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The Connect: Can I Stop People From Recycling My Ideas?

There’s a time and place for everything in all things blogging so I’ve come to the conclusion it’s time to address the jackaz of all trades. Coming from a huge advocate for entrepreneurial moves with all things considered, I’m starting to find it very disturbing that this generation is of the “Monkey See…Monkey Do.” For some reason we cannot wait for a creation to manifest only so we can borrow or steal, then recycle it as if it is our very own. There was a time when people took pride in being the first, the one, and the only. Now it’s kind of the cool thing to take all and run with it. Then we whole heartedly accept it. But wait–it’s not about who did it first, it’s about who did it better–there’s some but not all truth to this. There are always exceptions but blatancy doesn’t fall under this category. I remember getting in touch and hearing from, “Yung Onyx” back in the MySpace days. They had no problem with my name and actually said they loved it! For several reasons I can be led to believe it was because of the following: we had dialogue, I was R&B versus Hip Hop, and it became my nickname early on after its meaning as a rare gem; or black diamond. Not the infamous rap group (Not the strip clubs either). I’ve pretty much had everything from my radio broadcasts formats & show name, to lyrics, to t-shirts, to now even my own blogs taken right from underneath me. This week’s email I received that displayed one of my articles being “recreated” was kind of my final blow. So how do you stop people from recycling your ideas and making them their own? The bitter truth is you unfortunately can’t or at least not without a fight. None the less, take a moment to scan the following below to ensure you’re getting your just due.

• Research. Yes, research. Take some time out to look around a bit. Before I generate anything I try to make sure to google with a fine tooth comb. I want to be sure that there is nothing like mine or that what I am preparing or creating isn’t already out, available to the masses. This includes perhaps the name of your single or your stage name. How annoying to have so many songs with the same title, under & within the same category.

• Business. Copyrights, Trademarks, & Patents. Depending upon what the product is or how it’s being presented one or all may be necessary. The paperwork can be quite extensive so I would recommend consulting with someone who is qualified, as well as having experience with such documents. Also, although you are on the right track, please note that saying you have a Tax ID isn’t enough. For some odd reason people are beginning to think this is the end all be all. There are certain permits, licenses, and certifications needed for you to legitimately be doing and remain in business.

• Have the conversation when it’s deemed necessary. Sometimes it does call for a healthy communicative dialogue. We can’t both throw a Southern Central Splash Summer Fest & call it just that. Especially when I’ve invested in flyers, radio advertisements & more. This could be considered a form of infringement hence it displays someone is using the marketing tools of one event, to push its own agenda of furthering sales for an entirely different event. Grab a dictionary and switch it up.

• Stop posting and talking to those not involved. If you didn’t list out your entire plan than people wouldn’t have an opportunity to swoop thru before you could execute it. I actually hate seeing people say, “Watch what’s about to happen,” or “I’m on the phone with so & so we just talked about getting this or that done.” No, no, and no. Just get it done first! You might have had the best non profit idea with a celebrity endorsement but because you spilled it all, someone with longer pockets and a bigger reach beat you to it. Special thanks to you because they didn’t even have to research for sellers. They took the person you screenshot you had a call with and had the press release the following week.

• Verbal & Written Agreements. These didn’t used to always hold up in court well but from what I can see lately, they seem to be doing just fine. If someone is rightfully entitled to a situation and you are trying to cookie cutter them out, you may want to make sure there’s no paper trail to follow. It’s enough to at least begin the preceding or worth an attorney looking into further.

• Work harder. This is my absolute favorite one of them all. You are not the only person who writes music, blogs, starting a clothing line, or any form of business. My only question these days is who isn’t? However…just because you are not the only one who uses certain words, doesn’t mean you didn’t coin the phrase so to speak. It may even have stemmed back further than when you made its intial use, so yes there are two things that can help you to solidify your point. Paperwork of course, and then ensuring your work stands above and aside the rest. With these factors you can increase your chances of at least being known as the Don Dada (s/o to AlpokoDon) of it all. This is quite flattering to say the least.

Moral. Haters gon’ hate. Nah…that’s not it. Cheaters never prosper? Nope, still not it. Let’s just say this much. You are the Alpha and Omega of your business endeavors. You are the King or Queen to this ish. You are the original and there’s none like you. You can do all things thru—look here, if you did it before, then my G, you can do it again! It is certainly okay for others to be inspired. We prove to ourselves daily thru social media that great minds think alike. But this is only cliche and given when each person has actually decided to use their mind. Imagine that. No matter how much money or great the individual is, they are only as exceptional as their next carbon copy. Sometimes that alone is enough and it can be very disappointing. If I could leave you with any advice or motivation as it relates to the “lurk & copy crew,” just know that you will always have the upper hand. Only now you just have to start acting like it. It’s time that you get up off your feet, get out here in these streets, and go get what’s yours!

