Rap Coalition

A HOW-TO RESOURCE FOR RAP ARTISTS, PRODUCERS, & DJs. Since knowledge is power, here is your best defense to succeed in the urban music industry...

Monday, July 28, 2008

It is very rare that I read something awesome enough to make the blog at both Rap Coalition as well as my personal Blog. Mic Fiend sent me this copy of a piece about Networking from DJ Vlad's MySpace page. It came at the PERFECT time. Last weekend, I received an incredibly stank email from someone who had sent me an email sometime ago requesting we "network." His rant was unclear--either I didn't respond to his email (I get 400+ emails a day) or I declined the opportunity to "network" with yet another wanna-be in this industry who has not accomplished anything to prove himself. Yes, I wish I had all the time in the world to converse with some idiot who hasn't succeeded at shit on his own in this industry, in an area of this industry that doesn't even affect me or my Coalition one bit (event planning). What a dick. And the fact that he wrote me a bitter email about it REALLY made him look like a bitch! And I told him what I thought about his little tirade. I went hard on him (as I should have). He needs to unbunch his panties and get a clue...

Anyway, a few days later, this brilliant email hit my Blackberry. I dunno, Vlad probably got the same angry email from the same angry ass wipe who signed his email "Tennis Pro." Go back to tennis, asshole...your attitude is wack for urban music! Anyway, here goes:

Your network determines your net worth”

A lot of people email me everyday to try to ‘network’. Most of the time, they don’t understand what networking really means.

Your network is people that you have done actual business with - not people that you have seen in the club. I’ve had conversations with Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and Puffy multiple times. I didnt’ have any business that I could bring to them at that time, so they’re not in my network.

I met the founder of Ask.com when he was first starting his company. I had a recruiting company and helped to hire a lot of his first employees. The company eventually became a billion dollar company, and the founder bacame a multi-millionaire. Whenever I’ve brought good business ideas to him, he would put up the money and help to develop the businesses. He’s also in my network.

“I’m hot but I’m broke, put me on” is begging

“I’ve got a project with a budget that I want to work with you on. We have $10,000 dollars for you upfront” is networking

“I’m gonna blow up one day and then you can take your cut” is begging

“I’ve sold 20,000 copies of my last 2 releases and have the soundscan numbers to prove it. Let’s do our next project together and we’ll split the profits” is networking

“your beats are hot, let me bless one for free” is begging

“I would like to purchase beat 9 right now - let’s work out a price” is networking

“I wanna get signed” is begging

“I have deals on the table from Interscope and Def Jam. I need to build up my buzz more so I can get a better deal. Let’s work together and I’ll give you X% of the deal” is networking

Professionals network with other professionals. Hobbiests network with other hobbiests. If you make your living off your music - you’re a professional. If you don’t earn your living off your music - you’re a hobbiest. This is not my opinion - it’s the dictionary definition.

(Source: DJ Vlad @ Myspace)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Grading the Radio Groups

Posted: 14 Jul 2008 02:02 AM CDT

By Jerry Del Colliano

There is a military term for a situation caused by too many inept officers -- clustering -- referring to the insignia worn by majors and LT. Colonels, oak leaf clusters.

In Clint Eastwood's 1983 movie about the invasion of Grenada (Heartbreak Ridge), Eastwood, who played Gunnery Sergeant Highway had this dialogue with a colonel during a readiness exercise.

Col. Meyers: What's your assessment of this situation, Gunny?

Highway: It's a cluster f@#K, sir.

Col. Meyers: Say again?

Highway: Marines are fighting men. They shouldn't be sitting around on their sorry asses filling out request forms for equipment they should already have, sir.

Talented radio people shouldn't be sitting around trying to find ways to shave more expenses off their programming. They should already have that ammunition ready to fight competitors, new media and mobile.

The problem is not the Internet -- it's a challenge (albeit a big one).

The problem is not the next generation -- after all, radio virtually ignored Gen Y while owners were stuffing more stations in their clusters and the next generation simply moved on.

It's not mobile media -- although mobile media could have had a radio in it, but not without a strong affinity to what was on the radio. So, this is not simply a technology issue that escaped us.

It could be that there are some inept officers running some very influential radio companies.

These COOs and CEOs make cutbacks in order to live from quarter to quarter. Yet they are paid millions in compensation and benefits -- the fruits of power that has been bestowed upon some, frankly, inept "leaders" for the better part of a decade.

They do it all in the name of shareholder value.

Don't get me wrong, there is some good talent atop some radio groups, but you be the judge as to who is earning their keep and who is hurting their shareholders, employees -- and the entire industry.

I'm just saying, compare the standard they set for themselves -- the Holy Grail, shareholder value -- and see how they've done:


$35.42 and only because their buyout price guarantees $36 or else, who knows what it would be worth today. Maybe $9-15? CCU was $91.75 on February 4th, 2000 and after that date the share price was never higher. This is the bellwether stock for radio -- the largest owner with 1,100 stations. No wonder the founding Mays family can't beat it to the door fast enough for one more paycheck. Their legacy may very well be that they single-handedly helped lead the radio industry into the doldrums through inept management and lack of vision.


