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$20k to help me get started
Old 2nd February 2007
  #1
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$20k to help me get started

I basically have $20k to start my career as a musician (mainstream Pop-Rock) and get signed. I can make sure that the right people will hear my music. So I don't have to spend any money on a publicist, entertainment lawyer or touring.

However, the $20k is seriously ALL I HAVE. What Should I do? I was thinking about recording a really strong and professional EP (3-4 songs) with it.

What's your advice guys? How should I spend the money? Should I spend it all on the recording, mixing and mastering of my EP? Only a part of it, and invest the rest in a great vocal teacher, stylist, photoshoot, production of an EPK?

I'm sure some of you guys have massive experience in this business. So I'd appreciate if you could share it with me and point me into the right direction.

Thank you,
Walker
Old 2nd February 2007
  #2
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u b k's Avatar
 

there's a lack of fundamental info in your post.

it'd be helpful if you defined your career goals in concrete, specific terms. 'getting signed' may feel like a specific goal but it's actually vague (signed with who? what kind of deal?) and surely it is a means and not an end? signed to what end? what does your career look like, what are you doing, who are you doing it with? there's a big difference between someone who wants to do regional tours and sell 1000 seat theaters with a band they choose playing music that's unfettered by the machine, and someone who wants to be in blink 182 doing interviews on HOT97 and selling out arenas while making $500k in image merchandising for young girls.

also, how old are you? is it necessary to spend $20000 just because you can? do you have songs written?

i could go on, but i fear my point has been made.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 2nd February 2007
  #3
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Ok here's more info...

I'm in my early twenties, like I said I do Pop-Rock music, write my own songs, and my goal is to get signed to a big label. So its the Blink-182 thing you described

I know that getting signed means nothing, it's just the start. I understand that. But thats the goal I am striving for now. And no, I dont need to spend 20k just cause I can. I want to spend what's necessary to get top notch results. It's a competitive business, and the better you present yourself the better your chances are of getting signed.
Old 2nd February 2007
  #4
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analogtodd's Avatar
 

If you have talent,
and you write your own songs,
get out and play and meet people.

It'll cost you almost nothing of that
20k.

If you think 20k will get you signed, well then,
make the check out to me.....

(just wanted to be the first to say it)
Old 2nd February 2007
  #5
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don't be stupid
never spend your own money
on a 10 million to one long shot
make that 50 million to one

if you got it
someone with the ways and means will pick up the tab

the world will let you know if your any good
Old 2nd February 2007
  #6
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AlexLakis's Avatar
 

I'd suggest picking up a book like "All You Need to Know About the Music Business." This will help you turn your "getting signed" aspiration into a more concrete, founded goal. You'll learn the importance of managers, attorneys, business consultants, investors, merchandising, copyrighting, etc. While you're reading, get out there and play and meet people and start generating a buzz. Buy some new, interesting clothes, set aside some lunch money, and put the rest of that $20,000 into savings or stocks.

Good luck!
Old 2nd February 2007
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by raydo View Post
don't be stupid
never spend your own money
on a 10 million to one long shot
make that 50 million to one

if you got it
someone with the ways and means will pick up the tab

the world will let you know if your any good
Well, I was thinking about doing home recordings, getting it mixed properly for a little bit of cash and then using THOSE recordings to get a producer involved. Some sort of production deal.
Old 2nd February 2007
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis View Post
I'd suggest picking up a book like "All You Need to Know About the Music Business." This will help you turn your "getting signed" aspiration into a more concrete, founded goal. You'll learn the importance of managers, attorneys, business consultants, investors, merchandising, copyrighting, etc. While you're reading, get out there and play and meet people and start generating a buzz. Buy some new, interesting clothes, set aside some lunch money, and put the rest of that $20,000 into savings or stocks.

Good luck!
Man... I know the importance of all of these people, and I read that book including most other books about the music business. I just also know the importance of a TOP NOTCH "demo". Anything else will not get you signed, at least not most of the time. Labels only sign a handful of acts every year. If you arent even willing to invest like 5% of what your possible future label will eventually invest in you, then.... you get the deal. I dont really think 20k is THAT much in this business.
Old 2nd February 2007
  #9
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Janesaid2me's Avatar
I just dont understand why you need to spend 20K of your own money....i dont think most bands that get signed spend 20k of their money...and if they do its over a 5 year period of promoting themselves and touring and recording and sending demos...and living...thats where the 20k would go for a new band...
Old 2nd February 2007
  #10
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AlexLakis's Avatar
 

Well, it sounds like you don't need help then! What are you waiting for? Spend your measly $20,000 on a TOP NOTCH demo, and sit around and wait for something to fall in your lap!

