These Are Your Realistic Chances of Success…
The following comes from top music industry attorney Ken Hertz, who spoke on an artist branding panel at NARM in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Hertz, a senior partner at Beverly Hills-based Hertz and Lichtenstein LLP, has an artist clientele that includes will.i.am, Will Smith, Enrique Iglesias, and Britney Spears.
“I think the reality is the following: 99.9-some odd percent of every kid in the world that wants to have a recording career won’t have one.
Won’t even meet someone like the people on this panel. And of the people that do meet someone and really get a shot, some fraction of a percent will have any chance of having a career.
“So the truth of the matter is that when you do the math, it is really like winning the lottery to have a successful career.”
Meaning, the people that get records out – well over 95 percent of them never make a living ?”
Audience member: “But no one told Bruno Mars that.”
Hertz: “No, but here’s the thing. We all know the truth. You don’t have a chance of succeeding unless you believe in you ?”
Another audience member: “Thank you!”
Hertz: “Right, you don’t. So you have to have unbridled confidence even to have a chance to succeed. And nevertheless, when you do the math, the reality is you won’t. I’m lucky, I always say this, I’m terribly lucky, my kids have no talent. So I didn’t have to worry about them going into the entertainment business.
But, that said, the fact is that the people on this panel don’t play the lottery for a living. We work for the lottery. And the reason that people play the lottery is because it’s easier to understand the prize than to understand the odds.
“But given the choice, you’d rather own the lottery than play the lottery for a living.”
I sell yachts to the lottery winners, that’s what I do for a living. And so it’s very easy for me not to worry about what the odds are, because by the time they get to me they’ve already been vetted so many times and in so many ways. By the time I get a look at them and decide whether it’s a good use of my time or not they’ve already got a story to tell.
And so the pitch has to include the story. You have got to gift wrap this pitch for the people you are doing this for because they have a choice. She only has so many hours to listen to this stuff, I only have so many hours in a day to listen to stuff. In order for me to listen to something that you have, versus what you have, versus what you have, I have to decide that it’s worth the time. Or, I have to be an idiot who just listens to the first thing that I’m handed, and hopes that I’m going to get through the pile by the end of the day (and I won’t).
So, my suggestion is if you’ve got a good social media story to tell, then that’s the story you should be telling. If you’ve got an artist with a voice that’s unlike any other, then play the music. Or, go out and find the money to produce a video that can have a viral success so that people will stumble onto it.
Half-a-million hits is not a big number anymore. It’s an impressive number because it means half-a-million times, somebody clicked on it. But it is not a big number, and the tide is rising, and it’s much harder to rise above the din. And the din is getting larger all the time.
“There are 8 million bands on MySpace. And MySpace isn’t important anymore.”
Don’t tell Justin Timberlake I said that.”