We all know it, but I’m just going to go ahead and say it — breaking into the music industry is brutal. It has become increasingly more difficult in the aftermath of stories about singers being “discovered” amidst the billions of hours of video uploaded to YouTube annually. Once the fabled tale of Justin Bieber’s discovery on YouTube became common knowledge, the video-sharing site suddenly became a launchpad for endless amounts of aspiring musicians.
Oversaturation naturally became the issue. Getting your music in front of eyes became the problem, but in a very different way than musicians previously knew. Now, the sheer volume of content online made it impossible to hear, see and discover everything. There was no curator.
Seven-time Grammy Award winner Bryan-Michael Cox is hoping to funnel this mass content problem with his new project Blazetrak. Accepting submissions from aspiring producers and songwriters, Cox will review and critique each entry with a direct video message. As a legendary producer who has worked with the likes of Usher and Justin Bieber, Cox’s feedback is some of the best the industry has to offer.
Before the submission period ends on April 7, I caught up with Cox to talk about being discovered on Blazetrak and why Rebecca Black never had a chance.
What is Blazetrak all about?
Bryan-Michael Cox: Well, Blazetrak is basically a service where producers, songwriters and executives can come and connect with professionals in the business. Basically you pay a fee, you get a direct response and a direct interaction with the professional. In some cases you might even get put on. That’s really the whole purpose of it. The whole purpose is for you to connect, to get put on, to get a job if you’re trying to get your song heard or your production heard. I know a few people who have been really discovered off of this thing. So it is a positive movement and it works. It absolutely works.
You are primarily known for being an R&B producer — are you accepting songs that are maybe punk, rock or rap?
Absolutely. I tell people all the time, “A good song is a good song,” whether it’s rock, country, R&B, you know what I mean? A copyright is a copyright no matter how you chop it up.
What does Blazetrak offer that actually working with a producer in person wouldn’t?
When I was coming up there was no way I could get to Teddy Riley, there was no way I could get to even my favorite producers when I was coming up. That was a faint fantasy. I think what BlazeTrak does is take what Twitter and social networking does and takes it to the next level. Because now what happens is you can get that direct advice from me. I might say, “Hey, I want to work with you,” you know what I’m saying? I might hear something incredible and I know what to do with it: “I’m going to be able to work with you — let’s work out a deal.” I think that’s what happens with BlazeTrak; we create this community of people and of artists that grow together. And you get direct mentorship from a guy like me — I think that’s priceless.
What if someone sends you a track that is Rebecca Black “Friday”-style? It’s not good — it’s real bad. How do you come at that and still be nice but also be like, “Hey, this is pretty bad”?
People will be more offended if you fake them out and lie to them and tell them that it is good even though it is not. Honesty is the best recipe. It may hurt now, but you learn from it. I know when I came into the music business, I was hustling my songs around the city of Atlanta, and I got hit with some real honesty and it hurt, but it also inspired me and motivated me to get better. I had mad respect for the people I was getting it from. It motivated me. I didn’t look at it like, “Oh, they’re hatin’ on me” — you know, people always like to say that someone is hating on them. If it’s a bad song, I don’t want you to keep shuffling that bad song around making yourself look bad. If I say it looks good and it’s bad, it makes me look bad, you know what I’m saying? I don’t have a problem being honest. I’m not going to be mean. I’m not a mean guy, but I don’t have a problem being honest with you.