Lennon Cihak
Chris Goyzueta Making it with Chris G Podcast

Making it with Chris G.: My First Podcast

I have always wanted to be on someone's podcast. The ability to share my knowledge, insight, and experiences with other people greatly inspires me to continue my journey. Finally, thanks to an introduction from a mutual friend, I was able to nab a spot on the Making it with Chris G podcast. I'm so proud and happy with how the final result turned out!

In this episode, Chris and I talked about how you can get your foot in the door within the music industry, maintaining a highly prioritized work ethic and schedule, maximizing your opportunities, crafting an eye-catching email (some people still don't know how to write a good email), and stepping out of your comfort zone to open doors for new opportunities.

A huge thank you goes out to Davey for introducing Chris and I. Another one goes to Chris for having me on the podcast. It was a super fun time and experience, and I look forward to doing more podcasts. I'm hoping that this opens doors to new podcast opportunities!

You can listen to the episode on Spotify, Apple Music, or via the embedded link below.

workspace motivation 2018

2018 is going to be my year

2017 was a pretty solid year for me. I had many ups and downs and I learned from each of them. I picked up a handful of contract jobs, and they’re continuing to flow in this year. Jamvana, one of the jobs I picked up last year, has allowed me to speak at Full Sail and share my knowledge with students about the music industry. Another connection has landed me a spot to be on a podcast, which comes out on January 11. I’m excited for what opportunities that they’ll bring me.

With that being said, 2017 is in the past. There’s nothing I can do to change that but I can change the future. By leveraging the connections I built last year and working even harder, I know that 2018 is going to be even bigger and better. I’m already preparing my goals for this year and working hard to ensure that they become a reality. I know it’s cliche, but we must act if we want to see change in our lives.

I’m going to continue being tenacious in my endeavors. This is not always an easy feat, but it’s something that I must do to allow success to wiggle its way in.

My challenge to you is to do the same. Rid your life of negativity and things that are holding you back in order to move yourself both personally and professionally forward. It can be very difficult, but it’s an action that must happen in order to move forward.

I’m going to do everything in my power to make 2018 my year.

Thank you blue marker paper

Thank you. Gracias. Danke.

To say that 2017 has been good to me would absolutely be an understatement. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree from Full Sail back in August of 2016. After unrelenting support from family, friends, classmates, and colleagues, I took a break to re-coop and figure out what it was exactly that I wanted to do with my career.

When 2017 started, I gave it my all. I dove in head first and was ready to tackle the world. It was both rewarding, exhausting, and stressful. I had ups and I had downs. When an up came, I knew that a down wasn’t far behind. However, with the support of my family and friends I managed to strive through it and cross the finish line with bright colors and achievements that I’m so proud of.

Just this year I nabbed a few extremely prevalent positions, including contributing writer positions at EDM.com, Magnetic Magazine, and Noiseporn. I also contributed to Dancing Astronaut and EDMTunes for a bit. I picked up a contract/part-time public relations gig with Ahead Artist Solutions, an internship with Kinphonic, and a senior media editor position at Jamvana. I also assisted the branding guru Phil Pallen update his Shut Up And Tweet book. Lastly, I achieved one of my small goals of being in a podcast (out January 11, 2018!) with Making It With Chris G. Each and everyone of these positions, opportunities, and people have provided me with a chance to better myself as an industry professional and person, as well as providing me with information that I’m able to learn from.

Through my writing gigs at the various music publications I’ve also had the ability to meet and work with some of the music industry’s most talented publicists, writers, artists, DJs, managers, label owners, you name it. It has truly been an honor, and I very much look forward to working with each and every one of you throughout 2018 and beyond.

To those of you that have been involved in my journey, both directly and indirectly, thank you. Honestly. Without you, I’d still just be a Full Sail graduate seeking professional work. Now I’m a Full Sail graduate who’s obtained professional work. Thank you.

