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Monday, January 10, 2011

An Artist Led Business: The Realities of the Music Business - by Gilli Moon

An Artist led business
The realities of the music business
A chapter excerpt from Gilli Moon's book Just Get Out There.
If you are interested in re-printing this chapter/article/blog, please email for permission and conditions. 

 Gilli Moon, a multiple award-winning Australian singer, songwriter, producer, global artist community builder, and author is an unprecedented DIY Indie Music success, role model, educator and inspiration for thousands of artists worldwide. In her new book, Just Get Out There, she has created the Artist's bible to achieving abundance, self-empowerment and professional success as an Artist entrepreneur. 300+ pages filled with in-depth tips, tools, steps and resources on getting out there as an Artist, all the while achieving personal, financial and professional success and joy.  The following article is a chapter in her book, called "An Artist Led Business", describing the realities of the music business. All artists need to read this!

(As Artists), NOW, is the time for you to embrace what IS available to you, and get a whole perspective on what ocean you’re now dipping your toes into. This ocean has changed. It’s wilder, more diverse, and rather ambiguous. The music industry has changed A LOT. It’s a whole different animal. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

The business that we know of as the music business has changed. It’s in flux, but it still has conglomerates desperately trying to keep control of it, while the independent Artist Entrepreneurs are rising like military tanks on a mine field.

If you’re interested in reading about the last thirty years of the music business, and how CDs came along to save the business, then waned, and how the Internet came along to save the business, and now, “has killed it”, read Appetite For Self-Destruction – The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age, by Steve Knopper. It’s quite enlightening.

We are in a world which I call the “indie music world”, which is so exhilarating, actually, for Artists. Although people say that it’s tough to get signed, and no one is buying CDs anymore and sales are down and no one’s making money, there is a whole flip side to it, and it’s not a negative status for independent free thinking Artists. I enjoyed Knopper’s book because it showed me that the business goes in cycles, and the medium by which we transport the music changes. So if we are ready for change, we can accept the times and find great ways to succeed through them. But you have to be on your toes…

Wikipedia defines the "music industry" as such:
The music industry is the business of music. Although it encompasses the activity of many music-related businesses and organizations, it was dominated by the "big four" record groups, also known as "the major labels"/"the majors" — Sony BMG, EMI, Universal and Warner — each of which consists of many smaller companies and labels serving different regions and markets.

Well, they’re a little outdated aren’t they, now that EMI and Sony are one. So basically, there are the big “3”. It’ll be the big 1 before you know it. But even that will become undone.

I find it fascinating that the music industry definition is still defined as run by so few entities. But back in the day… oh just a few years ago... Artists would play the game with the Majors because it was the only way to get a look in. Basically, worldwide exposure was “bought”, and any Artist trying to get their music accessible to audiences had a fat chance because you’d have to sign up to the “Devil”, really. The "Devil", so to speak, were these record companies, apparently, who signed their Artists to 5-7 album deals in order to get some kind of life expectancy out of them, be able to push their music through their styrofoam towers and through all that, constructed binding 60 page contracts that left little room for Artist independence, let alone the real opportunity for them to ever make their investment back or make any money.

We had this old model where major record labels would determine what’s played on the radio, sold in stores, and dictated to consumers what they should buy at the store. CDs were between $10-30 and consumers would be conditioned to buy them based on being told what’s good on the radio, and that was controlled by the labels. We (as public) were spoon fed music.

Quite a few years ago, I wrote an article called “Taming of the Music Mafia”. You can read it here: It discussed the challenges Artists were facing back in 2002 (sounds so long ago now right?), and where the music industry is heading. The term “mafia” was not a literal term I used, but more a conceptual, metaphorically speaking way to reference certain control, monopolies and bribery that existed within the music industry, whether legal or illegal, between Artists, radio, promoters and record labels. I talked about how Artists were signed to major record companies, who then spent their money negotiating airplay or retail end cap space to sell the CDs they needed to sell to keep the ball rolling. I talked about pay to play, buying radio hits, and playing the “game” of the major record company system. Ah… the music industry… such an evolving subject these days. It's like a revolving door, with nothing that sticks.

