Posted: Apr 1, 2013
Category: The Musician Business
**Guest post written by Nifty of Music Full Time.com.
By the end of this post, you might be annoyed with me. And that’s good. It means that you’ll be making money very soon.
I know this girl… she sings, and she’s actually a great singer, like amazing. She wants very, very much to sign to a small label I currently run. But between you and me, I have no intention of signing her. I get emails all the time from people who want to be signed – 98% of these people don’t even have their own websites. Seriously!? Seriously.
So back to this girl…hmm she needs a name…ok for the purpose of this blog I’ll call her Jen. Jen watches shows like American Idol (The Voice, X Factor, etc.) and she’s sick of them. She’s so frustrated because she knows she’s more talented than those competitors and that she can do what they can do – just better. She looks at the music videos of popular artists and wonders how come “sub-par” vocalists are achieving so much success when here she is, super-talented, and nothing’s happening. Thing is though, Jen’s idea of a marketing plan is posting a song on Facebook and YouTube in the hopes of getting “discovered”…and that’s it. Jen suffers from what I call the Prima donna Complex or PmC, (No it’s not a real disease, but read on and you’ll see that it makes perfect sense.)
Now you might think, well – isn’t that what a label is for? To help Jen come up with a real marketing plan that’s better than Facebook and YouTube? Yes and no. Most of Jen’s success depends on Jen herself, but she’s not really interested in the dirty work. Hence my lack of interest in her.
Unfortunately, she’s not alone; I frequently meet singers and rappers affected by this syndrome.
Before I go any further, let me define the term Prima donna in context. Lots of definitions out there, but this one from Urban Dictionary says it best: A person who is vain and considers themselves too good to do certain tasks and lives under conditions they consider inadequate.
The Prima donna Complex is an attitude. A mentality exhibited by talented artists around the world who are also LAZY. It’s the real reason the music industry is suffering today; not the internet, and certainly not the media.
Here are a few examples that identify an artist suffering from the Prima donna Complex or PmC – and it just might be you:
The artist with PmC believes his/her talent is “enough” to be “discovered”. He or she’s got tons of songs written and they just keep cranking those bad boys out. Without a doubt, the songs are awesome, but if you take a closer look at this artist’s trajectory, you’ll notice something curious. The songs never stop coming, but they never seem to see the light of day. The reason? The artist is unconsciously trying to avoid getting his/her hands dirty by actually learning how to do business. The life philosophy of this musician is “the more talented you are, the more successful you should be”.
A primary symptom of an artist suffering from PmC; he’s dead broke. Talent is never in question. He is undeniably gifted and you often look at him and wonder, “why in the blue heck is he not famous yet??” then two minutes later, when you’re all out to dinner and he’s mysteriously forgot his wallet yet again, you ask yourself “how come he never has any money?” The reason? This artist likely isn’t very interested in learning the business he wishes to dominate. Well, unfortunately that attitude is going to keep our talented and broke musician friend talented…and broke. I don’t care how phenomenal of a basketball player you are, if you don’t know the rules of the game, you will lose.
More than anything, an artist with PmC wants to sign to a label. The fantasy goes a little like this; “I am crazy talented, so one day a music exec will be online and spot my YouTube video that I shared on Facebook or they’ll happen to catch one of my shows, and they’ll make one phone call and change my life man. I’ll be signed and famous and the label’s going to give me everything I need to live my dream. I won’t have to book shows for myself anymore, nothing. I can just make music.” WRONG. The reason? With labels, nothing for something just doesn’t exist. No artist should expect a label to invest thousands of dollars and turn him/her into a star, but then have a problem when the label takes the majority share from their album sales.
This relates back to believing that talent is enough. Often you’ll find that while an artist suffering from PmC is devoted to his/her music, he/she somehow neglected to get a website up so that others can stumble upon their craft in accordance with their fantasy. If you don’t take yourself seriously, why should the world take you seriously? Really?
This town just doesn’t know how to appreciate what I offer. That crowd was just rough; they did not want to be entertained tonight. The sound technician doesn’t know what he’s doing – he screwed up my show! If radio would just stop playing the same junk over and over, maybe I’d have a chance. I just need to be put on. One or all of the above excuses have come from the lips of an artist with PmC, who is invariably frustrated with the industry and its total disregard for his/her talent. The reason? Artists suffering from this syndrome have the bad habit of blaming everyone but themselves for their apparent lack of success.
So…Ouch? Was this a little harsh? If you read the above and are slightly offended because it sounds familiar, then I hate to break it to you; you’ve got the bug. PmC is the real reason the music industry is suffering. But don’t feel too bad; you’ve identified the problem and there IS a cure.
I hope you’re mad. Now we can start making money.
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