Ask Me Anything about Your Entertainment Industry Business Questions

Allen Johnston
Jan 10, 2018

Answers to your Entertainment Industry Business Questions.  Publishing, distribution, contracts, sales, marketing and promotion on physical and digital formats globally.

I have designed CLE (Continuing Legal Education) courses which are available at the American Bar  Association website.   

For a period of over ten years I was co-owner of Joeyboy Records, J.R. Records, On Top Records, American Faith Records, Joeyboy Publishing BMI, Beam of Light Publishing ASCAP, To Soon To Tell Publishing SESAC, and Bazooka Film works


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Do you work with celebrities? Are they easy to work with?

Jan 12, 5:18AM EST0

I have been attached to the careers of several high profile singers, songwriters, musicians and actors.  There is no difference between them and you except they know more people.  Some act aloof because they are afraid that they will either get in trouble or lose something by becoming your friend.  Some do feel that they have a special place on earth however once they know that you are there to assist them and not judge them things have always changed.

Before you ask, Whitney Houston, Anita Baker, Ray parker Jr, Lance Reddick, Aretha Franklin..........many more

Jan 12, 9:14AM EST0

What are the most common mistakes musicians make these days based on your experience?

Jan 11, 6:36PM EST0

1.  Thinking they know everything they need.

2.  Thinking they can't learn anything from younger people

3.  Not having their publishing, copyrights or knowledge of what they are.

4.  Looking for a manger because they are too scared to manage their own careers.

5.  Paying for radio airplay or promotion without knowing what they should expect.

Jan 11, 9:04PM EST0

Do you research for talent and how?

Jan 11, 3:52PM EST0

If you are asking if I do personal research to find talent to work with the answer is yes.  I visit recommended sites, read newsletters, Facebook, Instagram and read personal email requests.  From these I listen to new and upcoming acts and if I hear one that I like I start looking deeper online.

Jan 11, 4:04PM EST0

What is your favourite genre of music?

Jan 11, 2:49PM EST0

Depends on my mood, I like Global soul, JAzz, Hip Hop, R&B, Classical, World Music, Rock, Dance and more.

I am not crazy about Metal, but I have listened to some to understqand the genre better

Jan 11, 3:46PM EST0
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Do you work in other entertainment fields like movies, TV etc?

Jan 11, 10:44AM EST0

JAnuary 26 - 27 I am moderating the Music Placement Conference in Orlando.

We bring together filmmakers, producers, songwriters, publishers, attorneys, directors and music supervisors.


I allso distribute audio, video, film and select books to an international audience.

Jan 11, 12:16PM EST0

Do you operate internationally? What is the best region/country to be a musician in? Why?

Jan 11, 4:50AM EST0

Yes, my company has international deals in several different countries, plus I now write for 2 ezines in India, a magazine in South Africa and my company newsletter is seen in 21 separate countries.

The best region /country for music is determined by the musical genre, your marketing and promotion and of course your company base of operations.  I have several artist that are making real sales outside of the USA and their marketing efforts are directed to non USA fans.

Jan 11, 7:47AM EST0

Do you work with labels or individual artists or both?

Jan 10, 8:27PM EST0

I work with both and more.  Currently I have arist, singer songwriters, film makers, disributors, bands, groups, publishers, attorneys, firms, foundation, government orginzations as clients.

Jan 10, 9:35PM EST1
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What are your thoughts on popular singing shows for spotting talent? Are they all set up in your opinion and isn’t that taking the focus away from talent and shifting it more into the show side of it?

Jan 10, 6:23PM EST0

I think that the television singing shows are the BEST.  They give artist the ability to get their business together and share the real feel of competition among their peers.  Many artist after losing in the preliminaries have a better understanding of how to conduct themselves within the entertainment industry.  In terms of talent, the acts that we see on TV have ALL been filtered to make the show better for the audience.  Real talent has been filtered in the prelims and several have gotten other types of deals.

Jan 10, 9:26PM EST0
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Who is your favourite musician and why?