$17.17 at closing on Friday. CBS was as high as $88.70 in winter, 2004 although it has paid dividends recently and has been reconfigured away from parent Viacom -- all factors that make it difficult to judge apples with apples. It also includes television -- another dying business with the next generation. CBS Radio President Joel Hollander didn't know what he was doing and when his successor, Dan Mason, showed up, he was smart enough to understand that CBS needed to program to the available radio audience and has tried to rebuild stations while corporate pressures forced him to make cutbacks -- not good.


$9.95 and beginning to worry Wall Street. Cox stock had been in the $30 range in 1998 and never got higher. Cox President Bob Neil, like CBS' Mason is smart. But Neil is increasingly distracted with the holy jihad he is conducting against Arbitron's People Meter instead of keeping his eyes on his fries. Neil is also wise enough to cut spot loads -- a battle worth fighting publicly. Neil knows radio must tighten inventory and charge more. He should be leading on these issues and not conducting food fights with Arbitron over PPM.


$5.62 at the bell Friday. Saga shareholders were no doubt happier in 2002 when its stock priced at $23. Since then it has never been higher. Downhill all the way. Saga chief Ed Christian never strayed from his plan to run a consolidated small market radio company and he deserves credit for that as analysts agree radio is somewhat healthier in smaller markets. Christian surprised at least one of his employees when he joined Cox's fight against Arbitron's People Meter -- some perceiving it as a personal crusade. Misguided to say the least -- as long as more important issues are on the table.


$5.18 Friday -- a far cry from $65.88 in Feb 4, 2000 then down you go. Shareholders must have had great faith in Entercom to value it with the big boys but it languishes today through lack of vision and ordinary operating strategies -- a big fall from grace by radio's preferred judgment standard -- shareholder value.


$2.73 -- a $50 stock in 2002 and then steadily down. Another small market strategy that went awry. Even with the benefit of small market economics Cumulus is getting too close to becoming a $1 stock. This in spite of the fact that the Dickey's knew they needed to get out, but were not able to make a buyout happen in the current financial atmosphere.


$1.56 at the end of last week -- $56.56 in January, 2000 and then never above that high. CEO Jeff Smulyan runs an honest company with excellent assets (I'm speaking about the employees here). But he has a problem -- too much dependence on New York and LA which has been a roller coaster ride -- particularly down lately. Smulyan has tried several times to take the company private and has run into opposition. In my opinion, he was willing to overpay to go private. Guess shareholders aren't that smart. Selling at $19 sounds better to me than closing at $1.56. Nonetheless, even good people with a good leader can't muster more value than a buck and a half.


What a great name for this stock since it is worth around one dollar -- $1.05 on Friday. Radio One had worked its way up to $23.30 in May, 2002. The Liggins family has not been able to show vision that has been any better than their peers as this company flirts with being delisted.


83 cents -- you read that right -- 83 cents. Citadel was $22 ten years ago when the ABC merger wasn't even a glimmer in anyone's eye and Citadel has been declining ever since. Citadel is a particular disgrace as a public company because its shareholders see fit to compensate their CEO, Farid Suleman, at the $11 million a year level -- and they pay the taxes as part of his deal. This spits in the face of the Citadel employees who are working at a great disadvantage -- minus a leader who knows the way out of all this trouble. Suleman's accounting background leads him to default to cutting expenses and dismissing talented people rather than investing in a company that could have a digital future.

So, there you have just a few of the reasons the radio industry is in the toilet. There are more. Believe me, I didn't leave out any success stories -- at least from the stock price perspective, their own barometer for success.

Which brings me back to my original premise.

Radio is being run by a few inept people in very influential places.

But even if they are forcing talented managers, programmers, on-air people and sales executives to carry out their budgetary orders, well -- let me quote Eastwood's Gunny Highway here -- "Just because we're holding hands doesn't mean we'll be taking warm showers together until the wee hours of the morning".

Monday, July 07, 2008

Excerpt: 'Tour Smart'by Martin Atkins

Reprinted from NPR.org

NPR.org, July 3, 2008 - Language Advisory: This excerpt contains language some readers may find offensive.

CHAPTER 56: Marketing IV — 61 Strategies For A More Successful Show

A lot of this might sound like economics, marketing, demographics, and whatever that you might not be interested in, but all of this enables a great show, sweaty bodies, and that magic that makes your head tingle. If you don't want to deal with this and other aggressive strategies, find someone in the band who does or put your Wal-Mart uniform in the washer — you're going to need it.

1. Give your ticket-buying fans plenty of time to commit. Time is a huge factor in determining the success of a show. And give yourself time to promote! There is an exponential growth curve to ticket sales. The sooner you begin the process, the more tickets you will sell. Unless of course, your band is shit.

