Something I hear so often from unsigned singers, rappers, producers etc is “I just need a team to be successful in the music industry”. And to put it simply, they’re right. An artist’s career would be stalled without a manager and similarly a manager would be no one without anyone to manage.
But there is a fatal flaw in those poor souls saying “I need a team”. The real cry for help should be “how can I find a team?”, and to take it a step further, they really should be asking “how do I pick the right team?”.
Though these questions are rather straightforward, the answer if far from it. There truly is a lot of things that come into play when picking a team that can make tomorrow’s next star and the bottom line comes down to, well, money. The reality is that most people entering this industry don’t have a million dollar budget to get them off the ground (and if you do, find my contact information).
But for nearly all aspiring artists, this is not the case. So they’re faced with a sobering projection of their future – no money means no team, and no team means no success. But even worse, it’s this same group of talent that thinks it is impossible to get people to work with/for you for free! There is nothing further from the truth.
Let me explain.
Step One: Pick The Most Important Piece First
Let’s start with the most important part of the team. Remember building a team is just like building a house, start with the foundation first, then work on the plumbing, then the electric wiring and so on.
If you’re trying to start a career in the music, hiring a manager is the equivalent to laying down the foundation. Now if you are a new artist and don’t even have original pieces of music and are years from getting a paid gig, then most likely a manager isn’t your most important piece. But always remember that your first step in building your team is selecting a qualified manager.
Step Two : Get People On Board
Step two would then be working to prove to other that’s you’re worth the investment of their time, money and other resources. Talent is something that is something that cannot be denied, so get yourself out there and prove you are a star.
Once you get buy-in from others, there will be a stampede of people looking to get on board your team, and if you do your job in proving you’re the real deal, you’ll get people to actually agree to work with you without having to put a dollar down.
Right now, most of you are thinking “how in the world would I get someone to work with me for free?”. Well it’s actually much simpler than you think.
Let me just say that technology has made the music industry increasing easy to enter. Anyone can record a song on their phone, laptop or home studio and then post it to a music hosting site and then BOOM, you’re in the music industry.
So as someone just entering the industry, you have to capitalize on how technology can instantly give you a platform to put your talents on display to essentially billions of people. After enough self-promotion, someone is going to think you’re the perfect compliment to what they have to offer, and if someone doesn’t want to join your team, move on because someone else thinks you’re worth it.
Step Three: Give Up Some Equity
Now this step is where things can get a little sticky, simply because it involves business and business does not directly equate to friendship.
Have you ever heard the saying “Nothing in this world is free?”. I’m sure you have, and you better take it seriously. Yes, you can get people to join your team for free early on, but eventually, you will have to compensate them for their work.
The good thing is, not all forms of payment is money. I am going to assume you do not have money to pay people for their services and that’s ok, just have to get creative. What I recommend is exchanging equity, or ownership of whatever you and your team produces, for their services. Breaking off percentages to everyone on your team that reflects how much they’ve helped you make music is just plain fair and is something that even the biggest stars do.
If you are a rapper, but can’t pay a producer to make a beat, be prepared to give him 30% of what the song earns off of album sales, iTunes sales and even Spotify royalties . Now if you do have the money to pay team members I strongly recommend you do that as to own 100% of the rights to your music. But if not, giving up some ownership of a piece of music will work just fine with most people.
Step Four: Get To Work
Now you might be asking “Well I don’t just want to work with just anybody. What if they’re not good?”. I know as a talented person entering this industry, you feel like you should be working with the best of the best, but everyone starts somewhere.
If you are finding people that agree to work with you for a future cut of the project’s earning and you are turning them down, ask yourself this: Why am I turning them down?
If it is because in fact they are not a match to your artistic vision, then find people that do. On the other hand, if they keep turning you down then you need rethink your own direction.
Nobody got anywhere without any practice, so if people are agreeing to work with you and you’re turning them down, you’re not getting any reps in trying to build something. So be humble, be open to new ways of doing things. Even after all this and you’re still hesitant to pull others into your fold and believe you are much more talented than your team, the cream always rises to the top.
So keep working and putting out music and get yourself heard. Someone out there believes in your talents and would more than love to be apart of what you have to represent. Take that first step, that leap of faith and watch what happens.Talented people will find you.