Novel Comments

Hi Carlos,

Going to answer some of your novel-length comment on its own post. Only using your name because that's how you addressed me. 

Just in case we're unclear - my post was a personal post on my own blog and not an article. My blog only has a few dozen readers at this point, and this post didn't go live to any of the sites that I write for. 

In my opinion, you are squandering a golden opportunity as a businessperson to get detailed and critical feedback from someone who gives a shit, from someone who is angry enough about the deception and lies in independent music to speak out about it. It's difficult to get feedback, and even more difficult to get honest and critical feedback.

If I were you, and someone wrote me a huge post about my new plan for my bakery (true story, I'm a baker), and they were mad as hell and weren't going to take it anymore, I would ask them to tell me EVERYTHING. I would ask them about their stories and I would listen like I'd never listened before. I would take everything they said into serious consideration. A real businessperson doesn't just listen to the "yes" men & women out there. You listen to everyone. 

If you're trying to make a musician community whose purpose is to benefit musicians, musicians who have been burned time and time again are the ones you want to listen to the most!!! At least that's how I would feel! If I was trying to sell something, I would especially listen to the people who were the most opposed!

I get hate male (oops, I mean mail) all the time and the offer always stands: If you want to Skype or have a phone call with me about the incendiary things I say or unpopular opinions I have, you are welcome to contact me privately and set up a time to do that.

Because I am a working musician, and I have practice in 30 minutes and a gig tonight, I'm going to try to keep this short: 

>You know Normandie, you really do a lot of the right things from a marketing standpoint, yet you’re still frustrated about your lack of progress. I think that the primary reason you having such difficulty finding the success you are looking for is that you are so negative and pessimistic. 

I would not describe myself as negative, or pessimistic. What am I? What I am?

I'm frustrated, Carlos. Really, really frustrated. In particular, I'm frustrated with the digital "music marketing world" and all its pitfalls, empty promises, and predation. A huge part of the reason why I am so frustrated with the digital world is because my progress - my amazing progress that I have seen in the past few years - has all come as a result of in-person interactions with people in my community. I'm also confused. I'm confused why people are continuing to overlook the vital fact that the indie music community was founded on friendship (first!) and in-person support. Not to say there is no way to support a community of musicians from around the world -- I myself am part of a few artist circles. 

I am also frustrated by musicians who seem to have no grasp of reality and are willing to give their money away before they are willing to take a long, hard look at themselves to fix what needs to be fixed in their own careers. 

If I had to describe what *I* want to do for musicians? I want to be a Musician Consumer Advocate. I want musicians to have a better understanding of the money they spend on professional products or services. I want musicians to be empowered by their financial choices. I want musicians to have more than enough money to make their music without digging into their paychecks or savings accounts. I want musicians to be financially prosperous.

>No one wants to hang out with, let alone spend money on such a downer.

I'm not really having trouble with either one of those things, but I appreciate your concern.

There is a vital distinction to be made between negativity, pessimism, and realism. 

I believe that you cannot honestly meet someone with what they need until you confront where they are! The reason I wrote my post is because I resonated so clearly with EJ's frustrations. It hit me right in my core. It made me so upset and so sad, because I understood exactly what he was feeling.

>You’re so quick to spend so much time and effort writing an article to completely lambast what I’m doing. 

This isn't an article, it's a blog post. I'm not going to be publishing this anywhere other than my personal blog. I didn't even mention you by name - you came to me, to my personal blog. I don't even have to mention you by name, because I am on the email list of at least 25 people who are doing exactly the same thing. This rant? Is not about you.

>But you don’t even know what it is that I’m doing.

Once again, my post? Not just about you. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people out there making a career off of musicians.

Most of my frustrations with the "digital music marketing industry" have absolutely nothing to do with you and have been building up for years. The idea of one more pay site for musicians that makes me crazy.

Okay, let me read on to find out... What are you doing?

>I don’t claim to be any sort of expert about music. 

Great, that makes two of us!

>Mostly I’m just a fan. What I am quite knowledgeable about is business and marketing. I have an MBA to back that up. And I apply my knowledge to musicians’ efforts in order to help them make money.


>You say that I am asking money from people in advance for vague promises.

If you are doing this, then you are a part of a very large group of people who is doing this. This frustration? It's not really about you.

>You couldn’t be further from the truth. I won’t accept a penny from anybody without making sure that they have a clear understanding of what I’m going to do. Nor will I offer my services to anyone that’s not in a position to benefit from them.

Well! If you won't do that, then you will be one of the only people NOT doing that! 

That sounds like it would be completely awesome and ethical.

