Sunday, December 15, 2013

Not Defining Your Goals is Like Sending A Boat Out to Sea With No Compass. You End Up Back Where You Started Or Hopelessly Lost

 A lot of people ask me, well not a lot more like several…. ok, one guy asked me how come I haven’t written any Mother Hubbard blogs in a while. Well the truth is cuz everything’s been pretty much ok. You see I don’t consider myself a writer, not in the sense that regular normal writers do. I am what I like to refer to as a soapbox writer; meaning I only write when I’m pissed off about something and want to get up on my soapbox and spew my opinions. It’s like therapy and it makes me feel better and it’s free. I tend to get riled up pretty easy about (perceived) injustices in the world, especially in the music business so you would think with the state of things there would be enough material to be typing 24/7. It would seem so wouldn’t it?  But there comes a time when the don’t give a shitter out weighs the need to preach and you realize peace of mind is a beautiful thing and let someone younger and more qualified fight the good fight. So instead of ranting at you fine people I tend to limit my rants to an audience of one with Mr. H and call it a day. But sometimes that gets kinda lonesome as he’s not much of a talker and occasionally nods off on me so here we are.

Every year at this time I start thinking about my goals for the New Year and sometime between Christmas and New Years day I will write them out. Now these aren’t New Years Resolutions. You know things like “I’m going to quit cussing” that I know I’m going to fail at during the first Cowboy game after January 1st. These are yearly goals, a blueprint if you will for what I/we would like to accomplish during the upcoming year in my Management Business….commonly referred to as Ray’s career.
I also like to write out personal goals, as I’m a firm believer in if you’re not growing you're going but we’re not here to talk about those. 

Goals aren’t to be confused with dreams…. dreams have no time limits and are more abstract…like I wanna be an Olympic ping pong champion or have Johnny Depp paint my toenails. I consider goals roadmaps to attainable dreams. Like a GPS for your life. Or as Napoleon Hill says “Goals are dreams with a deadline.”

So you are probably asking yourself is there a point here somewhere? Hang on; I’m getting there. How many of you reading this are aspiring musicians or songwriters? Judging by the Facebook profiles of the 2K plus “friends” I have that I’ve never met I’m willing to bet that most of you reading this are WGWG’s. (White guy/girl with guitar). And let me guess. Your friends tell you that you are as good as Randy Rogers. That’s great. Good for you. And ok I know what you’re thinking, if I would go check out your You Tube page and show it to Mr. H then more than likely he would call Willie and get him to record your song and well.... don’t get your Grammy speech polished up just yet. (You laugh but you’d be surprised how often we get this!). Oh I wish it were that easy.  

Ninety percent of the reason I don’t manage other artists is due to the unrealistic expectations most have on the work involved and the time it takes to succeed in the music business. It doesn’t just happen by chance. Oh I guess it does sometimes…even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while but that’s the exception not the norm.  The majority of those who have reached any level of success had a plan. And they wrote it down. And they checked it often and they adjusted where needed. I’d bet the farm Randy Rogers management didn’t just sit around posting videos to YouTube then wait for their big break.  I know them and they’re smart. 

The good news is that the process is really pretty simple. The bad news is that it takes some effort, consistency and realistic expectations and more important, talent.  The outline I use has pretty much been the same for 25 years. What is the goal, what steps need to be taken to achieve this goal and what do I already have going for me to achieve it.

Once you write these out put them someplace where you can look at them daily or at least weekly. Out of sight, out of mind is not just a catchy saying. Take the action on your list and be sure and celebrate your accomplishments. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. You have to participate in your career. You can't just show up and expect to make progress. Kinda like me buying cute yoga pants and putting them away in a drawer only to pull them out at the end of the year and wonder why I still can’t do a pretzel headstand.

So get out your paper or laptop, and get started. If you get stuck, I have a handy little .pdf file with an example to get you started. Or post a question and I will do my best to answer. But don’t send me an email cuz then I end up with 10 all asking the same question and that isn’t efficient. Now I’m off to practice my headstands and you all have a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Mother Hubbard

Friday, January 18, 2013

Is Katie Key Really The Wizard of Oz?

I got an mean tweet today from some young gal who is probably really nice and in reading some of her other tweets noticed she had sent my husband a nasty tweet a couple of days ago accusing him of speaking ill on twitter of a band he happens to be fond of. Now I can take the heat. I’m aware that my attempt at sarcastic humor often falls flat and I will take the shots when deserved. But Mr. H on the other hand is by God the closest thing I’ve ever met to Gandhi and I’ve met a lot of fucking people. Seriously the dude is kind, genuine and just flat doesn’t talk ugly to or about people. So when this little Christian girl who in between posting Scripture verses bashed both me and the Wylie Llama it got me all riled up, after it got me all sad. I thought it might be a good time to clear up some misconceptions floating around lately regarding the way things work in the music business for those fans and artists who may not otherwise know and may make judgments based on incorrect information.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that that my lack of formal education may in some eyes deem me less than qualified to expound upon numerical hypothesis. But I’d have to be eat up with the dumb ass to not be able to figure out a couple of things hanging around the music business as long as I have. The first is that getting to the top of the charts means one thing and one thing only. That your record got more spins than someone else’s that week. It doesn’t mean that you paid a promoter to do some back room deal to run your numbers up the magic chart flagpole or that Mr. Billboard or even Katie Key has decided to sprinkle success fairy dust on you that week. Frankly it’s preposterous to think they have the power to do so. The numbers are easy to check by anyone who wants to take the time to do so. Radio stations send a weekly report of how many times they play each song to the people who compile the various charts who then add up those numbers and bada bing it’s posted for all to see. Does being in the top ten mean you are more “successful” than someone else? Nope. Does it mean you are now on your way to fame, tour buses and piles of money? Nope. Is it an ego boost? Yep. Is it nice to brag about? Yep. Can it get you laid? Yep. Does it pay your light bill? Nope. It just means for that week your record was played more than someone else’s. It’s simple arithmetic really.

Now if because of those spins listeners go buy your record and attend your concerts then bravo; you’ve got something people respond to which could lead to success.

If on the other hand you get lots of spins and still don’t sell records or garner respectable numbers at shows then who are we to blame? I wouldn’t think it’s the stations or the promoters or the venues or the person at the charting company who compiled the numbers. Wouldn’t we blame the fans for not coming to the show or buying our record? Why of course not, that would be silly. So I guess that leaves the artist. As painful as it may be and believe me I have been on the lean end of the scale as often as the fat end (no puns on my ass size that’s not what we are talking about here) there is no one to blame for our lack of success but us.

Getting along with those in the industry certainly helps as it does in any industry. Networking is a large part of this business of music. Lashing out at others can, as should be expected cause people to not want to help you or do business with you. It takes a tremendous amount of work, a team of talented people, a good business plan and perseverance to make it in this industry. Being nice to people can make it easier. In addition to that you have to write good music, put on a good live show and eventually you will attract a following regardless of what your current status is on any chart and no single person or group of people in the business can do anything to control that. There are no victims, only volunteers. It sucks not be able to blame someone else.

We all have struggles regardless of what position we are in. As a fan, a manager, a blogger or a record promoter none of us are immune to the daily challenges of this business and none of deserve to be blamed for others mistakes or failures.

There was a guy that said a long time ago and I believe that it still holds true that we should treat others, as we would like to be treated. We all came to the party because of the music, those of us who stay do so because of the music and when it’s all said and done that’s all that should really matter.