Then the Internet happened big time for music (around 98-99), and sites like Napster came about, sharing the music, which wasn’t good for the songwriters and file owners as they weren’t getting paid, but it opened up a can of worms. Consumers could finally find their own music online, in the comfort of their home, and not be dictated by record companies’ tastes and financial agendas. Consumers no longer had to go to the record store to buy a CD that a record company told them was great. They could find it online, thereby destroying the record retail industry. (Cut to today and the only official new CD release retail store in L.A. is Amoeba, a used CD store. What a paradigm we live in, when you have to go to a second hand store to get something new, and only the “collectors” know the true value of the old fashioned CD.)

In the nineties, where record labels were still the staunch leaders, Ani DiFranco, modern folk singer/songwriter, was one of the few Artists that were paving the way as a so-called “independent” Artist, even before the Internet. She was always very outspoken about the major labels victimizing Artists, and with her own record company, Righteous Babe Records, she was able to distribute her music worldwide without “big brother” helping her.

the music industry mafia is pimping girl power sniping off their sharpshooter singles from their Styrofoam towers..."
- Ani DiFranco

I feel that with my own label, Warrior Girl Music, I followed in her footsteps.
But very few others were able do the same, without the financial or marketing means, let alone the gumption to give it a try.

It wasn’t until the Internet came into being, in the late nineties, that things started to change.  Independent Artists, those who were setting themselves apart from the machine of signing deals (or flogging themselves to the Labels to get signed), became silently, discreetly and effectively (to the major public eye) more in control of their business by managing their own affairs and using new World Wide Web opportunities to by-pass the major system. I was one of them.

By 2001, Internet sites sprung up everywhere playing music, indie or major, including podcasts, webcasts, Internet radio (many run by kids out of their bedrooms). Social networks began to bring people together in online communities.

The cold hard fact was that Artists needed to become more in control of their careers and less beholden to the deep pocket, the stifling un-creative rigidity, and possibly (probably) get screwed, shelved, or bankrupt in the process. We all know, and knew then, that the "empire" was about to unravel. While independent Artists began a surge of self-empowerment and the “indie” world ignited, so did the empire begin to crumble… as expected, and much needed. We all need Rome to fall in order for something new and exciting to transpire. Since my first article, Pandora’s Box has indeed opened and whilst label executives had kept their jobs for fifty years, since 2002, the majority have lost them. There is no more “status quo”. This is the movie The Terminator, except instead, the Artists are the ones taking over the world.

What has happened is quite remarkable: because of the Internet and having anything so readily accessible to everyone, the consumer started making decisions about what music they wanted to listen to. Instead of Corporate Music America deciding what we were to hear on radio, see on TV or watch live, consumers searched music content of their own choosing. They didn't want to have music forced down their throat anymore, especially when so much more interesting and abundant music was and is floating on the Net.

Then the big crack down on Napster in ‘01 happened to stop consumers sharing music for free (they tried to win by adopting the 1984 Betamax case in their legal case – “yeah we’re just sharing music with friends… only 8 million friends, but still… friends”). Well, they lost. (You can Google the case online.)
The indie Artist quickly stepped up to the plate before a Major Record Company exec could write their next marketing plan. How exciting for an indie Artist, who has always had to think outside the box and find other ways to get to the masses: the masses at their door step. And the "front door", with people banging loudly, became the Artists' own websites, and Myspace profiles and anywhere an Artist can upload, blog, ping, splash on the Internet. By 2005, the indie Artist began to take control of not only their careers and future income potential, but take control of how music is being marketed.

Meanwhile, the Major Record Companies have had to think fast. Their CD sales plummeted, because consumers began to buy on the Net (downloads) direct from Artists. They let off thousands of employees. Music retail chain stores began to close (Tower Records was the bedrock of CD sales history. I was sad to see it go on the Sunset Strip, Hollywood). Record companies were closing down, merging, dissipating, watching and waiting. The Majors realized they had to come up with marketing strategies and new revenue streams to survive, and compete with the indie Artist model of guerilla street and Internet marketing tactics, that were thriving. The indie Artist's model was now the model to go by. Who would have thought?

