Torrez Marketing & Productions

So 2018 is here! You’ve made more personal new year’s resolutions, and now you’re re-evaluating your professional goals; reassessing which ones you reached last year, and what changes you want to make for this year.

If one of those goals include starting your own business, expanding the company you already have, creating a secondary revenue stream, or turning that hobby into a source of income, then one of the things you’ll want to be sure not to overlook is your Marketing plan.

I often tell my music business students that it doesn’t matter how talented they are, how well they can sing, or how many songs they’ve written. If they don’t know how to promote and market themselves, then they won’t be able to sell their music, increase their fanbase, and grow their business. The same principle applies for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Let me introduce you to Gabe and Danielle Torrez and their company Torrez Marketing & Productions (TMP). Gabe and Danielle are storytellers from Nashville, TN. Driven by a desire to make your brand shine, TMP specializes in creating shareable content that your followers, friends and business contacts will want to watch and repost.

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Prior to creating TMP, Gabe Torrez worked on the creative team at Bethel World Outreach Church bringing messages to life through video and visuals. Danielle (Kimmey) Torrez formerly worked as Director of Marketing for eOne’s Worship division, and is best known for being one-third of the singing group Out of Eden.

Together, Gabe and Danielle take their shared industry knowledge and utilize it to create fascinating business branding videos, music videos, wedding videos, and much more.

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To contact TMP for more information and pricing packages, email Gabe Torrez at torreztmp@gmail.com or call 615.500.0596. Samples of their work can be found on Youtube at Torrez Marketing & Production.

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What Did You Get for Christmas?

Did you get what you wanted for Christmas? Was it a brand new guitar? No? Perhaps you already have one that’s been collecting dust because you never learned how to play. Or maybe you play a little, but haven’t figured out how to go from amateur hobbyist to a professional guitarist. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to play guitar and work professionally at it, but haven’t found a teacher who can also share tips on making it in the music business, then meet singer/songwriter, and classically trained guitarist Robert Arthur! 

 
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In addition to his one-on-one personal lessons offered locally in Nashville, TN, Robert is now accepting guitar students via Skype and FaceTime. A graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelors degree in classical guitar performance, Robert was a full-time guitar teacher in Union, SC before moving to Nashville in 1992. He has toured extensively with country music artists Brad Paisley, Jeff Bates, The Henningsens and many others, and has performed with legends like Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, and shared the stage with a number of other country music stars. 

“My guitars have seen all the lower 48 states, Canada, the Caribbean!” Robert Arthur

As a studio musician, Robert has spent many hours in different types of studios, recording hundreds of sessions, from very low-budget demos to major label records. As I songwriter he has been blessed to have had three major publishing deals, and over 100 songs recorded by small independent country and Gospel music artists, and major-label acts such as Chris Young and Brad Paisley. One instrumental cut with Paisley was nominated for a Grammy.

Robert wants to put his vast experience to work for you helping to equip you in many styles, on acoustic or electric, and to share his special insights for the guitar playing songwriter! He is passionate about the guitar and would love to put that passion to work for you! Contact Robert Arthur at: SirRobArtMusic@bellsouth.net for more information about pricing, scheduling, etc.

Listening is not the same as Learning

Just two months before the start of another school year. I’m not counting down in anticipation of returning to work. But I am thinking about how fast life seems to be flying by. Three weeks ago I attended my niece’s high school graduation.

The thought of her being 18 and heading off to college this fall is just mind blowing. There’s the obvious…the passage of time that just doesn’t keep up with the calendar, the clock, and everything else that makes it unbelievable that I’m 18 years older this month, anymore than it does that she’s a high school graduate!

Then there’s the realization that she, like so many other teenagers, are heading off to college, ready of their freshmen year; full of knowledge, hope, excitement, and — unfortunately, already set in her way. You know, like many of us were who “knew everything already;” whose parents were old-fashion and out of touch, and couldn’t tell us anything. And even when they tried, we didn’t listen.

But these students? The ones I see in class and walking around campus. The teenage and young adults who spend the money and the time attending school, and who say they’re interested in a career in the music industry, but their actions (and inaction) doesn’t support what their words are saying. I’m still scratching my head at many of them.

The music industry is a competitive place. Getting a job in it has almost nothing to do with what degree you earn. But it does have to do with what information you learned; knowledge you gained; experiences you had; people you met; abilities and talents you have; and the drive to succeed.

