Dude, Where’s Your Self-Esteem?

Sep 29, 2020

What's going on, guys. This is Zion from The Triple Threat Artist.

Let's talk about your self-esteem.

As a music maker, a producer, a songwriter, an artist, or a singer ... Self-Esteem is something you have to have! And that, of course, is something that builds and must grows as you get more experience,

But I don't know how many artists and music makers I have met that do not value what they have and what they do. They've work so hard on creating something, and then end up selling it for pennies, or do terrible deals with people because, and they give away all their rights.

So let's talk about that. It's is a terrible thing to do.

But before we get into it, please click the like button and subscribe to our YouTube channel. I would really appreciate it. And feel free to leave a comment below. We'd love to hear from you guys.

So a couple of weeks ago, I just finished creating and produced a couple songs with a co-writer and friend of mine. She's an amazing artist (let's call her Jessica). And it was expected that she was going to start submitting our songs, after they're completed, over to some licensing agents for them to pitch our music. But unfortunately the only deals she ended up finding were exclusive deals. In other words, our songs would have to be just with them and we couldn't use any other licensing agents. But they were also asking for some publishing on the back end, which means they would have ownership of the songs so that if it got played on radio or anything like that, they would take some ownership of it.

Now, as you know, songs ownership is always split into two parts. There's the master owners, and then the publishing side. And the publishing side actually has two parts to it, which are the songwriters and the publishers. So if somebody doesn't have anything to do with the writing of the song, they might ask for a piece of the publishing, which in a sense, they're asking for a piece of your song with the promise that they're going to pitch it.

Well, this is not a good deal. In my opinion, this is kind of how the old school way of working. I understand why people do this. I get it. I understand why licensing agents would want to do that.

But as an artist, I don't have to do that. And I have the self esteem to say, no, I am not going to do that shitty deal.

That is a shitty deal. You're asking for a lot of ownership and a lot of credit on something you didn't create.

Now there's enough awesome licensing agents that will hustle and do work for you, who are going to be thankful for your songs and won't ask for your publishing. And they'll work with you non-exclusively, which frees you to use other licensing agents if you need to. You work won't be trapped in their little vault and not being able to work with other people.

There's a lot of great licensing agents that will do that. You gotta reach out to them. You got to figure out who they are. You got to work with them, you got to negotiate.

And that comes down to self esteem.

So I had to talk to my co-writer and say, "sorry, I'm not going to go with this deal." And she was pretty disappointed, but you know I ended up sending an email out to about 16 different licensing agents the next week and three or four of them got back with us that are giving us incredible deals, who are excited about the songs and they are pitching them right away. In fact, they already pitched them this weekend for several different Netflix briefs. So it's pretty awesome.

And why did I do that? It's because I know my value, and I know the value of her, and the value of our song. And unfortunately she's still new at this kind of negotiating. So this isn't a knock against her at all, but it is an example of understanding your value and your worth.

This brings me to the point and the topic that I like to talk about, which is the difference between confidence and grandiosity.

Grandiosity is the appearance of confidence. It's a false self-esteem that's created out of a low self-esteem. It's almost like you're candy-coating your appearance to look as if you're confident when you're not. That's what grandiosity is.

Grandiosity is often promoted in music and in media and TV and culture as, "Hey, just fake it till you make it." Well, unfortunately, a lot of people can see through that, faking it until you make it as not a good idea. And grandiosity often speaks to a very low self-esteem.

So how do you build self esteem?

By doing stuff and getting good at it, and understanding you're good at it, and getting feedback, and getting deals, and getting placements, and getting your music sold, or people listening to it and liking it and loving it. That builds your confidence so that when you speak about your music and when you ask for a higher percentage, you're doing it out of evidence. You're not just making it up. You're not contriving a self-esteem. You're doing it out of, "this is good....this is valuable stuff. Not everybody's going to like it, but I can command what I think I'm worth. I can ask for the percentage."

Now this plays into songwriting also, if you've ever worked with a songwriter, another collaborator, and you've had to negotiate the percentages, usually it's 50/50, if you're going into a good songwriting collaborations. But occasionally you might work with somebody that doesn't really know anything about music, but can write some good lyrics. And you need to negotiate something like "I'm going to give you 25% of the songwriting credit for the song while I'll take 75%." Well, it takes some confidence to say that it takes some confidence to negotiate that. And honestly, you should have the balls to do that. And you should have the balls when somebody comes to you and says, "I want to renegotiate. I think I'm worth more." You should have the confidence to say, "okay, let's talk about that. Maybe you are." And not every deal is going to be absolutely perfect, and absolutely just, I don't know how many deals in which I thought, huh? I didn't really pull my share weight in that. Or, "oh man, I did 95% of that, but we originally negotiated the 50%. So I had to stick with it." That's going to happen. But what I'm trying to say is that your confidence in your abilities needs to be apparent as you market yourself.

I'm tired of seeing artists, and I'm tired of seeing bands who do not value theirselves. And they work so hard in making a name and building an audience and making great music and investing hours and hours and lessons into their skill and their instrument. And then they just give away their shit. It's stupid.

We are in command in this business, the artists, the music makers are in the command seat. And yet they're failing to see that they're in command. They're constantly giving away their stuff for nothing. This is why the CEO of Spotify is making millions of dollars. And you're making very little of that. (Hopefully some of you are making more than a little).

I hope this resonates with you guys. There's a quote that I love from Dave Pensado that has to do with this. Dave Pensado is a mixing engineer over in LA. And he's just an amazing guy, is a podcast called Pensado's Place that I highly recommended. I'll put a link in the show notes to it, but he says, "you need to have accurate expectations of your value. If you're not making money from what you're providing, it's probably because you're not worth anything yet." And that's okay.

So you're getting paid for what you're worth. So if you're not getting paid anything, you may not be worth a whole lot for what the market bears.

That's okay. Just get better, get better, be more original, provide something for the community of artists and musicians that is needed and looked for.

I hope this has been encouraging to you guys. This is Zion from the triple threat artists. I'll be having more videos like this.

Please leave a comment below. If you have any thoughts on this, I'd appreciate it.

Talk to you later.

- Zion


Dave Pensado's podcast

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