A lot of music biz teachers will tell you that you should commit time to releasing cover songs on YouTube because you’ll get all kinds of organic growth and attention.

I’m not saying that they’re are lying to you. But I will tell you that they’re not giving you the whole story.

In fact, as far as I’m concerned, they’re sending you on a wild goose chase. And there are MUCH better things to spend your time on.

It’s true that YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine. So if you post songs that people are ALREADY looking for, you can show up in those searches.

So your Lady Gaga covers might get some traction. But your TOTO covers probably won’t.

(Interesting side note: “TOTO” is also a brand of toilets in Japan which caused major confusion during their first Asian tour.)

Now back to your regularly scheduled programing…

In order to REALLY make that strategy work, what you have to do is cover POPULAR songs as soon as they are released. I’m talking the DAY they are released or within a few days at most.

Remember when Adelle released “Hello” and everybody and their cousin covered it on YouTube?

The problem there is that you put yourself in a situation with a LOT of competition…

…AND you’re playing someone else’s songs.

So if your goal is to build an audience for your ORIGINAL music, before you put anymore time into YouTube covers you should try something different.

Just trust me…

And follow my instructions exactly for a 7-day Facebook Live challenge.

Here are the rules:

Each day go on Facebook Live and play one of YOUR songs.

Don’t do it from your fan page. Do it from your personal profile. More people will see it that way.

Before you hit “Go Live” add a link to your squeeze page in the video description.

Mention 3 different calls-to-action during the broadcast:

1: ”Please turn on my live notifications.”

2: “Please share this video or invite people to join.”

3: “Please subscribe to my email list.”

That’s it.

I promise that if you do that for 7 days in a row, you will not only get MORE subscribers and engagement out of it than your last attempt at a YouTube cover, you’ll do it playing your own songs.

For extra credit try it out on other platforms where you can broadcast live like: Periscope, Twitter, Instagram, & YouTube.

Not only will it help you identify which social media platforms are the most responsive for YOUR original music, you can also repurpose the videos as blog posts for your own website and put them into rotation as content that sends traffic there!

In the Musicpreneur Apprentice Program we not only talk about how you can use Facebook Live to grow your community, we also go into great detail about how to MONETIZE it.

Just ask Bad Mary, a punk band from New York who made a couple hundred bucks the FIRST time they broadcasted a rehearsal on Facebook Live.

You in? Here’s the link to join:

http://schwillyfamilymusicians.teachable.com/p/musicpreneurapprenticeprogram/

Here’s a question I get every now and again… and again:

“What does ‘Schwilly Family’ mean?”

The short answer is: A “Schwilly” is the ultimate community oriented music super-fan.

A bunch of us used to reek havoc across the midwest music festival scene. ESPECIALLY Hookahville. At some point along the way, someone announced, “We’re a family of Schwillies!”

The name of my business is a tribute to where I came from and, more importantly, a constant reminder of WHY I do it.

When I gave one musician that answer to his question, he proceeded to tell me about how is wife busted out laughing at the name.

Well, that’s ANOTHER great benefit to the Schwilly Family “brand”! It comes with free smiles included 😉 And it’s a HECK of a lot catchier than “Music Marketing This” or “Music Business That”.

Remember: You’re not really building an “audience”. It’s more like you’re starting a club, a group of soon-to-be friends, or found family. Isn’t that a MUCH cooler thing than trying to be part of an “industry”?

The MOST IMPORTANT element of a “brand” is a feeling of belonging to an EXCLUSIVE group of people you respect and appreciate.

A LOT of people told me I was crazy for using “Schwilly Family” as my brand. And the truth is, it’s NOT for everybody. And it’s not meant to be.

It’s for YOU.

And I KNOW that being “Schwilly” has become a part of your identity and a badge you wear with pride. That, my friend, is what creates a TRULY great “brand”.

The fact that outsiders have no idea what it refers to is irrelevant. Because creating a brand that is MEANINGFUL is much more valuable than creating a brand that is instantly recognizable. 

“Apple” certainly didn’t become synonymous with “computers” overnight! 

If I had to sum up “branding” in once sentence, I would say: “Branding is NOTHING MORE than figuring out what you’re all about and learning how to express it.”

It can also be summed up (even better) by a quote from Simon Sinek:

“People don’t buy WHAT you do. They buy WHY you do it.”

One of the biggest problems with the educational resources you come across online nowadays is a tendency to overcomplicate things.

Many educators feel that, in order to provide value that equals the price they charge, they must to give you 10 hours of videos, complete with excessive jargon and complicated explanations…

…as if the harder it is for you to learn, the more valuable it is.

I have figured out that I can provide more VALUE in 5 minutes by giving you information in a way that you understand, which you can apply and see RESULTS from on the same day I give it to you.

Pretty much everything we do in the Musicpreneur Apprentice Program  contributes to building your “brand”. But you’ll probably never hear me use that word again.

I just got of the phone with a dear, old friend. From way back before “Schwilly” was even a thing.

One of the BEST singers I’ve ever known. She’s been toiling away the last 2 decades in the midwest jamband scene. Trying to make a name for herself.

We haven’t spoken in a while. But we were pretty tight back then. And she burst into tears the moment she heard my voice.

I asked how she’s been, what she’s been up to, if she’s made it BIG yet.

