The New Era

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By Kevin Linney, Founder and President of 4fame.com

As time moves forward we all eventually evolve. Evolution is often a very slow process; it can take years, decades, or even centuries. Evolution and change is inevitable, but it is the way people deal with change that decides whether or not change happens slow or fast.  With advances in technology, evolution can and has happened at an accelerated rate. Most people (myself included) are victims of routine that are set by cultural and social standards — we tend to follow popular trends, whether they are good or bad and blindly follow our favorite entertainers or popular media figures with intent of being like them. 

Cut-out-middlemenMost people that have a talent, whether it be singing, playing sports, or acting, usually put their God-given gifts in other people’s hands in order to become successful. These other people are typically called “middlemen,” who are the individuals or businesses that have figured out a way to make money off someones talented by offering some sort of feature or benefit. Record labels, management sites, and media outlets, are considered “middlemen” and all take ownership of talent by offering talented people a path to fame and fortune.  

However, advancements in technology now allow talented people the opportunity to keep complete ownership of their talent by promoting and selling directly to consumers.  I understand that most people with talent do not automatically have natural business or marketing expertise, so it is understandable that they would want to give away their talent to someone that could “help them” make a profit off their skills. But it is also important to remember that talent alone will not necessarily make a person money — it is knowing how to promote and market that talent to people that would be willing to pay for it. If you are a person with talent, you should ask yourself one question: Do I want to have complete ownership of my talent? Or do I want to give my talent to someone else to control?

The world is changing and now with the advances in technology, people can do more with out spending a whole bunch of money.  The evolution of technology and social media allows for talented people to reach potential fans directly. Talented people no longer have to hire “talentless middlemen” to run their business and control their talent. If we use the example of a record label, the benefits of signing to a major label is having big money backing you and having access to a big time music network like radio and video outlets. The downside is that you have to pay all that money back plus some and you don’t have complete control of your talent. Often labels make the decision on how songs should sound and what songs should be made. 

This new era of technology is empowering artists and allowing them the opportunity to make music at a low cost and promote their music for an equally low cost through social media networks. Evolution or change can be described as doing something new. People that take on this concept of self-promotion and eliminating the middleman become the trendsetters, while the rest are sheep, just following the leaders. The people who embrace change and do not merely follow routines, are also often the ones that become successful and wealthy leaders. While the people that play it safe, wait for others to start something first and then join in, never becoming leaders themselves.

Which would you rather be?

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Kevin Linney is the founder and president of 4fame.com. Interested in learning more about 4fame? Visit 4fame.com to get started promoting and selling your music directly to and with your fans. 4fame is the only music website with peer-to-peer music sales and is 100% free to join. Get started!

4fame stands for 4 fans and music entertainment. 4fame offers a supportive free platform and resources to assist upcoming artists in promoting and selling their music and building a greater fan base around the world. Our mission is to create the worlds #1 digital music website for empowered indie artists, bands, musicians, DJ’s, producers and music-loving fans. 4fame is revolutionizing music sales, as the first to offer a peer-to-peer approach, allowing music artists, peers and fans to sell music together. Learn more by clicking here.

Think Like The 1%

3/18/2016 By Kevin Linney, Founder and President of 4fame.com

the1_percentTo create something that could potentially benefit a significant amount of people instead of just a select few, is brilliant. In recent years we have heard much talk about the 99% versus the 1%. For those of you not familiar with the 1%, they consist of all the multi-millionaires and billionaires, while the 99% represents the rest of us. Typically, the 1% are also considered innovators and job creators. Intelligent people throughout history figured out a way to get people to help promote and sell their products and services by incentivizing them and offering a monetary reward. This is the core of our economic system — companies like Walmart, Google, Apple, Target, etc. create jobs by selling products and services, giving individuals opportunity to make a living while being apart of something bigger than themselves. Each of the previous mentioned companies are multi-billion dollar companies who exemplify the economic theory by bringing people together and also providing a shelf for multiple manufacturers  to come together to sell their products with maximum exposure.

Coca-Cola products, for example, are not just sold in one or two stores, they are sold virtually every – in Walmart and Target, local grocery stores, vending machines, and online stores. Products that are offered in many retailers rather than just one or two, yield larger revenue and higher profits than other manufacturers who limit their sales locations. All of these companies have one major thing in common: loyal and supportive people who are bought in to their product, brand and/or service. People have connected these businesses to their way of life. It is the people who buy and sell these products that make these companies great. Without loyal employees and customers, they would not have the success they do.

BIG_CORPORATION1Every large company started off as just an idea and the reason why those ideas grew into multi-billion dollar empires is because people believed and supported the business. I cannot overstate the value of having loyal and supportive people on your team. It is truly the difference between winning and losing. The mistake that most people make is devaluing the importance of connecting with the people.

Buy-in is a powerful thing: even though employees don’t make as much as the CEO’S and upper management, they still push for these big companies to hit new levels of success because of the financial reward they receive for doing their job as well as the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in being apart of a collective entity. When I say big companies, I am really just talking about businesses with large organizations. Most of us lose sight of the fact that the core of any business is really just people working together, and businesses spend millions of dollars on advertising just to reach more people. I point this out because the ultimate success of any product or service will depend on the support of the people. 

