Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Somebody please explain this to me….

A year ago, I started getting calls from a guy who has been unsuccessfully putting out records, and losing a grip of money every time he does so. Since I have helped some of the best indie labels in urban music put out CDs, he called me for help. Free help. He told me he couldn’t afford to hire me (which is fine--most folks can’t afford to hire me; I work with real labels, to build real businesses, not some guy who decides he wants to be a record label on Monday and by Friday has 7 artists under him looking to do a deal with Universal next week).

I have spent a lot of time on the phone trying to help this guy, but he doesn’t listen. His goal is to get a deal. I explained that the only way I see folks getting good deals is by selling CDs regionally, in excess of 30,000, verifiable by SoundScan. I set up a free website that reiterates everything I explain verbally, just in case I speak to quickly or unclearly (rapcointelpro.com). Many labels have followed that advice and succeeded. It’s no secret that I have helped to create many millionaires in this business through my consulting.

But this guy keeps calling me with questions. I’ve introduced him to attorneys when he has needed one. I’ve introduced him to an indie distributor when he asked for that introduction. I’ve even told him some of the folks I have utilized at radio and on the streets to work projects (a consultant’s team is a guarded secret that most never share—I shared with him). But he rarely follows up. He has an idea, talks about it, and then by the next time we speak he has a new idea that he’s trying to chase.

I have to admit that in the past 4 months, I have only returned about every 4th call he has made to me. After a year, it’s plain to see that he’s not listening and I’m wasting my time. I get hundreds of calls everyday, so I have to be selective about my time or I’d never get MY work done. I’m very busy. Meanwhile, dude keeps calling for free advice. He keeps asking me to shop him a deal, even though he has none of the ammo I need to be effective in place. I wonder if he thinks he’ll call me and one day I’ll just change my mind and shop him a deal. I’ve explained many times how the industry works, but he doesn’t want to hear me.

In the past year, I have heard his sob stories of money he has squandered. He’s complained about all the fake radio promoters who promise to get him 2500 BDS spins for $5,000 or some other such nonsense. Then he gets angry when he loses the $5,000. Bear in mind, I’ve told him whom I hire to do radio and how it works. When I asked why he didn’t hire that dude, he mentions some other guy in the same town who does it cheaper. Yeah, a guy who is well known for taking people’s money and disappearing. How did this guy not know? I thought everybody knew.

Tonight he called to complain about losing $3,000 on t-shirts (he’s been calling everyday for a week and tonight I had some spare time). What a surprise, the same guy who ripped him off for radio, ripped him off for t-shirts too. He then complained that it’s impossible to sell 30,000 CDs regionally these days because of all of the rip offs out here (funny, I’ve been doing it successfully since 1996 and never been ripped off and never ripped anyone off). As I added up all of the money I knew he has lost since he’s been talking to me this past year, I realized dude could have hired me a year ago and had 50,000+ CD sold by now. Back when he told me he couldn’t afford me…

What is it that makes people think this industry is easy? With all the available knowledge about how to do it right and how to check references of folks who say they can do something, how are people STILL getting ripped off? With all the legitimate people I know in this business who do more than they promise for a fair price, how are folks still losing $50,000 or $100,000 putting out a CD? If somebody jerks you out of $5,000 and it happens ten times, that’s $50,000. Who has $50,000 to lose?

If one does the same thing over and over and the results don’t change, what makes someone keep doing it? More importantly, why do I keep taking their calls?!

Friday, May 19, 2006

I took a quick trip over to Chris Lighty's Blog to see what he's been up to, and saw this:

CHRIS LIGHTY: Last night as I was running around the city to check on Q tip making a record with will i am. I stopped by a radio city theatre performance were we saw Nas do an interesting set with the hip hop band called The Roots. I was rolling with Dnice and meet Mark Pitts up there to see Nas do a quick 20 minute set. It was astonishing to see this particular venue filled with hip hop heads but as Nas went off and I went on my Qtip mission I realized that as a true grown man I had just seen an amazing feat. A hip hop band just filled a venue reserved for xmas shows, kid specials, and anything far removed from hip hop. The roots of hip hop started in jam sessions in the street where kids from the neighborhood would come out in peace to hear Flash,Theodore, Bambataa do a free jam session to express themselves. I didn't stay for the Roots full performance but I left feeling like that was the jam of the week.

