What’s up, I’m itijik.
It’s no secret for those that know me, music is my absolute passion. I am a self taught musician and producer from a generation that didn’t have as much information readily available as today. This shit was not common knowledge, it was mind blowing magic to me at the time. But even though I’ve had decades of experience in music production and I’ve heard and practiced countless techniques, it’s still a magical thing to me. I still learn something every time I sit down to work. It’s so rewarding. Yes I’ve made some significant sacrifices and changes in my life to be able to do this, but it has all been worth it. I am so grateful to be able to create my music at this level.
I asked my mom recently, what was something I couldn’t live without when I was a little dude. I was doing a little self reflection and thinking about early influences. She said “things that made noise, you always had to make noise.” It’s no coincidence I’m still obsessed with sound and music, but like many people out there I never thought a career in music was an option. Of course now there are lots of opportunities in music, and I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of videos running down all the ways you can collect royalties lol. But seriously, there’s a lot more to this independent music game than distribution and a few ads, as you may already know. The practical truth is it takes as much effort and money that you can invest in yourself to reach and maintain the success you want.
HOW CAN WE REACH AND MAINTAIN THIS SUCCESS?
Are you hammering away, making beat after beat for social media growth that doesn’t seem to budge much? I see some of you talented people pushing hard, DAILY beats and stories and maybe some ads here and there. You’re on multiple platforms, maybe you say “funnels” a lot more these days haha. Maybe you sell some beats or you’re on tour making rent money. Maybe you’re already living on sample packs or ghost writing, or maybe you make little to no money in audio even though that is your intention.
Let me tell you if you are not already on this vibe: The success or skill level that you are at right now is not as important as what you are willing to put back in. THAT is simple truth, and what real growth in all aspects will stem from. Keep making moves towards your goals. Dig in fully and start elevating your craft to your own definition of success. That could be just fun and happiness to be making dope music. But there’s always more out there for the ones really going for it.
We’re working in independent music, but that doesn’t mean we have to do it on our own, and we really shouldn’t anymore if it hasn’t worked to the level we want. Think about what a Full Production Squad of 1000 driven members could accomplish compared to one producer on their own. The Pro Club started as a group of producers wanting to take their music to the next level, but now the vision has become bigger and more clear.
It only takes a small group to make big changes. Maybe you feel like a superhero that can do it on their own. That’s great, I love it. Do it! But before you rush off, realize this. I’m a superhero too, and this is me forming the X-Men. It’s already started. Let’s join forces and do something different.
WE ARE FORMING A FULL PRODUCTION SQUAD TO AID IN ALL ASPECTS OF PROFESSIONAL RELEASES, INCLUDING MARKETING NECESSARY TO DRIVE SUCCESS FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED.
For now we refer to it as The Squad. Partners and Members make up the Squad. Squad Partners have specialties that they support the squad with. Squad members are Pro Club members that participate in making music with the club. This is the only way for members to really benefit from and contribute fully to this vision. If you’re usually more reluctant to share your music, here is a chance to challenge yourself and get the feedback and help to propel your music further. Contribute to the vibe and experiment freely with your sound!
This is real production at an ever increasing level of skill and success with all the practical pieces being put in place to make it happen. Get in now while you can. The club will cap at 1000 members. This maximum will never be changed. This is so the partners can support members with more focused attention and so the materials provided in the club library are more exclusive, which strengthens the squad’s ability to stand out.
The Squad believes in feeding back into our system of support and success to compound the effects. If you go into a situation only concerned about what you are getting out of it, you are at a disadvantage before you even start. We are working together to elevate our music and success with creative vibe. Yes our marketing partners will be creating opportunities for us through our creative work, and we will all be creating opportunities together. But the deciding factor in financial success increasing and sustaining is what you put in through action and practice. Investing in the Squad is investing in yourself.
I AM ITIJIK AND I’M FULLY INVESTED IN YOUR SUCCESS ALONG WITH THE SQUAD. LET’S GO!
The vision for the Squad has two core aims:
CREATIVE INFLUENTIAL MUSIC + SUSTAINED SUCCESS
The selection and order of these words is with intent:
CREATIVE is not ordinary, it stands out, experimentation!
INFLUENTIAL inspires others, new thoughts or ideas, creative legacy
MUSIC quality, richness and connection comes before the success.
