Wemix Contest Q&A #1: Zii

December 14, 2008

Firstly, it depends on what your idea of “making it” is. Sometimes people get so wrapped up what the idea of success used to be (getting signed, having a song on the radio or on TV), that they forget to define their own goals. Set goals for yourself, and keep your eye on those goals. Do the things that get you closer to those goals, don’t get sidetracked. Achieve, then set bigger goals. My band’s first goals included: making a 4-song demo, selling out the Whisky-A-Go-Go, and winning a Grammy (it was a while before we achieved that last one!). Your goals could be: reaching a certain number of fans on your mailing list, selling a certain number of units online, or headlining a show outside your home town. Define your own success, and go for it.

Secondly, get familiar with the industry. Read books like Passman’s “All You Need to Know About the Music Business,” and get to know the landscape. I talked more about that in this previous post: http://www.mikeshinoda.com/blog/How_To-Responses_To_Fans-Music_Business-Featured/how_to_artist_royalties_indie_v_major

Lastly, a major mistake I see young artists make is committing themselves to a contract that they regret later. Usually, it’s a record contract, publishing deal, or signing with a manager. Incidentally, I’ve found that too many managers out there are awful–some are bad at their job, some are just bad people, and some are both–and once you sign on with a manager, you’re generally stuck with them taking 15% of the income of anything you did while they were your manager, which includes writing a song or making an album.

I think the most effective way to protect yourself from this stuff is to get an experienced music attorney before you sign a single contract. Do NOT hire a regular attorney; you need someone who specializes in music. Your music lawyer will advise you on any deal you might sign. The industry is always changing, so contracts are always changing–and too often they’re re-designed to take more money from the artist. You need someone to advise you of your rights, and help you do everything you can to retain those rights. Look at your favorite successful artists’ album liner notes, see who represents them, and contact that attorney’s office. If they like your music, they’ll want to represent you, and you’ll have an expert on your team who can help you make the connections you want to make.

Good luck,

hear more from Zii here:



  1. joevega123 on April 23, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Hey Mike, how the hell can i get ahold of ya when ur never on ur myspace?!!! AHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!
    pOR favor
    i wanna remix that slip out the back track, which i still need to send u the last 2 verses and get started wit collabin on the nex fort minor cd….
    hit me back-Joe Vega

  2. C_Seiberlich on December 16, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    hey mike, i was reading your response about the ins and outs of the music industry and making sure you make the right choices when you sign a contract. you also advised getting a music lawyer to review the contract. you suggested looking in the liner notes of a successful band’s or artists record to see who represents them. my question is are you happy with Linkin Park’s representation and what made you decide to choose the representation you have?

  3. nillp on December 16, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    great advices.. and congratulations to zii…!

  4. Bunnyfish on December 16, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Congratulations Zii!! Great tune! Nice advice too Mike. My husband works in music publishing and he sees people get screwed over regularly, so decided to set up his own company to help new bands out. I think all new bands deserve all the help they can get to survive the snakes out there! I have recently seen an awesome guy, you probably already know him, but if anyone hasn’t heard Kid Cudi yet, check him out, he is going to be big!! Hope they new album is going well, best of luck you guys!

  5. Mikeshi_Linkfort on December 16, 2008 at 9:23 am

    I did not doubt that will choose it a song =)

  6. skindesbous on December 16, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Great advices, thanks 🙂 I’m a bit scared of all this and your help is really useful 🙂

  7. LPmAgaS on December 16, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Congrats Zii!!!!You have to that alla the LP fans support you!!!!

  8. Hawaii_LP_fan on December 15, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    Sending you a warm congratulations Zii. You’ve got the best support & advice there is in the music industry. Soak it all in & have fun! Music has no boundaries or restrictions….Aloha

  9. Madlen on December 15, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    First of all congrats to Zii:)Mike you really are very good at giving advise about music industry and I think it would be really great if you write a book about it?Have you ever considered it?