Fast foward to my office today where I meet with Qtip and we discussed his rollout and release for this year and we talked about how hard it will be not to rely on the pedigree that Qtip and Tribe have built from their past as this is a sport where your roots count only when your finished or you have a great band(The roots) playing beside you. This is a hit driven sport and even if your roots are stellar they are only to be shown in your live stage performance. You always have to have the new and next hit to play in this gladiator arena. As someone that has been active in hip hop since 86 in some form or fashion I am well aware that it is just as important about identifying the next star as it being associated with the current stars. Rap is still too young to really have an old school as it claims. What is old school? Sugarhill,Kane,DasEfx,Public Enemy,Foxy Brown? All of these artists have records that came out 10 plus years ago. Some older than others but is that really old? Is a twenty something year old person really old? Our roots are still growing lets check back in another 20 years when our roots will be a little stronger and maybe hip hop will be out of this strange growing spurt it is in right now. Love it or hate it this is hip hop.

Posted by chrislighty at May 19, 2006 09:51 PM

WENDY DAY SAYS: I've been spending some time in the Bay Area lately and have been seeing folks take it back to the streets. It is the closest thing I have seen to going back in time (I'm talking about the Hyphy Movement and the power of the REACTION to the music). Back to the 80s when it was fun and about the response to the music, not about business, first week sales, branding, and imaging (not to dis any of that because I love the business side of the industry as well as the creative musical side). I get just as much of a hard-on from seeing 50 hawk Vitamin water as I do hearing the uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh of "Stay Fly," or the hot new 16 bars that Ras Kass drops on my cell phone voicemail to let me know he's still got it (and does he!).

The Hyphy Movement reminds me of what it's all about and why we are all here. To celebrate the musical art form called rap (one of hip hop's elements). The current Bay Area artists haven't been jaded by the industry yet and have their own issues and drama with the police in Oakland and Fairfield who show up to stop the block parties that pop up just anywhere there is a group of people, and a loud stereo. Sound familiar to anyone over 35?

Posted by: Wendy Day at May 20, 2006 01:46 AM

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I happened to mention to a friend of mine today that MySpace is getting on my nerves. Not because it’s slower than dial-up (although that’s annoying too), but because I get about 100 emails a day from folks asking me what it is that I do in the industry (how about doing some research to find out what I do instead of wasting my time asking me).

So I turned to some of my friends to answer these questions for me. This is meant to be FUNNY, not to insult anyone who has recently asked me this question. Please understand when one is asked the same question 50 times a day, it gets really old. And truthfully, the folks asking me are NOT my market. They aren’t the ones who need to know.

Here goes:

“I'm the person who helped your favorite rapper get noticed...stupid.”

“If you have to ask, you’re already too far behind in the industry to be successful.”

“Can you spell g-o-o-g-l-e? It’s a lot less typing than your stupid email to me.”

“One word: google.com. It only shows 36,000 entries for “Wendy Day.” Pick one and read.”

“How long have you been in this industry to not know Wendy Day? 3 days?”

“If you have to ask, you don’t need to know.”

“Why would I take the time to respond, since you obviously can’t read. If you could, you’d have read the comments on my page or my blog on my page.”

“Is this the best you could do to find a reason to reach out to me?”

“What do I do? Too much to be wasting time answering this question.”

“Have you ever heard of Cash Money? Twista? Eminem? David Banner? I’m the reason you have.”

I didn’t reprint the rude ones….although some of them were funny.

If you really need to know MY answer to this question, please check out my bio at www.rapcointelpro.com: http://www.rapcointelpro.com/Wendy%20Day.htm. I haven’t updated it in awhile because I don’t really care who knows what I do. I’m too busy working…

No offense…