SUSTAINED is long term plans with flexibility to adapt and tap into new markets.
SUCCESS for the squad is success for the individuals in it.
MAKE AMAZING MUSIC AND MULTIMEDIA PROJECTS, THROUGH MUTUAL SUPPORT.
Club members will provide their portion of funding to fuel the squad through a monthly investment. This supports the vision and allows access to the forums, sample/stem library and membership services. Each of these areas of service will have partners specializing in creating or helping the squad produce and promote finished projects. Partners are here to help keep things moving and inspiring, but dedicated squad members are what will really drive the bigger movement. We need numbers to bring the vision to its full potential, but the numbers are less important than the people joining. We need more amazing participating members like the producers we have in the club now, that not only show support in what I’ve started with their financial contribution, but also believe in the vision and themselves to put the work in. These guys are the OGs of the club that have been covering a lot of the areas for themselves. Their output has been so inspiring for me personally. The new vision has the potential to inspire millions. Can you imagine hundreds of creative and influential tracks coming out of our squad each month in the future? I can, and we’re gonna make it happen.
I believe in transparency and I want you to be happy with your decision to join. You can send me an email or DM me pretty much anywhere and I’ll get back to you with any questions you have. But let’s answer some quick ones here:
“So this is a studio model where you sell hourly rated services of partners involved, right?”
No, it’s not that. This isn’t a portal to sell freelance services or products. Something much more exciting is happening here. The services here are all included. Partners have been chosen by me and we’ve made deals that will scale with club growth. This will allow squad partners and members to get setup and in the creative environment, without all the transactions to distract.
I am creating the best possible creative and collaborative environment that I can for everyone in the Squad. And I will always take the extra steps to constantly improve it.
“Is this a music label?”
In the traditional sense, no. We will be making a lot of music, promoting hard, making new connections, creating release events, and playing the squad’s music on our planned online radio stations and anywhere we can to get your music heard. But there’s no dirty contracts or bad deals here. Just a simple member agreement for licensing and dedication to your craft.
“Licensing? Oh OK, here’s the catch. Does that mean itijik owns anything I make in the squad?”
No. You own it. Ownership splits are between collaborators, not itijik or the Squad as a whole. This isn’t a way to take ownership, or a pay to play scam, or any other type of money in, money out scheme. We give our members and their work respect.
Creators retain full ownership, as they should.
Production materials made by you are owned by you, and licensed to itijik and club members for use when you share them. Only active club members will have the licensed right for continued use of any materials. Materials used for projects during active membership are the exception to avoid members being locked in based on previous works.
Tracks made by you are owned by you, and licensed to itijik to be used for promotion including the planned club radio. Although ownership is fully the creator’s, we should all support those that take part in the final tracks with credits and pay where appropriate. Even when we grow to 1000, we want to keep the squad tight. Everyone should get their fair share of any financial success they were part of creating. A direct collaboration is one scenario where splitting ownership makes sense on individual projects, but as mentioned there are no ownership splits in the membership agreement. The Squad is about giving, not taking away. This mentality is key, and will ensure the Squad’s sustained success.
“What do Squad Partners do for Members?”
Partners can fill the roles of production that members aren’t as focused on, with professional results. Partners have specialties, but there’s a lot of ideas and experience in different areas to absorb here if you are focused on building up. This is a benefit of having a collaborative vibe with partners, rather than being a strictly service based relationship. Keeping the vibe and creative flow in mind before thinking numbers, we can all maximize the potential of everyone involved in our projects.
“What specific benefits do Partner roles cover?”
Producing Partners will primarily create interesting production materials throughout each month to help inspire the squad. I’m excited about this area because it’s where I specialize. Currently I’m the only one officially in this position as a partner, but I’m looking for help with high quality, rich sounds and recordings to overlap with my own schedule. I’m looking for the best, most versatile sound designers and recording wizards that can vibe with members and their tastes. If you are interested in being a partner in this area, you should have a lot of examples of your dope original samples and materials to let me hear. Otherwise you should join the club asap and start submitting materials as a member first to build your reputation in recording, instrumentation and sound design. Right now I’d like two more people creating materials regularly for the club along with me. Materials provided by partners are licensed exclusively to the club for one year, with the benefit of direct pay that scales with club growth.