I recently had a conversation with an up-and-coming music artist and he told me that his goal was to get his song on the radio and his video shown on a major video outlet. He was complaining that most music DJ’s want money for playing a song. I told him that I can understand wanting exposure for his music and have it played on major radio and TV outlets because it gives you the opportunity to reach a lot of people all at once. But everything has a cost — and more importantly, is the real goal about reaching a lot of people at once or connecting with a lot of people? Because there is a huge difference. 

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All successful businesses build a sense of brand loyalty amongst their employees and customers because they did more than just reach the people, they connected with people. I let the artist know that he may have some success by reaching a lot of people but if he wants to have long-term sustainable success, he needs to make sure he connects with people on a deeper level –emotionally and psychologically.

In today’s world, social media and reality tv has made most of us crave popularity without substance. Whether we are starting a business or trying to build a music career, it is important to think and dream bigger; build a base of loyal and supportive customers to begin with, even if it is just a few people to start with. That is not done by merely reaching a bunch of people and blasting out a  message or getting the most “followers,” but rather by relating and connecting with people and showing them that what you have to offer will truly benefit their lives.

The 1% understand the importance of connecting and building with the people.

Do you?

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Fame or Fortune?

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3/13/16 By Kevin Linney, Founder & President of 4fame.com

Do you make music for people to hear? Or do you make music for people to purchase? Depending on how you answer that question, you know if music is a hobby or a profession. I ask this question because it seems times have changed.

Even the so called “underground” artists that were making music as a creative outlet and not for a monetary reward, still never resisted getting paid for their talent. Most people seem to equate fame with fortune, which is a bullshit way of thinking.  Warren Buffet has a fortune and I bet most of you reading this would never recognize him if he walked right past you. On the other hand, Reality TV stars are famous and not necessarily wealthy. The fascination with fame is nothing new, but with the rise in social media, people have become addicted to self promotion.

MusicnotesSocial media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snap Chat, have become very popular among music artists for promotion. These sites are a great resources for artists to promote their music, because they are free and they allow for the potential to connect with millions of fans. The downside is that these sites were not created for music promotion or even more importantly, music sales.  Another problem with social media sites is too much random information. Any music artists that is trying to build a following on social media sites has to compete with a variety of other stimuli that may not be music related. If you don’t believe me, go to any of your social media websites and look all of the items coming through your time line. This takes me back to my original premise, social media websites weren’t created for business, they were made to make random people feel important. “Likes,” “Views,” “Followers,” and “Plays,” have become the new standard in which music artists use to rate their success. But what happened to basing success off of music record sales?

The music industry has told us for years that music is no longer profitable. If that is the case, what about iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, Soundcloud, etc……? All of these companies are multi-million dollar companies that sell music. So then who isn’t making money off music? The answer is: music artists. Music artists are not making any money off their passion and creativity and the reason why is because music artists seem to be more concerned with being famous instead of making money off their talent.

Music artists are more concerned with the process and not the outcome. Radio airplay, music videos, and interviews are all part of the process, which are supposed to lead to music sales. Major record labels do a good job of creating exposure for music artists, but they don’t do a good job of creating a long-term sustainable paying career for music artists. Record labels, like any other business, are focused on making money for themselves. So any artists that joins a major label will be considered valuable as long as they are making the label money. Music artists always need to ask themselves if their music is a hobby or a career?

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The old business models of selling music are no longer profitable for music artists. Most music fans expect to get music free through popular music sites like Soundcloud. Music artists have also been contributing to the free music culture by giving away all their music. Some artists say giving away their music helps create a buzz, which makes sense. But, it should still always be available for sale, too. The one major problem with giving away free music is that fans start to expect free music all the time.

We seem to be living in the free music era, where artists are more concerned with popularity as opposed to music sales; maybe artists feel that “Followers” and “Likes” equal money. But social media sites have done a great job getting people to focus on popularity instead of money. The social media companies make all the money, while people use these sites to simply feel important. So, if you are a music artists, ask yourself, what is more important, fame or fortune?

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My First Time Recording

3/11/2016 By Kevin Linney, Founder & President of 4fame.com

It was 1994, I was a senior in high school trying to figure out where I was going to attend college. During this time my childhood friend was waist deep in the Sacramento Hip Hop scene. Back in the 90’s it became a popular trend for drug dealers to take their money and invest it in a independent record label. Northern California was a hotbed for independent rap labels, which gave us artists like E40, C-BO, and Brotha Lynch Hung.

During the 90’s my childhood friend, who went by the rap name of First Degree, signed to a local gangster rap label called Death Trap Records. I remember we were all super excited when we heard the news that he got signed to the independent record label. Back then it was a big deal for an artists to get signed because making music was a costly investment. Unlike today, there were no in-home computer music programs. We all new First Degree had talent, so we weren’t surprised when he got signed.

