Having been in the industry for more than 20 years, I have seen the right way and the wrong way to get in the industry and live the dream as a recording artist. You have to stay true to yourself, always, but you have to be able to move fluidly to keep up and make the dream come true. Here are just a few quick tips. It's not all the knowledge but, a good place to start or restart.

1. You need to be registered with BDS and have ASCAP or BMI backing. You will never get credit for your music sales and/or music spins on radio without it. Now, most streaming services and download services have tracking systems that come when you place your music for download so do your homework. It's will always gonna be about protecting your music. Make sure you get that copyright down and protect your music.

2. Also, register with Sound Exchange so you are covered for Digital Performance of your song. I can't tell you how many times in recent years local artists say they were told their song on a podcast or online radio. Then I ask, are you getting it tracked for spins on SoundExchange? Then, crickets.....! Digital performance of your song is gonna drive your music popularity and you want to protect yourself online as well.

3. Stop putting your songs online for people to possibly rip. There are so many programs that can rip music from sites like YouTube. So, if you don't have 1 and 2 done you are really gonna be mad if someone jacks your style or worse your song. Especially if you post instrumentals. Which I never understood why someone would do that without protection. So, make sure if you do post a song on YouTube to get those likes and build appeal, do a music video. Make sure you have some cutaways where their are effects or a scene with words or something that drops the music low for a few seconds. Best way is to make sure that it's an instrumental drop in between a chorus and verse. Don't go crazy doing it all through the video. Just a couple of times so it acts as a built in wartermark on the audio track.

4. Don't take your self too seriously. Don't go in with a huge ego because I guarantee you their way more egos in the industry with more experience, money, influence and power. Word going around is strong in the industry and you want to come in being ready to be taught by THE RIGHT PEOPLE. Be yourself, don't lose that but, be willing to be humble. Greatness will come.

5. You want to be famous and rich from music, be ready to do the work and be ready to wait for a long time and even years for your stardom. There are countless artists in the industry throughout history who took so long to get it poppin'. Things might be a little easier because of technology. But, it still takes time. Be willing to stick with it for the long haul and realize that not everybody is gonna handle you and your dream well. Be nice to them but, not all of them need to be in your mix. The ones who will ride or die for real are the ones who will be your biggest help along the way. But, keep in mind, they may or may not be there for your entire "season." If you catch my drift.

- Lee Stephens