2. Tour within a reasonable time of a new release. You can gain some traction from a larger presence in stores and online and during a short window of attention and radio play. Take advantage of your record label (if you are signed). Enhance the chances of getting good reviews and having those reviews mention your live appearances. Tag a multi cut co-op ad with "Appearing at ..." It is great for the venue owner to see that someone else is shouldering some of the financial burden and increases the chances of stores putting up your posters.

3. Create Your Own Event! (See that chapter).

4. Play the right venue. If you are a Country Western band, play a Country Western venue. It is very, very difficult to capitalize on a catastrophe . So don't have one. No one cares that you played the wrong club on the wrong night in a snowstorm during a curfew. All they care about is the fact that no one was there.

5. Play the right venue on the right night!

6. Play where your fans are. Use your web site or database to find out where your fans are — go play there! (Thanks Zim)

7. Listen to Sun Tzu, "Don't take your country to war unless you are certain of the outcome." If your band is based in the Midwest, why, why, why — other than hanging out with members of Ratt or buying speed from the waitress at some cocktail lounge on the Sunset Strip — would you go to LA? You should carefully expand your geographical range, you stand a chance of having your best street teamers and fans travel 50 to 100 miles to a city you have never played in before. Turn it into a crusade (because it is). Once you are more than 100 miles away from a place you have already played, it gets tough. Without any eyes and ears on the ground, you could be heading for a problem show. Do research on the web, and if you cannot guarantee success, at least avoid humiliating disaster.

8. Advertise in Secondary Markets! If you have covered all the bases in the city you are playing in, then before you spend ten more dollars in that city, spend that money in the closest secondary market. You will getter a better return.

9. Be aware of larger tours going though a big city or its secondary market within ten weeks of your show. One, you should avoid playing the same night as a much larger band in a similar genre — or in the event of a larger tour that milks all of the money from your scene, make sure you are at least one pay period away! Unless it's a late, late, after-show party with a $5-off-the-ticket stub. Two, use the event as a parking lot flyering opportunity. Use the huge following of the other tour as an easy opportunity for you or your reps to advertise your show. Put up posters in the toilets; buy a ticket for a rep to get into the show. Be careful if it's a competing promoter, they will not like you advertising in their venue. Talk to the promoter of your event — he might end up being the promoter of the larger event. Use a larger event like this as a genre boost and piggyback on its success.

10. Involve a strong local band as an opener. But be careful. Local bands often play their market too much. Confirm the information they give you: How many people are on their e-mail list? Do they have a local street team that will help? Have they played recently? Are there any other bands that would be good additions to the show? Sometimes a local band doesn't realize the full nature of their role in the success of a show. Explain to them that they have the opening slot not just because you like their music, but because they kick butt in the flyering department and are willing to travel to neighboring markets and you really need them to do that for this show, too. Be prepared to offer the band similar services and hospitality in your town (Oh my God, an alliance!). Suggest that you will open for them if they have a good local draw. The main thing is to play for people. Anything you can do to play to more people sooner will be beneficial.

11. Plan, promote, push. Use my five pointed star inward crush. This can be applied on a large scale with cities or on a smaller scale with suburbs and secondary markets. Each point of the star is a show within driving distance of a larger city or show, play each of the points of the star first then incentivize your new fans to come to the main show. Plan, promote, push! Use a venue or a night that has developed a loyal following (a built-in) to your advantage. Look at the strategies in the booking chapter to increase the chances of success.

12. Provide a service to another, larger band that needs help. Offer your resources, whether they be equipment, transportation, or road crew help. Buy a larger vehicle and offer space to another band if there are four of you and you can afford a vehicle. This can also help you cut costs ... if you do it right. Make sure to include all expenses involved (gas, repairs, etc.). See the Transportation Chapter for more.

13. Give your show a name. Five or six disconnected small events in New York City became a week long assault when Jaz, the singer from Killing Joke, titled the week "Days of Sweat and Madness."

14. Involve a sponsor! If you know ahead of time about any support you are getting, it might make it easier for you to get a decent show and a decent offer. There is no shortage of companies looking to involve themselves in the promotional power of music. Make sure there is some kind of a fit and give value and courtesy to the sponsor. Send them pictures, keeping them involved even after the time for their help is over. Take any help that is offered. If it isn't exactly what you need, it is still the beginning of a relationship — and more help than none.

15. Involve a local radio station! It doesn't have to be a commercial radio station to be of assistance to the success of your show. Commercial stations might have a show such as "Local 101" on Chicago's Q101, where they feature local bands (another reason to involve a local band in your show). If you are getting airplay at the college level, talk to the promotions department about giving away free tickets with CDs or shirts for the show. This way every time they give away a ticket they will be announcing the show. Do this as early as possible. The promotional materials have to be at the station before they begin to give anything away.

16. Save some resources to kick into higher gear in problem markets. Make sure you have something left in your war chest for problems.

