Sunday, September 14, 2014

Conduct your Research

 Upon entering into the entertainment business masters program at Full Sail University, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do; which was being a teacher in an elementary school, and enjoying my summers off. Although it sounds idea and a very easy job, being into my second year of my career, it is not everything that I thought it would be. I do enjoy my job, but what I enjoy mostly is working at my own pace, and being able to live life in the entertainment industry seeing different goals and dreams being met.

My start to the entertainment industry came during my freshmen year in college at Slippery Rock University, and it is one that I will never forget. I began to get involved with the concerts committee which led me to being able to do behind the scenes work, where I met artist such as Drake, J. Cole, and Wiz to name a few. It was in that moment of meeting these artist that I realized that I wanted to do something greater and use all of my talents to help shape my own career, as well as the careers of others. Without changing my major, I began to research how to become an artist manager, which landed me into the Entertainment Business program at Full Sail, and it is a choice that has been great for me.

Although I am still employed at an elementary school, the experience that I am gaining from this program has allowed me to pace myself, as well as continue to do two things I love; helping children discover their talents, as well as enhance my talents and get a degree. It is an experience that I will never forget, and at the age of 25 I can say that I’ve done more than most will ever do.

This week’s blog is bitter sweet, as it is my last for the program, but it is the beginning of my future. Conducting research on any topic that you are interested in is very important because you want to make sure that the time that is being put in is not only benefitting you, but that it is helping to enhance your overall appearance and the way you present yourself. Anything is possible if you just believe. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Through the Eyes of Professionals

As a Former President CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Carl Schramm has stood out to me to be one who is qualified in the world as being able to review a business plan, an help an individual in a way to being successful. He is amongst the top qualified Professor’s at Syracuse University, and is co-author of “Better Capitalism: Renewing the Entrepreneurial Strength of the American Economy”, by Robert E. Litan. Mr. Schraam believes that occupational is only an occupation, and not taken seriously, as the next professional mentioned has a different approach. Along with Mr. Schramm is a man who believes that there are no needs for a business plan to get started, but actually just make the business known is Chuck Blakeman. Mr. Blakeman is the author of “Money is Killing your Business”, and believes in his own philosophy of making your own business rules.

What each of these professionals have in common is a goal, and that is to make sure that the developer of the business plan knows what they want out of their business. This is what any investor is going to look for while looking into a business plan. As a developer I find it extremely important to think of what I want my audience or clients to view my company as, and that is what I set my standards for. If the potential clients do not understand the concept of my business, then the potential investors will not understand as well.

According to author Robert Tuchman, President of Goviva, his number one reason why businesses fail within the first five years is, thinking all you need is an idea ( He also goes to mention that not having a good accountant is another reason why businesses fail.


It is always important to have the right key players on your “team” while starting any business, as risky as it is when playing with a large sum of money. My suggestions before starting any business, no matter if it is a lemonade stand are to:

·      Make a detailed plan, and map out the goal that you have for that particular idea.

·      Figure out your budget, what is your start up cost, and what you currently have to spend on the idea without borrowing money.

·      If you have to borrow start up cost, how much of the product do you need to sell to break even? (Many entrepreneurs forget about this step!)

·      What are the expectations of your clients/buyers?


When developing any business for the public, it is necessary and should always be a rule to put yourself second, and your product for the clients first. As both professionals most likely can agree upon, is that mistakes can and will happen, but those are opportunities for growth, and in the words of Mr. Blakeman, “win big”.




Sunday, July 13, 2014

Reading the "Fine Print"

Signing up for anything online always requires you to agree to some sort of terms and conditions, and while many of us skip over this box, we still click “agree” as if we have read everything and understand what we are legally obligated to.
It is important to read everything in the terms and condition box so that you are aware of what happens if you void the contract, as well as if you are paying for services, what you are naturally entitled to.

Not reading the fine print in any situation can cause major problems. There are millions of people around the world who do not read the fine print when asked to, myself included, and we are putting ourselves at risk for multiple things. According to The Guardian, a British online journal, only 7% of Britons admitted to reading their online T&C’s when asked to. Why do we not take the time out to read the fine print, when we can practically sign our lives way, or encounter numerous fees?  Many online users report that the T&C’s are too lengthy, and that they are pretty much the same on every online site, such as shopping.

Reasons why you should always read T&C’s are lengthy, but the top three include:
  •  Fees associated with cancelation of the product.
  •  Your rights
  • Associated liabilities

So, if we are being legally bound to a contract when purchasing a good, why do we still not read the fine print? This is a question that I constantly ask myself as I click the button, just to get to what I actually want. In an interesting article on Fox News, as part of an April Fool’s joke, a company placed in their T&C’s that the customer would agree to “sell their souls” by agreeing to the contract. It was reported that 7,500 customers agreed to sell their souls. It is a funny trick to play, as they planned to contact the customers and make them aware of what they have agreed to, but it also shows that we as humans are so eager to sign our name on the dotted line, without knowing what we are getting ourselves into.

While I have read contracts before, and signed them, I do find that it is important to read everything involving your signature. My personal recommendations before agreeing to anything would be to,
  •  Know what you are signing.
  •  Look at all possibilities if you cancel.
  • If you do not understand what you are signing, seek counsel.

While many of us will continue to not read the print, hopefully you will be inspired to look through to see anything “fishy”, so that you don’t sell your soul. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Breeched contracts seam to be the most talked about issue in todays entertainment industry. Contracts are essential between all parties involved because they outline what can happen, and what is prohibited. Breeching a contract can result in money lost for the parties involved, and lawsuits that never end pretty for anyone.

