Sunday, April 26, 2015

There Are No Rules

“There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.” - Helen Frankenthaler

It used to be easy to become rich and famous as a music artist. You played in front of that one guy, who realized your genius and signed you on the spot so nobody else could get you. Sure it took the alignment of the stars, an unlikely sequence of events, and the luck of the Irish, but it happened.

They spent lots of money on you, recorded that gold record, and off you went, riding the waves of the music business. Development, marketing, publicity, radio, touring, distribution, and then repeat the whole process. It was a set plan that had been perfected over 100 years.

Well, then physical product (CDs) stopped selling. Downloads and now streaming have changed the landscape of the music industry. A&R guys are now signing artists very few and far between, or, never. Even the major labels will tell you the landscape is more unpredictable on how they do things now.

In fact, the more I have meetings with producer, artists, A&R, publishers, and other various industry folks, the more I know one thing – nobody knows anything!

There just aren’t any hard and fast rules anymore on how to find success for your music and ministry.

Used to be…you got the attention of someone at a label.

Yes, you can try and do showcases, meet with A&R folks at labels, and send MP3s until you’re blue in the face. But the likelihood of anything rising up out of all the clamor of now millions of wannabe artists is like being a needle found in a needle stack.

Used to be…you got discovered by fans on the radio.

Radio is now a very elite service that services thousands of hopeful cuts (hundreds from major labels) for just 20-30 slots. Sure, there are smaller services that offer radio play to smaller coverage stations, but it’s very difficult to get heard by legions of folks who will turn around and support you.

Used to be…people found your new CD at the record store.

LOL! There would have to BE record stores for this to happen.

So, if all these old industry methods aren’t working, is it all over? Well, that’s kind of the good news. Since there are no rules, we can do things we never thought of doing or never could do before.

“There are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something.” - Thomas A. Edison

Now we can…build a huge following of friends, family, and fans for no money.

Using free social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and WordPress, we can build and service a worldwide following of fans and interested folks all by ourselves. Is it easy? No, not at all. Many of you in fact will struggle with it, but there are other tools and people who can help you manage this process.

Now we can…make our own TV channel and have an audience watch us play our music.

Remember how you used to (or still do) dream about singing your songs and speaking to the world? An audience of hundreds, thousands, or millions? Well, it’s just a click away.

YouTube is patiently waiting to not only post your music videos, but PAY you for them as well. We never even dreamed that we’d have access to a worldwide net of viewers, and better yet that it would come for FREE. But are you using it? Doubtful.

“If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” - Katharine Hepburn

Now we can…do whatever kind of music we want, no matter what is “popular” or “cool”.

There is an audience for whatever it is you do. Whatever kind of music that you prefer to make, someone out there (or many someones) may like it. Whether it’s jazzy, or classical, or rock, or pop, or bluegrass, or Celtic, or whatever, you can do it now. You don’t have to do what is popular to get this thing going or to get heard or seen.

So quit thinking like it’s 1979 and you have to get a record deal, or be seen, or be heard, and get real. There are no rules to making great art and getting it out, so make up your own today!

“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Have a great week!


Eric Copeland has pretty much been making up his own rules his whole life, including building a new kind of music business that helps Christian artists and songwriters of ANY kind start finding some personal and public success. Find out more at

1 comment:

Carol Moore said...

Hi Eric, this is Carol Moore. Like I told my husband, we have to get out there and do something different. I am a Singer songwriter, but I have No music to my songs, I don't know how to do that. I have sung in front of people without music and they would say, you don't need music. I need help, because I know eventually that I am going to need music. Can you give me some advice on what to do.