(Birdman & Breakfast Club I love you for this lol)

Onyx• Queen of Killeen| Songwriter | Music Professional | Executive Producer & Host of Jermaine Dupri’s Global 14 the Cut | 2014 SEA Internet Hustler of the Year

(C) May 2016
(P) May 2016

Did someone try to “stick you for your paper?” Feel free to share how you handled it in the comments below.

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The Connect: Would You Cut The Check? [1]

Something I’ve Wanted To Share For Quite Some Time Is About Maybe Once or Twice A Year I Come Across An Unknown, Unsigned or Independent Artist Who Is By Far Incredibly Talented & Pretty Much Ready To Go! Often I Have Asked To Either Interview Or Feature Their Projects And Most Of These Same Artists Have Now Progressed Into Some Of Your Favorite Entertainers. All That Studio Time…All That Grinding..But When It All Boils Down, You Either Have It…Or You Don’t! Still Working On The Commas Needed To Activate Mission: Mogul 😉 However, Within These Upcoming Series Are Artists Whom I’d Definitely Sign A Check Towards…Would You?


POL-B For The First Quarter
Buffalo, NY


He Invested On His Own In Production By The J.u.s.t.i.c.e. League & Jaiden The Cure Lended His Vocals.  This Is Probably One Of My Favorite Songs Of All Time. It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This. Classic And Timeless.

Another Admirable Trait Is He Appears To Be Well Rounded & A Full Out Entertainer With A Passion For Acting & Comedy, Can You Tell?

Twitter: @polB IG: @juststeveallen


Would You Cut The Check?

I Need To See A Little More

quiz maker

*Please Note None Of The Above Mentioned Artists Are Paid Advertisements & Have No Prior Knowledge They Are Being Featured. Check Back Quarterly To See Who’s Been Added To The Series!*

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The Connect: 6 Reasons Why You Didn’t Go Viral

As much as some of us may want to admit that the social media platforms have tarnished certain aspects of “the grind,” we cannot negate the fact that it has done wonders for many people who were either unknown, or simply looking to go about their reintroductions. I don’t believe it was anything your average joe was so much prepared for initially, but as the industry begin to shift to digital downloads, anyone who was paying attention to the trends started to notice the campaigns & mergers taking place. Gone were the days of needing the street team when with one instant share you could reach hundreds of thousands, who would then share with their thousands. It was and has been absolutely amazing. If it all seems so simple, then why would we rather make it hard?—Lauryn Hill.

Here are 6 reasons why you didn’t go viral…when you wanted to.

1. Your followers. I know I know. I can’t stand the instant need for the follows and gratification for likes. But it doesn’t hurt to at least have more than 50 friends on Facebook, especially when within those 50 are your family and close friends only. Not to say they won’t and don’t support you, but you’d be amazed at what networking and be-friending those of your target demographic can do for your brand. Notice that word demographic. If you are just an artist, you should be trying to find your fans. It is possible that you may have too many artists who like your fan page that are doing the exact same thing you are, versus not enough people who can simply enjoy the music. It’s all about having a good balance.  I’m always working towards bettering mine.

2. Your page is private. All of it! Now I’ll be the first to say that I keep a locked Instagram & FB but to be brutally honest, I haven’t been able to find away around it still not being visible. You’ll always have a lurker or two—yes even you with the 50 followers, but there are also some functions I actually enjoy now that allow me to share certain posts. I make use of these often and I highly suggest you do the same.

3. Your product lacks. Quality or presentation if not both. Whether you are sharing weight loss tips, how to crochet marley weave, your looks, or your hit single…something is off. People watch, read, share and enjoy things they gravitate towards. If it is not appealing to my eyes, ears, or serving a purpose, then simply put- it gets no love.

4. You’re inconsistent. One day you’re sharing your company and how you are so organized with life and all its glory, then the next day you’re exchanging in online drama, beefs, or worse…posting that you forgot to pay your bills. The drama part as you all like to say is “just you sharing who you are with the world,” and by all means that’s your prerogative. But when I’m ready to purchase my home, you better believe I know what realtor I WON’T be utilizing. Missing important bills can imply lack of dependability & an assumption you might miss deadlines. Keep that to yourself. No one is perfect, and I’m not endorsing a fake facade, however being mindful with your business posts equals you cant go wrong.

