DO YOU REALLY WANT TO SUCCEED IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS?
When it comes to succeeding in the music business, let us talk about the proverbial “Elephant in the room”, you might be stopping yourself from succeeding.
At first glance, this statement might seem ludicrous, blasphemous, and even outright offensive to you; I mean, who would ever willingly stop themselves from succeeding?
Well, it has nothing to do with being willing at all, but when it comes to getting in your own way, it really comes down to a series of bad decisions that lead to missed opportunities, and some of those opportunities only come around once in a lifetime.
You might be under the impression that the music industry is over-saturated, or that there is no room for your style of music; you might even believe that being an artist in general is a bad career move.
I will meet you half-way here, and agree that there might be a grain of truth in all the above statements, but by no means, is this is the whole truth.
So, what are the most common mistakes that are currently derailing independent musicians, everywhere, from succeeding? Read on and find out.
WEAK BRANDING (No clear idea of your desired image)
You should be clear on how you want to present yourself to the people. This is not as simple as offering up the music and walking away, this also comes down to imagery, attitude, and overall approach to marketing yourself.
To understand branding, you must first see yourself as a product. This is a tough pill to swallow for any musician that rages against the machine, or might believe that what they bring to the musical table has never been served up before. It is easy to forget that everything connected to money is a product, even the most creative and elusive artist is merely a potential payday for someone. The industry big-wigs are investors, not fans, and they won’t be putting you on a worldwide tour without seeing the inevitable dollar signs in your future; and branding is exactly what they are looking for here.
It is difficult to re-brand without losing some of the public’s faith in your commitment as an artist, so it is important to place some real thought into this. Your logo needs to reflect your sound, the art associated with your music needs to drive the message home, in regards, to what you stand for, and the professional quality of these things must never be compromised.
Your friend might have a camera, but is your friend a professional photographer?
You might know how to draw a stickman with a guitar, saying “Come to our show!”, but perhaps you should search for a skilled artist that understands the true visuals needed to pair with your unique music.
Genres exist as a sellable product, and your music has its own specific audience. Once you know who your people are, market to them, and them alone. Create a product that they will be attracted to, and look to other successful musicians in that field for ideas.
I am not saying that you need to copy, or that you need to chase money by selling out, I am merely stating the obvious fact; that musicians who brand properly, succeed far more often.
DROPPING THE BALL (Not paying attention to the details)
Promoting your music is a major undertaking. It is not enough to make great music and wait for the masses to show up to the show.
You are going to need to look at the whole picture here, and that means that everything related to your music, your brand; your product, needs to be on point.
I field emails and posts from artists on a regular basis that leave me shaking my head in disbelief. You want me to promote you, to share your music, and to help you build your own musical empire; but the link you send me is broken?
I cannot stress how often this happens, and how terribly unprofessional it looks. When you create a Press Release, promote a website, or comment on anyone’s page, you MUST make sure that your link works. I am not going to GOOGLE a musician to find the real link, so you will need to fix that link immediately. My suggestion, if you don’t want to have to fix a broken link, then make sure to check it before you send it.
While we are on the topic of emails, messages and anything post related, let’s talk about proper English. I get that the English language is not everyone’s first language of choice, and since we promote musicians all over the world, it is not unusual for us to receive an email that reads somewhat broken in its delivery; with that being said, you must make a real attempt at being clear in what you want from the reader, and a heavy usage of slang is going straight to the trash bin.
Publications, music promotion companies, and almost all other aspects of the music industry, have guidelines and requirements before you submit your music. Make sure to look over these guidelines, and do not try to slide anything past their radar. If a publication does not approve of the message you promote in your music, but they like your genre of music, you should not be sending your music to that publication. Respect the industry, and don’t waste your time trying to win the wrong people over.
When you forget to pay attention to the details, you open yourself up to a world of music PR and music marketing hurt.
When you make one change on your website (like a logo change, profile photo change, or other), then you should reflect that update on all of them. Your brand should be cohesive, your message should be clear, and your attention to detail should be found in everything that touches your music.