FYI, I've seen bands get signed solely based on their ****TY home demos and Myspace crap. To big labels. With my own eyes. But what do I know? Sorry for trying to help (not really sure what half of your last post meant, to tell you the truth.)
Old 2nd February 2007
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Boy you’re going to hate my answer to this but here you go.

If you talk to any ROCK band that is doing anything it all comes from TOURING. So start a band, cut EP and TOUR TOUR TOUR TOUR TOUR. I don't mean going 10 miles from home I mean living in a van and playing every night. If your songs are good people will see this and things will happen. There is no short cut to a MAJOR deal. All labels want to know if you have the guts to really do what you love to do. Trust me dude I am living it. heh
Yes things can happen without touring, but that is a long shot.. You would be better off buying $20,000 worth of lotto tickets.

Glenn
Old 2nd February 2007
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myfipie View Post
You would be better off buying $20,000 worth of lotto tickets.
come to think of it, that might not be a bad idea! it'd certainly be a whole lot easier (and a lot less stanky) than riding in a van with 4 other guys night after night for years on end.

i think the odds of "busting it big" with $20K in lottery tickets FAR surpasses the odds of doing it in the music biz. but maybe that's me.


cheers,
wade
Old 2nd February 2007
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker_ATL View Post
I basically have $20k to start my career as a musician (mainstream Pop-Rock) and get signed. I can make sure that the right people will hear my music. So I don't have to spend any money on a publicist, entertainment lawyer or touring.

However, the $20k is seriously ALL I HAVE. What Should I do? I was thinking about recording a really strong and professional EP (3-4 songs) with it.

What's your advice guys? How should I spend the money? Should I spend it all on the recording, mixing and mastering of my EP? Only a part of it, and invest the rest in a great vocal teacher, stylist, photoshoot, production of an EPK?

I'm sure some of you guys have massive experience in this business. So I'd appreciate if you could share it with me and point me into the right direction.

Thank you,
Walker
I find that I often make jokes on the internet that no one percieves as a joke. No one LOL. So either the joke wasn't funny to begin with, or irony doesn't survive the journey through cyberspace. So I wonder, when I read something like this... are you joking? Which isn't to sound discouraging if you're not. It's really the limits of this kind of online back-and-forth. If we were all in the same room at the same time, all of this would fit into place: if you were joking, how much you were joking, how much you weren't joking, it would all be obvious. And assuming you're not joking at all, it would also be much easier to respond in way that would be helpful. Without that though, it's virtually impossible to give meaningful advice.

Since we're not in the flesh, I realize that anything I might say is of dubious value. So here's a few thoughts of dubious value:

"Getting signed" is a red herring. it doesn't mean anything. It's not a valid goal. It's a means to achieving a goal, for some goals. If you want to become a rock supervixen, getting signed would help. But really, getting signed is just an administrative step along the way. When "getting signed" is the goal, it doesn't help you.

Extravagant demos are made all the time. It's often sad. you hear an exquisitely produced demo of someone who sucks. It's a waste of money.

If you're talented and charismatic, a cheap demo that showcases your talent is persuasive.

You say you have 20k to start your career as a musician. That's a wierd way to put it. Money doesn't start a career as a musician. Money just pays for things you need along the way.

Finally, given all the unknowns and every benefit of the doubt, your own suggestion sounds reasonable. Of the 20k, invest approximately 15k on music production, 4.5k for PR and a lawyer. Other routes are to find a producer and lawyer who believe in your talent and are willing to invest in it to produce a demo or represent you in return for a cut. Oh yeah. The last $500: transportation and lodging for audition on American Idol.

Good luck.
Old 2nd February 2007
  #14
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by myfipie View Post
Boy you’re going to hate my answer to this but here you go.

