BUSINESS BEFORE PLEASURE
It’s not the 20th century anymore. The economy and the world has changed. Who’s made it these days? No one fool! Those days are over. There are only people who are making it. Who are these people that are making it.
Are we concerned about who is not? Well maybe but lets talk about them later.
Ok those that are making it. Yes Banks seem to be holding their own but they don’t count, they get bailed out by the government. Car companies and financial institutions are off our list too. They get help. Would it not be nice if the government showed up on your door step and said, “You have been selected for financial support for your business.”
Not gonna happen. That would make us a socialist society. But hey wait a minute I said, The government helps out banks, car companies and financial institutions? Yes I did say that but I guess that is a matter we should take up with our democratic government.
Confusing yes. American hypocrisy at its best, no doubt. This is the landscape of making it in the 21st century.
“Be About Your Business” - Hip Hop term
You business is to make enough money to make your business run. You will get no help from the government.
Here we go!
Oil companies are doing quite well. They benefited greatly from the Bush years in America. As you know Bush was from Texas and was committed to the continued relationship with fossil fuels.
Sports is huge and off the charts. Pornography is at a all time high since embracing the internet. Just of note porn is number one and sports in number two on the internet charts. The pleasure principle runs high in the world of downloading and streaming in a bad economy.
Some are born into money. Most of us are not. Trust fund babies are in short supply these days. Maybe I should have joined the military out of high school? Oh wait scratch that the military is all about combat these days. Besides there is that whole philosophical issue now that would make it hard to sleep at night.
These days people are dog walking, babysitting, cleaning, and naked butlering, to make enough money to pay their bills. Putting food on their table blows these days. Yikes that did not come out right. Moving on.
Ok here is my point if you are not Kanye, Jay-Z, Donald Trump, Oprah, Steve Forbes or a reasonable facsimile listen up.
When you got no money in an economy with no money remember three things;
1. Do not sell out. I repeat do not sell out. The impulse when all is bad is to cash in your chips. When you come from nothing you will do anything to have somethings sometimes. You gotta be strong. Don’t cave. In the end you will win if you hold on to what you got.
If you are a music artist it can mean the end of the line if you sell out. You make that big pop album and then you are never heard from again or you are compartmentalized into a sideshow or Vegas act.
Facebook was worth more when it was not traded on the open market. Sorry Mark Zuckerburg but selling out may have put a lot of money in your pocket but it just may have hurt your brand.
BET (Black Entertainment Television) was sold by Robert Johnson in 2003 for 3 billion dollars to Viacom. Johnson instantly became the richest black man in America until his wife since 1969 divorced him and took his billions. The following year Viacom made a bid for Univision that exceeded 12 billion. What a difference a year makes.
The lesson here is, “If someone shows up on your doorstep and says you are worth 3 billion don’t sell, put more time into your valuable business. Lazy people sell out. Hard working people in the long run are worth more and keep their wives.
Berry Gordy sold Motown at the dawn of the Hip Hop era to Polygram and Polygram sold it to Seagrams (yes the wine cooler people). Motown was the biggest selling record company of the 1960’s. What if Gordy had kept Motown? If he had Motown would have become the gold standard for all modern media. Vision of the future counts when you are not selling out. If you have no vision sell, sell, sell.
If you have vision don’t sell, what you do it buy? Buy? Yes buy? How? How do you buy if you don’t have any money.
Money is just a value of equity. Equity comes in many forms; sweat, leverage, relationships, knowledge and technology being some the best classifications.
It might sound counterintuitive to buy when the economy is bad, but that is not the case. The worse things are, the more you want to put into the market. The reason behind this is that in a recession, the price of services and talent drops along with everything else. This means that you can get very solid investments in very reputable companies and people for significantly less than you would normally have to pay. Even a few hundred or few thousand dollars put in the right places can reap benefits later on.
When things are bad go in house with your services. Look for people who make and program websites. People who shoot video come cheap when the market is slow. You can get a musician for a song. Writers write for food and computer experts will work just to keep a roof over their heads. In a bad economy you can build a company of media and digital experts.