5. Your marketing is off. There is nothing worse than seeing someone releasing their album on Mother’s Day in celebration of Mothers everywhere. We totally cannot take you serious. We are most likely out having brunch or perhaps relaxing for once. You are selecting horrible times to promote or share your product that is non-related to the day’s events.  Please believe we know what you were aiming towards with the #mothersdaymix hashtag. This could be opportunity for an easy L (loss). Easter is coming up and I can assure you someone will be promoting to “buy their beats.” I highly doubt it will be the Jesus Has Risen or Easter Edition at that.

6. You’re a spammer. The minute I see I have been tagged with 99+ others is the moment I deflect completely away from the post all together. This is different however if you know the individuals and its welcomed. But 9 times out of 10, it isn’t. Some of you don’t even build up a brief repoire or greeting before you drop a bare link of spam in an inbox or on someone’s page. It’s highly annoying and some people will just delete or unfollow you. 15% of the spam I personally receive has been decent but not amazing. Clearly there’s a problem. Next time you want to go down your friends list to promote, try posting a status that reads, “New material, like If I can share it with you.” The support & real response might be much better. No one wants to look like they won’t at least try to hear you out when you’re nice about it.

In a nutshell, the secret to going Viral is there is no secret…and when I say “viral” I don’t necessarily mean Antoine Dodson or Daaaaammmnnn Daniel style. Most who went viral weren’t trying to initially.  When our sound bite from our radio broadcast made it all the way to TMZ we were quite shocked.  It happened organically.  The minute we actually tried a hand at it, is when it didn’t go as far as it could.  Not to mention that you can actually pay for your posts to be sponsored as you have always been able to. It’s the new wave of commercials.  Advertising 101.  Going viral is a post, or a share of material that people gravitate to, and feel a personal connection with the content being presented. When you go out shopping, you don’t mind purchasing an item that interest you. The same goes for social media. So whether it be for laughs & memes, the next chart topping single, or to land a business meeting with a multi-million dollar company, think supply & demand. Simply just post and watch your business grow and the magic happen.


*SEA artwork featured by JayDat Designs: Datflyerz@gmail.com*

Onyx• Queen of Killeen| Songwriter | Music Professional | Executive Producer & Host of Jermaine Dupri’s Global 14 the Cut | 2014 SEA Internet Hustler of the Year

(C) Mar 2016
(P) Mar 2016

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The Connect: Should I pay $1,000 for an 8 minute slot at SXSW?

So upon posting a Facebook status, that simply stated, “Artists…Please don’t pay a $1,000 for a 8 minute slot this SXSW season,” I noticed it caused quite the uproar but in the most empowering way. I’m not big on “likes,” but this one immediately climbed & prompted dozens of shares as well as inboxes. There were only 2 or 3 who genuinely wanted to know why they shouldn’t. Mind you these are not official SXSW stages. My initial response was to counter that with a, “Why would you?”

You see every year we go through this. “We” as in Texas residents. We watch out of towners come in with no invite needed, the price gouging in hotels go from $99 to $349, and so on and so forth. We get it and totally understand. What newcomers have been failing to realize is that SXSW has been going on for decades. Not only is it an amazing international festival, but it embodies a lot more than just music. It’s literally about 3 weeks of non stop panels, workshops, networking, exhibits, symposiums, showcases, including interactive, film. This is wonderful for the city of Austin and its surrounding areas hence people travel from all over the world to take part in said activities. Basically, there’s hundreds of thousands in attendance.

With all of that being said, what I’ve also noticed is the routine ritual of artists willing to risk their budgets on showcases that have failed to do anything but what your local talent karaoke bar could service. Some “promoters” (not all) will offer you at the very least a non-sufficient sound system, and a slot. No plan in place in which you are somewhat prepared to know when or if you will even perform. You can also forget about a deposit because the entire fee will need to be paid upfront and in full. If for whatever reason you do miss your performance due to no fault of your own, chances are slim to none that you’ll actually receive your money back in its entirety. Some of these hosts actually needed that to cover the cost of the venue alone. In a way, that’s actually kind of fair. It’s simply the risk you take. If you have it to just throw and see what sticks, how about you and I talk later. I seriously need to arrange a meeting with your advisor because clearly we all need to be more like you. It has been said that the rich stay rich based on their financial decisions. I’m working towards wealth.

The other routine checklist is to press up thousands of CDs, only for those same CDs to be covered on the grounds of 6th street. I cannot tell you how many I’ve walked and hobbled over almost cutting my heel from all of the broken up pieces. People are simply not there looking to pocket your latest and greatest compilation or volume 5 series. Sad but very much true. This is not to discourage you from having any promotional material at all. I would just try to focus on fostering a conversation with your potential fans before throwing a cd and flyer their way. They have nowhere to put the 100+ amount they receive. In fact it’s quite impossible, believe me I have tried. Assemble a team with hopes of doing something different. Why not press up those thin sling back backpacks with your “@” name printed and give those away? Who doesn’t want or need a bag to toss over their shoulder? That gem was free on me.

