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Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, March 19, 2004, Music

Crash Course No. 1: Handbook for Hell

Austin Convention Center, Wednesday, March 17 "The music industry is dead. Long live the music industry!" Thus summarizes Justin Goldberg's Crash Course, a distillation of his book, The Ultimate Survival Guide to the New Music Industry, a "philosophical mediation on where the industry is going." The discussion was blissfully free of navel-gazing, however, with Goldberg offering practical advice for talent hunters and bands looking for a breakthrough in a business he describes as "high school with money." "Do everything you possibly can to appear that you're already happening. A&R people and labels are like a snake in a cage: They don't want to eat the dead rat that's fed to them, they want to kill the rat themselves," he suggested, to the chuckles of the more seasoned industry folks present. Define your goals; have clear expectations and a direction for your career. From there, you gather low-hanging fruit to add to your dossier in the form of eager press and attorneys ready to support new music. When you approach a label, look like a train that's already in motion, rather than a busker working for beer money. Goldberg, proprietor of, had more hot tips: Indie bands can make money selling ring tones, getting airplay on indie radio stations, and through music publishing, especially for television and film.

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