17. Talk to the promoter. Sometimes a DJ from the venue might also be a DJ at the radio station, a bartender, a journalist, or work at the record store. It's the same amount of effort to send a package to the right person as it is to the wrong person.

18. Get a media list from the venue. The venue is going to be your best source of the top five or ten places you need hit. This helps you allocate your resources and send packages to the right people. If the venue cannot send you a media list or come up with one off the top of their head it is a red flag and you need to be on your toes.

19. Get information out to local press. Keep the information simple and direct. Bullet points. No one has time or desire to learn how you and the guitarist met. Provide links to easily downloadable graphics and help them fill their paper with things people want to see. Make sure the listing goes out and the information is correct.

20. Send the venue elements for their website. Well-mastered music that slams and sounds good on the web — not the song with the really long, quiet, acoustic intro. And all the bullet points of good promotion: photographs, a few sentences for some respected resources, links to reviews, etc.

21. Get information to the local record store — and any other stores. Call. Send a poster. Tell them when you are playing. Maybe someone there works at the venue or is in the band opening for you (ask the promoter). These types of contacts could give you feedback on the venue such as, "Oh God, you are playing there! On a Tuesday!" Good stores are happy to help, within reason. Do not, not, not suggest an in-store appearance unless you are, in fact, Michael Stipe of REM. There is no such thing as a "moderately well-received" in-store or a "good" in-store. They are either fantastic or catastrophic. If in doubt, watch Spinal Tap. There are some record stores in remote parts of the country who have stages and welcome touring bands. This is because there are no alternatives close by. Take this opportunity to dazzle, amaze, and befriend an audience (hopefully) and a record store owner at the same time.

22. Track your packages. If you wait two weeks to call to make sure a package has been received, that's when you find out the person who does the booking is only there on Thursday and you called on a Friday, so you call back the following Thursday and that's when you find out that the package hasn't been received, and you just blew three weeks. FedEx is expensive. You can FedEx Ground something for $7 or $8 or add delivery confirmation from USPS for $0.60 then you can allocate your resources. FedEx packages to the 10 or 20 most important venues and use a cheaper method for the additional packages. Follow up within a few days of the venue receiving the package. That way, if they say they didn't get the package, you can refer to your organized notes and let them know who signed for it. This might lead them to finding your package and opening it.

23. Make sure that you "guest list" people from these outlets that want to take the time to come and support you. It is not enough to put somebody on the guest list. Make sure the guest list gets to the door before the doors are open. Also, make SURE it is typed and alphabetized and your band leader, manager, or rep checks with the door man frequently in the first hour or two, less frequently after that. Use the guest list to help a show that needs an attendance boost.

24. Type the guest list. Even if you only have seven people on the guest list — still type it. You'll get into the habit and what was a seven person guest list at 3 p.m. might explode into a 58-person list by the time the three radio stations that you didn't know about bring you their give-away lists. Bonus: When you are typing up the seven person guest list, you realize that your ink cartridge is fucked. Even though you bought three (like I'm going to tell you somewhere else in this book), you realize that the keyboard player has stolen them again so he can print more "Bass Players Suck" stickers to plaster in the bus toilet, and it's the night before the big LA show. You don't want to be tooling around LA at 4 p.m. looking for an Office Depot, do you?

25. BUY ON. If you are independently wealthy or injured in a car accident, you can buy on to a larger show or event with a guaranteed attendance for an evening.

26. Give away free tickets. There is nothing as bad as a poorly attended show. And now you get to go up one of the ladders on the Chutes and Ladders board.

27. Sell tickets to an event through your own website. Once you realize that getting people to commit early is essential to a successful show, begin to guarantee success by pairing up tickets on a deal: "Two for One," "Buy a ticket, get a free shirt," "Buy a pair of tickets at full price, get a free shirt and a laminate." These are all strategies that don't cost very much, but are very effective. Not only do advance ticket sales help with your cash fl ow and the financial crunch of getting the tour out the door, they also open up lines of communication with fans from other cities. If you have never played in Atlanta before and 20 tickets sell quickly, give these eager fans information (now you have their e-mails) and they can help boost word of mouth and create success. Present this as a "Free ticket to the show when you buy a CD" or "Free ticket to the show when you buy a T-shirt" deal. Let the promoter know that you are aggressively promoting the show on the web by giving away t-shirts and CDs with the purchase of tickets and that you will be ready to make a ticket buy the day of the show if necessary. Track sales by city — you can use this information to allocate funds accordingly.

28. eBay a ticket or a concert! See the story about Local H in the Using the Web chapter. They auctioned a concert on eBay and were wildly successful.

29. Give away an iPod. Advertise a free iPod on the web. You can also offer prizes: get some giveaways from local sponsors like gift cards from a music store, clothing store, or tattoo shop. Put the logo of the shops who donate gifts on the fl yer. When people buy tickets to your show from your site, enter their name into a drawing. This enables you to see how well the show could do (or not) and act accordingly.

