In any industry you go into, there are always two types of people: People that take action, and people that don’t. In fact, let’s not limit that to industries people are in. In LIFE, there are two types of people…
The people who take action are the people who usually end up getting further. They are brave enough to make things happen, and even if they don’t work out as planned, they can always give it another go.
So why am I talking about taking action? Simple, because this is exactly what a lot of musicians fail to do!
Taking Your Music Career Into Your Own Hands
I recently wrote a post about how to get a record deal. I can imaging that a lot of people would have opened that article and thought I’d start telling them exactly how to contact record label bosses and A&R people. In fact, what I advised was the opposite. Focus on your own music career, and when you are ready as an artist, they will come to you.
No longer is it as easy as having a talent, sending a demo into a record label, and getting signed soon after. These days you need to prove you can sell units, draw in crowds, and build a fan base that is willing to follow you through think and thin. Only then will record labels start taking an interest.
This article isn’t about signing to a record label though, it’s more about the steps you need to take in order to start moving your music career forward. I call it your music ‘career’ because that’s how you need to see it. Even if you’re not making money this very moment, I’m sure you want to be doing so at some stage? If so, you’re building up your career. If you’re happy being a bedroom musician, then you probably don’t need to be reading this article.
Whether it’s your aim to sign to a record label or not, you have to take things into your own hands to start off with. You need to do everything that a record label would do to get you out there, and you have to do it without any major help. This is the life of an independent musician, and one that can be very rewarding.
There is one thing I’ve noticed about many people in the music industry: They aren’t making as much money as they could! Now I’m not saying there’s a huge amount of money in the music industry or even that every one of you will get rich from it, but I know for fact that a lot of people can make more money then they currently do. Small things that simply aren’t done can be the difference between earning a part time living and earning nothing at all, and unfortunately a lot of the time these things simply aren’t done. But why?
The Reason Why More Money Is Not Made
There are two main reasons why musicians often don’t reach their full earning potential:
1.They don’t take enough action.
2.They take action, but the wrong kind (A lack of knowledge).
Not taking action is a curse that plagues a lot of people in all different areas of life. We often know that doing something will give us a better lifestyle, but we simply don’t do it for what ever reason. Maybe it’s due to a fear of the unknown, or maybe it’s due to laziness. Whatever the case, we don’t always take action when we should. This in effect lowers our chance of growing, and will keep our music career at a stand still.
Taking the wrong kind of action can be just as damaging as not taking any action at all. If you work hard for a year doing the wrong thing, at the end you’re going to realise that your efforts hadn’t come to much. In effect, you will have wasted a year. Learning the business of music can be trial and error without the right guidance, and lead to you wasting a lot of time and money.
If you have dreams of touring and getting your music out there, remember first that it takes action on your behalf. Daydreaming can motivate you and give you a clear idea of what you want your end goal to be, but it won’t help you get there any faster. Wouldn’t taking action and achieving your goals feel better then just dreaming about them? Without taking action, you will never know.
It’s important to make sure you’re taking the right action however. Don’t spend hours every day adding strangers to Facebook and Twitter, instead get in front of people that have a real interest in your music. Is there a specialist radio station that people go to to listen to your type of music? Then get your songs played on those shows! When you play at gigs, make sure you have merchandise ready to sell. Inform people that you’ll be coming round selling your CDs after your set,and if they’d like to hear more from you make sure they get one. That way, even if you aren’t getting paid for the show, you can still make money. Build a relationship with fans via email marketing, and turn them into super fans (Or a ‘true fan’ as has been discussed recently on MMT).
Small things like these can make all the difference, and will allow you to reach your goals sooner then later. I hope you’re the type that takes action, and more importantly the right type of action.
This is an article by myself, Shaun L. I am the owner of the IMA Music Business academy, an online music business course helping people take the right action in their music career. If you want to see some of my other articles, they can be found on my ‘Independent Music Advice’ music business blog.