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First Degree started working on his debut album, which he titled Southbound. During this time I had dabbled with rap, but never thought of it as anything more than a hobby. That was until First Degree asked me to do a verse for a song, which would be on his debut album. I had never been so nervous and excited at the same time. I remember First Degree saying to me that you are going to be competing with your favorite rappers, because once his album hits the record stores, people will have to make a decision about which album they want to spend their money. When he said, “your verse needs to be able to compete with all the other verses that are on all the other rap albums in the record store,” my stress and nervousness went up 100%. I thought about all my favorite artists that I would be competing with, like Nas, EPMD, Redman, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, etc….. Never had I worked so hard on something in my life. I remember writing and rehearsing for hours until it was time to record.

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Paradise Recording’s  Control Room, Sacramento, California.

I remember showing up at Paradise Recording Studio’s in Sacramento. There were a lot of people at the studio and I was first up on a song called, Fahrenheit. I was told start rapping and the beat would come in. After a few takes, I finally nailed my first feature verse. After doing that feature, I thought my destiny was to become a Hip Hop superstar. I told my mom and dad, I did not want to attend college because it would get in the way of my rap career. Of course, both of them laughed and told me that attending college is non-negotiable. So, my rap career was put on hold…

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First Favorite Song

3/10/2016 By Kevin Linney, Founder & President of 4fame.com

Do you remember when you heard your first favorite song? 

A few weeks ago I was listening to an old school Hip Hop radio station and heard some classic Hip Hop songs that took me all the way back to my elementary school days. As I was listening to all these Hip Hop songs from my childhood, the radio station played my first favorite Hip Hop song by KRS-One called “My Philosophy.” Everybody has a song or songs that define their childhood and KRS-One will forever be the artist that defined mine. 

I was blessed to grow up with Hip Hop culture around me – Hip Hop music was truly the soundtrack of my youth.  All my friends, no matter what their race or socioeconomic background, listened to rap music. Back in the 80’s Hip Hop was truly a new music phenomenon. Hip Hop artists and groups like Big Daddy Kane, Ice-T, Too Short, Eric B & Rakim, and NWA, were making a new style of music that was changing the music landscape.  When I was a kid I loved all music, but Hip Hop was my new passion. I remember laying on my bed as a kid and listening to hours upon hours of Hip Hop tapes.

As a fan of Hip Hop culture, I was lucky to witness the growth of Hip Hop. When I was growing up, Hip Hop artists focused on creating new music that had its own distinct sound. Back in the day, Hip Hop artists made sure they created songs that were original. There was no such thing as making songs that sounded like another artist, the goal was to create and promote your own sound. The early days of Hip Hop could best be described as being original; no biting was allowed.

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During the early years of Hip Hop, artists were also creating complete albums. This was during the time of cassette tapes and a Hip Hop fan could buy an album and know that over 90% of the songs were going to be worth the money. This leads me back to my first favorite Hip Hop song. I remember my sister purchased KRS-One‘s tape titled “By All Means Necessary.”  She put the tape in the cassette player, pressed play and the first thing I heard was “So you’re a Philosopher?” When the beat kicked in, my mind was blown. At that point, even though I had heard quite a few dope Hip Hop songs, I was mesmerized by KRS-One’s musical creation.  Everything was on point – from the lyrics to the production – “My Philosophy” was a flawless masterpiece. Even to this day, which is over 25 yrs later, when people ask me what my favorite rap song is, the first thought that comes to mind is and will always be KRS-One’s “My Philosophy.”

Do you remember your first favorite song??

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A New Way To Sell Music On 4fame.com

The “I BUY MUSIC” Movement Has Begun…

4fame.com has created a better way to promote and sell music 

Bay Area, California. March 9th, 2016 – 4fame has just launched a new peer-to-peer music sales program, which allows artists and fans the opportunity to sell music together. Now, artists can employ their most loyal and supportive fans by having them help promote and sell their music for a portion of the profit. This new method will revolutionize the way music artists connect and collaborate with fans. The record industry has told us that people don’t buy music anymore, which is false. If music is no longer profitable, then why are companies like iTunes and Spotify making so much money? Artists end up making only pennies on the dollar for their talent, hard work, and effort. Other companies, such as Uber and Airbnb, have been successful with peer-to-peer methods and 4fame is now applying it to music.

Kevin Linney, founder and CEO of 4fame.com, developed 4fame to combat the new trend of artists giving away all their music for free. “I believe that anytime a music artists gives away his/her music for free, it devalues the music. By participating, music artists are creating a culture of consumers that expect to get free music. This trend needs to stop. So, I created a new peer-to-peer selling model, which will financially reward fans for helping to sell the music of their favorite artists.”

11140367_925911900810232_515807825626881420_nThe old models of selling music are no longer viable. This new concept is about music artists and fans building together. Music artists as well as music fans can join the 4fame.com network for free and create user profiles to get started.

Kevin also shared the importance of believing your music can sell: “Artists need to believe in their talent and understand that their passion and creativity can sell, if they tap into a supportive fan base. Music isn’t about likes, views, and followers. It’s about connecting with truly supportive fans that want to help build music careers.” Kevin’s explains his goal in developing this new strategy:  “I hope music artists and true music fans will support the “I Buy Music” movement and join 4fame.com.

Join the the 4fame network to create your free profile and music store by clicking here.