I always figured she would. Those pipes of hers are destined for glory.

“Nope”, she said. “I’m still just where I was when you left Ohio.” 

“Every band on the scene wants me to sit in with them. Or sing lead female backup. I can make money playing covers, but when it comes to my original music, nobody’s interested.”

“Everybody just wants me to be their dancing monkey.”

I KNOW her original music. It’s plenty good. Bluesy, rootsy, soulful. Like the lovechild of Bill Withers and Janis Joplin. She’s THAT good.

She went on to tell me about how she’s been trying to put a band together for at least a decade. But she can’t get anyone to stick around.

All the good players in Columbus want to either play in high-paid cover bands or join one of the infamous local jambands (still waiting for MY turn to join Ekoostik Hookah).

It all came to a head when she spent her life-savings on some studio time and musicians to at least get an album of HER music down on record.

Once it was complete she started shopping it around to various local labels to try to get some backing, or promotion, or whatever it is that labels do nowadays.

Then she hit a brick wall.

A label owner who also happens to be a festival producer, so they already had a working relationship, gave her (what he thought to be) the honest truth:

“There’s no market for this. Give it up. You’ll never be anything more than a strong female vocalist for hire. So get used to it and figure out a way to enjoy it.”

This devastated her.

She resigned herself to the fact that everything she had hoped for and dreamt of was a waste of her youth. And she slid into a year and a half of depression and self-destructive behavior. 

Well, last week we reconnected on Facebook and she caught wind of this “internet thing” I’ve been doing with musicians.

And, boy, was I GLAD to hear from her! 

The whole reason I got into this “internet thing” was to help out the musicians that I’ve known and loved throughout my life. 

Unfortunately, very few of them have ever gotten on board with what I’ve been doing. They are mostly still trapped in the “old way” of doing things.

I only wish she had looked me up earlier.

Because I know EXACTLY how to build an audience for her original music. And I’m stoked to be able to relieve her of the heartbreak that she’s been through and re-establish the path toward her dreams.

So if you have had experiences like this along the way to building your music career, and nothing the “in-DUH-stry” tells you to do seems to be working, join the Musicpreneur Apprentice Program today:

http://schwillyfamilymusicians.teachable.com/p/musicpreneurapprenticeprogram/

It works. Fast. Almost instantly, in fact. At least as far as finding TRUE fans that want to hear YOUR music and become part of YOUR community. 

The rest is just a matter putting one foot in front of the other as I show you exactly which steps to take.

Musicians can be the targets of a LOT of harsh words.

It sucks when coming from strangers. But it cuts EXTRA deep when they come from “supposed” friends.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

“Are you enjoying your hobby?”

“Honestly, I think your band sucks and I’d rather be dead than caught on a stage with you.” 

“You’ll never make money doing that. When are you going to get a REAL job?”

“You’re just a singer. Not a REAL musician. Besides, you’re only a woman so you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You can’t fill a phone both with people that want to hear YOUR music!”

“You’re a musician, right? Can I get some weed from you?”

“Where are you playing next? So I can NOT be there.”

“Your music sucks!”

“You look like Muhammed Ali’s retarded cousin when you rap!”

“Gosh you’re so talented! Why don’t you put on some makeup, you know, fix yourself up a little, lose some weight and do some songs people actually know?”

Or one of my personal favs:

“Dude! If I hear another self-promotion about your shytty band I’m gonna fyck you up! Yes, I watched your videos and you can’t sing worth shyt! You give Utah a bad name and image, the only reason you’re ranked on ReverbNation is because ALL YOU DO is sit home and are an internet slut, do you play anywhere besides Fats?? Mishell is too nice to say no. I am going to message every bluesman in town and let them know you’re a fraud and if it weren’t for the internet you’d be unheard of! Every time I log in I get raped by 10,000 of your posts! SHUT THE FUCJ UP BEFORE I POST PUBLIC HOW SHYTTY YOU REALLY ARE STICK TO ART YOU TONE DEF FRAUD!”

My standard, practical advice normally consists of “Haters are a sign of success” and, “That’s the beauty of the internet, you can block those people”.

But the other night, during office hours for the Musicpreneur Apprentice Program we dove a bit deeper and I shared some advice that I’m sure you could use as well.

It comes from a book I recommend called The Four Agreements (by Don Miguel Ruiz). It’s a practical guide to personal freedom and inner peace, based on Ancient Toltec Wisdom. 

There are 4 agreements you can make that will give you immunity to such cutting remarks. Fortunately, you make these agreements with yourself, so there ARE within reach:

Be Impeccable With Your Word

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using your words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Don’t Take Anything Personally

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and action of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Don’t Make Assumptions

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama, With just this one agreement you can completely transform your life.

Always Do Your Best

Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to when you are sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.

Of course I, myself, have not yet perfected these agreements. But anytime I feel down, I review them to see if I am breaking one of them. It always turns out that I am. I now have the tools to undo the damage that is done to my psyche by harsh words from others, AND from myself. And I want YOU to have these tools at your disposal as well 😉

Can YOU make these agreements with yourself? I believe that you can!

For more wisdom, advice and inspiration for independent musicians, subscribe to my email list using the link, wherever it may be.

If you know any musicians that have been on the receiving end of such harsh words, which by my calculation would be EVERY musician you know, please share this with them. That’s all for today 😉

Onward!