If you talk to any ROCK band that is doing anything it all comes from TOURING. So start a band, cut EP and TOUR TOUR TOUR TOUR TOUR. I don't mean going 10 miles from home I mean living in a van and playing every night. If your songs are good people will see this and things will happen. There is no short cut to a MAJOR deal. All labels want to know if you have the guts to really do what you love to do. Trust me dude I am living it. heh
Yes things can happen without touring, but that is a long shot.. You would be better off buying $20,000 worth of lotto tickets.

Glenn
I understand your point.. I'd do exactly the same if I'd actually BE in ROCK BAND. But I'm a solo POP-Rock Artist. And artists like that hardly ever get signed based on touring. It's usually either happens behind the scenes, or through creating a buzz on a site like MySpace and selling a lot of self-released records.
Old 2nd February 2007
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Blink-182 toured and played to fans for 5 years before anything happened. I truely believe american idol has ruined our lives. Why do people just think this stuff happens. If that were the case anyone would just pony up the money to become famous.
Old 2nd February 2007
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker_ATL View Post
I understand your point.. I'd do exactly the same if I'd actually BE in ROCK BAND. But I'm a solo POP-Rock Artist. And artists like that hardly ever get signed based on touring. It's usually either happens behind the scenes, or through creating a buzz on a site like MySpace and selling a lot of self-released records.
dude you are wrong (sorry to say that). If you are good and write great songs then other great players will believe in you enough to tour with you. Let me give you tough love, you are just being lazy. Sorry if that pisses you off. I do understand that some have made it with just sending in a demo, but 99.99% of the time it is much more then that.
Yes building a buzz (as you said) just goes without saying. That is just music biz 101.

Glenn
Old 2nd February 2007
  #17
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluestarbass View Post
Blink-182 toured and played to fans for 5 years before anything happened. I truely believe american idol has ruined our lives. Why do people just think this stuff happens. If that were the case anyone would just pony up the money to become famous.

Hell Dash Rip Rock (lets go smoke some pot) toured for 13 years before that song hit "kind of" big..

Glenn
Old 2nd February 2007
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluestarbass View Post
Blink-182 toured and played to fans for 5 years before anything happened.
I know one of those guys - I was thinking this is so not how he thought about his career early on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluestarbass View Post
I truely believe american idol has ruined our lives. Why do people just think this stuff happens. If that were the case anyone would just pony up the money to become famous.
Agreed as well. I wonder if the American Idol phenomenon doesn't feed the sense that people can initiate a music career the way they decide to get their car washed.
Old 2nd February 2007
  #19
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrface2112 View Post
it'd certainly be a whole lot easier (and a lot less stanky) than riding in a van with 4 other guys night after night for years on end.




cheers,
wade
My band asks ourselves this some question everyday... But just as we are ready to give up something good comes up (tour in Europe, record company wants to put out a 7" what ever) to take us one step closer to the PRIZE!heh That is the point I am trying to get this kid to understand. Just like building GIK Acoustics, you think I had sales like I do now the first month, the first 6 months? I WISH!!! Only hard ass work will bring you the fruit.

Ok I am done making a speech!! I have to go climb in the van for 5 nights straight.. he h ehe

Glenn
Old 2nd February 2007
  #20
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Windtaken's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluestarbass View Post
Blink-182 toured and played to fans for 5 years before anything happened. I truely believe american idol has ruined our lives. Why do people just think this stuff happens. If that were the case anyone would just pony up the money to become famous.
Didn't Paris Hilton do that?...
Old 2nd February 2007
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis View Post

FYI, I've seen bands get signed solely based on their ****TY home demos and Myspace crap. To big labels. With my own eyes.
Same here, I know this stuff happens, especially through MySpace. But the deal an act gets is a reflection of how much the label believes in them. And how much the label believes in an act depends to a large amount on their demo. Eg, if a band has a crappy home recording demo the A&R person may be able to "imagine" how it'll sound like recorded in a nice studio, but most labels dont even go there. An A&R person wont put his career on a line for an act that MAY be able to produce good results.

If a band gets signed based on their crappy home demos, imagine what kind of deal they can get with really great sounding and polished recordings. IMO the differences are huge!
Old 2nd February 2007
  #22
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattiMattMatt View Post
"Getting signed" is a red herring. it doesn't mean anything. It's not a valid goal. It's a means to achieving a goal, for some goals. If you want to become a rock supervixen, getting signed would help. But really, getting signed is just an administrative step along the way. When "getting signed" is the goal, it doesn't help you.
You're missing the point, cause I stressed the exact same point above. I dont understand why people cant just reply to my questions and instead feel like they have to give me a lesson on "how acts usually get signed". I know how they get signed.

