Monday, July 30, 2012

Why Things Aren't Working

So, find yourself in the same place you were before trying that "thing" you thought would be the next step in your music career?

Maybe you found a person or company and thought they could really help your dreams come true, but all that's really happened is you are back to square one.

Why aren't things working? You know in your heart God has some big creative thing for you to do, but you can't seem to get things on the road correctly.

Well, there are a few reasons for this. And the first one is a biggie.

1. Your Way isn't the Right Way.

Yes, I mean YOU. Your genius idea, your 'my way or the highway' plan, has led you right back to what you always had.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.Albert Einstein

We keep trying to do this thing our way, instead of giving it up to God and letting Him show us the right way. Or, letting Him guide us to someone who knows the way (and can prove it!)

It's a very difficult thing to give up and relinquish control of what we want to do. We are creative geniuses after all right? God made US to do this creative work. So WE must make all the right calls or it's not God's plan right?

To quote Tonto when told by the Lone Ranger the Indians were attacking them, "What's this "WE" stuff Kemosabe?"

Until you are willing to give away control and trust others with your creative babies, you will not succeed. This is Growing Your Business 101. And believe me I as guilty as anyone of it.

Although this can lead to problem number 2.

2. You Trusted the Wrong People.

You found that guy who makes beatz (with a z) in his cool studio in his basement didn't you? Or that company that offers a record contract in the mail if you send them an MP3. Or the outfit that takes a monthly payment to offer you advice but never really does anything. 

Then you are SHOCKED to find they don't give you the quality product or next step growth you were looking for.

Really? Did you think it was that easy? 

If you are a Christian artist and want to get your music out into the world, and you want to truly get to a new level, why in the world would you go to Oklahoma? Or the Northwest? Or a guy's basement?

You already KNOW the Christian music business starts in Nashville. It's not a secret. It's not like someone said, oh it moved last week. Now all the CCM world is in a little town outside Lincoln, Nebraska. 

The truth is you already know this, and you have likely investigated Nashville and the Christian music business only to find it expensive, confusing, or intimidating.

So let's attack those one by one.

3. You Feared It Was Too Expensive.

Guess what, you're right. It's expensive. If you are a music artist or songwriter and want to build a quality, well known product and ministry worldwide, you'll need to do what any other artist has ever done to get there: invest in it. 

Now yes, many times there was a label to invest in it, and profit from it, but welcome to the new music business my friends. This isn't about a goal of getting signed, it's about building a music ministry, building a following, and cultivating that following. As a matter of fact, to have any chance at a label deal these days you better already have that following (and sales would help).

To build that, we have to put together a quality product, and then get it out there. News Flash! This Just In: Both cost money for somebody. You can pay for it, your support team can pay for it, or a label can pay for it, but somebody has to pay for it.

The good side of paying for it yourself or with your support team is YOU get to see immediate profits. In a label deal you don't. But there aren't as many deals as there used to be in this trimmed down new music business (and they didn't grow on trees before...)

4. You are Confused by The Christian Music Business

There are many preconceptions about Nashville. It's all country. It's run by crooked people. It's run by angelic people. All I need is for a label to hear me then it will all get going. All I need is major 'known' producer to produce me and it will all get going.

The reality is you need to find a company and pros to trust that have already worked for folks and provided them with tools and products that have them out in the marketplace now. (For more reality, check this blog post out) And the place they all work and live is in and around Nashville, TN.

Nashville is simply the place to come if you want to find the people, players, engineers, studios, and professionals who have made the Christian music business run for the past 25 years. Would you go anywhere else but Hollywood to be a movie actor? Would you go anywhere else but New York City to be a Broadway star? You could, but you'd only be doing off-Broadway stuff, or B movies. But the action, the industry for either of those two fields is in those respective cities.

If you are serious about your Christian music future, quit fooling around, and find someone to work with in Nashville. Just make sure they have the exact credits and machine to help you get exactly where you want to go.

5. You're Intimidated By the Christian Music Business.

This is an easy one. You aren't alone. Everyone is sweating it right now in the business. There has never been a better time to get whoever we want to work on our artists' records than now. 

This may also encourage you. The thing I hear most about the players and professional folks that we work with is how humble, helpful, and encouraging they are. The folks that live here have amazing resumes with the biggest names in Christian music, yet they are real Christians living real lives just like you and me.

So, if things aren't working, maybe it's time to examine all these things and make a new push towards the level you've really wanted all along.

Have a great week!

Eric Copeland is president of Creative Soul Records, a company that helps Christian artists develop, produce, and promote amazing products that finally give them the quality, results, and ministry they have always dreamed of. For more information, check out or


Greg Seneff Sr. said...

Excellent post, my friend. You lay it on the line very well. I have found that most individuals who have designs on being an artist (or their children being an artist) typically think on some level, "if I (or my child) could only get heard by the 'right' person we will have it made." While that sometimes happens, it is about as likely as it is that the artist will have a platinum and Grammy-winning first recording. The music business is a business no matter what genre one performs in. One would not assume that they can be an over-the-road commercial truck driver just because they can drive a manual transmission vehicle. Likewise, one should not assume that they will be a successful artist just because they play and/or sing really pretty. One MUST know the rules of the road (at least basic copyright, trademark, contract and music industry standards) and not leave those "boring" subjects only to their "team." And, as you point out, don't expect to be the exception to the rule. In all my years in the music industry I have found that if an artist is blessed/fortunate enough to land a record deal with a label the work has just begun. (And a fair number of artists will tell you that signing a record deal was the worst thing that ever happened to them.) However, the point for Christian artists should be doing what God puts in front of them. Sing at the local nursing home, orphanage, juvenile justice center, and special needs school whenever asked. Remember, our God cares about "the least of these," not how many records you release.

MadalynMcHugh said...

Well said Eric. And funny!

Jen Haugland said...

"We" have a lot of work to do! haha One of my old math professors always used the expression "Get it? Got it? Good!" I got it! And happy to have found that connection to take it to the next level!