WIUM Tristates Public Radio

So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star

Sep 12, 2014

A veteran of the music industry said artists must spend time taking care of business if they want to succeed in the industry.

“It’s a new world where artists have to be involved in the business,” said Loren Weisman, who added they might even want to take a few business courses.

Loren Weisman and his book at Tri States Public Radio
Credit Rich Egger

“This can help them see what’s happening around them. The more an artist can organize and set up a foundation of what they have already or what they’re building so that less people are involved and less people are taking money, they have a lot more opportunity to succeed.”

If you're only honed in on the creativity or your ability, there's no sustainability.

Weisman is author of The Artist’s Guide to Success in the Music Business. He said he’s been part of more than 700 albums as a drummer and music producer, and he’s worked as a music business consultant. Weisman was in Macomb this week to speak with students in the School of Music.

He said musicians don’t necessarily need a record label today, but they should not try to do everything themselves. He said a small team, investment group, or business can help with accounting, branding, and other details – as long as artists make sure they’re also involved in the process.

“If you have everybody else doing everything for you, then expect to lose most of those percentages,” Weisman said.

He feels it’s no longer frowned upon for an artists to allow their songs to be used in commercials, movies, and television shows.

“Some people view it as selling out. I view it as buying in,” Weisman said, pointing out this is a way musicians can expose their work to a broader audience. He said it is “foolish” to pass up such opportunities.

Weisman said he tells budding musicians that for everything they want to do creatively, they have to organize with a business sense. He said they need to put in two or three hours every day dealing with business.

“If you’re only honed in on the creativity or your ability, there’s no sustainability.”

Weisman feels TV talent shows are “psychologically damaging” to the work ethic of young musicians. He said it is not as simple as auditioning and getting picked based purely on talent – the shows must draw large audiences to attract advertisers and generate money.