2018 has some tough shoes to fill, but I’m positive that I’ll be able to accomplish even more than I did in 2017, especially with all of the amazing support I have. I’m ready, 2018.

interview handshake

The biggest interview of my career

Next week, I have the biggest and most substantial interview of my career. I’ve had some really big interviews up to this point, but next week I will partake in one that I’ve been chasing since I graduated Full Sail back in August of 2016.

I’m slightly nervous but I know I’m going to knock it out of the park. This interview–paired with my current jobs–would truly launch my career in the music industry. I’ve worked so incredibly hard to build up my resume so I have a standing chance to the human resources department at this company. It’s nice to see that my hard work is paying off… again.

I would like to give special thanks to my family, friends (including those via the internet whom I’ve never met but soon will), and colleagues who’ve supported me on this journey. I wouldn’t be the industry professional I am without you, your knowledge, and relentless support. Thank you!

Don't follow the trend

Don’t follow the trend – create your own

We all remember the Harlem Shake, bell-bottom pants, and fidget spinners, right? All three came out of nowhere, garnering fame and fortune across the entire internet. Some would say the fidget spinner “broke the internet” and some people’s wallets.

We often times get caught up in our lives that we don’t have time to think outside of the box. While this is often a safety blanket for many, it’s a serious deterrent for many creatives. Find your niche and follow it. Don’t follow a current trend – create your own.

When people (especially creatives who are trying to launch their careers) follow trends and copy what everyone else is doing, it shows to the world that you’re 1) doing it for attention or 2) didn’t take the time to be unique and come up with something more innovative, fun, or inspiring.

I’m constantly receiving new music from publicists and artists around the world, and it really sucks when I get a track that sounds exactly the same as the last three. Each artist offers something unique in the track but the track sounds exactly the same as the last for the most part. I want to hear something ground-breaking, innovative, and next level!

Lastly, it’s a big turn off–especially when you’re shipping out your resume or music–to recruiters, A&R reps, and labels when your content is exactly the same. What advantage would one find in signing or working with someone that’s doing the exact same thing as everyone else? There isn’t an advantage, and that’s why it’s vital that you are working hard to perfect your craft and offer something unique to the world. Find your own niche and create your own trend.

knowledge

Don’t exaggerate your skills and knowledge

Far too often I run into people that assert themselves and exaggerate their skillset, only to find out they were wrong. What does this do to one’s career? It’s not good. I’ll tell you that for free. 

First and foremost, knowledge is power. We should absolutely listen and pay keen attention to people who are knowledgeable and noteworthy within the world and our respective industries. These people are few and far between, but they’re there if you dig deep for them.

The aforementioned knowledgeable people have been active for years, upping their experience and knowledge exponentially. They’ve allowed themselves to garner skills and information that some of us yearn to have. When they share this information, we need to be paying attention.

This can greatly inhibit your career as an industry professional. Being known to spread misinformation is unhealthy, and will ruin your career; nobody will view you as credible, and it will take years to build that credibility back up.

“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” -Wernher von Braun

My point? Don’t assume you know something. To put things into perspective: If you’re about to be hit with a natural disaster (a hurricane, for example), and news stations are announcing that you should evacuate, then it’s a good idea to evacuate. Don’t be the stubborn person who assumes and accepts that the storm “won’t be that bad.” You’re stuck, and everyone else has left. It’s the same thing with being informed and listening. You refuse to be informed when everybody else has listened, learned, and executed.

What’s worse is when people assume and accept and then spread that “knowledge” to others who will in turn absorb and regurgitate it. Not only is it wrong but it’s also dangerous, especially for someone’s career. Imagine learning something new, only to find out years down the line–after practicing and preaching it–that it’s incorrect. You may have to backtrack and re-learn something that has been engraved into your brain, methodologies, and projects.

While this post can be taken from a political perspective, it’s intended towards misinformation in the music industry, especially those that refuse to further their education on a given topic. I’ve seen it happen where up-and-coming producers and DJs are misinformed on a subject or topic and haven’t realized it; therefore, rendering their career to an immediate halt.

