Derek Sivers

Programmer, writer, entrepreneur, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Go where the filters are

Have you been filtered? If not, you should start now.

There are more media outlets than anyone can digest. People in the music biz get so much music every day from amateurs. Most of it is crap.

You need to go through filters: places that reject most, only letting the best pass through.

As long as you’re good - (really good) - what you want are more filters. More obstacles. More hurdles.

Because these things weed out the “bad” music. Or the music that isn’t ready. Or the people that weren’t dedicated.

I worked at Warner Music for three years. I learned that the major labels never accept music from strangers. Want to know why? Because it helps weed out the people that aren’t serious.

The right way to get to a major label is through their existing contacts: through the managers and lawyers that they’re already working with. Anyone serious knows this already. So anyone trying to pitch their music directly to a major label hasn’t done their homework, and is not worth their time.

So make it your strategy to get yourself into those places where most people get rejected, like magazines, booking agencies, big venues, management firms, etc.

Because each gate you get through puts you in finer company. (“The best of the best.”) And you’ll find many more opportunities open to you once you’ve earned your way through a few gates.

Go where the filters are