Real Talk

Real Talk: Minister Farrakhan Blast Media During a Commercial Break At a Radio Interview.

Real Talk: DJ Premier Talks Turntables and Serato

REAL TALK: The Music Industry is a Business like no other but a business just like every other.

The Music Industry is a Business like no other but a business just like every other.
By J. Akly

I’m J. Akly, Chief Operating Officer of Get It Done Entertainment, LLC (GIDE for short) and the creators of the Get it Done Blog (www.getitdoneblog.net). GIDE is an unorthodox way of writing “GUIDE”, because we’re an independent music company dedicated to educating the unsigned artist, help mold and develop the musical careers of artists looking to take their music careers to the next level.

It’s been a while since I kicked some knowledge so I’m taking the opportunity to talk about the Music Business and Music Industry as a whole. As the title suggests the Music Industry is a business but not exactly structured like a conventional business. Today the technological advances have made it easier for aspiring artists to gain exposure by Do-It-Yourself (DIY) methods. In order to navigate through your music career successfully and in a smart business savvy manor there are some things you need to know and keep in mind.

First of all, the whole “I’m waiting for my music to land on the right ears and/or person” days are over and that way of thinking needs to be diminished and forgotten. In the past, the record labels would scout artists through A&R’s (artist and repertoire personnel), which their sole responsibilities were to locate talent, try to get them signed to the record label and assist in their music career development. Today that business model is close to forgotten, but with some exceptions.

As an artist you need to have your business affairs in order. What do I mean about your “business affairs”? Good question, the answer is you need to have quality music that appeals to specific demographics and is marketable. What exactly does this mean, well it essentially means you need to make good music, know who your audience is, have a fan base that can be quantified, have a personal artist “wow” factor (identity) and understand that the music business is a business. Overwhelming isn’t it? It’s OK, just keep visiting the Get It Done Blog at www.getitdoneblog.net and enjoy the material we take the time to find and centralize for you, the serious artist.

Now here are a few things you need to do for yourself to protect yourself and align yourself up with becoming a serious artist.

1. Join a PRO (performing rights organization) because these good people pay you royalties based on performances. – ASCAP, BMI, SESAC (if you’re lucky enough to get an invitation).

2. Join the Harry Fox Agency. They pay you royalties based on mechanical & synchronization licensing (reproduction of your music and placement to audio/video products).

3. Copyright your original music (no samples unless you cleared the sample – more about clearing samples later). This solidifies your ownership of the intellectual property, the magic you created.

4. Trademark your name (stage name). Now that you own your name, people technically can’t use your name without your permission.

5. Establish a legal entity – i.e. Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, LLC and etc. – Check with your state and find out the details through them to determine which form of a company is right for you.

6. Get a tax ID

I know this all sounds like a big deal, which it is but it isn’t if you know where to find help – healthy plug for Get It Done Blog (www.getitdoneblog.net). Now that you have those business related items in place you’re ready to go on to the next phase in your musical career. Some of this is going to be fun but it will take time, so if you haven’t already I suggest you get started on these next items.

1. Build a website – www.your web site name.com (preferably a .com but a .net can suffice).

2. Build up your social media sites – Facebook, Myspace, Reverbnation, Twitter and Youtube.

3. Have quality (professional) pictures taken – i.e. head shots, performance shots and etc.

4. Build a press kit, preferably an EPK.

5. Give away music.

6. Consider merchandise.

How are we doing so far? OK, you’re probably wondering “why the hell do I need to do all of these things?”, since you just want to be signed. Well, it goes back to my main point, record labels aren’t just handing out record deals, they aren’t handing out huge advances (which are recoupable from your royalties if you ever make any – I’ll talk more about this at a later time) and most importantly record labels aren’t investing much (if any) time, energy or money in developing a raw talented artist unless they are 1000% believe its going to be a money maker.

All of the above proves to the record label you mean business. You need to think of yourself not just as “a businessman” but as “a ‘business’ man” – thanks Jay-Z you hit it right on the head. You are a business. You are the product. You are what is going to be marketed, not just your music. So if you bring in 5 people to your show versus if you bring in 50 it will make a difference for many reasons, today we only focus on the record label and getting (hoping and wishing on a star) to get signed.

Record labels want to know that you have a high potential to return profit on investment. Consider yourself a stock purchase and the owner of the stock want to know as much as possible about their stock and the odds of it returning revenue to cover invested costs. If you can’t return profits on investment then you end up owing money and this is just a head ache you want to avoid and the record label certainly does too. So in essence the more you can prove you are ready the higher the percentage chance in getting signed.

So for now I leave you with what has been discussed. Go do some homework and invest in yourself, because keep in mind if you don’t believe in yourself to invest in yourself what makes you think a record label is going to invest in you?

