Empires of Dreams

Do Companies Selling Services to Musicians Target Mediocre Artists? And if so, so what?

The rise in tools for making independent music has created a booming target market for music biz “how-to” gurus, books, websites, etc. Including this blog. But the abundance of people that will never achieve “mainstream” popularity as musicians (some music biz people I’ve talked to refer to them as “delusionals”), are creating what another calls “Empires of Dreams,” or very profitable companies that target these hopeless individuals, despite the implicit knowledge that very few of them will ever actually have much success.

To sum up my concern: companies market their goods and services in such a way that appeals to not only those reasonably talented, but especially to those who are entirely delusional. Is it possible that some companies are in fact targeting the “delusionals” specifically, instead of those with higher probability of success? My suspicions arose through my own experiences as a musician, AND by the thought that it doesn’t really matter to these businesses whether you succeed, but only that you perceive a service or good as being able to help you to succeed.

Buy at Your Own Risk

That said, I believe in a free economy where consumers are allowed to buy most of the things they could want, including drugs and other “harmful” stuff. I guess the distinction lies in whether a company markets its goods or services with the knowledge that it is “faulty,” or basically not going to help you out at all. Drug dealers don’t tell customers that drugs are good for them…

Real Life Scenarios vis-a-vis Music Licensing Companies

While reviewing various companies that help musicians license their music, I’ve seen a wide variety of business models. Some are pay-up-front, we’ll take whatever you’ve got, and others are very selective, and have a multi-stage screening process for the music that they actually enter into their database, and only get paid when they get you a deal. In my mind, the latter type of company is going to have motives more aligned with those of the artists themselves. They need deals to make money. The former, however, make money by signing people up, not necessarily by getting them licensed. Obviously, the more successful a company is in securing licensing deals, the more people will want to sign up, so they do have a similar, but weaker, motivation to get deals. Just some thoughts. What do you think about it?

Take the “Test”

Have a look at these main marketing images for two well-known music services, the Indie Bible and Taxi.

Are these designed to attract seriously talented people, or “delusionals”? Just a question…

Caveat: I have used both of them, and the Indie Bible has been pretty useful to me on occasion, as was a critique I received from Taxi…So are my suspicions unfounded? Am I too delusional? or what?

Indie Bible
Indie Bible
Taxi's homepage
Taxi's homepage

2 thoughts on “Empires of Dreams”

  1. http://www.clousfamily.com I TOTALLY AGREE! I did however find the Indie Bible at the library. Taxi, if one could attend the show, might be worth it… but for hobby people, it’s way to pricey. The guy wrote on the blog recently about the 40-something dad who got his song on a TV commercial.

    It’s very nice to get critiques — but $400 + per song is pricey. Many will enter, only a few will win. But that’s not to say the music is good or bad… there is LOTS of good music. But if you don’t have good music, that you can play to your family, co-workers, sell on the street, etc. then why spent that kind of money!

    If it is good, there are so many good ways to sell it.

    Itunes, etc. I am daily impressed at how I’m able to see my songs starting to take off… but yes, one of my in project albums is “Empire of the Air, the Challenges of Greed and Self-Delusional Leaders…” I’m thinking about the economic meltdown… but yes, people will fool themselves in this area — are you talented, will it be successful? What will you get paid?

    Start over, say Derek S. and others — write music you’d love to give away to others. And… wow, as I’ve seen, people are kind enough to respond in kind with money back to me, encouragement to keep on writing.

    However, yes, the TAXI stuff sure feels like marketing to losers at times… you are having a great insite! Practically, they clearly say it’s a mailing list of places to send your music to be considered.

    Compare and contrast with Mangatune… give up 50% of revenue for marketing … once people are “successful…” things change.

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