Todd Murphy The Jazz LawyerThe letter below from Todd Murphy a music lawyer is taken from the November 2, 2011 Bob Lefsetz email newsletter. The same day Bob emailed this out I met with Bob Baker and Jack Conte from Pomplamoose. Interestingly enough, we made almost the exact same comments.

  • So many artists do not want to do it themselves.
  • That it must be wired into their DNA that they want a record deal.
  • And, they really just want to be famous more than anything else.
  • While chatting with Jack Conte from Pomplamoose he mentioned how even now he will go to a party or event and someone from outside the industry will often say, “well I hope someday that you make it.”

I think the ReverbNation survey that revealed 75% of artists still want to be signed speaks to how many artists still see the label deal as the goal.

Nobody is going to do it for you. Nobody is going to give you a big advance. You have to do the work. You have to manage your career. You have to be the boss.

Great letter Todd, I hope all musicians read this.

Subject: Re: Occupy EMI/Sony/Universal/Warner Brothers

Bob, unfortunately, I get called everyday by yet another artist who wants me to shop his or her demo to a label. After asking so many of them the same question you did today – why?  – I have come to realize two things: one, most artists DO NOT want to do it themselves, maybe they just aren’t wired that way, maybe they’re lazy, maybe they think they need big money to make it really happen, maybe they are getting bad advice. Two, they don’t care about making a bad deal, they want to be FAMOUS.  They want fame so fucking badly they will sign anything. I mean anything. They don’t believe guys like you and me when we tell them it’s stupid. They want to be FAMOUS!  Gaga did it an so can they. Katy Perry did it too. So can they.

When you show them Pomplamouse and The Weekend, and others, they just yawn.  How about Julia Nines on Kickstarter? Nah, They want to be in Spin and Rolling Stone and all of the other old media pubs whose time has come and gone. They want to be on NPR and in the NY Tines. They want to say “hey look at me, I made it Mom!”

If they have to be poor to get that, so be it. Maybe some day they can even be on Letterman or SNL. And as far as being poor, they don’t believe us, Gaga looks rich!

Bob, I just don’t know how to get through to these artists. As you have said before, they want to be famous but they want me to do all of the work. Just like they got the soccer trophy without ever scoring a goal. They want me to call in a favor or two and get them a record deal then get the label to do all of the work to make them famous. They aren’t willing to put in the time to build a fanbase, they want the label to do all of that work. Oh, yeah, and they want me to do it on a contingent basis, you know, my typical 5 or 10 percent. I say percent of what?  There won’t be an advance and you’ll never make any money. Let me show you how to do it yourself and we can both make some money and have long careers.

Any takers?

Todd Murphy
Entertainment Lawyer