Dream Big: Jonny Corndawg

Videos by American Songwriter

We polled industry experts for the March/April feature Dream Big: How To Succeed In Today’s Volatile Music Business. For those of you who really want to get ahead, here’s the full transcript of each interview, with lots of extra insights and advice.

Jonny Corndawg – Singer-Songwriter, Performer

I just recorded the best song I ever wrote. What’s the new model for getting my music heard? What to do with my demo?

I think Bandcamp is probably one of the best ways of getting music out there. It’s free, easy to spread around, handsomely set up… Giving away a song certainly won’t hurt you. Especially if it’s a good one. Actually, it could hurt you, if the song/recording sucks and you send it out to everyone then you may have just shot yourself in the foot. I think the single biggest problem with the accessibility of internet, as a means of getting your music heard, is there is no quality control. There are thousands of low budget, crapped out EP’s and demos just floating around, wasting bandwidth. Crappy recordings and crappy songs leave quite an impression. Just not always the right one.

Do I post my music on Facebook, or is there a better place for music?

I think the music should speak for itself and it shouldn’t matter where it’s posted. Facebook is great for spreading news so I think you should just make sure whatever you’re making is quality before you put it out there.

If I do post it for free, will anyone want to buy it?

I don’t think you need to worry too much about posting for free and having nobody want to pay for an album. I would be careful, however, not to post the whole thing. It’s important to have a plan and have people helping you. If you’re going to give something away, why do it when you don’t have anything going on? Wait until you have a tour or a big show or some piece of news to lump together with your free song.

Should I sell it on iTunes, CD Baby, Spotify? What sort of cut will I get?

CDBaby is cool. They got my first record on iTunes when there was no way Icould have done it myself. I think it’s necessary to get it out, everywhere.

I used to go to Walmart and stash my CDs in the country section. I really like the idea of people trying to buy my record and it not being in the database. I’m sure Walmart just threw them away but who knows? Maybe someone wanted it and stole it? I hope so.

If the album is on iTunes only, it’ll never really do much for you. If you’re on the bottom and you’re doing it yourself, I recommend getting it everywhere. I mean everywhere.

What if only ten people buy it? Will I still get digital royalties via SoundExchange? How do I protect my recordings?

Who cares? Just make a damn record and don’t worry about the money. Seriously. Get to work.

Next, how do I get people in the industry to hear it, so I can get a record deal or have it placed in a commercial?

I suggest marrying into money. Beats me, just don’t give up maybe? I’ve been touring, pretty much nonstop for eight years and only in the last two has anyone paid any attention.

The response has been great but I haven’t been signed or picked up for a commercial — what’s my next move? Tour? Hire PR?

Tour, hire PR, tour, tour, tour, tour… Get out there!

Next: Mike King


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Dream Big: Mike King of Berkleemusic.com