  10. NoMoreSorrowGirl on December 15, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Congratulations to Zii,God imagine to work with Mike and his with you to record and write your songs…if i were Zii i think i can’t write my songs…hahaha!…why?i’ll gonna stare to Mike allday everytime he entered the studio…haha!too bad i’m not him…Love ya!Mike:)Take care:))

  11. tpbarbosa on December 15, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Congrats Zii! Well reading your answer I want to ask you something (even knowing you might not aswer), how was the beginning of Linkin Park? Were you guys afraid of just sign with everyone? Who gave to you the right instructions? I mean did you already know someone from the music industry that could help you out, or you, guys were just newbies? As most of us are. And if you were, how did you find the right ppl to work with? I really wanted to know it, cause I’ll make a band and I’m a bit afraid of it (I mean sign with bad ppl, who just want to steal your money and your feelings.), so please just answer it.

  12. YuN_RoCks on December 15, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    coooongrats man! this one of my favourite, so happy to hear he did it :]

  13. cuz on December 15, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    I’m so happy that Zii won the contest. It was my favourite song and I voted for it. And the prize is so amazing…

    Too bad that the wemix player works so hard for me.

  14. rockermeg on December 15, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Well congratulations to Zii and the other finalists,,its a shame only US residents could enter but they would have kicked my ass anyways hahaha!!
    Heh, I think you’ve posted a lot on this subject and all your advice is great Mike but I can’t help thinking you might be getting a little bored by this subject even though you’re clearly very well informed
    So my band is just starting out…we’re called RyuuAi Motel (translates to Dragon Love Motel from Japanese)
    If anybody has msn then add us please!! RyuuAi_motel@hotmail.co.uk
    Just let us know you got the address from here and its good to go!
    We’re just starting out so we need all the support we can get!!

  15. Charlotte_Jay on December 15, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Firstly congratulations to Zii 🙂
    Secondly thank you for your advice Mike 🙂
    Mike, there’s something that I’m really confused about, please check this out, do you think it’s true? http://www.reversespeech.com/music_reversals.htm

  16. Kalini on December 15, 2008 at 10:29 am

    “Secondly, get familiar with the industry”, afterwards follow the trends of the industry, because the industry changes every day. It’s totally necessary to have a solicitor, who will protect your rights and interests and advise you on your contract. Mike, very professional advice! I liked so much your description of the bad managers, who are bad professionals or bad people or both. Well, congratulations to Zii! Amazing song! I love it! Zii, you won’t get only this advice. You’ll spend with Mike some time in the studio, so you’ll talk a lot about it. Good luck on your record! KK

  17. Gabry94LinkinParkfan23 on December 15, 2008 at 7:47 am

    i love that song too!!! congrats Zii, im so happy 4 u!! good luck 4 all, man 🙂 . and great post, Mike 🙂 byee gabry x

  18. Lvix on December 15, 2008 at 7:45 am

    I love his song! Guy deserved to win!

    Mike, you know Evanescence ‘Bring me to life’ song?
    There is a guy singing in the song to and i asked at youtube at some Evanescence fans
    who that guy must be… I think someonne thought it was you:p

    LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrH3knaiqr

    ILoveSoccer1123 (18 uur geleden) Toon Verbergen
    Antwoorden Gemarkeerd als spam
    It was Linkin Park… And he was featured in a song!~ Come check out my page please~
    LPUvix (19 uur geleden) Toon Verbergen
    0 Slechte reactie Goede reactie
    this guy who is singin? what’s his name and why hie never sinds again in evanescence songs?

  19. ShadowerLiltani on December 15, 2008 at 6:35 am

    I’m glad the person I voted for won. It’s a very realistic and well thought out song, and I can’t wait to hear what it’ll sound like after it goes through the studio. Oh, and I must say, yes Mike, you do give a lot of advice about making it in the music business, but your advice applies to a lot of other businesses too, and it’s helped me a lot as far as what to watch out for and protecting my books, along with making certain goals. We don’t listen to you because you’re a celebrity, at least I don’t, we listen to you because what you say is real, and it has integrity.

  20. Aqua101 on December 15, 2008 at 6:24 am

    O-M-G..Congrat to u, Zii!! I knew that song is gonna win!! I voted it from day one!! I’m sooo haappyyy…”Story of The Lost” is really a cool & unique song, the beats & sound…so unforgettable & awesome. Enjoy your working w/ Mr. Shinoda, hope you’ll get progress and reach yr dream. BTW, Mike…that’s a priceless advice you gave to Zii. Ay-Ay…Master! 😉

  21. miKer0cks on December 15, 2008 at 5:35 am

    First, I wanna congratulate Zii 🙂 Welldone, his song is really great, I like the beat and the lyrics very much 😀 And second, thx for the advice Mike, really cool 🙂 You sure helped a lot of new musicians out there 😉

  22. liope on December 15, 2008 at 2:23 am

    Congratulation to Zii!!! Amazing song!!

