ARTISTS

ARTISTS

Mixer-Apple_Qurre_TeacherAn overused word frequently employed by those who have not succeeded/won in any other category. Once upon a time it was a reasonable career path. Today, Rivers Cuomo becomes a rock star and THEN goes back to Harvard!

So you’ve got a mixtape. You’re good with beats. But what separates you from everybody else?

That’s what an Ivy League education does, separate you from everybody else. In a country of 300 million, you don’t want to be limited to your good looks and charm, those are a dime a dozen.

Furthermore, since these “artists” are not in school or working, they’re all over social media developing their “brand.” Trying to up their YouTube subscriptions, believing if they just try harder, they’ll make it.

But most won’t. Because they’re not that talented and they don’t understand the game.

It’s a business. Companies don’t need you, they just need someone. George Michael got into a fight with Columbia Records, the company won, both in court and in truth. Because Columbia survives and George Michael never had another hit. The company had to teach artists a lesson. Tommy Mottola needed to get rich.

The Entrepreneur

The entrepreneur.

BarbieEntreBillboard_v3It’s a personality, you love risk. Entrepreneurs are no different from extreme sports stars, they do what most people will not, jump off cliffs without a net. So just because all your friends are entrepreneurs, just because you’d like to be one, that does not mean you can be. It’s in the DNA more than a choice, but a choice is involved.

Entrepreneurs are willing to fail. And the most successful have had wins when competitors haven’t even been playing. They’re the ones who not only had lemonade stands, but sold baseball cards on eBay. Entrepreneurs know how to make money, they know it’s all about money, and it’s not about education as much as personality, and smarts.

Today’s entrepreneurs are the artists of yesterday. The best and the brightest who will their success. Sure, entrepreneurs look for investment, but they rarely cry “woe is me.” They know the game is hard, they work ’round the clock, they sacrifice lifestyle. They’re everything today’s musicians say they are but are not. And they know they could fail completely. But they’re willing to take the risk.

PROFESSIONALS

May be every bit as smart as the entrepreneur, but their lives are ruled by fear, they want insurance. That’s why they become doctors, lawyers or accountants. If you truly want to work in one of these fields, more power to you. But if you’re doing it to be higher on the leaderboard in the financial and status game… Beware, the foundation is crumbling. This is not your baby boomer profession, wherein a doctor or lawyer is a winner as rich as anybody. MDs still make a good living, but the sky is not the limit, the goal of the government and insurers and patients is to keep costs down, and you’re caught in this bind. As for attorneys… I hope you like the background, because your odds of getting a good gig are low. Legal research is farmed out to Asia. Corporations don’t want to pay. It doesn’t matter how much hard work you’ve put in, if you want there to be no limit, you’ve got to go into finance or be an entrepreneur.

SECOND TIER PLAYERS

Everybody who doesn’t go to an Ivy, is not an entrepreneur and is not a professional. You’re sold the bill of goods that a college education will improve your lot, when the truth is it will only get you the job when you’re competing against high school graduates.

Chances are you’ll get out of school with no opportunities and be living in your parents’ basement. Which is why so many of these people go to graduate school, increasing debt for just a marginally better chance to get a job.

If you’re going to college to get a job, take a series of courses that are practically applicable. Sure, you can win if you’re a liberal arts major, but it will be much harder. Graduate in computer science. Take the hard courses. Because the truth is the hard courses weed everybody else out, and if you make it through you’ve got opportunities.

COLLEGE DROPOUTS

Kanye made it, that does not mean you will.

What are you thinking?

Furthermore, how do you expect to succeed in life when you can’t even complete community college?

Everything your parents told you is true. Life is long. High school winners are oftentimes adult losers. So, it takes years, so you’ve got to go into debt, welcome to reality. If you can’t get a college degree, you’re a loser forced to work for minimum wage or become an entrepreneur. And chances are, you’re not the entrepreneur listed above. I’m just telling you this for your own good. To give you a leg up. Before you burden yourself with so many obligations, a spouse and children, that you root yourself to the past and cannot succeed in the future.

HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE

You didn’t get the memo. No one in your life told you how it is, how the game is played. Or maybe you’re a rebel. But there is no cause anymore.

But you believe you can win the lottery. That’s what a Top Forty music career is.

In other words, just because you can try out for the “Voice,” that does not mean you’ll win, never mind have a career.

Sure, some people do. And some people win in Vegas. Do you feel that lucky?

Old Mean WORTHLESS

Old means worthless in America, Barbieover the hill old man, we don’t want to hear your opinions. And the hilarious thing is the old people buy it, they diet down to nothing, wear their children’s clothing and imitate their lifestyle. Why else to get plastic surgery other than to evade the aging police. It’s like the whole country’s living “Logan’s Run,” but no one will admit it. And they also won’t admit that with age comes wisdom, which grows from experience. You live and you learn, but most people don’t learn to let the epithets of the youngsters slide off of them. They feel inadequate themselves, when the youngsters say they are they don’t own their identity, they change it.

Income inequality. But it’s a television third rail, because of “class warfare.” Huh? There’s already class warfare, why worry about the moniker?

America’s inane optimism, wherein if you’re not a winner, or on your way to victory, you’re a base whiner who must be shouted down and removed from the debate, you’re a hater trotting out facts without concrete solutions so please get out of my way as I delusionally work twenty hours a day pursuing victory at a casino wherein the house always wins.

It’s like an album where all ten cuts are winners, where there’s no bait and switch, where when you’re done you want more.

It turns out that we’re not interested in exterior, but interior, that everything being told and sold to us is wrong. You don’t have to be beautiful, your father doesn’t have to be rich, but to triumph you’ve got to be smart, experienced and creative.

Wake up?!

So when you gonna wake up?

wake-up-ceiling-cat-is-watching-youThat’s right, once upon a time we relied on Bob Dylan and other musicians to speak the truth. But that no longer happens. Instead we must watch cartoons and comedians. You’ll get more honesty on “South Park” than you will on the nightly news. And it’s lucrative too, just check out “Book Of Mormon.”

So keep telling yourself the game has changed, that the old values are out the window, that everybody’s got a short attention span and we live in a hit and run society wherein Britney Spears is already too old and we need someone much younger to replace her.

You need no money to speak your mind. You need no money to be good. But if you pay your dues, those supposedly against you will embrace you, HBO will pay John Oliver to skewer the establishment. And the end result will be of such high quality that the unwashed masses will lift you above and beyond, you will become a superstar with credibility. Which is a far cry from what we’re featuring on today’s hit parade.

There is hope.

Fix the TEETH

Fix the teeth, make it shorter and lie about your age.

Is John Oliver breaking all the rules or is the truth there are no rules to begin with?

fix itWhat we know is you’ve go to appeal to the younger generation, oldsters don’t switch products, advertisers are not interested, if you’re not shooting for tweens and teens, we don’t care.

And god help us be beautiful. Isn’t that the Fox News mantra? If you find a guy who doesn’t want to bang Megyn Kelly, he’s gay. If you’re gonna hire a lawyer, one who’s actually smart, why not get someone beautiful? Yup, no ugly people on TV.

And don’t you know that kids have a short attention span? I mean you’re gonna talk about income inequality for fourteen minutes? Everybody’s gonna tune out, no one cares, can’t you throw in some cute dogs or cats while you’re at it, and a feel good moment too?

But no, John Oliver is British. So he’s self-deprecating and can verbalize the truth everyone in America is afraid to utter. That’s right, the mayor of Los Angeles utters the F-word and it dominates the news for two weeks, as if no one over twenty ever swears.

And there’s the fiction that there are two reasonable sides to every story. As if every time someone’s bleeding to death, we should call in the Christian Scientists for their take.