Jan 10, 5:46PM EST0

I like different musicians at different times..  right now I like CHARLES EARLAND for his continuos finding of the "groove".

Jan 10, 6:01PM EST0
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Are there any accessible online resources on licensing? The legalities of making and selling music seem to be a very overlooked topic, do you agree?

Jan 10, 5:37PM EST0

LICENSE QUOTE - https://www.licensequote.com/

MUSIC DEALERS - http://www.musicdealers.com

MUSIC SPECIALIST - http://www.musicspecialistspeaks.com/



Jan 10, 5:57PM EST0
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Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to the next ASK ME ANYTHING session I will host.

Good night

Jan 10, 5:04PM EST0

Thanks for sharing and caring ;)

Jan 10, 6:26PM EST0

How do you charge for your services? Can someone with small budget benefit from your connections and expertise?

Jan 10, 4:53PM EST0

Of course I charge we ALL have to eat, drink , be merry and pay our wife's bills.  Pricing is determined by what the client needs.  MEmbers of AMA get a FREE session to help determone their project requirements

Small budgets are perfect until you can afford a BIG budget.

Every client is customized and individualized. 

Jan 10, 4:58PM EST0

Do you organize events worldwide? When is the next one and where?

Jan 10, 4:51PM EST0

I have organized a few events, my next one will be January 26 - 27 in Orlando , Florida during Grammy Weekend.  I am hosting a listening session for attendees of the Music Placement Conference.

In June I host the MUSIC SPECIALIST MIDEM SHOWCASE in the Cotton Club Cannes France.  3 nights of music from artist around the world.  This is in conjunction with my Music Specialist Trade Mission to Midem where I assist clienets in placing business deals globally.

Jan 10, 4:56PM EST0
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Do you come from a family of musicians?

Jan 10, 4:32PM EST0

I was raised within a musical environment,, my aunt was a lyric soprano in Chicago during the 20's - 50's.  She basically raised me while my momand dad worked.  We lived in a 4 story mansion in Chicago that was cut up into flats which my family rented out to actors, musicians, artist and professionals

Jan 10, 4:36PM EST0

As a baby my aunt sung to me in Italian, German, Spanish and English.  My first musical memories were of Arias, and Gospel Hymns

Jan 10, 4:45PM EST0

contrary to popular belief you can never be too old to achieve success.  A few years ago I invited Bobby Rush to join me for a Speed NEtworking panel at the Americana Music Association FEstival & Conference.  He came , under duress, and participated, afterwards we talked and worked on building out his fan base.  At Americana he met his manager, and signed with Rounder Records.  The rest is history his project has been  up for 4 Grammys and he won 2.

Bobby is 83

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Jan 10, 4:31PM EST1

Wow that is quite a story! On the other end though, isn't fame detrimental to kids if they are too young? Isn't the entertainment industry generally not a bit harsh when you are young?

Jan 10, 5:11PM EST1
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Do you yourself perform or/and play an instrument? Which one if so?

Jan 10, 4:28PM EST0

I performed for years as a percussionist, starting with trap drums but moving into more avan garde music and percussive instruments.  I haven't  played professionally for over 20 years but sometimes I do play for Mrs Johnston

Jan 10, 4:34PM EST0

Can someone succeed in music just with persistence?

Jan 10, 4:20PM EST0

You really need to be able to make music to succeed.

I've heard that a great song can never be stopped.  Never heard about a dud that made it via persistence.

Jan 10, 4:22PM EST1
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I can not under estimate the need to start video taping yourself, your shows, your practices and parts of your daily life.  People around the globe are now reaching out and making new friends, fans, business associates and team members.  Video is the key for the near future in new music discovery out side of your normal sphere of influence.

Jan 10, 4:19PM EST1

Do you think music has lost something to entertainment over the past couple of decades? The focus is so much on how everything looks, do you think that leaves enough for the sound and meaning of music?

