Where to Start, What to Know
So you want to be part of the 1%, not the 99%?
What’s your motivation? Sharing your message or emotions with the world? Fame? Money? Respect? Power?
It’s hard to measure just how much competition there is for making the Big Time as a professional musician. Every genre and every market has it’s own unique challenges. For instance, do you think of yourself as the best polka music accordion player in Poughkeepsie New York? Or do you think you play the meanest electric guitar in Hollywood California? Different markets require different strategies, but they all share one thing in common, it’ll take a lot of hard work.
There’s much to be said about staying power too. A loyal fan base has an appetite for an endless stream of new material.
But hey, that’s what you do, right? Write music, write songs, play music, sing songs, perform, perfect your craft? No sweat. Actually, lots of sweat.
You’re determined, you’re motivated, you’re a fighter and a survivor. You might get knocked down every now and then, but you always get back up, defiantly asking, “Is that all you got? Bring it on.”
Here’s some advice for all you stellar musicians to help keep your head clear…
- Decide to always be optimistic, no matter what. It’s a choice you make.
- Study excellence and become excellent.
- Learn from other people’s mistakes, not just their successes.
- Seek out authentic criticism from professionals, not your family and friends.
- Know how the money is made, from Branding and Writing to Touring
- If you’re serious, are building momentum and cash flow, then you’ll be smart to incorporate sooner rather than later.
- Get started learning how to produce your own music.
- Register your work and get paid every time it’s played. Choose one Performing Rights Society to join from ASCAP, BMI, CD Baby Pro, or SoundExchange.
- Know about Copyrights. Know how to get it done, what it costs, why you need to do this and when you need to do it.
- Master the work of Distribution and learn how to get your work on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and all the others.
- Be active on Social Media every day…no kidding, make it part of your life’s daily routine, like eating, bathing, and sleeping, assuming you do those things every day. Post about your industry experience, your new music, upcoming gigs, other musicians, what you love.
- A band is part of a team, not just the team. Be a team player. You can’t do this all by yourself. Other team members include labels, distributors, managers, booking agents, publicists, influencers, and social media managers. It takes time, but commit to surrounding yourself with the best.
- Have a plan and stick to the plan, don’t just be bob around like a bottle in the ocean. Know where you’re going, put it in writing. It’s ok to take a few side trips or even change your final destination, but you’ll still need a plan to do that.
- Try to stay humble, meaning you’ll be hated for taking all the credit for any success you experience. Don’t be hated. Know that it’s always the result of teamwork…period.
What advice for musicians do you want to add to his platinum list? Let us know in the comments below and you just might see your tips added.