A breeched contract according to is briefly described as, a legal contract of action in which a binding agreement or bargained exchange is not honored by one or more of the parties to the contract by non –performance or interference with the other party’s performance. What this ultimately means is, the legal document contains standards to which the parties involved in the performance must complete to satisfy the contract, or they will be in violation of the contract in which they signed. Sounds easy, but yet so many stars have made this complicated, and some have even made major headlines surrounding things that they just will not do, although they signed to them.

In recent headlines, actress Evan Rachel Woods was paid an advancement of $300,000 to star in the lead role of “10 Things I Hate About Life”, and then dropped out. She is now being sued for $30 million, in which her representatives claim that it is a bullying antic from desperate producers who are not making any “real” money. She is now being sued by 10 Films LLC for $30 million, for not completing the job, and ultimately taking the money and running, says The Hollywood Reporter.

What I find to be ironic is how many individuals in the entertainment industry continue to breech contracts, that they knowingly signed. They know the consequences of breeching a contract, and yet they still continue to go through life as if they had not signed a legal document. I often wonder if it is for the money, like in this case with Ms. Woods, or is it something to do with the other party. Regardless, both parties have a standard to hold within a document, and once the contract is breeched, the courts get involved, and as stated before; the outcome is not pretty for either party.

My suggestion for all people who sign contracts, think about what you are getting yourself into before you sign a contract. Before any ink is laid on the paper, and you sign your name, think; have you sought any legal advice, and if you have, was it from a trusted source. A lot of times we seek advice from individuals who we believe are credible because they are attorneys, but are they an attorney in the entertainment field; can they read the language and understand what is being negotiated? These are all questions that one must ask himself before signing any contract, in order to make sure that they are in accordance with the contract that they are signing. The contract process might seam tough, but in order to protect yourself, it is a process that you must undergo in order to not breech anything. One final suggestion is to make sure that what ever you do not “want to do”, is omitted from the contract or discussed in different terms. Whatever you decide to do, always remember breeching a contract can cost you a lot of money, and in this situation, at least $30 million, plus other fees.

Read more about contract breeching from Music Think Tank:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Social Media EPK

Having the wrong representation in the music industry can either help or harm you. Social Media, which many artists now rely on, can ultimately damage a career, as well as help it. As we all know social media is becoming one of the most popular way to find out what an artist is up to nowadays, but what about a good old fashion entertainment EPK?

A EPK, a good, well put together EPK, can help sell an artist more than social media or any hear say around the world. A EPK is a representation of the artist and management team, and includes all information that may be needed to book an artist for a show, or sign an artist to a new deal. Many artist that I’ve come across do not like using EPK, not because they are not relevant, but because they feel that all of their information can be easily accessible though Facebook, Twitter, or 15-second videos on Instagram. Although this is true, there is no comparison to a live and interactive EPK, including all recent information, sold out shows, or live links to number one songs of the artist.

Creating a good EPK is not easy however; it takes time, dedication, and money. That’s right, money. Any good EPK will require skill and a dedicated graphic designer if you cannot do it yourself. The EPK should be so well put together that it should gain attention and attraction for the best sponsorship that is possible and in reach. Music Think Tank says “every brand needs to be packaged in a way that will effectively showcase it’s strengths and marketability.” Being makeable is what every artist should strive to be, and by obtaining or putting together the best possible interactive, and flashy EPK is a way to do this. Being your own brand is what is most important, and an EPK is a step in the right direction.

In the end, being more than just fluent in social media, or marketing yourself on Instawho, do the big guys notice not going to get you too much? Not saying that it cannot happen, but one would believe that the old way, emailing each other, and attaching a file like an EPK, is more professional. You choose, but I would rather collect a business card and forward an email, than ask for a handler name.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Copyrights…. Whose rights are they anyways?

 Copyright infringement is one of the most talked about topics in the music industry today, besides the ultimate “scammers”. Many people do not know what copyrights are, and have no idea that even sampling a beat or similar song from an artist, is considered to be an infringement. We see a lot of this going on more and more because artist, especially in the hip-hop/rap genres are providing us with “mix-tapes”, which go viral and they want to use those songs as actual records for fans to hear. It happens everyday, and recently has happened to Birdman.

Brian Williams, aka Birdman, owes over a half-million dollars in royalties to several different artists for copyright infringements, according to How one owes many artists, and is careless in what goes on with their music, boggles many individuals, but also does not surprise people at all. “It’s stealing”, according to Bob Hadley, author of podcast “Why you should Respect Copyrights” on iTunes. He explains that when you are “caught” infringing on a copyright, you will be notified and asked to comply with the request made by the owner. It is if you do not comply with the request that you will be then be forced to comply with the results of legal actions.

According to, the Big Picture Blog reports the “Top Ten Issues in the Music Industry”. The article does not mention copyright infringements, but it does mention greed, lack of knowledge, and money in their top ten, which can easily justify copyrights, and why people do it. There could be a lack of knowledge from many artists or their managers/producers with the avenue to being an “artist” is so broad. An artist may get a hit off of another artist’s song, but has no clue about copyrights, or how they work, and could be subjected to infringements. The greed comes into play when an artist knowingly does it, and does not pay for the rights, because they simply do not want to. The last one being money can play a huge factor because newer artist or independent artist may not have the income to pay for the rights, and so they go with the infringement, with hopes of not being caught.

No matter if you are new to the industry or not, there are laws to help protect an artist for their originality and quality of their work. It is seen as ethical to follow proper procedures when wanting to sample an artist work, and if followed correctly, there will not be any problems. However, if not following the proper way, legal action can be taken against you. Just take a look at some of the most famous cases in the music industry, Vanilla Ice infringed once also.