Stay tuned for the next REAL TALK by J. Akly, Chief Operating Officer of Get It Done Entertainment, LLC (GIDE).

© 2011 J. Akly, Get It Done Entertainment, LLC

Real Talk: A Rant Worth Listening Too

Real Talk: Immortal Technique Drops More Gems

REAL TALK: Are you hungry? Then you need to put in work to Eat!

Are you hungry?  Then you need to put in work to Eat!
By Jefferson Akly aka KLEPTO

The music business is like any other business.  Who you know plays a vital role in how far you can potentially get.  How often you’re seen at social events also plays a role.  Are you on social sites?  Here is a few great question for you up-and-coming artists and people trying to break into the entertainment world – What hours of the day are you attempting to network?  What is your brand?  Are you marketable?  And if so, what makes you different and separate from the rest? 

Yeah, just like I stated the music biz is just like any other biz.  Once you get that in your head and cherish that idea like the Bible then you are already one leg up on the competition.  So why do I say this?  Money is involved – POINT BLANK.  Do you seriously think anyone is going to let you play with their money unless you have a well thought out plan with measureable goals, budget plan, marketing strategy, target demographic and a sense of branding?  I’m being real with you.  This isn’t playing monopoly at home and trying to be the champion with Mr. Monopoly on the game board.  We’re talking real life dollars & cents, percentages and profit gain/loss margins.  Ok, let me slow down and let you absorb that for a little hot minute.  Are you with me now?  OK good, so let’s break it down what I just said and why.

So you want to be a rock star, with a big house and five cars?  Cool me too I ain’t gonna sit here and front.  But let’s be real with ourselves because there are many hungry people on their grind out there.  People who do their homework and research have a better chance.  Why?  Because you understand this is business.  You as an artist or a businessperson trying to break into ANY industry need to think and operate like a business, in fact the CEO of the business.  You need to be Don Juan, the decision maker, the go-getter and the person who is always trying to figure out where that next dollar is going to come from.  Are you with me so far?

So who are you?  What kind of person are you?  Are you willing to leave your fate in someone else’s hands?  Or are you going to wanna be involved in what happens in your life?  Do you think Jay-Z or Diddy let someone else decide what they are doing when they wake up in the morning?  Nope.  They control their destinies.  They know you need to think corporate and these two cats aren’t corporate from the get.  Knowledge is key and power will follow with hard work.  Here is a quote to live by, “Live as if you will die tomorrow and learn as if you will live forever” – Gandhi.

OK, now that we are done with the motivational speaking let’s get down to it.  Are you hungry?  Then put in work!  Ain’t no one is going to help you unless you are willing to help yourself.  Ain’t no one going to give you free studio time.  Ain’t no one is going to grab you in the street and offer you that perfect position at a publishing company, record label or marketing agency.  You gotta network.  “How do I network?”  That’s a great question.  How are you supposed to speak to people you don’t know and chop it up with them?  It’s a pyramid effect.  Someone you know may know someone, even if that person is a low level player (keep in mind we’re all players in this game no matter the battle field).  Introductions lead to chit chattin’, chit chattin’ leads to making plans to meet more people and so on and so forth.  I know kinda basic right?  You probably think, “this dude is spitting the obvious”.  You’re right to an extent right now I am, but the obvious is oblivious some people.  One piece of advice I will give you is that you need to put yourself out there and extend yourself.  If you’re an inspiring artist or trying to break into the business you’ll need to donate some time, you’ll need to offer to do hooks and lay vocals, you’ll need to offer to lend a hand to help someone in a better position than you are in to make a social bond that will EVENTUALLY lead to good things to come.   Nothing will happen over night.

So are you starting to understand the business?  Business mindset needed – CHECK.  Knowing who you are and what you can offer – CHECK.  Networking needed – CHECK.  Extend yourself to help – CHECK.  Realize nothing will happen over night – CHECK. Are you hungry?  Then you need to put in work to Eat!

REAL TALK: David Grohl of the Foo Fighters Kicks Fan Out Of Concert.






For those of you that may not know, I’m currently enrolled into Full Sail University, pursuing my Bachelor of Science degree in Music Business. During the Month of February (2011) I had the privilege of learning about marketing, an integrate and important tool in any business plan, regardless if the product is music in physical or digital form, merchandise, concert events, books or any other product that you may be interested in selling. Marketing is the science of knowing your customer, knowing your product and knowing your company. Once you know these factors it is then important to determine your marketing approach through a series of elements that if not determined correctly can lead to a product falling short of reaching revenue generating expectations.