Monetizing on SoundCloud

Can you monetize on SoundCloud?

Simply put, yes, you can monetize on SoundCloud. Here’s how…

The music industry has changed immensely over the past few years, especially when it comes to earning revenue. Physical sales from records, CDs, and like content is what generated a hefty paycheck for artists, their labels, and their team. With streaming being the dominant method of listening to music now, artists trying to earn a living and put food on the table has become extremely difficult. If you know how to monetize your content and keep track of where it’s shared online, you’re already ahead of everyone else.

Most artists aren’t aware that content can be monetized on SoundCloud. The platform, which has been a hit or miss since its inception, is getting better. They don’t, however, actively promote monetization on their platform. SoundCloud has changed the game for bedroom DJs sharing their music with friends and fans, but they’re still behind on quite a few things, especially when it comes to paying out royalties. Apple Music, Google Play, and Spotify have beat SoundCloud in this game.

One of the first tasks an artist should check off of their list before releasing music online is ensuring a strong content ID system is setup. A content ID system is an online tool that scours the internet and checks for your content. If it discovers your content somewhere other than your channel or account it is then flagged (on YouTube, for example), and you are notified. Recently, YouTube have been under fire for this, as they flag things on accident and have recently been demonetizing creators’ content. Generally, your YouTube partner or music distributor (Create.tv, Fullscreen, RouteNote, Jamvana, and TuneCore) will have content ID technologies. Personally, I use RouteNote. They’re based in the UK and are owned by SoundCloud.

I highly encourage independent musicians to get connected with a music distributor and/or content ID company. You will be able to release on your own time and have ultimate control of where your content ends up and how you rake in money. You’re a creative and deserve to earn a living doing what you love and are so good at.

Dancing Astronaut

I no longer write for Dancing Astronaut

It is with great sadness that I amicably part ways with the Dancing Astronaut publication. The team is phenomenal, talented, dedicated, and hard working. I thoroughly enjoyed contributing and expressing my opinion on such an incredible platform. However, due to their exclusivity requirements I am unable to continue writing for the publication. 

The Dancing Astronaut executives found it to be a conflict of interest being that I contribute to other publications. I wholeheartedly understand and respect their stance on this, and they understand and respect mine as well. 

I have quite a few big things coming up in the future and am excited to share them with everybody as they happen. Now that I’ll have some more time on my hands to focus on other projects and work, I know that I’ll be able to continue paving the way in the music industry. 

If you would like to read the articles that I contributed to Dancing Astronaut, please read them here.

Lennon

SoundCloud Spotify

How do SoundCloud reposts and Spotify playlists differ?

Streaming music is the current state and future of the music industry. Aside from performing and selling merchandise, streaming has become a main source for artists’ and bands’ income. While there are inefficiencies and improvements that desperately need to be made, streaming is where artists and musicians need to be focusing their time if they want to see ROI (return on investment).

Both SoundCloud and Spotify have their issues, and neither of them are perfect. Both platforms have a substantial amount of users. According to SoundCloud Reviews, “Spotify boasts 140 million active users and 40 million subscribers.” The New York Times reported that SoundCloud has 175 million active listeners. What do these numbers mean for artists?

These numbers mean that you have to prioritize your platforms. Both Spotify and SoundCloud are continuing to grow at an exponential rate, and have already become the “industry standard.” With the integration of applications in cars, computers, mobile devices, and pretty much every other electronic device, it’s no doubt that these streaming platforms will continue to dominate for a little while. They’re being plastered all over TV, cellular contracts, and even education (by providing hefty discounts).

I recently read an article on EDM.com that was written by Austin Staubus, founder of ItsNoRequests, where he provided insight as to why artists’ tracks aren’t getting playlisted on Spotify. Austin covers some incredible ground here, and his points will greatly improve your chances of getting playlisted on Spotify. They’ll also help you learn and understand the importance of Spotify and the role the streaming conglomerate plays within the music industry.

