In this podcast, we sit down with independent artist and multiple-hat-wearer, Erick Macek. Erick truly embodies the artistic entrepreneur mentality and has great advice for ways to grow strong business connections by building lasting personal relationships. He shares experiences on music placement, the rules of crowdfunding, and being honest with everyone all the time.
You don't have the answers about getting music placement? This will get you started. Click To Tweet
Erick is originally from Pennsylvania and made the LA plunge about 10 years ago. An indie songwriter with a Jason Mraz-esque vibe (my words, not his), his sound was a hot sell in his scene. His music has been featured on multiple TV shows and films including Life Unexpected (CBS), Melrose Place, and 90210. Erick’s most recent album, a self-titled EP, was successfully crowdfunded in what Erick calls a very ‘uncomfortable’ experience. (You’ll see why below)
Erick often collaborates with Kate Earl and worked with Grammy-winning Mikal Blue (Jason Mraz) on his EP.
In music placement, everyone asks “how do you do it?” But nobody has the answers. Erick says the key is personal relationships and counting on “It’s who you know, not what you know.”
Send an email. Make a cold call. Then follow up. It’s sales, it’s a business. With creative people, we feel accomplished when we make ourselves feel uncomfortable. Instead, step into a business mindset and take yourself out of your own head.
What led to Erick’s placement? A couple of things. Here’s one: When Erick came to California, he got sick of “favors.” So he saved a bunch of money and went to a gorgeous studio. He created an album there and collaborated with people he met through the studio who believed in the album. They took pride in their work and those connections led to working with Universal.
He did cold call for a while and says that if you continue putting yourself out there, the universe will eventually reciprocate.
Andy Wood (Rascall Flatts) compares endorsements and these working relationships with being in a marriage. The goal is to build a relationship out of mutual respect and dependability. Meeting up for drinks, supporting each other. Erick adds: We try so hard to shove our music in people’s faces, because how else will people know you’re there? In modern social media, honesty is brought to the forefront. So if you take them out for drinks but you’re only trying to build a business relationship, they’re going to see through that. There’s new transparency in all relationships. Get to know people on a human level, rather than one-upping your own career.
Emails and phone numbers he “cold called” came from musicians and friends. Lots of people are protectful over their “little black book” which comes back to protecting your personal relationships. But if you put yourself out there and prove yourself as a trustworthy human being and collaborator, people will want to help you by sharing some of their connections.
As much as you want to kick and scream in your comfort zone when things aren’t working, instead take risks to build your network. Risky question: Can I take you out to lunch?
Because of social media, we’re also looking for instant gratification. Put yourself out of your comfort zone and don’t sit by the phone waiting. If you take things personally, you won’t be able to get back up when the instant gratification doesn’t pay off.
There is always a slight wall of “I really want to help you but I need to help myself first.” And as long as you’re honest about that, you will build trust and relationships.
On music placement contracts: Getting into it, Erick thought “I wrote a song. I own it, I recorded it.” But then the shared percentages between writer and publisher can get sticky and often vary gig to gig. If you co-wrote, you share writing but publishing gets split further. But you have to know each contract and understand it, as it changes between agencies. Read the fine print, find a lawyer if you need to. Don’t just take verbal agreement at face value. Read the details and decide per each gig: How is the exposure factor vs pay benefit?
Instant gratification makes you want to take any gig that comes your way immediately. But it could ruin you if you don’t know what you’re getting into. As an artist, you have to know your stadium and having the home field advantage won’t happen till you have people on your team who have your back.
Erick said it was very uncomfortable at first. It was brand new territory but he had no money and wanted to try something. Some people said he was “begging for money.” But he found this is a very successful platform for your business if you use it correctly.
Your crowdfunding is your storefront: merch, human contact, hours, etc. Plaster it into your airwaves: newsletter, social media, phone calls, etc… No matter how personal you get, you’ll still have people reach out asking you to stop “spamming” them. But then then the majority will give and others will over-give offering a large tip in exchange for nothing.
The more you’re willing to give, the more you’ll get back. Erick went to school for graphic design and offered custom projects to his fans as rewards packages.
The less clicks you give to people, the more successful you’re going to be. Only present what you’re prepared to offer.
Erick chose PledgeMusic over Kickstarter. Why? He chose based off of a personal connection and had references leading him there. Pledgemusic is build for musicians with music embeds, graphics are tailored to artists and creative types, it’s a functioning EPK that offers hands-on help and resources.
Working with Producer Mikal Blue
As an evolving artist, Erick was not for producers. ‘Why pay money for someone to tell you what your music is?’ Even when you know exactly what you want, with a producer great things can happen. Sometimes the happy mistakes discovered can turn into something beyond what you originally thought. Using a producer allowed the notes offered to dig deeper, as Mikael could speak the language of everyone in the studio in order to make notes more efficient.
Join a community of songwriters helping each other reach their goals.
Questions? Allow us to be more thorough.
7 emails in 7 days getting into the nuts and bolts of what we offer.
Thanks, more info coming your way soon!
Thanks for Listening!
Thank you so much for tuning in to my conversation with Erick!
If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.
Also, please leave an honest review for SOSstudio Session on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.
And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates, or visit ourpodcast download page! It’s free!
Thanks again for joining! Until next time!
(but you don't have to do this alone)
Occasional resources, tips, and tools for the independent recording artist so you never miss a beat.