Consumers got tired of being dished music from the corporations. That’s what brought on Napster. Good or bad, Napster allowed people, in their living rooms on their computers, to decide what music they wanted to hear and when they wanted to hear it. It allowed undiscovered talent to be heard, by the millions. This has led to a giant overhaul of the music industry, so much so that now most music marketing takes place on the Internet, driving consumers to new music through banner ads, MySpace ads, iTunes, and social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Multiply, LinkedIn, Delicious….the list goes on) have taken over any form of advertising as the largest vehicle to spread new music and bands. Artists can upload their tunes, create free web pages and interact with thousands of people. It has led to a reverse shift whereby instead of Artists soliciting to major record companies, hoping to get signed, now major record companies are mirroring the indie model, even pretending/faking their Artists to be “indie-like” on the Net.   Some Napster-style sites are trying to survive today, like Limewire. They won’t survive on the long term, because, well they are just sharing Artists’ music without their permission. But that’s a whole different article. The RIAA is cracking down on them all, and all the music companies are coming up with different laws and rulings on what is a download, stream or whatever. It’s still in flux, but they’ll sort it out. I’m still not convinced the “sorting out” is in the Artist’s favor (has it ever been?) But the climate is ripe for different styles of music delivery: subscription services, radio stations online that have subscribers, selling music in bulk to services, and so forth. Major record companies are using this model by offering their entire catalogs at a bulk rate. Record companies are scrambling to find out what to do to sell their signed music. It’s definitely a singles market again where you can download 1 song on iTunes (like the 60s and 80s singles markets).

Sites like iTunes breed a new kind of consumer: one who doesn’t really care about the full album anymore, but can search for 1 song, and create their own compilations (playlists) of music based on a mood or style. It does leave a large creative hole though: who will care about the Art of the Artist anymore? Who will care about what we want to deliver? And who cares about the quality of the sound of music? (I personally detest the compressed sterility of an mp3.)

But let’s look at the numbers: if all works out well, Artists will get paid more for their music (although there are still middle people) and consumers can buy music directly and choose for themselves what they want to listen to.

Indie Artists can potentially cut out the middle person, sell their own songs on their website (Paypal, Itunes, etc.) or use a digital aggregator (that’s an online distributor but dressed in a new title), with the Artist keeping a minimum of 80% of the sale (instead of 12% of the old record company deal model). That’s good news right?

So, the money making probability is in the Artist’s hands, which is great. You’re making more of the money.  So as an Artist you may not get $2 million or $200,000, you may get $60,000. But at 80% it’s pretty good money, and you end up still owning your music masters (that’s longevity).

However, you may not be getting as many customers because everybody has their music up there. We are bombarded by lots of music. It’s a sea of music (and a lot of terrible music also) to wade through. We are not only bombarded with music, but we are bombarded by ads and marketing (“come buy my song”, “see my gig”), and even the major labels are using every inch of Internet space that for a while was owned by indies, to sell their latest reality TV star music mogul. So much is thrown in our faces, as consumers, that we have to pick and choose. We want to stay close to just a few Artists (or a few dozen). We become… FANS…. of particular Artists, and we stick to them.

An interesting statistic from September 2010 (Los Angeles Times): “While digital music sales have steadily grown, overall industry revenue continues to fall.” Yes, the biz has taken a hard slap, that’s for sure.
BUT, we can STILL sell music. (Gilli, are you losing it?!) No, I’m not. What I’m saying is, by harnessing your local communities, and a grass roots mentality, you can absolutely create an abundant financial career.

As Artists, we learn to focus more on our communities to promote our music (on Facebook, MySpace, your website, e-mails to immediate fan and friend bases, etc.) and you don’t need to pay for advertising costs (not really), nor have to give away a huge portion of rights to your music. You’re in control of your music (who gets it and who doesn’t) and the sale. You may not have the huge international success (or you still may…. it’s all still possible). BUT IT’S WITHIN YOUR COMMUNITY you created.