Aside from Austin’s playlisting article, the above information is information I’ve shared before because it’s incredibly important.

What is the difference between SoundCloud reposts and Spotify playlists?

Simply put, a SoundCloud repost is similar to a retweet on Twitter. A user (or bot – I’ll discuss this in a bit) can repost a song that they like to their account. In turn, their followers will see and *hopefully* listen to your track.

Spotify, on the other hand, is a bit different. On Spotify, we have curators–people that create playlists–to grow their following and artists’ following. Let’s take a look at Filtr Sweden’s Dancefloor Hits Spotify playlist. At the time of writing this article, it has 989,103 followers. That’s a lot of followers! If the curator for that playlist discovers a song on Spotify that they like they can add it to that playlist. The playlist will be updated and the followers of that playlist will be able to listen to the songs within the playlist. Spotify is known for being a platform that makes it easiest for music lovers to discover new music, and it’s because of playlists that they’ve achieved this. They’re simple, effective, and fun.

SoundCloud also has playlists, but they’re not nearly as effective as Spotify’s playlists, simply because they just don’t have the simplicity Spotify does.

The simplicity that comes with playlisting does have some downsides–and potentially detrimental–issues that artists need to keep their eyes open for. There are people, businesses, and bots out there that “promise” an artist to get 1 million streams on Spotify and then charge them hundreds or thousands of dollars. Often times, these “streams” are spoofed numbers, and Spotify will catch on immediately and terminate your account. If they don’t terminate your account, they’ll remove the stream counts and hold your royalties until the issue is resolved. Always be cautious of what you’re paying for and who you’re paying. And remember that streaming is unpredictable; you’re never guaranteed anything.

Playlists are a great way for artists to share with their fans what they’re listening to. Furthermore, it supports the artists.

The music industry has headed directly into a streaming world, and it’s not going to be going anywhere anytime soon. So, continue reposting and playlisting your favorite tunes.

Lennon

Respect

Respect will get you much farther in the music industry

One thing I absolutely despise is self-entitled people; people who think that they are owed anything and everything from everyone. This is beyond frustrating, hindering to your career and professional aspirations and, most importantly, it’s extremely disrespectful.

I had a lengthy conversation with one of my employers the other day where this topic was heavily discussed. We saw eye-to-eye on this issue, and I’m so glad that we did. We shared stories of clients and friends that have shown some kind of self-entitlement. “You wouldn’t believe it, Lennon,” he stated. “They will call me at 7:00 at night when I’m eating dinner with my family and demand something from me. It’s never a ‘Hey, how are you?’ or anything of that nature. It cuts right to the demand.” I can’t believe that people actually act like this. Were you born in a barn and raised by animals? I told my employer that I have a “No Bullshit Switch” that I’m ready to turn on should that happen to me in the future.

I was raised on a strong foundation of respect. It’s because of these basic, fundamental values I was taught growing up that I’ve been able to propel myself and professional career as far as I have. I am absolutely not done expanding my horizons yet, but I’ve gained respect for myself and my vision simply because I treat people, especially employers, friends, family, and clients with respect. I shared my thoughts on respect when, unfortunately, Donald Trump was elected president. He is not someone I would look up to, envy, or set as a role model for my kids, or the younger generation. 

This topic has mainly come to my attention from up-and-coming artists that want their music shared with the world now, not tomorrow, not next week or month. Now. In certain industries, especially music, that’s not how things rock and roll. Music is an art; therefore, it takes time. Frankly, if you’re going to get pushy and demanding, then I don’t want to work with you. Find someone else who will deal with you. Period. “Lennon, I need my song shared now!” *turns on No Bullshit Switch* *moves onto better, more friendly people and projects*

Don’t be the person that everybody loathes to work with because you always want or need something. Change the world by treating one another with respect, love, and by showing interest in others’ lives. It really means a lot when someone asks me, “How’re things going? What projects are you working on?” As much as people hate to deny it, they love talking about themselves, including me. 

Lennon

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