30. Bundle This is a new trend for concert tickets. Prince did it first — I think with no label. Every concert ticket came with the new CD. Good idea removing the choice, removing the Soundscan hassle, and jacking up sales. Be careful — overaggressive bundling can cause a backlash. Make sure you are giving value to your fans, not ripping them off.

I just called to get tickets for the Chicago FIRE soccer team playing Chelsea FC — one of the best teams in the UK premiership division. "Great!" I thought. "$70 isn't bad for two tickets." The girl told me that was part of the "two-for" deal. Err. No, she called me back to tell me it was actually $90 — you get tickets to see The Fire play DC United in September... ugh! It's not a rip off as such; I can tell myself that at $20 a ticket, I'll take the family, etc. But it certainly is outside-of-the- (penalty) box thinking and aggressive as fuck! At the Chelsea game, there were license plates from New York and Minnesota ... you can bet none of those people came back up to see DC United.

31. Have a contest. I know it seems like maybe it's lame and one step away from bingo, but these strategies work — especially when they are smart and imaginative. You can read about Luke's strategy with Dope in the merchandising section and Local H's eBay strategy earlier in this section. Here's a great one from Pegasus Unicorn, a band in Erie, PA. They had a gumball machine on stage. The person with the prize winning gumball (like the Willy Wonka Chocolate bar) got a song written about them on their new album. See? It doesn't have to cost a fortune to be priceless.

32. Don't ever be an Asshole ... to your fans! Don't be an asshole to anybody who shows up. They showed up! If only 50 people show up to see you in a 400 capacity venue, it's 50 people more than NONE. Don't sit in the dressing room for an extra hour waiting for another 300 people to show up from nowhere, because the promoter said, "It's a late crowd." (He or she is correct — the Tuesday night crowd is so late you won't see them 'til Friday.) Instead, rise above. This is your mistake, not theirs. Given a chance, and some help and encouragement, a small crowd will go to great lengths to prove that each one of them equals five in number — which is great, especially if they buy stuff. Don't tell them to come to the front ... they won't. Don't be an asshole to the promoter, nobody needs it. You are going to have to make them a lot of money to make them consider dealing with you again. You may not get the chance to apologize. Promoters are people, too, running their own business in a very competitive field, overworked and stressed.

33. Recognize and reward. If you are in a city for the second time, stay on top of your database and make sure that people who have helped you in the past are recognized and rewarded on the guest list. If you cannot give them a shirt, do something that at least lets them know they are valued. Spend some time; they have earned it.

34. Get and give accurate information. It is difficult for one person to tell another person (you) that ticket sales are bad and no one really likes your band. If a promoter knows he or she is talking to the artist, your request for a ticket count will probably elicit the response that everything is fine or some nebulous feel-good response. What you have to get from them is an accurate and up-to-date count of the actual number of tickets sold. This will enable you to use your limited resources wisely, in the place where they are most needed to prevent problems.

35. Think about alternative places to promote. Local press, radio stations, and record stores are constantly bombarded by bands, managers, etc., daily and hourly. You could target nontraditional outlets such as tattoo and piercing, hair, clothing, and the skate/snowboard markets. Sending out hundreds of promotional CDs to record stores is like sending buckets of stupidity to President Bush. When we sent CDs to clothing stores, we got phone calls thanking us. Anytime you can ignite a reaction from anyone, it is a good beginning of something, which is more than nothing. And by constructively forming relationships with retailers, you might get plugged in to more opportunities that could be helpful later on.

36. Do a Promotional Postcard!

37. Print your poster in small quantities. If you're a new band, make your posters at Kinko's or somewhere that allows you to print a small quantity. As soon as you get good press, put this information on your poster so that you can adapt, react, and regurgitate. People want opinions of the band that aren't from the band.

38. Partially underwrite some of the expense of the tour by selling the other side of the promotional postcard to a band that's too lazy to leave home. Remember: you are not just offering half of the postcard; you are offering to place that postcard at the center of a group of fans. You will be saving them a ton of postage and spreading seeds on fruitful ground. You might fi nd a clothing company, a printer, a graphic artist, anyone who might be interested in a real concrete promotional opportunity.

39. Make the booth the reason to go to the show. Cool shirts, free samplers, free stickers, etc. are all extra incentives to come to a show. Make sure people know you're going to have a cool booth to add one more reason why they should not miss your show. Make the booth the only place to get the new CD with three songs from the upcoming album.

40. Get as many e-mail addresses as you can when you have people assembled to see you. Make sure you use this opportunity to say hello. You will need these emails when you begin the process all over again. Be prepared to give stuff away when you begin. No one is going to buy an album from a band they've never heard.

41. Pay attention to age limits, curfews, and transportation availability so you can advise your fans and compensate when possible.

