The New Team


Many “how-to” music biz books like to discuss the concept of the “artist’s team.”This refers to the business machinery behind the creative product.Typically the team members are: the lawyer, manager, publicist and business manager.Each still play very significant roles in the process after the artist grows out of his garage and is headed for stardom.But how about before all that, while the artist is still developing?No one seems to want to talk about what personnel the artist needs to get to that higher plateau.

Since the internet has become essential to an artist’s development, the artist requires a somewhat re-tooled team of professionals.The new team may not even have any of the old players in it, yet, years before you’ll be retaining a lawyer to get you a deal on a major or a direct deal with someone like Wall Mart or Starbucks, you’ll be working with these cats.

Here’s a brief breakdown.

Consultants Instead of Managers or Lawyers

Up till a few years ago there were very few and their fees were staggering. As an artist you would never need to speak to one. Your lawyer or manager was your consultant. Much has changed.

Label consolidation and a bad economy have produced a surplus of unemployed label execs. Many have hung out shingles as “consultants.”The growth of this area brings with it new elements both good and bad. On the good side most consultants will offer services that many a lawyer is hired to do for a fraction of the lawyer’s price. (With the caveat that most of what a music lawyer is hired to do has little to do with the practice of law.)

Whereas managers will help develop an act from the ground up on spec, consultants are more like sprinters than long-distance runners. They get in, do a job, and get out. Cash up front and no long-term commitments. Some artists find this attitude disingenuous. But this is mostly their egos talking (and often their pocketbooks).

FACT: Managers and lawyers can be just as mercenary, signing acts to long term and binding agreements and then becoming too busy to deal with their client’s petty needs. With consultants you can usually fire them at will if they get too uppity.

On the down side, like any growth field you get a lot of people whose skills are better at marketing themselves than their actual industry expertise.

Eventually you’ll need both a manager and lawyer and your consultant might start to seem superfluous then.But when is that point?

Chapter one in the new Edition of Confessions of a Record Producertells you how to avoid wanna-be consultants that will burn both time and money and when to dump them for a manager or lawyer.

Website Designer

Designers, are an eccentric group. Since websites have become essential digital store fronts, designers have become the new “rock stars.”They return your calls if they feel like it and finish your job on time if they’re not too busy.Lord knows what they do all day besides write code but whatever it is, it does not involve communicating with people.Speaking to ordinary, non-tech oriented folk is something they loath more than designing a frameless shopping cart system to be Windows 98 compatible.If you now what I mean.

Why should a Designer be part of your team and not just someone you hire once? While one might think that this is certainly a DYI function, there are many subtleties to putting together a site optimized for music marketing. MySpace, Facebook and other social networks offer a quasi DIY approach to having a web presence, but there is nothing like your own footprint in the sand.

And because you’re going to need more than one website and more than one landing page for each site over time, a designer should be an on-going part of your team.

But… Don’t get talked into stuff you don’t need. Designers love to up-sell.For a list of what you really don’t need, pick up the expanded version of this chapter in the new, 4th Edition of Confessions of a Record Producer.


After you have a website you’ll need someone to manage it for you.Thus the webmaster, or administrator.They fix links, keep the code working ad the ad-ones you’ll want over time.It might seem obvious that you could just ask your Designer to maintain your site, but they tend to not want that job. If you find one that does both, that’s a bargain, but be warned, many webmasters fancy themselves Designers.But, like some musicians who claim they can play any style, tech people also have specialties.Great designers usually will not do maintenance. THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS. Find one if you can.

I have an easy method of separating designers from webmasters who are wanna-be designers: See chapter one in the new Edition of Confessions of Record Producer.

Viral Marketer/SEO

Operating silently in the background of your website is a person whose job it is to drive traffic to you.Once we hired a Public Relations person for attracting attention. They didn’t work stealthily.On the contrary, they were (and are) quite forward about getting someone noticed via Page Six articles, big ads and feature stories on “news shows.”

The web has an entirely different acumen.Obvious PR translates into insincerity.Why? Who knows?The web functions on a sort of Hippy mentality; the need for advertising is for losers and con men; your product should organically attract traffic because it’s cool.Nice sentiment. Too bad it does not reflect reality.

So, here come the Viral Marketers and SEO people (Search Engine Optimization).They have cool web bots and toys that get into social networks and chat rooms.They drive traffic to your site in a way that doesn’t look (too) obvious.Those in the biz can spot them a mile away, but the average person has not caught on yet.

In the new Edition of Confessions, I go over how much to pay for this service, when it’s worth it and the two key things to be leery of when dealing with expensive “Web Optimization Reports.”



The 10th Anniversary Edition of the book that became the foundation of the DYI music business movement, is finally here (just in time for its 11th year) and because you’re on my list you get it at a DEEP discount.

My first book, Confessions of a Record Producer: How to Survive the Scams and Shams of the Music Business originally came out in 1998 and became one of the fastest selling non-fiction books about the music business within three months of publication.Now, it has just been released in its 4th Edition.

This updated and expanded Edition contains a DVD with cool and graphic music business lessons from my on-line workshop, ( charts and graphs that explain how all the money in the music business flows, new articles on digital distribution revenue, Internet scams, ASCAP and BMI myths debunked, and several sections that define the new success “team” in the internet age.


To get a deep 25% discount, plus FREE shipping within the US, go to the link below and enter the promo code “NY9”

6 responses to “The New Team”

  1. Lex Zaleta says:

    The 10th Anniversary Edition is a hit here! If I were writing a brief recommendation, I might say:

    It’s no mystery why Mr. A always gets what he’s after. With the eye of an archer and the heart of a teacher, Moses parts the perils of the music business and leads his students safely through to saner surroundings and greater chances for success.

    I might say that to potential readers. To Mr. Avalon, I would say, “You have a unique gift for writing that allows you to be entertaining, informative, persuasive, and motivational all at the same time. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.”

    I’d like to share a small gift in return, a song from the songwriters’ side of things called “No Napkins in Nashville” (featuring my alleged vocals). It’s free to download for two weeks at: … and after that at my site –

    Once again, THANK YOU, Moses!

    – Lex –

  2. Thanks for saying it, Moses. Finally.

    I recently turned the attention of my web dev company to the music industry when I realized the indispensable role web developers play in the new music business. It was a natural way to combine two of my deepest loves — music and the internet.

    A little different than the kind of designer you’re describing (I’m somewhat more responsive and social, I think), I’ve gone to great lengths to understand the web designer’s role in the music industry since they burned the rule book. I post a great deal of music related news and info on Twitter as a testament to that.

    It just seems tough to meet the right people, the ones who understand how vital a web developer is to The New Team.

    My question is, where’s the best place to connect with savvy managers, musicians and labels who are willing to invest in a long term relationship (or any relationship at all) with a web designer/developer who knows his stuff, both on the Internet and in the music business?

    Hit me with it, I’m listening.

  3. Robert says:

    You do not need several sources–I represent several artists teaming up with old colleagues from Elektra Records when it was an independent label–one stop shopping for recording/production, artist development, promotion, publicity, booking, et al–what sets us apart is we don’t CARE about the money–we’re in it for the MUSIC–always were–always will be!

  4. Thats a groundbreaking approach that clears the fog and inspires to find new ways to (not) walk the line.

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