Planning To Be Famous

© 2010 Vinny Ribas

Let’s say you and your band members pooled your money and spent $1,000 on a really cool music video. And low and behold, it went viral on YouTube and was seen by 1,00,000 people in a week! Then David Letterman decided to air it on his show, reaching countless millions more. Now, because of that exposure, 10% of those YouTube viewers (100,000) want to buy your latest CD. And the icing on the cake is that you’ve started getting calls for gigs from all over the country! You’re an overnight sensation! Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? 

OK, so let’s see how great this really is. Millions of people see your video. That’s awesome publicity, and it only cost you $1,000. Now you have to capitalize on it before the luster wears off. Let’s take a look at what happens from here:[private_member] 

  • You have 500 CDs in your garage that you sell at your gigs. Overnight you need to have 95,500 more, and that costs a lot of money. Where will that come from and who can turn the order around that fast? Or worse yet, you don’t have a CD yet – just the one song you made the video for! If you can’t produce, you’ll soon be nothing but a fluke.
  • Your new fans are demanding new videos, and you’re expected to up your game. You can’t disappointment them. This is your real shot. Where will the money come from? Do you have comparable video ideas in place?
  • People worldwide are suddenly looking to buy your music. Do you have it on I-Tunes, Amazon and on other music resellers? Does CDBaby have it, and if so, how many copies? Do you have physical distribution so it can be rushed out to stores?
  • People everywhere want to visit your website, subscribe to your newsletter, subscribe to your blog etc. Are those all in place? Do they look professional? Are they up to date?
  • You’ve got countless new fans! Who’s going to manage the fan base? Do you have a way to capture email addresses and demographic information (gender, zip code, age etc.)?
  • Thousands of people want to download your music. Can they do that directly from your website so that you make the most money? If not, are you at least directing them to where they can buy it? Is it available on all of the digital resellers?
  • Venues are calling asking for booking dates. They want EPKs. Do you have a professional EPK in place? How about a physical press kit?
  • Venues want to lock in dates right now while you are still popular. Do you have a tight band together that is ready to hit the road? Do you have enough similar-style songs to do a complete show or fill a night? Do you have a booking agent to handle all of the calls? If not, who is going to field the calls, schedule the dates, issue the contracts, send out the riders (if you even have one) etc.?
  • The first gig opportunity is in 2 weeks. Do you have the vehicle(s) to get to the gig? Do you have top-notch equipment for playing the gig? Are you well-rehearsed?
  • The press is calling for interviews. Are you ready? Are you comfortable in an interview setting? Do you know what to say and what not to say? Who is the spokesperson for the act? Do you have a publicist handling the calls and strategizing on the best opportunities to take and the ones to turn down?
  • Record labels are calling wanting you to sign with them and offering all kinds of creative deals. Do you have a manager to negotiate on your behalf? How about an experienced entertainment attorney? Have you previously discussed the idea of signing with a label with your band, team and family so you know what you really want? Do you know enough about the business to make the wisest decisions, especially ones that will effect your career in every way and for a long time?
  • Radio stations are calling asking for your music. Are you set up to send your music to thousands of stations worldwide, call for follow-up interviews, go on a radio tour etc? 

I could go on and on about other chaotic scenarios that could arise from overnight success. But don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to discourage you from chasing the brass ring. The real point I am trying to make is that it is important to prepare for, plan for and manage your success! All of the challenges that I have brought up are the result of poor planning, or lack of planning altogether. To be stable, your music career should be built on a deliberate sequence of events. That sequence can vary from artist to artist based on his or her desired results. But your plan should always be structured such that each move adds strength, dimension and value to the previous moves, just as if you were building a house. 

The process of determining where you want to go and how you are going to get there is called developing a Business Plan. The process of mapping out each step, when it will be done and who is going to do it is called developing a Strategic Plan. Every wise businessperson develops these when they are planning on opening a business. He or she then reviews and updates the plans every 3-6 months to make sure they are still on track and to make adjustments based on any fluxuating or unforeseen circumstances. No bank or investor will give money to a business without seeing these plans drawn up in detail. Having workable, well-though-out, well-sequenced and financially sound plans is how empires are built. If you want your career to have the impact, stability and financial rewards of a musical empire, shouldn’t you follow their lead and do the same?[/private_member]

About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.