Music Success In Nine Weeks Recap

Before I get to the heart of this post, here's a quick update of what's been going on since we last spoke :-)

While I didn't win the grand prize for the blog contest, I DID win one of the 1st place prizes - a free 6 week PR campaign! Look for that to start within the next month or so... I've been finishing up some of the "busy" work for one of my library deals, ie... paperwork and lots of stems and edits for about 25 tracks. This is a new start-up library that began about a year ago. We now have a MAJOR distributor in place and the first group of tracks will begin to hit the streets in about a month. I also signed my first deal for a vocal song with a very selective music library. The song is a co-write with my friend Joel and is going to be on the Crushing Gray album when all is said and done. I'm sure there's more stuff to update you about but it'll have to wait for the next entry.

Earlier this week, I got an e-mail from Ariel Hyatt asking me if I could do a blog entry for her that basically re-capped my experience in her blog contest. She was so inspired by how the first one went that she's going to do another one. She'll be posting my blog summary on her site as a guest blog entry. Below you'll find what I sent to her.

Ariel asked me to provide a summary of my experiences with her first Music Success In Nine Weeks blog challenge. It's hard to believe that it's been three months since the contest ended. Seems like it was just yesterday when I was posting my final entry. But as I look at the calender, I can clearly see that the hands of time have moved well past that point in time.

I remember before I decided to take the challenge, that I was kind of sitting on the fence about it. You see, I'm not a touring artist. Haven't been in a long time. My dreams and goals at this stage are to one day be a full-time composer working with Film and TV. Hence my hesitation about taking the challenge. I wasn't sure how it would apply to me as a "stay-at-home composer." But after some great feedback from some musical colleagues, along with a gentle nudge from Ariel, I decided to take the challenge.

I remember going through the first chapter and just feeling overwhelmed right at the start. Not because of the amount of work, but instead, because of the "type" of work. While my wife is probably more of the "dreamer" type personality, I'm much more of the "nuts and bolts" kind. At my day job, I spend most of my time bringing other people's "dreams" into reality by doing the actual grunt work. So when it was time for me to dream big, I really struggled. And part of the reason for that was because I was trying to walk the line between "Barry French the composer" and "Big Blue Barry the artist." I wasn't sure "who" was taking the challenge. And looking back at the goals that I set for myself, I straddled the line between the two.

As the book progressed, I began to form a clearer picture of who I was as an artist. Developing our perfect pitch definitely helped solidify that "side" of me. As I'm typing this, I have a feeling I should probably read the book again, but this time, do so as "the film/TV composer" 'cause I'm sure my pitch would be different than what it currently is, which is "Imagine a steel cage match between Sevendust and Linkin Park with Joe Satriani as the referee..." in case you were wondering :-)

I remember being excited when I got to chapters 3 and 4. I knew that my web site was in need of some work and this was the perfect "jump start" to help me get it taken care of. I did the re-design myself, and while I'm not a graphic designer, I was very pleased with how things turned out. And in regards to the Web 2.0 sections, I was already doing some of those things and that chapter helped to improve my efficiency. I definitely remember feeling "victorious" at the end of those chapters.

The next couple of chapters, e-mail and mailing lists, were a bit of a challenge for me. And honestly, they still are. While I was in the contest, I definitely made an effort to grow my list, and it worked, as my list doubled in size in just one day. But once the contest ended, so did my attempts at growing my list :-( I do plan on attacking this one again as I did see some monetary results because of it. Simply put, if you follow her advice and stick with it, it works.

The other area that I struggled with, at least initially, was the Continuum program. Of all the chapters that made me wish I was back in one of my old bands, I think this one was it. If it were 10 years ago, I would have had no problem filling up one of the charts she provided in the book. But since I'm not touring and I don't have any merchandise, I wasn't really sure what I could offer. In the end, I wanted to do something that would help my career but at the same time help others and her idea of linking up with a charity really spoke to me. I ended up deciding on donating 30% of my album proceeds for the remainder of the year to 3 different charities (10% each).

It's been great trying to reflect on each of those entries that I did for the contest and remembering all the different things that were going on at the time when I wrote them. The contest was definitely worth doing. I made some new friends through the process as well as got a better definition of who I was and what my long term goals were. I'm also happy to say that one of my goals, to write and sign 50 new library tracks by the end of the year, has ALREADY been met!

So if you're reading this and trying to decide on whether of not this challenge is something worth doing, let me encourage you to give it a shot. There will be areas that you'll find difficult as well as areas that come very natural. But in the end, it will really help you to get a clear definition of who you are as an artist now, where you want to be as an artist, and the tools to help you get there.

Thanks again to Ariel and her crew for allowing me to be a part of the initial challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

- "Big Blue" Barry


Cody @ Captive Records said...

Hey, Barry!

Nice to see you back! I finally got my copy of Ariel's book, but haven't started with it, yet. I recently started work on my MBA, so my schedule's been pretty full.

I am, though, looking forward to getting started on it when I sort out a schedule that works.

Congrats on reaching your goal of writing and signing 50 new library tracks and congrats on all of your other successes.

Big Blue Barry said...

Hey Cody, thanks for chiming in here! Slowly but surely I think I'm starting to get a better idea of how to better utilize my blog and make it something that I can keep up with on a more consistent basis. In fact, I've already got two new entries in my head, just waiting to be put down on "paper." :-)

When you do start the book, don't let the first chapter overwhelm you. There's a lot of great info and if you take it a bit at a time, I think that'll help you get the most out of it.

Take care man!
- Barry