Author Zig Ziglar was often as saying, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”
Your music career is no different. Unless you have a target that you are reaching for, you’ll just continue down random pathways hoping to get somewhere. How will you know what successful looks like if you haven’t defined success for yourself? You need to begin by creating (or revisiting) your goals.
There’s a popular business acronym that says goals should be S.M.A.R.T., or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. In a band, I think goals should be SMARTER, because they need to include Everyone and be Revisited often.
A ticket stub does so much more than just admitting you into an event. A ticket stub is a filled with memories, emotions and, if you’re lucky, your favourite singer’s autograph. Just one glance at that flimsy piece of paper, and the flood gates are opened. You are submerged in a pool of memories, like which song the band opened with, the moment you made eye contact with the guitarist, the hoarseness of your throat from screaming along with the lyrics, and how, for a couple hours, nothing else mattered in the world. That flimsy piece of paper can become a prized possession.
I was at a gig last night and I saw three amazing bands rocking out the stage and making people dance very hard. Note: it’s London, normally people don’t dance that hard.The sad realization I made is that none of these bands actually makes money. Isn’t it sad? The band entertains you, makes you feel great, you pay the bar for drinks, but the musician gets nothing of monetary nature. That brought an avalanche of thoughts and I started jotting them down! I quickly came down to 6 main reasons of failure, which you’ll definitely relate with (if you’re a musician).
This is part two of my series on how to make more money from your music career. If you missed it, you can see part one here. That looks at the different ways in which you can earn money from gigging.
Today though, I want to look quickly at the power of recordings songs for holiday events such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and the like.
MusicThinkTank.com Weekly Recap: “Pay For It, Or Lose Us” – The Challenge Facing Independent Musicians
- Mackenzie Carlin | Production and Marketing Essentials for Aspiring Music Producers
- Joshua Macrae | Can’t Buy Me ‘Likes’
I’ve become very fond of Craigslist.
Searching for players, gigs, and gear, somewhere between my first cup of coffee and a cleaner pair of underwear, I feel like I’m going to need a pair of bunny slippers and a robe this winter in order to fully realize my out of work potential.
I stay in the musician section for the most part, but even those ads are littered with nerds, real-estate agents and date rape enthusiasts. It’s a great place to be if you’re a “serious”, “drug free”, 22 year old female vocalist with your own equipment. And it’s as close as I’m ever going to get to Reality TV.
The searching, however, has paid off.
The mobile age has only made the production industry a more promising land for music enthusiasts, with IBISWorld’s Independent Label Music Production report pointing to an impressive industry revenue of $354 million between 2008 and 2013. Unfortunately, not every music lover has what it takes to make it as a producer. As with the rest of the entertainment industry, music production is, by nature, a cutthroat endeavor. Only the most passionate, most talented, most clever and most willing to sacrifice are able to make it big. But if you do make a name for yourself, the payoff could be incredible, both in terms of finances and personal satisfaction. A successful launch is an absolute necessity, so make the appropriate equipment investments and networking decisions before you venture into this competitive arena.
“Pay For It Or Lose Us” The Microdance’s Alex Keevill highlights the challenge facing independent artists.
Let’s face it: when it comes to sell whatever we do, most of us feel uncomfortable. That is very true for musicians, too. Virtuoso jazz violinist Christian Hows address this problem in this interview with Jonathan Fields at 25:40 as “fear of self-promotion”.
What do we do to overcome this fear?
If you’ve been making music for a while by now, you probably already know how to write a song. If not, you’ll want to check this beginners guide to songwriting before you go any further.
Now I’ve a question for you: Does the kind of songs you’ve been writing match the aims you have for your music career?
Music Gorilla regularly hosts showcases. At many of these events, we have an A&R rep from a major label that is there solely to watch the performances and take notes on everything they’re seeing and hearing. The performers are introduced to the rep and the networking commences. A few weeks later they receive written feedback on their performances for better or worse. What they do with it is up to them of course, but information is priceless.
Since we’ve been doing these shows since 2004 we figured it was time to put some of that experience on paper. So here we go,
10. Show Up – Obvious, but crucial – in order to perform you have to show up. We can expand on this by saying show up on time, or even early. We have bands come in from all over when we do these shows and when you’re on the road, things can happen. Just try to leave yourself plenty of time so that if (or rather, when) they happen, it doesn’t force you to cancel the gig or become a no-show.
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(Updated January 13, 2016)