I could go in and on a lot further about it all but it’s highly unnecessary. More than likely you have your mind made up and I’m really not here to try to tell you how to spend YOUR money. Here’s the key takeaway from this non-structured article. When it comes to paying a $1000 or less, simply do your research and assess the value of the performance package. Pull the resume & ask questions. How many minutes? Are there scheduled events taking place at the same venue that could overlap the one you’re participating in? Is there a sound check? Can I sell my merchandise? Is there a dress code? Do my guests need an valid ID? Let’s just be real about it all. Also think about ways to follow up and build once the event is over, assuming it was not a talent search to begin with. Let’s do more this year then simply say, I’m performing at SXSW. Where are you performing? What is the goal? Will you regret spending and are you really willing to risk for your career what it takes? Yes, losses are inevitable but that doesn’t mean you have to go in sideways and blind sighted. Look into several different places or to spread your budget around to get the most bang for your buck!

Now after all of this I’m sure your wondering since I seem to know it all, what can I recommend? Well I can assure you that I do not, lol. Trial, error, and observation. Yet and still, I most certainly wouldn’t leave you hanging. For the full breakdown on how I’ve come to these selections in particular, feel free to contact me directly. If you have a showcase you think should be considered please feel free to do the same. If you’re already a well established artist or brand this article most likely isn’t for you, however you may still find a reputable place to display your talent within the options below. Thank you for stopping your day for a quick read! 🙂

Here’s my list:
(Click To Be Redirected)

Networking & DJ Meeting Events


























































San Antonio






•For a list of OFFICIAL #SXSW Stages as well as more information access their website directly at www.sxsw.com• Access Core DJ Hella Yella’s OFFICIAL SXSW Event Schedule! You’re Guaranteed To Enjoy Anything He’s Apart Of! DJ Hella Yella


Onyx• Queen of Killeen| Songwriter | Music Professional | Executive Producer & Host of Jermaine Dupri’s Global 14 the Cut | 2014 SEA Internet Hustler of the Year
(C) Feb 2016
(P) Feb 2016

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The Connect: Do You Really Need Radio Play?

Radio play is always going to be beneficial but it works best when all of your paperwork is in order & there’s a goal in place. What most artists have to remember to keep in mind is that just like any other company, the radio industry is a business. Their sole purpose is to sell advertisements, not break artists. Breaking artists will not get the bills paid.

An artist should look towards radio play once their work has been copyrighted, and registered through Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems, better known as “BDS.” This can be an amazing tool for Record Executives when scouting for “what’s hot” within the market or “who’s competing” with their mainstream records & why. Once your spins have started to accumulate you’ll start hearing from or be able to submit your music to Networks such as BET, VH1, & MTV. It’s all about “Supply & Demand.”

BDS is in place to track all radio stations, televisions, Internet, & the latest will be, if not already, some of the nightclubs. Not all of these however are monitored. You can have your song playing every day on a well known popular station, but it still may not be accounted for if the source is not set up to recognize the music. At this point it just becomes “promotion,” in which it can still be a great asset for an unknown artists, as it is still an advantage to gain fans. If you can land an interview, it will give you an opportunity to let people buy into who you are. When you become an artist, you become a brand. I’ll touch on that more at a later date.

In closing, if you are looking to receive radio play here are some key factors to keep in mind.

• It’s a business, so treat it as such. Buy advertisements, partner up with them. Book them to host your parties and events.

• Provide a quality record. They aren’t interested in hearing an entire mixtape or album. One radio edit (if required) original single, not to exceed 3:15.

•Utilize it as a tool, not the sole resource to get ahead. You’ll still need to advertise elsewhere and find creative ways to build your fanbase. Ultimately connecting with the fans & the DJs, will land you radio play.

Remember, there’s no need to rush. No need to skip steps. Give a reason for people to want to have your exclusive record ”on deck.” The radio play will be there whether local or satellite. Take the time to establish yourself within your market & before you know it they will be looking for you.

-Onyx, Queen of Killeen, Singer•Songwriter | Music Professional | Executive Producer & Host of Jermaine Dupri’s Global 14 the Cut | 2014 SEA Internet Hustler of the Year

(C)Aug 2013
(P)Nov 2013

*written originally for The Connect via centexhiphop.com

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