    Someone that is outside the “system” can’t understand the difficult part of being an artist. The most of them think that the only difficult part is to find a contrast company but it looks that there are more roadblocks!

  23. Dori on December 15, 2008 at 12:42 am

    WOW! I voted for this guy! Really hope Zii makes it… Amazing lyrics and great beat!

  24. EpilepticChickenScratch on December 15, 2008 at 12:41 am

    I want to say congratulations to Zii! It’s amazing that you got this far! I hope things work out amazingly for you =)

    Now, Mike. You were chosen as the LPMBer of the week! You have to come to the LPMB and answer some questions. Okay, you don’t HAVE to, but we’d appreciate it if you would =)


  25. JPkaukonen on December 15, 2008 at 12:38 am

    yo mike

    really an awesome post from you, great advices. my band is just about to get signed to a rather big record label, and though we know we haveto be careful on what we sign to, it really opened the vision of the situation by reading your words of it.

    thanx man, i love you. imma see you someday : ) good luck with the upcoming art! jp

  26. Raspberry on December 15, 2008 at 12:06 am

    That is fantastic advice Mike .. if i could sing i would certainly be grateful of it and well done to Zii 🙂

    And guy please stay on topic, Mike has requested this so please respect it!

  27. analoggirl on December 14, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    Congrats to Zii! Best of luck to you. 🙂 I hope we get to see the writing, recording and mixing processes.
    Btw, Mike, I think it’s great that you’re happy to offer guidance to up-and-coming talent.

  28. ms_shock on December 14, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Hey Mike! Let me apologize to begin with…… Sorry for offtopic… I know, it’s “nothing” for you, but…. http://forums.linkinpark.com/showthread.php?t=10483 LOL sorry xD

  29. KATHYxx on December 14, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Haha you love that Passman book huh, that’s the third time i saw you mention it.

    Not like it doesn’t deserve it. I checked it out from the first time you mentioned it and it’s a fantabulous book. I re-reccomend it if Mike Shinoda saying somehow isn’t enough motivation to do so.

  30. ninguem on December 14, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    mike i have one question
    which was the worse christmas gift which your parents gave to you when you was a little boy

  31. Linkinboss on December 14, 2008 at 8:29 pm



  32. Carla on December 14, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Congrats to you, Zii! If this somehow gets to him: I voted for your song actually and am very glad you won. Seriously, I felt your lyrics man. Hope you have fun and a great experience working with Mike Shinoda. Good luck to you in your musical career and any future endeavors!

  33. NataliaForgotten on December 14, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Thank you so much, Mike, your posts here help my band a lot. This thing to achieve goals seems to be really exciting (and a answer for some problems), I’m already thinking about ours. I’ll probably search more about this in the internet tomorrow. Glad you share with us your experience, the early times of my favorite band, hah. Take care. ^^ (Congratulations to Zii about the contest! Good luck working with Mike Shinoda, wow.)

  34. sterilepoon on December 14, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Yay, I voted for that song. =] Great advice, Mike.

  35. lynndarwinharris on December 14, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Congrats Zii!!! Stories of the Lost is awesome!!! I wish you the best!

  36. Hybr1d_7h3ory on December 14, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Suhweet, this is the one I voted for!!! I’m two for two on voting in November 😉

    Congrats Zi, if you are not a big Mike Shinoda fan, prepare to be. He is a really great guy. I hope you use this time with Mike to learn and expand your horizons in the music business. Take a look at some of Mike’s posts on here, some will really come in handy.

    Hope you two have some fun in the studio, put a video up here for the rest of us.


  37. Lynnie on December 14, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Wow – I’m the first poster!
    ~Go me~
    Congrats to Zii.
    I like how you’re using your own experiences and knowledge to help other people achieve their goals/dreams – it’s a positive way of using what you have…unlike so many other artists these days.
    I don’t have any musical talent…wanna learn the drums, though.
    Maybe one day…
    That’s my last post for this year.
    Back in a month. ~Is so gonna miss the internet but it’ll be worth it to see my nephews~
    Everyone have a happy Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year.
    Love y’all.

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