And there's a huge difference between how rock bands and solo pop artists get signed. People on here tend to think you NEED to sleep in a van for 10 years in order to get signed. That may be right with bands in the alternative or rock genre. But most pop acts get signed BEHIND THE SCENES. You dont see them touring, they've a good demo, pitch it to the label, and then either get signed or not. And that's what I am, a pop act making somewhat guitar driven music. And like I said before, I have the contacts to get my music to the right people (at big labels). So I dont need to tour, and necessarily create a buzz. All I really need to take care of is that my music sounds great, along with other factors (image, looks, etc).
Old 2nd February 2007
  #23
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analogtodd's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker_ATL View Post
Same here, I know this stuff happens, especially through MySpace. But the deal an act gets is a reflection of how much the label believes in them. And how much the label believes in an act depends to a large amount on their demo. Eg, if a band has a crappy home recording demo the A&R person may be able to "imagine" how it'll sound like recorded in a nice studio, but most labels dont even go there. An A&R person wont put his career on a line for an act that MAY be able to produce good results.

If a band gets signed based on their crappy home demos, imagine what kind of deal they can get with really great sounding and polished recordings. IMO the differences are huge!
Thats just silly.
Talent is talent.

If the material is good, it'll come through, no matter how crappy. As a matter of fact, a slick-well done demo might scare an A&R man because thats as good as the material will get!!!

Surround yourself with people who believe in you.... Get players who can play, bang out a 3 song demo, put it on myspace, get some heat going. I mean you are young, talented, and good looking right.....
Old 2nd February 2007
  #24
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analogtodd's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker_ATL View Post
You're missing the point, cause I stressed the exact same point above. I dont understand why people cant just reply to my questions and instead feel like they have to give me a lesson on "how acts usually get signed". I know how they get signed.

And there's a huge difference between how rock bands and solo pop artists get signed. People on here tend to think you NEED to sleep in a van for 10 years in order to get signed. That may be right with bands in the alternative or rock genre. But most pop acts get signed BEHIND THE SCENES. You dont see them touring, they've a good demo, pitch it to the label, and then either get signed or not. And that's what I am, a pop act making somewhat guitar driven music. And like I said before, I have the contacts to get my music to the right people (at big labels). So I dont need to tour, and necessarily create a buzz. All I really need to take care of is that my music sounds great, along with other factors (image, looks, etc).
Well, I guess there is nothing here that anyone is gonna teach you...
Good luck with that Pop career!!!!
Old 2nd February 2007
  #25
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Ok Walker_ATL,

What is your background in music, your bio? Have you played live in front of a large crowd? What sets you apart from every other act out there? Why do you feel like you need to spend $20,000 on a demo if you can make one for around $2000.00. Is there something that would be missing from you songs?

"But most pop acts get signed BEHIND THE SCENES"

Name me 10 acts in the last 3 years that never toured, never played live, never got a buzz going, just did a demo, sent it off and made it big. Even the biggest of the big, cut there teeth one way or another. How have you cut your teeth in the music scene? As a recorded company they want to know these kinds of things. Record companies try to minimize there risk, just like any other business would. I am just trying to tell you that you better have more to sell then a great demo. Hell they get plenty of those.
BTW there are some great studios in Atlanta that would be more then happy to help you with that demo. I do really wish you the best of luck and hope it all works out for you. Really I do.

Glenn
Old 2nd February 2007
  #26
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analogtodd's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by myfipie View Post
Ok Walker_ATL,

What is your background in music, your bio? Have you played live in front of a large crowd? What sets you apart from every other act out there? Why do you feel like you need to spend $20,000 on a demo if you can make one for around $2000.00. Is there something that would be missing from you songs?

"But most pop acts get signed BEHIND THE SCENES"

Name me 10 acts in the last 3 years that never toured, never played live, never got a buzz going, just did a demo, sent it off and made it big. Even the biggest of the big, cut there teeth one way or another. How have you cut your teeth in the music scene? As a recorded company they want to know these kinds of things. Record companies try to minimize there risk, just like any other business would. I am just trying to tell you that you better have more to sell then a great demo. Hell they get plenty of those.
BTW there are some great studios in Atlanta that would be more then happy to help you with that demo. I do really wish you the best of luck and hope it all works out for you. Really I do.

