Mia Mind Music, a top leader in artist development and marketing speaks with us about some of the most important issues in being a musician today. This exclusive interview goes in depth of not only the art of music, but the industry behind the music. It has become more and more crucial for music artists to expose themselves the right way. Mia Mind Music goes in detail about radio play, publicity as well as some of the biggest mistakes music artists can make.
WWS: What is the history and story behind Mia Mind Music? How long has the company been in existence?
MMM: Mia Mind Music was formed 25 years ago in New York City. Prior to that time I, as well as my business partners were involved in artist representation. In other words, we got artists signed to record, publishing, licensing and management deals. But beginning in the 1980′s major labels were no longer interested in engaging in artistic development. So that’s when we created Mia Mind Music – a company devoted to the artistic development necessary to attract industry attention and launch careers. Over the years the partners in the company have received 23 gold and platinum record awards.
What exactly does Mia Mind Music do for music artists today?
Simply stated, we develop an artist’s marketing picture. Since the labels no longer engage in artistic development, but at the same time usually won’t bring their resources to the table unless the artist (either by their own efforts or hiring promotion and marketing companies such as ours) has a documented, or developed marketing history, this is where we come into play. We’re the team surrounding the artist that helps to set and achieve these goals and make sure that the activities are documented and verifiable in the acceptable and respected fashion that industry members recognize. The first thing we do is create what we call a career roadmap, or schedule of career events, that maps out the necessary activities, costs and times lines. Thereafter we help our clients coordinate these activities in order to obtain the maximum yield when it comes to results. If you don’t know where to go and how to get there it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever get to where you’re going. To put it another way, we help musicians obtain the pieces of the puzzle and put then together to create a career in this business.
Why is radio promotion and play so important for musicians?
It’s one of the aforementioned pieces of the puzzle that’s required to attract industry attention and support. It not only allows others to hear your music and increase your fan base but if you or your promoter knows how to track and document airplay then it also provides others in the entertainment industry to become aware of your music. Once they do become aware of your music it then gives them a way of assessing whether to put their resources behind you.
How does an artist get signed now a days? What do big recording companies look for when selecting artists to promote?
There are basically 4 indicators that labels are looking for. 1) A documented radio airplay history (such as from Mediabase, BDS, CMJ or Media Guide tracking reports). 2) A good press buzz (published features, reviews, articles and interviews pertaining to the artist or the artist’s sound recordings) . 3) A documented retail history (SoundScan is the only respected source of tracking retail activity in the industry so don’t try to convince anyone in an A&R department that you sold thousands of CDs from the back of your car. You’ll be laughed out of their office!). 4) A strong following for live performances (remember, music is a performing art and if you’re not performing then most times you’re not considered a professional musician).
How does Mia Mind Music assist the artists in getting signed to bigger and developed companies?
By providing our clients with effective radio, press and video promotion campaigns, establishing national independent record/retail distribution as well as cost-effective advertising campaigns. We then utilize these activities to compliment and support, or feed off of, each activity. There’s not much sense in having a successful promotion campaigns if you can’t recoup their costs by using them to support your retail activities. This is how any business (and any artist that wants to be in the music business is in ‘the business’ of selling themselves and their music) creates a cash flow. Unless you’re independently wealthy and have unlimitedly deep pockets you can’t keep spending money to sustain a business unless a money flow is being returned to the business. It’s simple logic.
What are some of the main ingredients to a successful musician in 2011?
As mentioned above: A documented radio airplay history, a good press buzz, a documented retail history and a strong following for live performances. These elements have not really changed that much in the past half century even though the way of achieving these goals, at least to some degree, have. Even though Internet activities such as social networking and digital retail can be helpful it really does not have as much of an impact on success, contrary to what many believe, as these tried and true avenues promotion and marketing campaigns that record companies engage in year after year.
If I were to start out as a brand new fresh musician. What would some of the very first steps be?
Step #1 would be create a budget even if it’s out of your own pocket. Don’t expect anyone to invest in your career if you aren’t willing to invest in it yourself at first. Even if it’s a small budget it’s better than no budget and it will help you prioritize the what and when of what you can and can’t do in this business. It’s great if you have a large enough budget to do everything and to do it all at once but most artists don’t so they’re forced to pick and choose the promotion and marketing activities they engage in. This may result in moving more slowly than you’d like but that’s better than not moving at all. You’re more likely to attract investors when you can show them a working model instead of just a dream. This is why it’s important that all your career activities are documented using the recognized methods the music industry works with. Next, create a sound recording. It’s next to impossible to be in the records business if you don’t have a record (even if you have to finance it yourself). Then, create a list of career goals, estimate the cost and establish an estimated timeline of how long it should take to achieve them. This is an area where it really pays to hire a company with the expertise and experience to help you outline that career roadmap or schedule of career events.
What are some of the biggest mistakes musicians make?
Not creating a budget, not having a plan, waiting for someone to come along to ‘discover you’, believing it’s all about ‘who you know’ (or what we call the ‘ I know this guy’ syndrome), not sticking with and seeing your goals (don’t change course until you see something through to the end) and, last but not least, not being lazy. In this business a strong work ethic is equally as important as talent.
What are some of the things they need to be aware of?
Success is harder than you think. Your career has to be the #1 priority in your life. Even above family and friends or fun. You must be relentless. Eat it, sleep it, breath it and live it. It may be all consuming, but take it from one who knows, it’s worth it!
Where can people find out more about Mia Mind Music?
You can reach us by phone, Monday – Friday from 9 AM – 5PM (Eastern Standard Time) at 212-564-4611. If you call the person you’ll want to speak with is Stevie B, he’s one of the company’s business partners. By email anytime at MiMiMus@aol.com or our web site at www.MiaMindMusic.com. Who knows, maybe your’s will be the next platinum record we hang on out wall