Ralph Jaccodine management

5 - No... 6 Mistakes a New Act Should Avoid (by Bob Lefsetz and Ralph Jaccodine)

5  No 6 Mistakes a New Act Should Avoid by Bob Lefsetz and Ralph Jaccodine

Newbury Comics CEO Mike Dreese & Ellis Paul

Below are 5 mistakes a new act should avoid when starting out by Bob Lefsetz a (THE) music industry blogger.

It's spot on.

I would add one more point to Bob's list...


Mike Dreese, the co-founder of Newbury Comics record store chain up here in New England said these 2 words to me when we started Black Wolf Records in 1994.

I came to Mike ranting and raving about Ellis Paul, and how great this guy's music was. He quickly brought me down to earth saying those two words that have haunted me ever since... "Nobody Cares!".

But I do, and did... and 20 years later I have made a career out of spreading Ellis' music, and the music of other people I care about to music fans who don't care.

We have enough music in the world, we don't need any more songs, any more musicians... there are millions of songs and musicians that will never be heard because they can't find ears interested in taking them in.

So Mike's challenge to me back in '94 was 'How do I make people care about the music I care about?'.

I have worked at this question every day... for over 20 years as a manager.

Personal management has to be a holy crusade... or nothing at all. You have to have confidence that people will care.

Spreading my artist's music is how I feed my family, but just as important... it is how I feed my soul.

Now on to Bob Lefsetz:

Q. What are the five mistakes a new act should avoid when starting out?
  1. Believing that publicity/marketing is more important than music.
  2. Believing a record deal will solve all their problems and ensure success.
  3. Believing that because their parents and friends like them, everybody else will.
  4. Believing success usually happens overnight.
  5. Believing anything that happened in the past still applies. MTV no longer plays music, the younger demo doesn’t care much about radio, albums are a historical format with little relevance in today’s marketplace, everything’s up for grabs, and you can have it your way. If you’re good, people will find you. If you get success quick, it probably won’t last.

You can check out the full Lefsetz Letter here.

Unplugged & Uncensored: An Insider's Guide to the Music Industry

Unplugged amp Uncensored An Insider039s Guide to the Music Industry
When I started out in this business of music, I had limited, hands-on experience... but a ton of enthusiasm.

I always knew that the power and inspiration music sent through my veins was an important part of what I wanted as part of carving out a career. It just so happened that this 'career' had to be cobbled together with lots o' time, patience and then only after getting a bunch of mistakes under my belt.

After a college fantasy job of promoting concerts at Notre Dame, and a double fantasy come true hanging with a Bruce Springsteen's tour in London, I got a 'real job' in Boston. Whenever I could, I would leave the day gig I had to get on the road to 'follow my bliss'.... as it was called back then.

I learned about the music business from going to music conferences and seminars all over the country. I would fly to a strange city, rent a hotel room, find my way to the conference and parties, hopefully with an open bar somewhere in the mix. I would soak everything in, ask stupid questions and network like hell with no one who cared about me and my dreams... and I loved it!

It was great... but wasn't cheap... even with the free booze.

I found that this was a very expensive way to learn.

Ultimately, the reality was that I was in huge conference rooms with hundreds of others just like me, wanting to be in the music game. My alone time with the 'experts' was limited and the competition to get attention from the panelists/players was practically impossible.

I learned that anyone who can help get someone a gig, a job or some short cut on getting planted in the music industry got all the attention. I had nothing to offer, nothing to trade, or give away, so it was tough starting out.

Jump ahead 20 years, I've been running my own artist management-record label business. I still go to conferences and panels, I'm still learning, reading, and working hard to be the best at the game that I can be.

Recently here in my hometown, the Boston Center of Adult Education (BCAE) gave me the opportunity to create a one day music seminar we are calling: "Unplugged and Uncensored: An insiders guide to the music industry".

I'm thrilled how it came together!

We'll have a panel of experts. Actually it is my dream panel of artists and entrepreneurs who know what DIY is all about. Our attitudes are fiercely indie, we are all in the trenches doing things our own way... and surviving in what is the most turbulent time in the music industry.

The BCAE folks gave me the license to create what I think is the best value for anyone interested in music/creative businesses either on the stage or behind the scenes. Managers, agents, bookers, promoters, musicians, songwriters, fans and those who want to find out what the heck is going on in our creative world would benefit from this.