42. Pay attention to routing and your fans' income streams. Sarah Williams, a student in my class, suggested that if your band is doing the flower petal routing on the weekends you should either: avoid the end of the month and hit the middle of the month when everyone has more money or ...

43. Play for free. As a new band, you're not going to get paid much (if at all), so why not just bite the bullet and play for free? At the end of the month no one has any money. You can understand and avoid this fact by using the strategy above or understand and use it by playing at the end of the month for free. The bands that have the most to gain by this strategy also have the least to lose. If you're only making $150/show, that means that after gas and fog juice you're only putting $15 a piece in your pocket anyway. So be heroes—play for free. It'd be popular as all hell with fans, help you get some new fans, and make all of the other bands in town look like bourgeois money grabbing fuckheads..........and, the upside could be huge! If it goes off well and people drink a lot you might even end up getting paid.

44. Always double double-check everything! See the Cyanotic example in Case Studies.

45. Use a hot issue to your advantage. Global warming, politics, voting, human rights, animal rights, education, music—but mean it!

46. Hire a celebrity to sit in with your band. "Featuring a special sit in from Mr. xxxx xxxx on xylophone."

47. Create a smaller event four weeks before the main event as a satellite publicity device. Be your own advance man. This could be a small acoustic show, a reading, a DJ night, a BBQ in the park, a lecture, an art event—anything that gets people out. So now you're saying "What, I was happy blaming my agent, but now in addition to suggesting I create my own event, now you want me to create another event four weeks before my other event?" Yes!

48. See the "Experience Is Good" list in the appendix ...

49. Don't travel too far away from your home base. When you create an accidental collision of events you have to be able to go back to that city to put that smoke in a jar. See the Project .44 Case Study as an example.

50. Stay sober. In his piece about accounting, Darren Guccione advised taking care of mind and body and pointed out that even the most amazing accountant is no match for drugs. For a band starting off it seems that all kinds of problems would be helped if they were dealt with by at least one or two members of the band being sober. It's easy to get pulled into the world of sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll and get swept up into the idea of what you think it is. The reality is that it's very hard work, the pinnacle of three-dimensional-multi-tasking, and next to impossible if you don't know exactly what you're doing all of the time. Instead of having a designated driver in the band, I'd suggest the opposite; a designated idiot. It's that person's job to get drunk that day; insult the soundman; accidentally unplug something on stage; trash a mic, a guitar, a monitor, something to the value of around $150: insult some fans; puke in someone's car; get lost; fall asleep; delay the band's departure by several crucial hours; piss themselves, and then puke in the van.

51. Get GPS. Here's a really easy way to have a better show: Don't get fucking lost on the way there, you stupid fuck! Someone in the band needs to get directions to the venue from Mapquest, a road map at the library, or your $300 GPS system. If you're late to the venue, you're not going to get a soundcheck, you're going to be stressed, and you're going to sound like shit.

52. Don't think of the promoter as a promoter. That's as misleading as calling a guarantee a guarantee. The safest philosophy for you is to think of them as door openers and remind yourself that that is the only thing you are relying on them to do. Anything else will be a pleasant surprise. As your experience of different promoters grows you'll find some who are fantastic and some who don't care. If in doubt, use this strategy.

53. Don't give up your day job. Once you give up your day job you have to invest completely in the idea that one day you're going to be huge and you become susceptible to pie in the sky philosophies. With the grounding of a day job, or two, or three, you're more likely to have the resources you need to make smarter choices about touring. You'll be able to play for free and start the building process.

54. Create a guest list of the twenty-five coolest people you know three to four weeks in advance of your event. Then these influential types will become part of your promotional team (See more from Curse Mackey in the Chapter on Creating Your Own Event chapter).

55. Put a celebrity in your merch booth.

56. Be your advance/promotions team. Create a reason to be in a tour city six to ten weeks ahead of your show: a DJ slot, spoken word appearance, anything. While you are there you can do a radio interview, stop by local stores to tell them about the show and leave postcards, meet with your street team and play them new tracks from your new album, give them the materials they need, and plant the seeds for greater success.

57. Tour in the smallest, most efficient vehicle you can - not the coolest. One of our bands had a 1970's bus and they spent more time painting the flames down the side than they did planning their tour or making sure the brakes worked (which they didn't).

58. Tour in the coolest vehicle you can. Never mind efficiencies and size - this will become your unique signature.

59. Don't play a market too often, especially your own. An exciting event is one that doesn't happen every three weeks.

60. Buy on to a larger tour for regional dates. Then book shows in smaller venues in each of those markets four weeks later. Use your buy-on as the reason to get the smaller club shows that have previously eluded you.

61. Have a new shirt for every new home market show. This does two things: it makes you have a new shirt for every show, and it might make you stop playing your home market to the point that all of the people that used to love you more than any other band on the planet now hate you because of the impositions you are making on their time. Go and ask your biggest fan right now, "Would you like it if we played every two weeks?" They'll say yes...then move to another country. You might say, "We could only have a new shirt designed, printed, and ready for a show every three months" ... OK! Maybe your fans will get into the habit of collecting the shirts from each show. As long as it's four per year, it's special and cool. And you'll be the band that has special stuff at every show... someone will wear the shirt from the show two years ago and people will talk about it.