Consider this, most best-selling books that get turned into movies, usually lose their real power.
Every time the story gets changed, even slightly, to accommodate a new medium, it loses its original essence; and your music is no different. The best an author can do, is create such a compelling storyline, that the essence of that book does not get lost in translation. The best you can do for your music, is to make sure that your branding, your message, and your story, is always being told the way that you want it to be; and that means that you will control the entire spectrum of your music, not just the part
The devil is in the details, and so is the potential success, and potential failure, of your music.
PAY TO PLAY (No money equals no chance)
I understand from the standpoint of a Music Promotion company, that this might seem like a shameless attempt at your wallet, but the hard truth is; if you aren’t willing to invest in your own music, then you won’t be succeeding any time soon as a musician.
There is so much about music that demands payment, and you cannot afford to be cheap or frugal, or whatever word you might use to describe it.
I have known two types of musicians, those that make excuses for why they cannot afford to invest in their music, and those who do whatever it takes to get the money to move their music forward.
I don’t have to tell you which musicians succeed far more often, but I will (the ones who pay up).
When it comes to promoting your music, and expanding your fanbase, there are too many potential places to spend your money to name them here, but a few of note would be; Music promotion, your new music video, merchandise, Facebook ads, travel costs for touring, purchasing new gear, flyers, etc.
The fact is, if you make excuses for not being able to come up with the necessary money, you are only making it easier for the resourceful musicians that focus on getting the money over trying to find the next excuse to avoid spending it.
TAKE BIG ACTION (Being a weekend warrior won’t cut it)
It is great when you finish a project. Having one finished song is often enough for many musicians to impress their friends and family, but we are not talking about a side gig, a little hobby, or some part time job; we are talking about your music career.
Have you ever looked at a musician and thought “I wish it could be that easy for me to get famous?”, well, it isn’t easy for anyone. I don’t care what musician you choose, or how much you think their music is basic and empty; if they are touring the globe, selling millions of albums, and creating a world recognized brand, then you can bet your bottom dollar that they are working their ass off to get there!
Almost all rock-stars, pop-stars, whatever-stars, that you see, have been putting in serious overtime to reach the type of success that you crave for yourself.
They don’t talk about doubts and giving up, they talk about knowing their worth, and how they went after their dreams like a shark to blood.
We can talk all day about how hard life is, how many bills you must pay, or the fact that your boss has asked you to come in on your day off; but all those things are separate from your music, and they should not be tied so tightly to your music career itself.
You will always have bills to pay, and you will always have doubts, and chances are, you will always have to work a bit, so it is not about letting those things weigh you down, it is about working with those commitments, in such a way, that you find a better balance in your life.
Develop minimalistic habits, sell what you don’t need, stay away from trying to impress the world with all of your shiny toys, and focus on making your music a real success (by the way, having a successful music career is not just about the money).
I imagine that you make music because you enjoy it, right? Don’t you want more time to create it? Wouldn’t you already feel like a success if you could manage a better balance between work and creating music? Well, you can, but it takes some real action, and big action at that!
Stop thinking about work, and bills, and the million distractions. Grab a pen and a pad RIGHT NOW! and head to a coffee shop with one purpose, to create a better plan for yourself, so that you can tell the universe that you are serious about your music.
Create a plan of attack, work with the numbers, with your job, with your time, and make sure that they are all working for you and to your advantage. Once you like what you are looking at, commit to your decision and make your first real move.
The sacrifices I have made to write my most recent book, From Indie To Empire, were many; but it was worth it, and I am excited to sacrifice even more for the next book!
Once you start taking big chances, by taking big action, you start to develop a taste for it, and all the possibilities start to present themselves to you.
So, no more weekend warrior attitude for you, if you want to succeed, and I mean, truly succeed, then it is going to take your best effort, anything less and you might want to consider another hobby.
Empire Music Promotions (www.empiremusicpromotions.com) offers result based campaigns aimed at helping you build your own musical empire. Submit your music today!
Purchase our powerful new Music Marketing Book “From Indie To Empire” today on Amazon!