. Labels should do what’s fair, and that’s why the artists today are saying, “Fuck you, record company.” And they should. Everybody’s trying to figure out how to get that money even though the sales have dwindled. There was one time I met these execs, like, brought us to the house, laid, everything is crazy and gave us this whole big pep talk, speech. And then, literally, like, I think it was eight months later we went and met the same guys, but this time in the office, and they came in and gave us the whole same exact spiel. Like the same exact speech, like the introduction, everything. And that’s when I knew, like, “Man.” Like they just spin these kids, man. I’m 19. He’s 21, like, we’re young, so a lot of people try to take advantage of us. Yeah. But the thing is, they don’t realize that we actually already know what’s up. We already know. I’m so scared to sign my name on shit.
I’m scared to give you a autograph, let alone sign a contract. It’s kind of like old school verses new school. Most kids now feel I don’t need to sign with a label. They have all this amazing music and I’m like, “I know some people, you wanna … ?” And it’s like, “No. I just want to put it out myself.” When we were coming up, we didn’t foresee MP3’s, but somebody did because in contracts we were signing, they would say things like, “You making records for cassette cd’s and any form in the future.” That line meant a lot. All of a sudden, Itunes showed up and now, we’re fighting our contracts because we didn’t take time to study what was in it. Somebody else did. Make sure, before signing anything, to have somebody look over it just to make sure you just don’t sign your life away. A lot of artists, from day one, they walk into a shitty situation.
Shitty paperwork, shitty deal, shitty people around them sometimes. In my case, we had the shitty paperwork. We went beyond that and we sold a lot of fucking records. You seen MC Hammer lose, what, 20, 30 million dollars? Like, it can happen. We didn’t know nothing about anything. I’m doing this shit. That was my first hundred thousand dollar check. At that point, we just started ballin. And that’s what you do it for. They givin’ us money to do this and we get to go shopping. I’m like, “Oh, shit. This is real. And I’m broke.” You check your account, it’s like, “Where did that go?” Shit woke you up fast. Really, really fast. The day we got our first check, we ran out of gas, dog. That was, oh my God, that’s hilarious! Yeah. We got our first pay, so we ran out of gas on the freeway. We got our first- And we had to walk all the way to the gas, it was like, how many miles? A lot of miles, but, we had to walk.
It was hilarious and we were so happy. Yeah. I was driving, too. I was so happy, I went, I didn’t even look at the gas. I didn’t even look at the gas meter on the freeway. I’m like, “Hold on. What’s wrong with the car?” Yeah. Yeah. Looked at the gas, I’m like, “Ohhh.” Ohhh. It was 400, but it was 440 because maybe he gave us like a tip, too. First pay stub ever was $440. Yeah. .