Last edited @ Jan 10, 4:09PM EST.
Jan 10, 4:09PM EST0

No i don't think music has lost anything, I think that music has divided into multiple niches and people only listen to the niche that they like.  

In many different countries it is amazing to hear the diversity over the airwaves and via the mobile networks.

Jan 10, 4:11PM EST0
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As I travel I have now understood that most music, video and film discovery is happening via cell phones.  

My grandchildren don't even listen to the radio any more, they are on their devices with their headsets.

Spotify, YouTube, Tidal, Deezer, Google Pl;us, Amazon Music is what they are listening to, at least within the USA

Jan 10, 4:07PM EST0

Preparing oneself for success is never bad

Jan 10, 4:04PM EST0

Put on a picture and post on instagram ;)

Jan 10, 5:28PM EST0

Today I received a post from one of my friends VINNY RIBAS who owns INDIE CONNECT.  


Music Career Insight

The 2 most poular statemwents I hear from indie ARTISTS are "I need a booking agent' and "I need a manager." It is possible that both are true. However, the question you need to ask yourself is, "Am I prepared for abooking agent or manager?" In other words, do you have everything in place that a manager will need to work successfully on your belhalf. Here is a list of some of those pieces:

A high quality promo video that really shows what you look and sound like in the kinds of venues you are pursuing. The sound and the video quality must be clean and professional. This applies to everyone.An attractive website that sells your act AND gets people to sign up for your mailing list.Managers and booking agents get paid a commission based on your income. Booking agent commissions are from your gigs. Manager commissions are based on ALL of your icome streams. If you're not making a decent income, it won't be woth a manager or booking agent's time to work with you.Given that last point, a booking agent may be willing to work with you if you have a strong enough video and website. With those he/she can pitch you to their current contacts. Many agents and managers will want you to have a strong following. It's not critical if you can be booked into gigs that already have the audience and just need great entertainers. Colleges are perfect examples.

Jan 10, 4:04PM EST0

True but how does that work for someone just starting out? Doesn't that leave the ones that are talented but not great at "selling" themselves out? As they are then in that circle of not being able to get enough following to make it worth someone giving them a chance. How many is "enough following"?

Jan 10, 4:24PM EST0

Sounds like you have over looked the entire concept.  

Develop the "tools" that you need first and make them of excellent quality. 

Determine where you want your sound to go and start working social media for that genre.

Be honest about your music and ask the question What Does It Need?  Listen to what people tell you.

Go to Conferences near you and in other cities.  you need to make friends NOT look for deals

Jan 10, 5:51PM EST0

Hello and Welcome to everyone

I am available for questions at your leisure.

Jan 10, 4:00PM EST0

Has the internet made it easier for musicians to sell their music or not? It surely makes fame more accessible but does that transfer to success and financial gains for the performers?

Jan 10, 3:35PM EST0


The Internet has made direct to consumer business and new opportunity for musicians and artist.  It also has made it a dwedicated business venture that requires constant work, tinkering and adjusting to different ever changking norms.  What works to day may not work in 6 months.  Social media sites change based on the age, interests and musical ability of artist and consumers.  Where it is much easier to sell, it has become more difficult to asquire the audience that wants to buy.  Financial gains can be incredibly good for the artist that continues to build their catalog and work to build their audience

Jan 10, 3:46PM EST0

Do you offer individual courses or teach in groups? 

Jan 10, 2:49PM EST0

Yes i do both, additionally i have had several webinars where I bring experts iin to speak to groups of interested aarticipants.  I will be speaking at 8 different International conferences in 2018 alone  W

Jan 10, 3:32PM EST0

I am a Singer/Songwriter How do I determine who my music is for. What things do I look for? 

Jan 8, 12:11PM EST1

It is not proper to answeer a quesion with a question however  What Are You Writing?  What you write determines the emotion and direction of your audience.  If you are a recently published writer and don't have a market I suggest that you write what you feel and then select certain songs for sertian situations.

Jan 10, 3:34PM EST1
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