And for heaven's sake, try writing a Thank You Card! I'm not saying that a thank you card is an unusual thing ... but we should have included an oxygen tank with each one!

Excerpted from Tour:Smart by Martin Atkins Copyright © 2007 by Martin Atkins. Excerpted by permission of Smart Books a division of Soluble, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher

By, The Music Specialist

History helps one know not only where you come from, but why certain things recur within an industry. The history of Disc Jockeys is quite interesting.

Created in the southern United States, the juke joint was a spot for dancing, drinking, gambling and listening to music. By 1927, The Automatic Music Instrument Company created the world's first electrically amplified multi selection phonograph and the jukebox provided the music for the juke joints. Prohibition assured the jukeboxes success, as every underground speakeasy needed music, but could not afford a live band. Tavern owners were privileged to have a jukebox, which drew in customers, and was provided by an operator at no charge.

In 1935, American commentator Walter Winchell coined the term "disc jockey" (the combination of "disc", referring to the disc records, and "jockey", which is an operator of a machine) as a description of radio announcer Martin Block, the first announcer to become a star. While his audience was awaiting developments in the Lindbergh kidnapping, Block played records and created the illusion that he was broadcasting from a ballroom, with the nation's top dance bands performing live. The show, which he called Make Believe Ballroom, was an instant hit. The term "disc jockey" appeared in print in Variety in 1941.

During the second World War the first DJ's appeared as entertainers for troops overseas, persons armed with a turntable, an armful of records, and a basic amplifier would entertain troops in mess halls, spinning Glen Miller, the Andrews sisters, and Benny Goodman. It was much easier than sending an entire band overseas.

In 1943, Jimmy Savile launched the world's first DJ dance party by playing jazz records in the upstairs function room of the Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherd's in Otley, England. In 1947, he became the first DJ to use twin turntables for continuous play. Also in 1947, the Whiskey à Go-Go nightclub opened in Paris, France, considered to be the world's first discothèque, or disco (deriving its name from the French word, meaning a nightclub where the featured entertainment is recorded music rather than an on-stage band). Discos began appearing across Europe and the United States.

Within the United States the jukebox became the staple of nightclubs and lounges that didn't have "live" talent. In the 1950s, American radio DJs would appear live at "sock hops" and "platter parties" and assume the role of a human jukebox. They would usually play 45-rpm records featuring hit singles on one turntable, while talking between songs. In some cases, a live drummer was hired to play beats between songs to maintain the dance floor. These announcers where instrumental in the creation of the music industry as we know it today, Alan Freed, Jockey Jack Gibson, Dick Clark, Al Benson ALL where DJ's that expanded this industry. Meanwhile in Jamaica the concept of sound systems developed from enterprising record shop disc jockeys with reliable American connections for 45s. "Toasting" began in Jamaica dance halls - considered to be a direct link to rap music and Technics introduced the Direct Drive System, SP-10 turntable.
Kool Herc considered to be the first hip-hop DJ developed "Cutting Breaks." In 1969 Herc adapted his style by chanting over the instrumental or percussion sections of the day's popular songs. Because these breaks were relatively short, he learned to extend them indefinitely by using an audio mixer and two identical records in which he continuously replaced the desired segment. By using two identical records and playing the break over and over switching from one deck to the other. Hip hop derived from "hip hoppin" on the turntable.
In the mid-1970s, the soul-funk blend of dance music known as Disco took off in the mainstream pop charts in the United States and Europe, causing discotheques to experience a rebirth. Unlike many late 1960s clubs, which featured live bands, discotheques used the DJs selection and mixing of records as the entertainment. In 1975, Record pools began, enabling disc jockeys access to newer music from the industry in an efficient method.
In 1975 Grand Wizard Theodore in New York City discovers the scratch. The story behind the scratch is an invention of accident; apparently he was mixing away in his bedroom making far too much noise and his mother called up and said turn it off and instead of stopping the record with the stop button he used his hand and it made a nice sound. He then came back to the turntables and experimented with pulling the record back and forth across the needle. And so gave birth to the scratch.
1980 Roland introduced the TR-808 drum machine which allows DJ Frankie Knuckles to lay down drum machine-generated 4/4 beats on top of soul and disco tunes. 12" disco records that included long percussion breaks (ideal for mixing) contributed to the emergence of House Music. The addition of a mixer between the turntables allowed a different flow of music and the ability to scratch fast. This also saw the development of the Hip Hop movement.

Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five's first record, "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" (1982) was the first record to show hip-hop deejaying skills. The Technics 1200 turntable's back spin was perfect for "scratching", and to extend grooves and "breaks" by cutting back and forth from 2 records.

