Things within the digital sphere can develop faster than you might think. One solid track on Spotify, or one viral hit on Soundcloud, or sometimes even a favorable blog review can open a corridor of opportunity. It can drop your artists’ brand onto the radar of a multitude of stakeholders and tastemakers. It can invite A&Rs, booking agents, promo agencies and licensing dealmakers, and you should be prepared to engage in conversation. This means prepared to engage in dealmaking.
What we’re talking about here is a kind of hovering motion between interest and response. Interest from outside, and you’re reaction, maybe even hesitation. A successful release will most definitely ignite at least a minor influx of inquiries. Some might seem too good to pass – from large or small players, demonstrating genuine interest. And rightfully so. Your music is stellar, right? Right. Let’s get into the art of music dealmaking.
Timing and Q&A
Still, you should always set a given inquiry in relation to the state of a musical project. The best offer, even genuinely stated, can make absolute sense at a certain point in a career. But not one step prior to that. Timing is one of the most essential elements when engaging in deals.
You should ask yourself a series of relevant questions:
- Is your musical catalogue – present and potential – ready to cope with a given deal? Meaning – can you deliver what is expected of you? For real?
- Will a deal influence the current, creative process? If so, how? Do you know yourself well enough to answer this question honestly?
- What agenda are you facing while engaging in exchange? Meaning – besides all the sugar-coated praise, what is a business individual really digging at?
- Do you need an individual equally, more or less than he/she needs you or your creative resources? In other words – how is leverage distributed?
- Can a potential deal interfere with other business interactions?
- Are you ego-driven or is your rationality firmly in place? This is an important question, especially when talking to big players like brands. Every company radiates a certain aura – be aware of how you react, emotionally, to a brand or business contact. Is your role as a consumer interfering with your interest as a creator?
Always remember – YOU were contacted, the interest lies entirely in YOUR output. And here’s the part that demands some serious constraint from your side: Learn to say “no” – OFTEN.
Culture stock on the rise
Especially in the early stages of project development, it can be hard to distinguish and prfioritize the quality of various offers. Somebody’s interested in your music, commercially, that must be a good thing. It feels like something good. Well, it can actually grow into something useful, if you don’t jump on it right away.
Business decisions, especially in the cultural sector, should be handled with care and a great amount of temporal reflection. Even if it sounds kind of uncanny – try to think of your music catalogue as a portfolio of stock. With every minor step along your endeavour, every metric that starts buzzing, this stock has the potential of rising. Potential business partners are aware of this, and they’re acting upon this potential. They’re trying to grab the iron BEFORE it’s hot. Trying to claim what’s there, before everybody else is lined up around the block.
So, if there’s one major takeaway from this little dealmaking contribution – learn to embrace passing out friendly rejection. Learn to say no, without having a bad conscience, and you’ll probably gain more than you’ll loose, keeping your options open.
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