I spoke at and lead a panel discussion at the Music Biz conference in Nashville back in May. The topic was on how students could increase their chances of alining internships during school, and jobs after graduation. The three-day conference cost several hundreds of dollars for industry persons attending, but less than $75.00 for students. There were dozens of seminars offered throughout the day; industry-related social activities each night; an awards luncheon included in the costs, and literally hundreds of professional industry executives and other persons speaking, sitting on panels, and walking the halls of the event. I spent months talking about the event coming up; weeks strongly encouraging students to register and attend; and even in the final days of school, had emails sent to everyone in the program. In spite of that, not even a dozen students attended.

 

So if a student or anyone else, says they’re interested in finding a job in the music industry, why would they not want to take advantage of opportunities to learn more about it; to meet people doing it; and to network with others who are also trying to get in it? Why does a student need to be pushed into finding internships, or volunteering at industry functions, or joining industry-related clubs and organizations?

Shouldn’t those who are serious about a career in the industry be in happy active pursuit and doing all they can to be competitive enough to get the job!?

My niece isn’t pursing a degree or career in the music industry. She wants to be a nurse; a neonatal nurse to be exact. She plans to spend her life helping to save babies’ lives. I applaud her for that. It’s something she’s been interested in since she was a young child herself; and it never changed through the years. But my prayer for her is the same thing that I say to my students — that their desire is not to learn enough to pass a test or get a good grade in class. But their desire should be to gain the kind of knowledge they will need to put what they’ve learned to use in the real world, and do something to make it a better place for everyone!

An Artist’s Perspective

So one of the really great things about teaching in the Recording Industry at a university so close to Music City is that there’s so much talent, knowledge, history, and clout just a few miles away. And while you may think most people would want to keep all of that power to themselves, I have found that there’s far more music industry insiders willing and even wanting to share their stories, give advice, and leave students with great nuggets of wisdom about this business we call the Music Industry — what to take away from their courses; how to build a better “hands’ on” resume experience, who the players are; how to become one; and how to get things done! Of course, it helps that I was one of those “Insiders” and I still carry my “Music Biz card.” But I’m still always happy when I get a yes from associates and industry executives who will make the 30 mile drive from Nashville to Murfreesboro to share with my industry students.

Today, one of my Artist Management classes had the pleasure of hearing from a singer/songwriter, and his journey from college to internship, and landing not only his first job, but a record deal after that. If you’re interested in Daniel Kirkley’s story, you can check out his website at www.danielkirkley.com.

But it is the pieces of advice he left with my students that I’ll share here.

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I.  Networking — Take advantage of the opportunity to meet and get to know people in the industry.

II.  Take Educated Risks — Someone is always watching you. They want to see what you can do and what you’re willing to do.

III.  Never Stop Working — Know what you want. But don’t be so focused on a single thing that you miss other opportunities.

IV.  Enjoy the Ride!

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Afterwards, I shared with them Daniel’s first music video. His new EP will be released by the end of the month, along with a new video.

Do You Know Latin Urban Gospel Artist Michelle Bonilla?

If you’ve never heard of her, let me introduce you! Mixing her blend of hip hop, Latin, pop, and urban Gospel style in her high energy performances. Michelle reaches audiences of all ages. She can sing. She can dance. She’ll entertain you, and then sit down and talk with you. You won’t leave one of her shows without knowing more of who she is and why she does what she does. Just take a listen here.

Now it’s time for her to return to the studio and make another record that old fans will love, and new and curious fans will embrace. And she’s using kickerstarter to get things started. Help Michelle do what she does best…sing, perform, and record the kind of music that you love!

Click on the link for more information about how you can be a part of making it happen:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/michellebonilla/michelle-bonillas-new-album-freedom

Why Fans are as Important as Friends!

So tonight, X-Factor’s down to the top four performers, with plans to cut one more tomorrow before the final round next week. At stake? Not just worldwide popularity and a recording contract, but $5 million! That’s huge! That means you’ve got money in the bank even if your first record tanks! With that much up for grabs, the one thing you need from day one is a fanbase that grows every week; especially since it’s a show that leaves the top spots completely up to the fan vote.

Last week, I was surprised by the two artists who ended up in the bottom of the voting — Marcus and Rachel. I thought their performances the day before were better than two others who went through. But it didn’t work out that way. The fan vote had moved three others forward to the semi-finals, leaving two, both well deserving artists to sing it out in front of the judges. In what became the topic of every major entertainment show and morning news programs, the voting results of the judges during the save-me song, being tied, came down to the fan vote. The person with the lowest amount of fan votes had to go home. Sure, people were upset because Nicole wouldn’t make a decision to send either one of them home, stating instead that she would “leave it up to the fans” (i.e. voting to keep Marcus IN rather than voting to send Rachel HOME, made it a 2 vs 2 tie between the judges, which could only be broken by looking at the total fan votes). But ultimately, she was leaving it back up to the people whose voting (or lack of) had landed them both there to begin with.