After spending thousands of dollars attending seminars and 20+ years of being in the trenches of the music business I came up with this seminar. I'm extremely excited about this opportunity. It will benefit anyone in the creative fields, not strictly limited to the music world.

I wanted the seminar to be intimate, so we are limiting this to 100 participants. We have built in time for dialogue, questions and networking. We will learn from each other.

I wanted artists and industry speakers with a national profile with lots of experience to pass on. There will be lots of lessons, warnings, war stories and success stories of how we all are thriving in our own way in a completely different music industry from what was around when I was starting out.

Hope you can check it out.... let me know if you have questions.

Ralph Jaccodine

Boston Managers Group Meeting: The National Independent Talent Organization

Boston Managers Group Meeting The National Independent Talent Organization

Hosted by Ralph Jaccodine of the Boston Manager’s Group, Ted Kurland (The Kurland Agency), Wayne Forte (Entourage Talent Associates), and Frank Riley (High Road Touring) discuss the state of the touring industry and the formation of The National Independent Talent Organization (NITO), for which they are founding members.

NITO is the ONLY organization actively lobbying congress on behalf of all independent booking AGENTS and independent MANAGERS... that means US!

Welcome Pat Pattison!

Welcome Pat Pattison
World-renowned songwriter and professor, Pat Pattison, has officially joined the roster!

Pat Pattison is currently a professor at Berklee College of Music, where he teaches lyric writing and poetry.

In addition to his four books, Songwriting Without Boundaries (Writer’s Digest Books), Writing Better Lyrics (Writer’s Digest Books), The Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure (Berklee Press), and The Essential Guide to Rhyming (Berklee Press), Pat has developed five online courses for Berklee Online: three on lyric writing, one on poetry, and one on creative writing, all available through online.berklee.edu, and more than 1,300,000 students have enrolled in his coursera.org MOOC "Songwriting: Writing the Lyric" since its first run in 2013. He has written over fifty articles for various blogs and magazines, including American Songwriter, and has chapters in both The Poetics of American Song Lyrics (University Press of Mississippi) and the Handbook on Creative Writing (Edinburgh University Press).

Just recently, Pat's book, Writing Better Lyrics, was mentioned in Songwriting Magazine's top 10 books for songwriters in commemoration of World Book Day! You can read the article here!

Pat continues to present songwriting clinics across the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. Pat’s students include multiple Grammy-winner Gillian Welch, John Mayer, AND Tom Hambridge, Karmin, American Authors, Liz Longley, Greg Becker, Charlie Worsham, and many more.

How to break into a "Boy's Club"

Dear Ralph,

Just wanted to send you a hello from Nashville! And I also wanted to say thanks for making us write that paper in intermediaries about problems in the music industry. Now being an intern in a studio that's completely run by men, I'm seeing a lot of what I wrote about all first hand. And doing that research has kind of prepared me to deal with some of the issues down here. Not all, and it's definitely tough. There are four interns, three guys and myself. And sometimes I feel like the staff engineers are more likely to go to the guys for help, physical or otherwise. And I know we've talked about this many times but I was wondering if you had any bits of advice on how to stand out or at least match up to the guys?


I know about some of the problems women face in the music business, but I am not an expert. What I DO know, I learned from my family, coming from Italy and other families coming from other countries to America. I learned when immigrants came to America they were underdogs and they had to out-hustle their competition. They worked longer hours and had to find out what people/customers wanted more aggressively than the existing businesses. They had to work hard on people skills to become important members of the community, all while constantly hustling more than others.

Regarding your situation with the 'boys club' in the music business... Don't wait to wait for staff engineers to 'call on the boys'! See what YOU can do to help the engineers before they ask for help...this is about paying attention. Stay late at the studio, get there early and ASK questions. Try to bring in business to the studio if you can, this is how you become invaluable. Make friends, network/socialize like crazy. Use your youth and inexperience as a badge which emboldens you to not be afraid to make mistakes, and to be bold... even when you think you have no right to be so!

You are smart, talented and have the goods to have a successful career.

A career in music WILL NOT come to you, don't wait to be picked for it... make it happen the old fashioned way, out-hustle everyone else... do it will grace, patience and intelligence... your education gave you a good foundation, but now it is up to you.

The patience part is hard... but if you keep going, work through the frustration, you will carve out your own niche.

I am rooting for you.