No, the truth is everybody knows what’s real, and it’s beyond refreshing to have someone in a position of power utter it.

That’s what John Oliver is, a truth-sayer. Who’s been doing his job for decades.

Potato Salad

Potato Salad

Customer-acquisition-lessons-from-potato-salad-FI-10

It’s all about art. And art is about conception. Not painting by numbers, but looking at the world in a skewed way and exercising your vision and titillating your audience.

In other words, Zack Danger Brown (I mean really, his middle name is “Danger”?) knew Kickstarter was not about money, that the way to get famous was to have a great idea.

It’s no different from Marcel Duchamp – or Pablo Picasso for that matter – or all the modern art you think you can replicate but could never come up with.

Or the Ramones… You didn’t think of breaking it down to the basics, never mind have the ability to write catchy tunes.

The potato salad Kickstarter is a joke. Unless Mr. Brown has some gigantic plan, which I doubt, or otherwise he’s delusional, this will be the end of his fame, his notoriety, no different from Napoleon XIV’s rendition of “They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!”

And what I find fascinating is a complicit, brain dead press so starved for something to trumpet that they tell this story with no analysis, saying merely LOOK, THIS IS COOL!

In other words, Zack Danger Brown achieved what everybody desires to. He rose above. With tongue firmly in cheek. If some band we’d never heard of had raised the same amount of money we wouldn’t be interested.

But potato salad? – Can potato salad be art? –  Yes, when it’s wrapped in a fundraising campaign that makes no sense.

P.S. He only asked for ten bucks. Instead of saying my dream can’t come true without your help, Zack is saying I can do this without you, but it’s so much more fun with your involvement.

P.P.S. The updates keep the same attitude, the same ridiculous self-congratulatory Kickstarter attitude all the worthless fundraisers employ. We did it, couldn’t have done it without you! In other words, Zack didn’t break character, he didn’t say LOOK AT ME, I WON THE PRESS LOTTERY! Although he did ultimately link to news about his campaign, which I would have advised against. Hell, if I’m already at your site, why do you have to bang me over the head with your success?

P.P.P.S. And the real loser here is Kickstarter, which allowed its site to be hijacked. That’s what Zack Danger Brown is doing here, poking fun at the fundraising site. And once you become the punch line… Kickstarter never should have let that happen. Or should immediately put out a tongue-in-cheek publicity release, salivating for the product, with puns and jokes. Because if someone is ridiculing you, the best thing to do is to co-opt it and own it.

P.P.P.P.S. The best things in life are simple. A kiss. The three minute single. And mama’s homemade food. Nail any of these and it’s much more satisfying than any possession. Because life is about experiences and the memory thereof.

ARMCHAIR QUARTERBACKS

I’m sick and fucking tired of armchair quarterbacks e-mailing me what they think is a hit, adjudicating while knowing nothing.

ARMCHAIR

Huh?

That’s right, welcome to today, where you’ve got a bunch of pontificating blowhards angry the world doesn’t conform to their desires when the truth is they don’t want to spend or play, they just want to bitch!

So, you used to be addicted to the free format FM station. So, you used to watch MTV incessantly. I’ve got news for you, the world CHANGED! You’re no longer a teenager, you don’t spend all day in front of YouTube, you haven’t bought a concert ticket in eons unless it’s from Goldstar, and you say the best music is made by people in clubs that you don’t go to, even if there’s no cover charge.

It all comes down to money, people vote with their wallets. And today, time is also currency. Are you willing to watch the YouTube clip again and again? Because then the artist will get paid. The reason your fave is broke is because nobody is watching, nobody is streaming. Forget about sales, the revenue may be great per unit, but there’s no guarantee anybody listens, and not that many buy. But can you get tens of millions of people to stream on YouTube or Spotify? Do this and you’ll no longer bitch about dough. Ariana Grande is turning down opportunities every day while you’re crying in your beer.