Rachel got hysterical when she heard was being sent home; Marcus looked too upset at what was happening to be happy about his save; Nicole cried almost as loudly as the audience booed her; and for a second week in a row, Simon was visibly mad!

To be honest, I thought both Marcus and Rachel gave good performances the night before. But when it came to the save-me song, I actually think for that moment, Rachel performed a better job than Marcus did. What stuck out to me in those moments were the words the host said, “and the person with the least amount of fan votes who’s going home tonight is…”

He’d said those words before; for the past two months to be exact. But what it reminded me of was that no matter how great of a performer you are, if you don’t build a fanbase of people who like you enough to support you, then you’re just another great performer — who heads home early. It happened last season with Pia on American Idol.

So what can the every day, up and coming artist learn from this? The same thing that successful independent artists already know. You have to work at finding, building, and growing your fans. And when you do, they can become the grassroots marketing leverage you need to take you to places you want to go. Not everyone can have 10-15 million viewers watching them perform on a talent competition show like the X Factor, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, and others. So for those who are starting out with just their circle of family and friends, they have to want it bad enough, to work hard enough, and long enough, and to be smart enough to take their seed (i.e. talent) and do more than just plant it in the soil; but water it, feed it, tend to it, weed it, and help grow it. And they have to never be complacent enough to think that all they need is talent. And that’s where fans come in!

Friends are good to have. They tell you how good you are. Many of them will come to your shows. Some of them will even purchase your CD. And all of that is great. But FANS, they’re the ones who don’t just tell you how great you are, they go out and tell all their friends. Fans don’t just come to your show, they bring friends to your shows. Fans don’t just buy your CD or download your songs, they tell their friends to do it and encourage their friends to share with their other friends. Fans share your facebook page, retweet your messages, and drive up your Youtube hits by making sure their friends are viewing and sharing it. Fans don’t mind spending 5 minutes calling, texting, or emailing their votes for you, not once, or twice, but multiple times, stopping only long enough to text their friends to make sure they remembered to do the same. Fans don’t just want you to succeed; they want to be a part of your success!

That’s why when it comes to trying to make your mark in the music industry, it’s important not just to be a good singer, or performer, but in today’s time, a good self promoter. And the best news about that is most of the promotions are FREE.  It takes just seconds to send a tweet; just minutes to update your facebook; and in less than an hour, you can post a video blog talking about your music, playing a few chords, or inviting your fans to a concert or a future online chat. People don’t have any reason to become your fan if you’re not giving them something to grab a hold to. Being a good singer’s not enough; there are more of those out there than we have radio stations to play them, or time in the day to listen. These days, you have to be more and you must DO more!

Ian Rogers from Top Spin Media said in a recent lecture “Build an audience first; sell later.” It makes total sense. Why spend all that money creating music that no one’s interested in buying? How do you try to sell something to fans that you haven’t established yet? And yet, there are those who say they want to “break” into the music industry; and want to be in entertainment, but they think all they need is a good song and the right person to come along. All the while, there’s a bunch of great songs being sung in bedrooms and bars all over this country by people waiting for just the right person to come along.

An industry associate of mine commented to me, after I told her about a girl who moved to Nashville for the summer to see if she wanted to be a singer, that “if you have to come and see if you want to be in the industry, you probably don’t need to be in the industry.” There’s truth to that thought. The music industry isn’t like getting a teaching job. Most people who go to college, study, and graduate four years later expect that they’ll find a teaching job in their field that they’ll likely work for 10, 20 or 30 years! But becoming a singer in this industry has nothing to do with college degrees, and there’s no guaranteed job waiting at the end of graduation.

You are one of many in slots that are few. The question you have to ask yourself is “how much do I want this, and how hard am I willing to work for it?” Because your potential fans are asking the questions, “who are you and why should I care about your music?” The answer today can no longer be, “because I’m good.”

“In a world with unlimited choice, there’s no reward for ‘good,'” Rogers also shared. “Do something small weekly; do something big monthly. Do something that reminds people that you exist.”

If you want to be a part of this music industry, respect it enough to be willing to work hard at it.