During my marketing class we explored and examined a self made business, Johnny Cupcakes, which is a great example of marketing at it’s best. Between a great marketing mix (product, price, target market and distribution concentration), John Earle designed and created a dream from some simple philosophies such as creating a brand, personal touch of delivery via relationship building as well as a well thought out niche strategy.

Basic principals of marketing dictate that a well thought out marketing plan consist of a marketing mix. These intricate factors such as the actual product being sold/marketed, the price the product can be sold for that will spark interest in consumers yet generate a margin for revenue/profits, determining the target market such as gender, income levels, regional areas as well as social background is heavily influenced before deciding regional distribution. In a nutshell the marketing mix is the “Who? What? Where? When? and Why?” of marketing.

Watching the interview with the owner of Johnny Cupcakes, John Earle, it is interesting to hear a man that was never formally trained in marketing or even in business, yet to hear him speak of his experiences as a regular person yet the knowledge runs fluid. Some of the points discussed in forming a viable company are having people within your circle you can trust, although he did stress that friends may or may not always be the best source. Another point that stood out was keeping your product unique and sincere, take the time to grow and develop your brand, makes things that you are interested which the consumer will also be interested in because of the personal niches.

VIDEOS: FULL SAIL UNIVERSItY INTERVIEW with John Earle of Johnny Cupcakes
INTERVIEW – John Earle of Johnny Cupcakes 1 of 2


INTERVIEW – John Earle of Johnny Cupcakes 2 of 2


Johnny Cupcakes prides itself on making its products unique, providing limited editions, so that each item sold is personal and unique. By creating an “exclusive” feel to his product line (t-shirts, hats, belts and etc.) it ensures that loyal customers keep coming back, never really knowing when an item will no longer be available. Through this strategy not only do you keep your current and loyal customers returning but it also entices new customers and fan base to want to be part of the community.

Another niche I picked up on is the colt like “community” niche Johnny Cupcakes creates through the design of it’s website. The content found on the website combines many elements in one centralized location which makes it easy for any new or soon to be customers of Johnny Cupcakes to locate. On the web page you can find a fun “50’s” style presentation to a modern new age approach to sell t-shirts, through the niche notion of a cupcake, when in reality the product is not even a pastry, yet integrate enough to find a fun approach of selling by stating that brand Johnny Cupcakes is “0 Carbs”, “0 Sugars” and “0 Fat”. The style of the font, the color palette used, the physical layout of the website invites the viewer to explore the many elements provided across the top in the “Blog”, “Shop”, “Story”, “Events”, “Stores” and “Media” tabs.

Johnny Cupcakes blog is creative and great way to bring the loyal fans, customers and new visitors to a community. The blog creates a community where people can get to know the owner of Johnny Cupcakes, John Earle on a personal level. Bringing a personal touch to the marketing plan allows everyday people to appreciate and understand the brand better, which furthers their interest and continuous support of a brand they believe in.

After absorbing so much material in 1 short month (literally – February is the shortest month of the year), it has helped me to determine a few things for myself and the venture my partner and myself have started in Get It Done Entertainment. Long story short, Get It Done Entertainment is an unsigned artist promotion and marketing company geared to have great unsigned music heard around the world. Kind of a big task – yes I know. But the intent is sincere and the ambition is great and the expectation is success.

After careful review, hard studying, a lot of reading material my partner and I decided to make some changes of ourselves. To start this is what the Get It Done Blog used to look like ()

Although the background of the blog has an entertainment theme, after careful review of the font used, the layout of the blog and the selection of colors – it is clear that the blog was lacking, missing an interest appeal. The question then rose “How are we supposed to attract people to our blog?” After careful review, discussing back and forth with my partner we decided that perhaps the hosting site was not the best way for us to deliver what we want our customers, the musicians we’re trying to promote and the fans that want to know about the musicians, to absorb from. We took it back to the drawing board and came up with a more asteticically pleasing site and layout. This is what the new site looks like ():

Some of the improvements allow us to bring a more eye appeal to the viewer and yet provide a glimpse of our personality and draw attention to the mission of the company (well The Melo trade to the Knicks was just another element we provided by opening the blog to everything entertainment and also capitalize on some of the hype).

So you may be asking yourself – “What the hell does Johnny Cupcakes and the Get it Done Blog have to do with one another?” Great question! The correlation is that knowing your customer, knowing your company and knowing your product and how to present it, where to present it and when to present it is important (of course a healthy plug for you guys to come to the new site – GET IT DONE BLOG). Once you figure those things out you can put together a strategic marketing plan that will get you exposure, fans, digital downloads and a much better chance against the super saturated sea of people trying to do exactly what you are trying to do as well.

So go CONNECT THE DOTS and get to know yourself, your customers and most importantly get to know your product.

