Any career development person worth his salt, wants
you to have a career that is constantly rising. Hence,
that is why you should have three CDs worth of material
already written when you approach your career
development person or music industry executive. (For
those of you who don't know what I am talking about, see
my last article entitled "The Music Industry- Here is
what a young artist needs to know to be a star.")
A good career development person will survey your
material, ask you to throw away the songs that didn't
survey well, then ask you to write some more songs,
survey again, etc. until he can finally place your songs
in an order that results in your first CD being good,
your second CD better, and your third CD best of the
three. He will do all of this by surveying your
material. Some survey techniques are so accurate that
they can even tell you where your song will place in the
top 40--number 15 or number 35.
Why does your
career development person do this? Because you can
actually lose money and ruin your career with a poorly
planned number one hit.
Now remember, rankings
in the top 40 are determined by air play, not sales. So,
here is how it works.
If you are an unknown
artist, and you release your best song first, and your
agents and managers and executives at the music
companies are good salesmen, you might start getting
airplay. If you get enough airplay you might break into
the charts at say number 35. Music stores and major
download services, however, probably won't carry it
right away, because 1) there are lots of people vying
for "shelf" space, so to speak and the music stores are
going to wait and see how this new artist does before
they commit to giving you any space. (After all you
might break in at number 35 and be gone from the charts
the very next week.) So let us just say there is not
necessarily a mad dash to get your number 35 hit into
the stores and onto the shelves; and 2) even if there is
a huge demand (maybe you broke into the charts at number
15 your very first week, it is still going to take
awhile for the music company to press the CDs and ship
them to the stores. (often weeks).
happened numerous times in the past that a song will
zoom from say the number 35 to the top number 1 spot
BEFORE any CDs can be shipped to the music stores. By
the time the stores do get the CDs, the song has fallen
down the charts and is no longer getting the airplay on
its way out (at say number 38) that it got on its way up
to number 1. Let's say the music executives representing
you zealously pressed 500,000 CDs when your song was
number one, but now that it has finally arrived at the
stores it is not getting airplay anymore. People start
forgetting about it and the actual sales only amount to
say 50,000 units.
The music company loses money
on this scenario because the cost to manufacture and
ship the 500,000 CDs exceeds what they made on the
50,000 actual unit sales. Now, internet distribution and
sales have made it a lot easier to counter this kind of
scenario, but it still can happen with inexperienced,
and inept music executive making the wrong decisions.
Now here is what an experience career development
executive would do. Again he would survey your material
and your first release would be a song that he knows
will break into the top 40 at about 39, rise to number
30 than fizzle out after that. No one worries very much
about getting CDs into stores or anything like that.
What this accomplishes, however, is everyone becomes
aware of you. The stores are aware of you, the internet
downloading services are aware of you, and fans in
general are aware of you. After all, a number 30 hit on
your first release is not too shabby.
second release is going to be a surveyed song that your
career development person knows will place in the low
20s or high teens on the charts. So now all the people
that were made aware of you by your first release
realize that this is even a better song, that there
really is something to you, and the mad dash to get you
on the shelf DOES begin. Everyone knows you are not a
one hit wonder and that this second release is going to
make every one money.
Now imagine what happens
when your third release does even better and makes it to
number 10 on the charts. Then imagine what happens when
your second album comes out. Well the people are lined
up to buy it sight unseen, and when they hear it and it
is even a better album, when you have three top ten and
one number one hits off of it, you career is well on its
way to being established forever.
third album comes out with your three number one hits.
You are pretty much guaranteed to be in the music
business as long as you want.
Now imagine the
opposite. Suppose you released your best song first and
every thing got progressively worse from there. Does a
"one hit wonder" ring a bell. Does anyone even remember
the names of the numerous groups who have done just
So a word to the wise: Use experienced
career development people. Survey your material. Do it
smart. Do it right. Be successful.
About the Author
Stan Medley is the CEO of Viscount Productions, Inc. which specializes in career development. Additional information on this topic is at http://www.viscountproductions.com