A great time for Artists
This is truly the heart of what I’m getting at: you, as an Artist, can be in charge of your destiny. You can be in control of your business, and your Artistry, connect to your fans, AND make money. It is all possible. While everyone is complaining about the crash and burn of the music industry, let alone the economy, I encourage you to see the GOLDEN opportunity you have right now to become Artist Entrepreneurs and see the potential of this new ground.

Today, we have great opportunities for Artists to think outside the box and come up with interesting ideas on how to get our music out there. In a few years, the copyright laws and the RIAA and all the bodies will all continue to try and keep their pieces of the pie, and a lot is still in flux but it will all start to level out.
And it’s a great time for Artists, as they rise out of the ashes like a phoenix.  When people don’t know what’s going on with the music biz, and the economy, the Artist Entrepreneur comes up with great ideas, and they are the ones that take new risks to make a change. This is what I mean by being a Warrior Artist.

So if you are willing to be that person, you have a solid chance of being successful.

And what about tokens of reward like winning awards, radio success and fame? The Grammy nomination system is still a frustrating experience. Out of the hundreds of nominated Artists, with some worthy albums and songs, the large percentage is trash (and still bought and marketed with millions of dollars). The best music to find is outside the traditional commercial norm: online blogs, word of mouth, iTunes, podcasts. Music television like MTV and VH1 rarely play a music video, what with lifestyle shows eating up the programming. It's partly the consumers' fault. We want reality... for some odd reason we want to get into the lives of real people and watch it on a daily, hourly basis. That's why American Idol works so well. Those Artists that win each series become hugely famous in nanoseconds not just because it's rigged (um, I mean calculated programming by TV execs in cahoots with the record company ready to release an album by whoever wins).

It's also successful, and the execs know it, because consumers WANT to be PART of an Artist's development now. They don't want to buy an album by someone who is unknown and just lands on our airwaves (which is the old routine, payola and all that to get it there). No, consumers want to live and breathe every moment, every tear, every laugh, every wrong note along the way to winning the contest that they have had a hand in voting for. And then, when the record company releases the single only weeks after the last program of the series (weird how the timing is so perfect, huh?!), then the consumer is ready to buy, buy, buy, because they feel like they were part of the process of making that Artist successful.

I’m not sure if I like the idea of American Idol being the barometer of talent, but it's true to say that the cream will always rise to the top, no matter how much sh-- you need to swim through.

I’m swimming as hard as I can…

With the realities of the music business as it stands, I ask this question:  Why is it not possible to do it your own way, with the Artist steering the ship? I say YES, it’s very possible, tangible and in fact, more financially profitable and stable, compared to the alternative.

This book (Just Get Out There) is not encouraging you to just stay indie (independent), or never sign a record deal. I have never pushed for Artists to remain “independent”, or “indie”. It’s your choice. This business is about relationships, so you will need a team, you will need to work with people, and you cannot do it alone. (See my DIT chapter later). But I do encourage all of us to be the masters of our destinies and that means being in control of your business operation, your creative choices and your career goals. This is about being awake to the realities of the business in order to succeed and survive. If you have read my first book, all these notions of a self-driven Arts business have been explained. I recommend reading it to give you a sense where I’m coming from in this new book.
This is the real world. A world of opportunity, and it’s there waiting for you.

It's an exciting era for independent Artists. In the past, as well as the present, multi-national corporations controlled mass media and pop music. They have done so before and they always will. There will always be some powerhouse company, or three, in control. It goes back to feudal days of lords and peasants… the control of the food chain. There will always be the need for quick "hits" for music and "big opening weekends" for movies, as it's motivated by money, by power and by business. As I’ve already said, the music business is about business. It's not really about music at all. Don't be sad about this. It is what it is, and I guess many Artists, including me, are dependent on the “business” of music because we want to be heard and find our audiences. We want our music and songs listened to. So we play the game and make deals with the Devil on the promise that “they, them, these others” will make our music heard through the outlets “they” have set up. Some Artists waste years waiting around hoping to be discovered by a company, and spend their whole lives constantly proving themselves to some mysterious dark wall.