REAL TALK Music and Technology – Let’s Create Something

Music and Technology – Let’s Create Something
By Jefferson Akly aka KLEPTO

Welcome to another installment of REAL TALK.  I’m your host, Jefferson Akly aka KLEPTO.  Today I want to touch on the positive effects technology has had on the current music industry.  What can I say technology has had its ups and downs on the industry but I believe the positive effects will out shine the negative. 

In a world that is now “wired” (picture the old iPod silhouette advertisement) and technologically savvy it is important to keep up with the times.  Today is the future and tomorrow is the past.  You need to think and act current and apply that mentality to what’s to come.  Social on-line media sites such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Four Square, You Tube and smart phones makes it that much easier to reach your audiences.  The trend today is “on-line” through any electronic devise that can access the Internet.  You can now legally purchase music on line through iTunes and a variety of other sites.  If I’m not mistaken I believe You Tube is or will be offering live concerts through its site – for a fee of course.

Today networking and collaborating has never been easier.  You can now create a song at home and send it to your co-writers’ email address and receive it on a phone!!  You can digitally share a file using numerous on-line resources at no cost today such as Dropbox.com.  Never has it been easier for anyone to work together and not even be in the same city, state or even country (eventually planet) at the same time.  I don’t know about you but that is exciting to me!!!  Imagine all the combination of artists that can collaborate with each other to produce a hot record and be able to market it in two separate markets and regions of the world simultaneously and generate a fan base in two places at the same time.   Need to have a meeting?  No problem, there are plenty of on-line services such as Skype that will allow you to teleconference via the Internet for little to no cost to you.  If you have a computer, a smart phone, an Internet connection and the right resources anything is possible.  Talk about cost saving career development.

Costs – what cost?  On-line free access multimedia resources and tools are at our fingertips.  You can now market, promote and expose a new artist through this method of non-cost incurring career development strategy.  Are you starting to understand why the Indie market seems to be growing at a faster pace than their label signed artist counterparts today in the present time compared to a decade ago?  As stated earlier the use of all social media sites such as Facebook, Four Square, Myspace, and Twitter have provided a platform to connect direct to your customers.  Youtube has provided a service that now allows you to showcase your music videos, video podcasts and even home videos to present a touch of reality to your fan base.  Think about it why do you really need a label now?  The only real huge incentive is unlimited resources to make any project come to reality easier.  That’s it. The only costs you may incur will be recording and mastering.  But alas this is solved through the booming market of home studios.  So riddle me this why does an artist need a record label?  Yeah I know the advance is a nice perk but at what cost?

Protools and other software’s make it easier for the creator to CREATE!!!!  If you have a friend that works in the production arena they’ll be the one’s to ask about in regards to this department. But with the Internet you can create music, share files to work on with fellow band members, work with producers from other parts of the world all from your comfortable seat in the bathroom.  In today’s modern recording industry you don’t even need to know how to play an actual instrument.  GarageBand is just one of the few software’s that help you create music without knowing how to read sheet music.  There are other software’s as well that will convert your MIDI music files into sheet music such as Transcribe from Seventh String Software.  Also, just for fun you can even enhance a not up to par singer’s vocals with Auto-tune (God knows we all have heard and witnessed some artists that really sounded terrible live in concert).

Press kits can be designed at home using a slew of software’s as well.  What is a press kit you ask?  Well tune in for that installment of REAL TALK.  But a press kit can be created using any creative software.  Don’t want to buy a printer well no problem because there are plenty of on-line picture production services where you can upload your pictures and purchase them in bulk at an extremely low price.   Want all materials from your press kit that need to be printed in one place?  Well here is yet again another solution because some print shops will even allow you to email them the content.

Music can now be distributed through a slew of on-line services such as iTunes, Amazon and Rhapsody that you may choose to sell your music through.   Reverbnation.com is in essence a one-stop shop for promotion, marketing and monitoring an artists’ performance in generating fan base and rankings regionally.

Proboards.com, Tumblr.com and WordPress.com!!!  Here are free to use on-line services that allow you to build and run your very own website.  What perfect way to market and promote yourself than having a website with the most current information about tour dates, concerts, in-store appearances and even previews of your work.  The possibilities are endless in regards to what content you want on the site and how interactive it can be.   What’s great about having your own site is that you can add RSS feeds, direct links to your social networking sites and have an email service list set up to personally reach each customer and fan with the latest news.

As you can see there are low or no cost solutions for anyone trying to create a business or promote an artist.  Knowing where to look and doing research will give you all the elements necessary to make a successful educated decision in regards to the direction you decide to take.  Never has it been easier to reach the masses that the present.  Remember, “Today is the Future and Tomorrow is the Past”.  The only thing you need to supply is talent and the desire to Create Something!!!


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