Glenn
The Fray played a handful of shows before they got signed
Old 2nd February 2007
  #27
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vernier's Avatar
American Idol, or showcase for Clive Davis ...not to want fame, but to show your great talents.
Old 2nd February 2007
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker_ATL View Post
I basically have $20k to start my career as a musician (mainstream Pop-Rock) and get signed. I can make sure that the right people will hear my music. So I don't have to spend any money on a publicist, entertainment lawyer or touring.

However, the $20k is seriously ALL I HAVE. What Should I do? I was thinking about recording a really strong and professional EP (3-4 songs) with it.

What's your advice guys? How should I spend the money? Should I spend it all on the recording, mixing and mastering of my EP? Only a part of it, and invest the rest in a great vocal teacher, stylist, photoshoot, production of an EPK?

I'm sure some of you guys have massive experience in this business. So I'd appreciate if you could share it with me and point me into the right direction.

Thank you,
Walker
and then...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker_ATL View Post
Labels only sign a handful of acts every year. If you arent even willing to invest like 5% of what your possible future label will eventually invest in you, then.... you get the deal. I dont really think 20k is THAT much in this business.
and then...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker_ATL View Post
People on here tend to think you NEED to sleep in a van for 10 years in order to get signed. That may be right with bands in the alternative or rock genre. But most pop acts get signed BEHIND THE SCENES. You dont see them touring, they've a good demo, pitch it to the label, and then either get signed or not. And that's what I am, a pop act making somewhat guitar driven music. And like I said before, I have the contacts to get my music to the right people (at big labels). So I dont need to tour, and necessarily create a buzz. All I really need to take care of is that my music sounds great, along with other factors (image, looks, etc).
Sounds like you've been around here for more than a post or two when you start generalizing about what "People on here tend to think." Are you also, perhaps, the DILEMMA - Artist or Songwriter/Producer guy:

Quote:
Originally Posted by quietdrive View Post
I have a couple of hit songs... labels, artists and publishing companies are interested in either signing me or using my songs. And we are not talking about some small stuff here, its more than the opposite.

Now the big question for me is:
Do I choose to be an artist or stay behind the scenes and work as a songwriter/producer?

I am not some 40-year old ugly dude with no options. I am in my early twenties, good looking and could totally pull of the whole "popstar" thing, but I am really thinking about what that'd all mean. The consequences are tremendous, especially the whole "fame thing", and getting recognized. Plus, it seems to me that financially you are more than screwed as an artist, compared to what songwriters and producers are making (the ones who are successful).

I already talked this over with a bunch of people but I cant make up my mind. I am really thinking about all of the pros and cons of the situation right now, and would appreciate some people with more experience in this business to share their thoughts on this with me.

Thanks in advance guys!
and then...
Quote:
Originally Posted by quietdrive View Post
Well, doesnt that also imply that labels promote all of their artists equally, with the same amount of passion, time, energy and cash? If thats what you think you're fool. 90% of the hit songs are already hit songs BEFORE they're released. People in suits decide they're hits. That's why they end up being played on radio and MTV. Not cause society likes them. Society doest decide what they like, they get told what to like.
etc.

The threads, the writing style, the reactions, are similar. And right after one thread rolls off, the other pops up.

What is it that you hope to get from this thread, or if you're that guy as well, either thread? If you are genuinely seeking the collective wisdom of this forum, is there something that you'd like to know that you feel you don't already know?

Matt
Old 2nd February 2007
  #29
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyt View Post
The Fray played a handful of shows before they got signed
Not sure about the Frey, but I will say that there are bands out there that have members that have done something which does help push them "in front of the line". Also I know of bands that have gotten so big just in there home town that they get a deal. But even with that it is more then what he is talking about.
Like I said I do wish that guy the best of luck, hell anything is possible.

Glenn
Old 2nd February 2007
  #30
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Record companies only sign stuff hundreds of people tell them is great.

You need to make thousands of people like your music without label involvement before a record company can come in and do what they do.

If it really is in the blink182 vein etc.. then get a damn great band together and play alot of shows. Your $20K wont last long, but if your songs are good enough it wont need to.

You can't buy a great demo, you need to write one first.
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