Most give up, tossed aside by ignorant so-called “music industry representatives” who often like to criticize an Artist simply to keep their job. They don’t realize the impact negative feedback can be on a fledgling Artist who is just living on their dream of being “great” one day.

Too many Artists are dependent on someone or something else to “make it happen” for them. But the path I prefer to talk about is called the self-empowered path. My first book focused on the idea of Artists taking control of their own careers, getting out there on their own and making it happen for themselves. I believe in defining success on one's own terms, not by some fading notion of commercial success that is just defined by others. What we have in our hands today is the opportunity to get out on the street, ourselves, and connect with the audiences and consumers directly. New music ideas have always started on the street before reaching the board rooms. New Internet opportunities allow us to use grass roots methodologies of spreading the word through "friends", fans and link exchanges, whilst record labels are dying a slow death in their current form. They are just not getting their sales volumes and are scrambling to catch up to what many independent Artists are revolutionizing as success, in order to survive.

Artists are now the ideas people in business. Wait, that doesn’t make sense! I thought Artists were always the ideas people. Aren’t we the ones that are creatively coming up with ideas? Well you’d think so, but for so long “they” (sales men, marketing men, paper shufflers) were in control of ideas or decisions. With the age of technology and the Internet, however, the power is creeping into the Artists’ hands and we have been able to navigate our own way through the quagmire of corporate control to find our own niche, and hence, our own audience… and ultimately a successful career.

An Artist led business is the way of the future. We STILL need a team, remember, and you may sign deals with companies to get your music out there, but we are no longer ignorant and no longer sheltered from the market. We have access!

It has bred a generation of business type Artists who see marketing as just as important as making music. It has also bred a lot of terrible music. But that can’t be helped when the flood gates have been torn open. All we can hope is that consumers will still continue to make valued choices in the music they buy. Demand is the power force here.

The current shift
The new Artist Entrepreneur (I will define this in the next chapter) grew out of the ashes, like the phoenix, of dying Rome. It's just plain and simple. No one should be at the mercy of a large corporation when they don't even know the way. Many celebrity "major" Artists once signed to major labels, have left them, and became indie, starting up their own labels (Radiohead and Simply Red to name a few). This is not just because they chose to. In some situations, the majors no longer have the power to keep up the level of promotion and finance that these Artists needed in the past. While there is still a "system" in place that the majors seemingly think they are in control of, because they still have more money to play with, it's a daunting future for them, because the income streams are so fleeting and ever changing.

Where we’ve arrived at is a slow shift of a quagmire – that is, it is seemingly unmoving and we don’t know exactly what the next phase is, but at the same time, there are shifts happening where Artists are becoming more empowered, and labels are starting to change their face in order to meet the new business models, working with and by the Artists’ playing rules. It’s a really exciting playing field, and not just for indie Artists: but for the labels too. Everyone has had to change the way they do business and now we are all on the same playing field with bat in hand.

Artists have been able to control their sales & distribution, as well as their public awareness campaigns, themselves, and easily through Internet interfaces. The record companies, in turn, are almost modeling their marketing tactics off indie Artist ideas, for example, Marie Digby. Apparently she was so successful on promoting herself from her living room, playing raw, passionate original songs direct to 2.3 million friends, that she became an instant star. Following that, landing songs in TV shows and filling stadiums. Indie Artist? Seemingly. But not really. There was no mention that she was signed. Just a girl with guitar. What we discovered later was this was a calculated marketing tactic by her record label, Hollywood Records, owned by Disney, to reach the new consumers who want to discover their own talent instead of being force fed. It worked. We all loved her Youtube site, and thought this 24 year old was a self-made success, and we were all discovering her. But the label was behind the ploy the whole time.