Best Regards,

Ralph Jaccodine

PS. This makes good reading: http://www.pias.com/blog/41-tips-for-women-starting-out-in-the-music-business/

Dissertation interview for Regent's School of Business, London

Q. From your experience or perspective, in what way(s) does management, specifically talent management, within the music industry differ from other industries?

A. Talent management deals with artists. The work ethic, drive, motivation and skill set of artists, specifically musicians, is much different than other industries. To get into the heart, soul and mind of anartist is an art unto itself.

Q. To what extent do you believe artist management in music has changed in the last decades? Has the impact of technological development changedthe role of the manager?

A. The changes are coming at us faster than before led by changes in technology. The ability to reach an audience is easier, but the fundamentals haven’t changed: quality, hard work, a great show performed live is still ultra important.

Q. Traditional management theories define effectiveness and efficiency as the core elements used to measure the quality of management. Would you agree that efficiency isn’t the most appropriate measure for management in the music industry as it can impact on musical creativity?

A. Correct, efficiency is not one of my top measures as to the quality of a quality manager.

Q. Out of the variety of ways the quality of management can be measured and perceived, what would you consider fitting for identifying successful artist management? Is it possible to measure such management accurately?

A. The ability to launch, grow and most importantly sustain a career is at the top of my list. For a team, manager and artist should be in good mental, physical and spiritual health. The financial and personal well- being of the artist is what successful artist management is all about.

Q. Do social media figures, commercial sales and other industry statistics provide reliable information, or is management more measureable in a qualitative manner?

A. Data is part of the equation, but data can be twisted and turned… and in some cases fudged. For some very successful artists, sales, statistics and numbers are low on the list of goals.

Q. In your opinion, what artist management styles and methods are effective in guiding artists and musical products in their development? Is a free-management style better than creating a comprehensive business model around an artist?

A. It depends on the artist. Every artist/manager has a unique style… it can constantly change when necessary. As a relationship progresses, growth, progress, failure all require different, evolving methods.

Q. In your experience, are there any specific approaches (with regards to copyrights, live performances, recorded music sales, music resources etc.) that are effective in managing the career and musical products of an artist?

A. Again depends on the artist… the only thing that is certain… is if an artist can blow away an audience live they can have a career.

Q. Would you agree that artist management should focus on creating value instead of profit from music as an art form?

A. You need money to launch and facilitate a career in music.. it is unavoidable… good art, hard work … with capital behind it should create value on some level. A manager has to balance the ‘creating value’ with keeping the business afloat, it is a dance.

Q. Due to the closeness between the music and the artist, is it possible that a trusted manager who has a close personal relationship with the artist could be more successful than a professional with an effective business approach?

A. I think a close relationship should come out of great work together, achieving success, forward progress, and time… an artist needs a manger to be good at business first, not a friend… when a manager becomes a friend, it is a bonus.

Q. To what extent do you believe that the success of musicians and/or musical products depend on the quality of management?

A. Success is driven by the quality of music… a great manager with poor music is like lipstick on a pig… (sorry)

Q. Is there is anything else worth mentioning?

A. I find that I need to be the leader of a holy crusade when I take on a client. I need to fight the good fight, even when it seems like no one cares. I assume no one cares.. and I try to make folks care about my artist. This is the goal.

The lessons of those who have gone before

The lessons of those who have gone before
This "Ask a Manager" is a blog of lessons, little bits of wisdom, and stories of the personalities I have picked up from over 20 years in the trenches of managing artists, promoting shows, running a record label. Enjoy. Let me know what you think.

This business of music is changing almost daily. I am bombarded with new companies, blogs and slick new technology - it is hard to keep up. Often I turn off the clutter and lean on my reliable sources for the information I let come my way, experts I subscribe to on my computer screen or my phone line daily. I don't need to be THE expert, I just need to know where to find the experts I need.

When I got into this business, I had a few months of calling myself a manager under my belt when I called Tim Collins, the longtime manager of Boston's Aerosmith, arguably America's biggest rock band. Tim was on top of the food chain for managers and I just wanted to meet him, touch his garment and hope that something would rub off on me.

Tim was very generous of his time and we had a very nice, cordial meeting.

To my surprise, Tim called me the next day and asked me if I knew anything about a 200 capacity club in western Massachusetts, The Iron Horse. I did, and for the next 15-20 minutes I was able to download everything I knew about the club to Tim. He said "thanks" and we said good bye.