Networking is free. Sell these new services you have to offer to others. The savvy business people will be on your doorstep begging to work with you. Businesses that can’t pay must trade something of equal value. A piece of the action is nice but leverage is better. Action is only good if you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and the client is reasonable to work with.
Continue to buy in to new technology. Always get the latest version of a relevant platform and keep current with industry trends. Stay on top of new browser and application technology. New cameras and programing language is must. New ways of delivering content (music, video etc.) is a must.
By staying on top you can pout yourself in the position to smell blood in the water when losers fail and strike when the time is right. If you take a measured, legal and analytical perspective you will loose.
"Play The Game Or The Game Plays You.”
If you do not know what short selling is, now is the time to find out. Short selling is a method for making money by betting on industries ands trends to lose money rather than gain it. It is an interesting way to earn money in a weak economy. You can actually make a very profitable living by betting on the losers.
The music industry is not dead. It is not on life support. I has been chopped down to size to reflect today’s new market space. Gasoline is high and music is not on CD and controlled by large corporations. Since 2001 the music industry has been cut in half on revenue. The entire industry makes half of what it use to. Hip Hop is not dean but it is in decline. It now only represents 5% of the total market. This is reflected in the number of collaborations that exist in the market. Hip Hop also exists in a antiquated business paradigm. If a brotha tries to sell you a CD while standing on a corner he is behind the curve. The meer fact he is not a she put him off the mark. If he does not even bother to get your email address or Facebook page and put you on his online newsletter he is not the artist to spend your money on. Paper money is dead. Don’t even get me started if Hip Hop artist only makes cash transactions. Virtual money is the only real currency that moves units.
Rock is no better. It encompasses about 5% of the market as well. They don’t stand on street corners selling records. They just try to sell them to their friends after a show in a hole in the wall venue in the same town they went to high school in. Long hair and attitude won’t cut it in a cutthroat market.
So there is blood in the water and you are the shark starting to circle. Time to go in for the kill. To take a chunk out of these genres the first rule of thumb is to not deal with the artist. Thats right no hanging with the band. Your client is the press agents, managers, PR people and record label (if they have one). You want to do their branding and promotions. Putting on a great money making event is better than a cool music video. You want to build their websites and social networking platforms. Let the losers make the videos and smoke and drink with the rockstars. You have business before pleasure.
So who is making all the money in the record business? Well the answer may surprise you.
Country music is 25% of the industry and adult contemporary is 20%. The hybrid Americana is a rising genre but at times it fails into the same traps as the rock and Hip Hop artists. If you wanna make money leave your ego at home. Country and Adult Contemporary sell hard copies (CD) and fill venues. They have loyal followings of people 8-80 years old.
So where are the hipsters that cash in? Well they are not in America. You gotta go overseas for that. Great bands and breakthrough Hip Hop acts are in Europe. Dance music pounds the floor from Brazil to Korea these days. You can catch some hot new R&B in China. Wanna see the 90’s Hip Hop group Arrested Development live, well you will have to go to Sydney or Tokyo.
So the idea is this get with the winners and exploit the losers and you can navigate the current state of things.
Put your movies on your own web channel or network. Make your videos in volume. Videos today are like looking for hit records. If you make music make a lot of it and build a library. Flip your music back into TV and film. Attach your music to other great concepts like gaming.
Throw events for everything. The world is a fairground of great ideas and concepts that people want to celebrate. It’s about time. It took about 100 years and the entire 20th century to get to this point. Technology destroyed innovation and now it is saving it. What come around goes around.
If you keep a cool head, there is no such thing as a bad economy. Low market prices and genres that lose money are opportunities. Stay smart, buy reliable talent and sell losers, Don’t panic and don’t sell out – unless of course you plan on short selling. You will one day be very glad you did.
The era of compartmentalization and demographics is over. Free markets, psychographics, free ideas, creativity, technology and innovation are the dawn of a new day. Make business first and the pleasure will follow. This is the century of progress.