Personally, I think it's great. It's a clear example of how independent Artists are offering the way, AND it's a solid affirmation that we are now all on the same playing field: Artists and labels - we all can reach our audiences without having to "play that Devilish game".

Where does it leave the independent Artist? Well, I still think that although the "new model" is REALITY music, independent Artists are more REAL in their marketing than anyone else. We are the first to let our fans into our worlds: our websites, our blogs, our free downloads. We want to interact with our fans, and we want them to be part of our development. Some indie Artists invite fans to become investors in their CD production which is a great new way of including them in the early days, as well as helping to fund the album and its eventual marketing.

I listened to a panel of record company execs recently at the Durango Songwriters Conference that included reps from Warners, Curb and Atlantic. I felt it was a healthy discussion because I realized that the labels now know they need to work WITH the Artists and not just force feed their agendas on them, and everyone else. Reality is, digital sales have plateaued. Only 10-12% are legal downloads and companies need twenty indicators to go off at once, not just a few CD sales as ducks in a row, to see if their Artists are going to "make it". There is a trend to go for the more organic music that shows realism rather than plastic, manufactured bland pop that represented an era that is dead. Music needs to be real, alive and shows the story of the Artist that consumers so desperately want to interact with.

On another tangent, the younger generation is so distracted with all the available "toys" in their lives, that music is becoming a lesser "want". Gone are the days when a 16 year old would sift through vinyl records in their local music store for 3 hours trying to hunt down their favorite Grateful Dead album. These kids of today are plugged in intravenously to their iPods, cell phones and portable laptops, and are scouring the Internet just for a quick, short term fix of a tune they heard on reality TV; then trashed forever while they grab another quick hit song to engulf. They don't care if it's 5.1 Surround sound, 64 channel mixed. Nothing. They take it as it is, compressed, squashed and lifeless. They are also distracted by video games (hence that is now a great music marketing area to place your songs in), blogging, Instant messaging, social networking and all that is unrelated yet related to music. They love to chat, all day long, on their little digital interfaces, and if music happens to be involved, it's fast, furious and disposable. Preferably free to them.

Where to next?  
So how do we hold onto our fans and create a career then, if we are so disposable? What is the future for us Artists who love to make music, real music, that sounds big and fantastic and used to come with glossy visual CD covers that told our stories?

I see it is two fold: It’s about concentrating on two areas of our lives, and forgive me for asking Artists to be a little business savvy here, but it’s absolutely vital to understand business and marketing. There’s no way out of it anymore. If you think you’re going to be in the music “business” without being business savvy, then get out now and make way for those who can do that part, because that’s the only type of Artist who is going to “make it” (however you want to define that). I’ve spent my whole first book speaking about Artists as business people. I also addressed the concept of “success” in that book, and I believe you need to define success on your own terms, not by some commercial token of reward, because these “tokens” are changing. Once, a dream may have been to be number one on radio. Well, my friends, I figured that smoke and mirrors out long ago, and it had a lot to do with payola, timing, money, and what deal you had in place.
Nowadays, a token of success could be that you land the front page of MySpace. However you see it, and whatever you want, it can all be real, but don’t lose sight of the bigger picture – the longer path. Tokens come and go. Artistry is life long.

All we need to consider as Artists is this:
1. Create great music, and
2. Market the music.

Whether you are an independent Artist, or a major label, the two principles still apply. Indie Artists may not necessarily have the same amount of money to market, promote and advertise the music, but they increasingly have a quicker and keener sense as to what are the latest marketing tools to use. Kids are growing up intravenously connected to computers and cell phones (well not quite, but you know what I mean). It’s second nature for them to blog, podcast, design websites, be on social networking sites, chat on discussion groups and forums, download music and ringtones, etc. This is the music marketing of today, and it’s at our fingertips. For the first time ever, the pieces are now in the hands of the Artists to do what they want with it, rather than in the power of "they/them", (you know, those people who live behind dark veils, who keep the money and keep us in the dark).

