Wednesday, March 16, 2005

How Record Pools Can Make Musicians Rich

How Record Pools Can Make Musicians Rich!

By Kenny Love

Copyright © 2005 Kenny Love All Rights Reserved

Record pools...ever heard of them? The chance is that youhave not. And, there is an equal reason that you have not.And, even though major record labels have used them foryears, and continue to use record pools extensively, recordpools are one of the most secretive elements within theMusic industry.

Yet, although record pools can literally make you and yourmusic project an overnight success, they can also makeyou filthy rich. And, if you utilize enough of them oftenenough, you can get filthy rich!

But, let's answer the foremost question first...what arerecord pools?

Record pools are music organizations that distribute themusic from labels and artists to deejays who are poolmembers for the express purpose of obtaining music forthe nightclubs in which they play/spin records. The poolis overseen by an individual referred to as a pool director.

Record labels and artists send music to record pools inorder to test market their music at the least expensivecost, as well as a fast way of getting paid. Likewise, labelsand artists do not charge pools for copies that they sendthem. Additionally, record pools are probably the fastestway to get exposure for a new release.

Okay, the pools win by getting music from labels andartists, which attracts deejays as members. Accordingly,deejays win by eliminating the need to purchase music fortheir nightclubs.

But! How do labels and artists win? What's in it for them?

What is in the deal for labels and artists is:

* Quick exposure directly to music listeners
* Quick exposure directly to music buyers

But, how does the process really work? Glad you asked,because now, I have a chance to give you a step-by-stepapproach:

1. First, you need to have a very strong single (or singles)if you desire to release more than one single release. Myadvice is, regardless of your genre, if your music fallswithin a "commercial" aspect, i.e., Pop, Rock, Dance,Urban, Country, or any hybrid or sub genre thereof, yourpreference, first and foremost, should be either:

a.) A hot dance single or...
b.) A very strong tear-jerk, heart-wrenching ballad

Anything in between will simply not suffice because clubgoers are in clubs for (primarily) one dance,whether that is shaking their gluteus maximi to anuptempo beat, or "slow-dragging" <=(old school term forgrinding ever so closely while not necessarily being in love).

2. Take your selected single(s) and enhance it/them tosome degree that will make the song(s) slightly differentfrom your radio version. Ways to do that include:

* Extending the song(s) from the radio versions' 3-4 minutesin length to 5-6 minutes in length for the nightclub versions',since people prefer longer versions in clubs.

* Adding or modifying sound effects.

* Dropping out or fading certain instruments, or incorporatingnew instruments not heard in the radio version.

I believe you get the point...

3. Place your club version on vinyl, as most nightclub deejaysstill prefer vinyl (wax), although there are now a number ofdeejays that will also accept your enhanced version on CD.To cover all bases, consider placing your club versions onboth vinyl and CD, if it is affordable to do so.

4. Contact record pools to learn if they have memberdeejays who play your genre of music in their nightclubs and,if so, the number of such deejays they have. This numberfrom each pool will allow you to determine the number ofpieces you will need for the pool(s).

Note: One such pool that actually distributes on a worldwidelevel is Dixie Dance Kings. DDK also holds the honor of being both the 2002 and 2003International Dance Music Association pool of the year.DDK's service areas include: United States, Alaska, Japan,Europe, South America, the Caribbean, Saipan and Guam.

Even so, there are a number of additional record pools,however, DDK is an excellent one to begin with.

5. Once you have the number of pieces for the pool(s), andafter the pool receives them, it will usually take 1-2 weeksbefore your music begins getting club play. Then, theresponse is almost instantaneous.

Note: Prior to sending out to pools, you should also ensurethat you have your offline retail distribution covered so thatyou can get sales as a result of the club play. A good placeto begin for offline retail sales is with The Orchard and New ArtistDirect.

The Orchard currently pays for sales on a quarterly basis,while New Artist Direct currently pays on a monthly basis.Combined with CD Baby paying weekly, you can realizeincome on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. Such asetup is unheard of with traditional distributors, and youwill now have money in your pocket a lot sooner and moreconsistently.

There was a time that, when an independent artist wasfortunate enough to get airplay outside of his local orregional area a couple of thousand miles away, equallyunfortunate was that there wasn't a thing he could doabout it, in terms of sales. He could only weep at hispotential sales losses.

These two organizations eliminate that loss, of whichthey have a 90%-95% concentration into offline retailstores, both major chain stores as well as independentmusic stores.

6. The point of making sure that your music is set up withthese particular organizations is that, when club goershear a "hot" record that they like, naturally, they want it,and they want it NOW!

And, while these two distributors do not take hundredsof your CD at a time (which is a great thing for you, as itdoes not tie up your product and make it difficult to getback, as with traditional distributors), these particulardistributors make your music available through a nationalretail database so that stores can place orders instantlyfor their customers.

They operate much like online music sales sites CD Babyand do, again, with accepting only a fewcopies at any given time, but they are the offline versions,reaching music retailers while giving you the best of bothonline and offline sales worlds.

Now, you have already seen the wide distribution area ofthe Dixie Dance Kings record pool and, if you have not, Iencourage you to review it. And, again, there are quite anumber of additional record pools that, in general, serveas specialty pools to particular genres, or serve virtuallyall commercially viable music releases, regardless ofgenre.

In fact, I now encourage my radio promotion and publicityclients to try to make record pools the very first aspect oftheir promotion and publicity campaigns.

7. Nightclub deejays must report their club responses toyour music to the pool director, generally, between 2-4weeks. Each deejay compiles his own club responsereport, which he then turns in to the pool director.

The pool director then compiles a final report from eachdeejays report, and provides you with a copy. This reportgenerally includes each club's listing, address, theresponse rating to your music, along with an overallaverage score. You can then use your report as influenceto obtain; more radio airplay, press coverage, distributiondeals, and more.

8. Now, in addition to having a completely different versionof your song(s), you also have another version of the song(s)that you can sell at retail if you wish and, as the saying goes,"getting two bangs for your buck," or as I like to put a twist onit, "getting two bucks for your bang," as a certain number ofpeople will also be interested in your enhanced club version.

9. An added and peripheral benefit of having a club versionof your music is that a number of record pool deejays alsohave specialty/mix shows on stations in their area or, theymay even be a part of the main staff on their area stations.

Thus, should a nightclub deejay really like your music, andis not simply fulfilling the obligation to play your music in hisclub, it is very likely that you will begin receiving airplay onhis area station as well.

One final note is that radio and retail work very closelywithin their own local and regional areas, with eachapprising each other of what is getting response fromlisteners, and what is being asked for at retail, respectively.This is why it is vitally important that you are set up with thetwo aforementioned offline retail distribution services andothers like them.

Now, when you begin the radio promotion and presspublicity aspects of your marketing campaign, they canmerely serve as "icing on the cake," so to speak, asopposed to being the only driving factors you have tomake the public aware of your music.

In fact, with now including record pools within yourmarketing, and being able to provide proof to both radioand press of your music's club response, you are likelyto experience much easier access to the media. And,wouldn't that be a good thing?



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