A School of Rocky Blog
How many times have you traveled across town just because you wanted a particular plate of food from a certain restaurant?
How many times have you waited in line at a store just to get a pair of shoes you wanted?
People will go to the ends of the Earth for businesses, restaurants, and stores who treat them well. With this in mind, how are you treating people in the business that you own as a music artist in the MUSIC business?
Unfortunately I’ve seen many many great music artists and legends ruin their careers by not following the same good business principles that apply to ANY business that you would visit more than once.
What makes you think that just because you have or have HAD good music at any point in your career, that people should make exceptions and support you when you give bad “customer service”? As a manager myself, I have given countless opportunities to music artists who have really burned their bridge with me and made me make a mental note to NEVER for no amount of money or under any circumstances work with them again.
I’ve recognized a pattern in the “internet days” of music promotion where accessibility is easy, it is actually still VERY much possible to ruin your career when it comes to dealing with DJs, Managers, other music artists, and industry professionals.
Since we all know and LOVE great customer service in the places we visit, let’s use that as the foundation for your career as a music artist. Let’s talk about ways to protect your reputation, build relationships and your fanbase, as well as a brand that will be in the music industry for many years to come.
1. Create a great product.
Would you continue to go to your favorite restaurant if the food was consistently bad? Chances are, you would not. This is the very reason you must put out a great product. This does not happen by cutting corners.
Get a sound engineer that actually knows what he is doing. Don’t imitate other products of the industry. Have quality checks on your products (music) meaning have people who are NOT fans check out your music.
Don’t settle for “good enough”. Innovate and develop a great sound. Most times, those who have been in the industry for awhile and have a trained ear can help you avoid common sound mistakes. You are in the business of borrowing people’s ears so take time to create a product they want to continuously loan theirs to. Listen to feedback and constructive criticism both fans and industry professionals to avoid hitting the artist wall.
2. Beware of how you act at industry events.
There are certain restaurants you go to because you crave their food and there are certain restaurants you go to because you have no other choice.
In the music industry, industry professionals have MANY choices of who they can work with so beware that while in public around industry professionals you are ALWAYS under the microscope even if you don’t know that you are being watched.
Be kind and grateful when you are in the presence of many industry professionals whether you are working with them right now or not. You don’t have to be friendly, just don’t be rude or pushy under ANY circumstances.
You never know who is watching or who that person might be connected to.
I’ve watched music artists complain about their set, stop in the middle of their set because the sound wasn’t right, be rude to the DJ, be rude to the headliners, be rude to the supporters of the event they are performing at, and honestly, just be an all around jerk just to turn around and complain online about lack of support in the industry… I swear fo GOD. Just QUIT!
3. Take care of your customers –
I can’t remember if we are still supposed to be boycotting Chik-Fila or not, but honestly, it wouldn’t be difficult to remember if I was treated like the dirt on the bottom of the manager’s shoe soon as I walked in. They don’t charge me for extra sauce, they are fast, and if my order ain’t right, they let me keep the mistake.
You should definitely develop the practice of taking care of your fans right now because I can tell you, fans in this generation ain’t tolerating bad artist behavior.
I’ve watched ESG and a few other music artists stop to shake hands and take pictures for over an hour after he left stage and I have seen another (or many actually) “legends” run off stage and out the door with their “security” following their performance.
Which of these would you pay to support? Many times, I have stopped in (insert small town here because it’s all of them) where an artist was paid to come out and was extremely rude to the fans. Maybe he was having a bad day, but if you are the walking, talking face of your business, fans do not care.
Get yo attitude right before you walk into that venue!
4. Be on time EVERYWHERE –
If you never knew what time a certain McDonald’s opened or closed, how many times would you take the risk on your lunch break to check. If you went to a store and their opening and closing hours were not being honored, you ain’t going back.
It’s a waste of time right?
If you are a music artist coming in for an interview on an internet radio station, granted you are not being paid, you still should treat ALL free opportunites as a paying job.
Showing up late no matter what level of industry success you’ve achieved shows not only the person interviewing you disrespect, it is also disrespectful to everyone in the room including the DJ.
Word will travel. I promise.
One step above that, it is also disrespectful to the people who support your business behind the scenes. They have invested time in you and you are disrespecting the possibilityof their job upgrading from a free or low-paying one into a high-paying one by showing up late.
If you have a habit of showing up late or not at all, if it hasn’t already ruined your artist career, I guarantee eventually it will. There is a certain level where people in the music industry will not even meet with you if you show up late to meet with their industry associates.
That level is actually not as high up as you would think it is.
5. Promote Each Other –
HEB is a business of small businesses. They promote and sell from small farms and allow products from small businesses to be placed on their shelves consistently.
Recently, HEB ran a commercial centered around a family who created “Armadillo Eggs” (bites of chicken breasts and jalapeno wrapped in bacon… now I’m hungry).
They marketed their business by supporting another business.
You can do this in the music industry by collaborating with music artists that don’t necessarily have the strongest following, but have the strongest work ethic.
You can also do this by supporting music events beyond just asking to perform.
What other skills do you have?
Can you help a venue promote or make flyers?
I’ve seen artists hired for events or placed on a line-up who don’t even post the event flyer on their page much less ask their friends to post on their pages.
You are a walking franchise as a music artist.
Your job is to make sure that over the course of time, people see the best from you.
Protect your image, but mostly protect your reputation. It’s deeper than rap.
– #SchoolOfRocky by Rocky Rockett