During the early 1990s, the rave scene built on the acid house scene. Some DJs, wanting to be the only source for hearing certain tunes, used "white labels" - records with no info printed on them - in an effort to prevent other DJ's from learning what they were spinning. The rave scene changed dance music, the image of DJs, and the nature of promoting. Mobile Disc Jockey trade publications such as DJ Times magazine and Mobile Beat were founded in this era.

The innovative marketing surrounding the rave scene created the first superstar DJs who established marketable "brands" around their names and sound. Some of these celebrity DJs toured around the world and were able to branch out into other music-related activities. DJ Cheese (USA '86), Chad Jackson (UK '87), Cash Money (USA '88), Cutmaster Swift (UK '89), DJ David (Germany '90 & '91), The Rock Steady DJs (DJs Q-Bert, Mixmaster Mike & Apollo (USA '92) Mixmaster Mike & Q-Bert as The Dream Team '93/4), Roc Raider (USA '95) and DJ Noize (Denmark '96).

Because selecting and playing prerecorded music for an intended audience is the same for every disc jockey. There are certain factors that make up different categories of disc jockeys:

Radio DJ- Plays over the airwaves, normally delivers between the record information and can not chose the music that is played.

Internet radio DJ - Plays over the internet, delivers information between music sets and picks there own music.

Club DJ - Using several turntables, CD players or a hard drive source, a club disc jockey selects and plays music in a club setting. The type of music played usually determines the type of DJ (Rave, Electro, Hip Hop, etc..)

Mobile DJ- They travel with or go on tour with mobile sound systems and play from an extensive collection of pre-recorded content for a specific audience.

Hip hop DJ - a DJ that selects, plays and creates music as a hip-hop artist and/or performer, often backing up one or more MCs.

Reggae deejays - This is traditionally a vocalist who raps, toasts or chats to a "riddim". The term "selector" is reserved for the person who just selects the record and plays it over the sound system.

Video Jockey (VJ) - Vj's mix a variety of video & audio sources together to create a unique video image throughout the night at large club events.

DJs have formed professional associations such as:
Canadian Disc Jockey Association (CDJA),
Canadian Online Disc Jockey Association (CODJA),
American Disc Jockey Association (ADJA), and
National Association of Mobile Entertainers
The DMC (Disco Mix Club)
The I.T.F. (International Turntablist Federation)
National Association of Disc Jockeys (NADJ), (In the UK)
South Eastern Discotheque Association (SEDA) (In the UK)

T-Pain, who holds the record for the largest number of ringtones sold at 15 million, has launched a new independent digital record label. Nappy Boy Digital (www.nappyboyonline.com) will deliver music via all major digital download retailers. The first release will be “Beam Me Up” by Tay Dizm. Hip Hop is once again leading the technology pack.

Reprinted from The Mic Fiend's email from the end of April....

Mind Of A Lunatic

So i'm on the phone with the manager of an up coming artist that is
getting alittle buzz, and i tell him we are supporting the up coming and
we putting together a little project series that he could benifit from.
So he asks me whose on it? I name some names, and he says he doesn't
know them, and says let him know if anybody big jumps on.

What the Fuck you mean let you know if anyone big jumps on? This is
for the up coming right. So i say well aren't you up coming, and he
replies that he got a buzz, and a joint with Jim Jones.

People what are we doing? Are we too big to support the up coming
artists of the world? Are you too big to support your peers in the
world of hiphop. You'll pay 5,000 for a fucking sorry ass Jim Jones
Verse, but you won't rock with ya own people. I say ya own people cause
as much as you dudes, and dudets want to be; your not apart of the upper
level of hiphop artists. just because ya mans knows somebody that can
get a feature does not make you in there. When you in the circle? as i
like to call it. Shit is free. Jim drops a verse for free, and collect
royalties. You need to learn their is a whole other level to this
Your peers are those coming in the game now. Some may be ahead of
you, but ya'll are peers. This is your era, this is your movement.

If you don't support one another, who the hell else is? You gonna
keep sending in bullshit ass demos, or paying for your fucking myspace
plays, and hits, then pay a dj to get on your sorry ass mixtape, and
think you holding it down for yourself. Why don't you link up with
other artists, network, see who making fire beats for free, see who
putting a project together and get on a collab, you never know who might
hear it. Cross promote some shit. go half on a damn flyer or
something. Share contacts. This is what's it's about. If you think
your team is strong enough to make it happen without reaching out to
other artists you killing your career. If someone got a show, you can
easily holla and perhaps get on the show with them. No you pay some
fuck ass promoter 500 to put you on for 3 minutes, and you don't even
get VIP. This is why we don't advance...Instead of supporting we

Well keep with the hatin if you want, and you'll forever be on my
mixtapes Unsigned Without A Cosign..........

To those of you that are doing big things and still reach out to the
up coming, and show support thank you....You know who you are...

The Mic Fiend

The Mic Fiend
Mic Fiend Promotions