I  was sad when Tower Records closed down. It’s the advent of a new dawn in music delivery. Gone will be the CD and in comes a new digital way of delivering music. I do hope that we can keep the music sounding its best. I struggle with the idea that my months of labor in the studio, and the money and time spent creating 5.1 surround sound quality masters are squashed into compressed mp3s. But we all have to realize that even the making of music will change, just like it’s changing for video what with YouTube and the ability to create videos on your cell phone and upload to the world.

Fortunately Artists are very creative, so this is a time for us to put our creativity to the max, and think of great ideas to create and market our music to the world.

Arriving are 100 different solutions to spread your Artistry far and wide. Even the tools and websites I’ve described in this chapter alone, will go. New ones will arrive. In my decade on the Net, I’ve seen it all. And I’m not surprised when a new “fad” website becomes hip. All I can stay is optimistic by the opportunities that are waiting for me every time I click my mouse. 

I'm chomping at the bit every day when I discover a new website or promotional tool that will help get my music out there. There is so much, but it takes some sweat, some fortitude, a lot of passion and a keen desire to do this for the rest of your life, because being an Artist is life long.  

The Art should always come first, so don't let your business affairs make you unhappy. Being business minded, disciplined and organized, means taking risks and focusing yourself in channeling your creativity. All this provides opportunities. Be mindful that opportunities come when you least expect them, so keep the door open and be ready in wonder.

Opportunities aren’t always far afield either. They can be in your own backyard. You just have to look for them. Many people will say to you, “oh, you need big bucks to make it or you’ll fail”, or “you need to do this, this and this in order to be successful otherwise you won’t make it”. Ignore these people who say your dream is impossible to reach and if they say they know the way. The paths are opening up every day, and there are so many new ways to deliver music. Being conscientious at what you do, working toward financial independence and creative freedom ON YOUR OWN TERMS is the only path.

Stay positive, optimistic, keep organized and opportunities will come your way.  Besides, if you are a pessimist, you will only see the failures in life. So, put a smile on your face, get your house in order and make steps to step outside the box and just get out there.

 Learn my phrase:   Optimism + Organized = Opportunity

The music industry is like a battle field. Tackling it, and climbing to the top, is like war, and as an artist I must tap into the warrior within, carve my own road, follow the dreams, and remain true. The Internet is an amazing vehicle for indie artists to truly shine and remain in control of their art. There is no longer a barrier to deliver self-expression. Artists can manage their careers and their record sales and remain true to their art. Vive La Independence!

Gilli Moon

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Gilli Moon, a multiple award-winning Australian singer, songwriter, producer, & global artist community builder, is an unprecedented DIY Indie Music success, role model, educator and inspiration for thousands of artists worldwide.  She is a self made brand. Artist, songwriter, entrepreneur, expressionist, her willingness and pleasure in providing her unparalleled insight and knowledge of the recording and music industry to help other musicians and artists navigate and find success for their own art is, indeed, a rare commodity.  For the past 10 years, Gilli has been one of Australia's most influential and iconic figures based in the USA, forging an independent path before anyone knew what "indie" was. She has produced and released 6 studio music albums of her original music, to critical acclaim (including a spread in Newsweek Magazine), released several EPs and singles, written hundreds of songs, winning songwriting and artist awards and licensing to film and television shows, and has performed around the world many times over. She has also received attention for her inspiration for other artists, and has worked with other highly respected prominent artists, including Simple Minds, Placido Domingo and Eric Idle (Monty Python). Her new (2nd) book is called JUST GET OUT THERE and is the Artist's bible to achieving abundance, self-empowerment and professional success as an Artist entrepreneur. 300+ pages filled with in-depth tips, tools, steps and resources on getting out there as an Artist, all the while achieving personal, financial and professional success and joy. Gilli is also a certified professional coach and offers Artist Development Coaching and Workshops to Artists of all genres and styles, as well as is President and Co-founder of the largest international non-profit organization supporting songwriters and composers, Songsalive!

Buy Gilli Moon's book Just Get Out There on Amazon or

Artists, who do you want to be in 2011? Find out here:


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