>The truth of the matter is that I have not yet revealed the details of my offer. I am still in the process of building anticipation and generating ideas from the community of musicians I’m talking to about what they want and what they need. This is a common and effective marketing strategy that helps me develop my offering to suit their needs. I am building what they are asking for. If you think that’s akin to taking advantage of a friend, you clearly lack understanding.

>I’m certainly not selling “success in 9 weeks”.

No, you're not... someone else already has the trademark on that. 

If you want to take this post super personally, you can go ahead - but really, your post was mostly just the straw that broke the camel's back.

This isn't just about YOU and what YOU are doing - this is about an industry where people can flourish and make 5 and 6-figure livings off of musicians just trying to get by and doing what they can to make sure they can balance the responsibilities of their real world lives with their love for music. This is about my frustration with people who are getting rich by selling people back their dreams.

This industry didn't start with you, and it won't end with you, even if you do turn to the Dark Side.

>Nor am I not selling results because they do vary. And again, no one will pay me a penny without having a clear understanding of what I will do for them. I just haven’t revealed that yet, because it is still in development based on the feedback I am receiving through this process of communication I have opened up with my readers.

Cool. My angry blog post? Feedback.

>The truth of the matter is that the community aspect of what I am building, that part everyone is excited about, the “private forum with detailed answers to questions and lessons based on your needs,” is going to be completely free to my readers. I just haven’t told them yet.

Awesome! Sounds great.

>The part I will expect payment for is the services (like building their websites IF they want me to).

Okay, this sounds completely reasonable. If I was looking for a website, and someone offered to build it for me, I would go for it. If you make good websites, I'm sure you can make some money off of that. Good for you. A website is a tangible product. A website is not a promise.

>I certainly wouldn’t ask a musician to play for free. Nor am I going to put in the 20 hours it takes to build a website and automated sales system for free.

Nor should you. No one should be expected to work for free.

If you read the post, you will see that I spoke specifically about the distinctions between selling products (such as books, websites) vs. my major problem with this "industry" which is the selling of nebulous promises and undefined products. 

If you're talking about selling websites for people, great! A website is a physical product that is tangible.

>Based on your attitude, I'm truly perplexed as to why you're even still subscribed to my email list.

Well, you are free to forcibly unsubscribe me if you want. The fact is, I find some useful suggestions on your email list from time to time. I think your email is mostly geared towards people who have less experience than I do, but there is always something to learn.

>I can only assume that you are trolling for fodder for to spew out your negativity.

Nope. Definitely not. I'm on the email lists of about 25-30 similar people in the music industry/PR/music marketing arena. Sometimes there are really helpful things, and sometimes there are some 

>You put so much effort in to poisoning the world with your negativity,

Poisoning the world is a .... uh, that's a really strong phrase. I regret to tell you; I'm 5' tall with my wig on, and I'm certainly not powerful enough to poison the world.

Shining a light on deceptive and predatory practices is not negativity.
Encouraging musicians and other artists to be more aware consumers is not negativity.
Listening to frustrated musicians is not negativity.

Why are you: 

a) taking this so personally
b) so prepared to assume that impassioned feedback is a cloud of negativity
c) so upset?

I'm confused. I'm just little ol' me posting my opinions on my blog. That's it. I'm not sure why you feel so threatened by my anger and frustrations (98% of which have nothing to do with you) and why you came here to voice that, in addition to telling me that I'm a big louse and a Debbie downer. Once again, I didn't put that on any of the sites I write for. Just my own. My personal blog. My thoughts. My opinions. My space.

>and you don’t even know what your talking about. 

I do know what I'm talking about when it comes to me and what has worked for ME personally. 

What has worked for me personally is to STOP spending money on nebulous services on the Internet.

That may not work for someone else.

What has worked for me personally was to take the upwards of $100/mo (at one point) that I was spending on musician coaching, professional services that I don't need (SoundCloud, Bandcamp Pro, FanBridge), and other music marketing services and save it. In a savings account.

That may not work for someone else.

What has worked for me personally is to go out into my community and audition for bands. To meet people in my music community. To connect with my friends who are in local bands, who write for local blogs, who book local venues. To get to know my fans in person, to shake their hands, to give them a little something extra, while I'm looking them in the eyes.

That may not work for someone else.

>You are the biggest barrier to your own successes.

Thanks for your sharing your opinion. I have opinions too. Actually, this world is full of people with opinions. Everything I post on my blog is just that: my opinions. You're free to disagree. You're free to agree. You're free to print my blog out and wipe your ass with it, and you're also free to take my frustrations, anger and feedback to create a site for musicians that even a skeptic would want to be a part of.