Mixing/Mastering Engineers work with the squad to inspire and create professional mixes for releases. This could be consulting or opinions, mastering or full projects depending on what areas the members want to cover themselves. As far as style goes, they will help develop your sound in a classic way or experiment to push and break boundaries with you. They love what they do and it reflects in the attention they give their work. The cost of an indie mix at this level even on the low side can be hundreds of dollars for one track. Of course there’s many factors that go into pricing mixes, but members don’t have to worry about pricing within the Squad. Just schedule a mixing project with one of our engineers to get things moving.
So far we have a team of 4 professional engineers ready to not only give feedback and tips on your mixes, but will actually mix and master them to the highest professional standards for you. They all have skills, dope mixing style and have a wide range to cover any genres you want to specialize in or experiment with. Our partner Sam has professional experience at the highest levels and an extensive list of top artists he’s worked with. In 2006 Mary J. Blige’s album The Breakthrough won a Grammy for Best R&B Album and also won “Best R&B Song” for the Single “Be Without You.” In 2018 Billboard named “Be Without You” the #1 R&B song of ALL TIME. In 2008, Mary J. Blige’s album Growing Pains won a Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album Recorded by Sam. In 2009, India.Arie’s “Pearls,” Mixed by Sam, won a Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance.
Presentation/Video/Visual Artists will help create inspiring art and video pieces for squad project releases and club events. A group of partnering artists will be formed to make collaboration pieces in various styles. Covering art costs for hundreds of pieces each month would be beyond the scope of this vision at this point. Instead we will make partner deals with a network of top artists to provide substantial discounts for their commissioned pieces.
Promotion/Social Wizards use the music and art we make to help build the club, make connections, create opportunities, give marketing advice and get real results for the Squad. Partners will be doing research to find the best people to handle the Squads promotion within this year, 2020. Marketing and promotion costs will be large. Finding an existing marketing team to partner with seems like the best option for strategy while keeping cost low for members. This team will focus on the Squads promotion as a whole with individual highlights and even campaigns for stand out projects.
Our Partnering DJs will manage the music and playlists for our radio stations, and also set up scheduled live mix shows where they showcase our music and their own mixing or remix skills. The right partners for this role will be found. The official club radio stations will be created when we have a larger catalog of licensed music built up. This will be 24 hours a day on YouTube and other platforms that allow it. This creates a direct channel from production to distribution to a wider audience. Marketing and consistency will bring consumers in and the quality and freshness of the music and visual content will keep their attention.
There’s even more about our radio stations to be excited about! At higher levels revenue from online radio stations is substantial. Everyone on the playlists for the club radio stations will be cut in on this income stream. The details and system of pay needs to be worked out, but the intention is there. This is one opportunity of many that itijik will take to feed back to members.
“How does the Squad communicate and organize?”
The new club website with forum and Discord chat! We’ve upgraded and grown past the limitations of the old platform! I’ve made this dedicated site and private forum to give the club a dedicated space to communicate and share their tracks, materials and ideas. We also have a Discord server setup for Squad chat. I’ll send you an invite as soon as you participate in your first Chop Shop.
“What’s a Chop Shop?”
The Chop Shop is a monthly challenge where we make tracks with only a limited sample pool from the previous months sample submissions. This is a basic schedule to keep each month and should be considered the minimum participation to stay active with growth. More voluntary events or quick challenges will be added for each week to keep sharp and for fun, but the focus will be on the foundation of the Chop Shop idea and schedule. Let’s keep that solid with everyone involved each month. There’s usually a lot of material to choose from, but we could add some bonus challenges to Chops too. Like limiting the number of samples, or deciding a theme or song name beforehand. This is a great practice to experiment and put your experience and vibe out there. The inspiration of sharing and being part of something bigger is so much more rewarding than doing it by yourself. Especially when the same source materials are being used. The vibe and sound of each member really shines through in the Chop tracks. I love hearing the results. I look forward to having the full squad in motion, making their sound stand out. Join us and elevate your music!
I can’t wait to hear what you make with the Squad! So much creative and influential music is about to be made inside. Get in now, don’t miss out on this. Be part of the process and elevation in all aspects of production. Grow with us and solidify our network of talented music makers. Add to our collective creative culture and mutual inspiration!
Thank you so much and welcome to the club!
If you would like to support this vision each month but won’t be participating, go to the Donations page to get setup through PayPal.
itijik Pro Club Membership