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What Should You Focus on if You Want to Hit it Big?

Bruce Allen is President of Bruce Allen Talent, an artist management firm based in Vancouver. He manages the careers of Bryan Adams, Anne Murray, Martina McBride, Michael Bublé and producer Bob Rock.

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Artist manager Bruce Allen (Bryan Adams, Martina McBride) offers his trenchant views about what musicians hoping to hit it big should be concentrating on, and on the real appeal of independent labels.

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Well you see every young band comes to you and say they’re going to work hard. They know all the answers to say; we’re going to work, we’re going to be out there, we’re going to keep working, we’re going, the advice I have is you gotta work on your art. You gotta become great players, you gotta learn how to become great songwriters, and if, the first thing that’s important in our business is a song. If you’ve got a great song, you’re half way there so you gotta concentrate on your art. If they’re going to write all their own music, then you learn to be great songwriters. That’s the first thing that I tell these bands to do.

And then after that, honestly, you have to get yourself a manager. You gotta get somebody to believe in you to help you open doors to get your career going. That’s what I believe. But first of all the focus, it’s all about he music first. Actually the second thing is the distribution. You know there’s all these indi labels come up here, I find it funny that everybody wants to be an independent but all the guys running the independent companies want to have this major distributor of the record, okay? So I mean if you want to take out the middle man I guess you can go right to the distributor itself and sign direct. It’s sexy to be with and independent, you can walk around and say you’re independent. I use independent as another word to say oh, I’m and independent? Okay, you’re a failure.

Now, okay, indi and failure kind of go together for me unless they take it further. There’s too many people who sit there and are just enamored by these acts who go out there and sell 20,000 records. They’re great. No, they’re not great, you know, they’re just, you think it’s cool. So I just say, “Focus on the songs boys. Whether you’re a rock band, a country band, AC band, focus on the songs. Great songs will win out every time.”

I’m thrilled I made a career in the music business and I’m thrilled that all my artists that I’ve been involved with, some have done well; some have not done as well as others. Some of them have failed, but nobody has ever sued me. I’ve never had a signed contract with anybody. They always thought, I hope that I did the best that I could and it just wasn’t meant to be for any number of reasons. I can only do what I do and right now I feel blessed to have all the acts that I’m doing outside of the brand new act which is just starting. We got winners. We have no losers. I don’t have to winge at that phone call coming in. That’s fantastic. Because I know that there’s a lot of managers, as there are agents, as there are attorneys, as there are accountants in our business, they know who that calls coming, they know that can’t be a good call.

I might get a bad call, but it ain’t because I’m broke, it ain’t because my record ain’t doing well. It ain’t going to be one of those calls. Okay? But I just am blessed right now to deal and I hope I can stay that way with acts that are winning and that’s what I’ve tried to do.

[End of Audio]

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BA, Advice For Bands.doc

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