I hung up the phone and was amazed that I was able to help Tim Collins just months into this new career. So I called Tim back and said "Hey Tim, I just helped you" and he said "yeah, thanks" and I said "If I can help you, I"m sure you can help me out."

Needless to say, managing Aerosmith for almost 2 decades at the highest levels of the music business made me confident that Tim knew a couple of tricks about managing artists and while I was on a roll, I told Tim that "we should get all the Boston managers together to help each other out".

Many years later, it sounds a bit naive, and it was, but this conversation was the birth of the Boston Manager's group that is now still going strong after 14 years and with over 50 managers as members. With the birth of this group, I have my personal panel of experts I can contact to help me out of a situation that needs some extra finesse, and vice-versa.

As a manager, I need to be the leader of the Holy Crusade and I am supposed to know how to guide a career without question, the artist places their trust in my guidance. I need to be an expert.

This is quite a responsibility, sometimes it keeps me up at night, but often I relish in the wild west that is our business and the feeling of taking an artist up the food chain.

Where do I go for information? Often it is with lessons from people that have gone before me and blazed a trail that is still well traveled. It could be Tim Collins or John Lennon, or it could be Steve Jobs or Henry Ford.

Before the brilliance of Steve Jobs, there was a fellow named Henry Ford, who blazed a trail that changed the business world in a profound way.

When I was a kid I heard a story about ol' Henry that I recently ran across in a blog by a writer of all things marketing, Sean Rasmussen, an Aussie 'Success Communicator'. In this blog he wrote, it talks about my favorite Henry Ford story - he surrounded himself with smart, talented colleagues, just like Steve Jobs did. It takes a village, the manager should be the conductor of a talented team. Check out Henry's story it is a great one.

(from SeanRasmussen.com)
An Abundance Of Knowledge

An educated man is not, necessarily, one who has an abundance of general or specialized knowledge. An educated man is one who has developed the faculties of his mind in such a way that he can acquire anything he wants, or its equivalent, without violating the rights of others. Both Henry Ford and Bill Gates fall well within the meaning of this definition.

Education Exemplified

During the First World War, a Chicago newspaper published a number of editorials in which, among other statements, Henry Ford was called “an ignorant pacifist.” Mr. Ford objected to the statements, and sued the paper for libeling him. When the suit was tried in the Courts, the attorneys for the paper pleaded justification, and placed Ford himself on the witness stand, for the purpose of proving to the jury that he was ignorant. The attorneys asked Mr. Ford a great variety of questions, all of which were intended to prove, by his own evidence, that, while he might possess considerable specialized knowledge pertaining to the manufacture of automobiles, he was, overall, ignorant.

Mr. Ford was asked questions like:

“Who was Benedict Arnold?” and “How many soldiers did the British send over to America to put down the Rebellion of 1776?” In answer to the last question, Mr. Ford replied, “I do not know the exact number of soldiers the British sent over, but I have heard that it was a considerably larger number than ever went back.”

Finally, Ford grew tired of this line of questioning, and in reply to a particularly offensive question, he leaned over, pointed his finger at the lawyer who had asked the question, and said, “If I should really want to answer the foolish question you have just asked, or any of the other questions you have been asking me, let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid men who can answer any question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts. Now, will you kindly tell me, why I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?”

Playing The Logic Card

There certainly was good logic to that reply.

That answer floored the lawyer. Every person in the courtroom realized it was the answer, not of an ignorant man, but of a man of education. Any man is educated who knows where to get knowledge when he needs it, and how to organize that knowledge into definite plans of action. Through the assistance of his “Master Mind” group, Henry Ford had at his command all the specialized knowledge he needed to enable him to become one of the wealthiest men in America. It was not essential that he have this knowledge in his own mind. Surely no person who has sufficient inclination and intelligence to read a book of this nature can possibly miss the significance of this point.

Access To Knowledge

This is an important point. You do not need to know everything, you just need to know how to access the knowledge that you do require at various points in your life travels. It’s fairly obvious that you possess that skill, because somehow you landed here, surrounding yourself with a community of support for success and the access to knowledge for building prosperity. Not one of us here claims to “know it all” already, but we do claim the education to know how to access the resources that we need to succeed.

Sean Rasmussen/ SeanRasmussen.com