Starting – StartUp

Starting

We’ve all got to start somewhere, just don’t delude yourself that because you’ve started you deserve to be successful.

start-upThere are a number of routes to take, some of which can be combined.

Skills cannot be emphasized enough. Remember, once again, talented people are a dime a dozen.

Furthermore, creativity is king. When you’re starting at the bottom you jump to the top by creating. We are looking for unique and you eventually will need a finished product. Best to learn how to make it yourself.

Don’t talk about money, don’t talk about royalties. I’m not saying to sign a bad deal, I’m just saying if you’re thinking about getting paid from the get-go, you’re on the wrong track. Get real and understand: “what sells today”… your looks and personality, it’s key to major companies investing in you.

MENTOR

Every great company has one. One can argue that the Mentor is more important than the founders. The Mentor believes in you and promotes you. It doesn’t matter if the Mentor is famous if they’re not committed to you. Who knows a scrappy young person may pay further dividends, they’re banking their progress/career on you.

You’ve got no idea of the amount of work involved. As Shep Gordon so famously said, if the ‘mentor’ does his job right, it’ll probably kill you!

GUARANTEED WINNER

GUARANTEED WINNER

Top graduate at an Ivy League college.
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Used to be we lived in a meritocracy, he who worked hardest and was smartest would rise to the top. That can occasionally happen today, but your best bet is to get yourself a pedigree. Something the upper middle class is fully aware of, and those below them are usually clueless about.

Do you know that most top-tier universities are need-blind? That means if you can get in but are broke, they pay. Yet seemingly nobody other than those who go know. So if you’re a top graduate at nowheresville high school you believe you cannot afford the Ivy and just go to the state school and forever inhibit your future advancement.

There’s nothing like the Ivies. And Stanford.

The Ivies impress. Even better, they are useful networks, the graduates look after each other, take care of each other, till the end of life.

So if you want a guaranteed income… Go to the Ivy.

And that’s what kids are looking for today, the smart ones, they don’t want to be left behind, sure, they’d like a NetJet card and a gated community, but they’re driven primarily by fear, that they’ll lose out, be left on the bottom.

Yes, the top-tier Ivy graduates do better than those who end their four years on the bottom. But the truth is, as a result of grade inflation, no one looks that bad.

Graduate from the Ivy and you can get a job in finance. That’s the number one exit strategy from the educational farm. And people do this because they want money. Everybody wants money. That’s what all the poor artists are bitching about, that they can’t make any money. The graduates of the Ivies ensure that they can.

It’s not about the product.

It’s not about the product.

That’s the dirty little secret of all these tech companies, the goal isn’t to create a good product, but to SELL OUT! – a game of musical chairs, cat_musical_chairswhere the buy-in is millions, and everybody’s afraid to be left without a seat at the table when the music stops.

The problem is that is has affected music too.

Today’s game – find someone to fund your art, get someone else to sponsor it, and to then focus on lifestyle. Your goal is not to thrill the alienated poor at home who lay their hard-earned money down to support your career, but to remove yourself from them, live behind a wall and fly private. Look at is as income inequality, it’s the coarsening of society, it’s elected officials who are beholden to corporations and lobbyists, not their constituents.

Everybody in Hollywood wants in. Universal’s got an incubator. WME invests in tech. And Ashton Kutcher is revered not for his acting ability, but his investment prowess.

There are too many playlists, and when you find the one appealing to you, you find a dreck to hit ratio that’s horrifying. Grazing is the new pastime, it’s about filling out the list, not true curation, where every cut counts, like the deejay used to do.

But deejays don’t get paid enough, the radio ones, not the club ones.

So where’s the antidote?

Everybody under sixty believes selling out is a badge of honor. We’re inundated with statements that kids don’t care. But that’s untrue. That’s just businessmen pontificating, looking for their cut.

So a bunch of nerds bought the music app of a bunch of faceless New Yorkers.

We don’t need more tech, we need more artists!