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What Do You Pretend to NOT Know About the Music Biz?

Does that seem like an odd question to ask? Read this and I think you’ll agree there are many times when you simply lie to yourself about the workings of the music business and how to find success in it. And it’s costing you big time!

Let me explain …

In the 1990s, back when I published a local music magazine in St. Louis, Missouri, I remember feeling so frustrated at times. Especially when certain businesses wouldn’t advertise in my publication or sponsor music events I put on.

“What’s their problem?” I would whine. Didn’t they see all the work I’d put in to create a great resource? Can’t a guy with a good idea get a break in this town?

Of course, I really knew the answers.

In some situations, the business and the event simply weren’t a good match. I may have wanted their participation, but from their perspective, they needed to allocate their limited marketing dollars to other things. There was a part of my brain that realized that, but I paid no attention to it.

In other situations, I simply hadn’t put in the time to develop the relationships that other media people had. Therefore, I didn’t get those ad dollars. I even told myself many times how I needed to get out and meet with more potential advertisers and sponsors. But I rarely acted on it. And as a result, I lost out on some business.

I knew what the problems (and the solutions) were. But I chose to ignore them, get frustrated, and chalk it up to other factors that were out of my control.

In other words, I was pretending to not know something … when I actually knew it all along.

So, what are YOU pretending to not know?

For instance, you know … people are easily distracted and that it can take a number of follow-up attempts before you get a response from somebody.

Yet … you give up after one attempt to reach someone and complain about the lack of response.

You know … what inspires you and your friends to support a new artist and buy their music.

Yet … you act as if you have no idea how to promote your own music and connect with fans.

You know … the importance of spending time practicing and writing new material.

Yet … you settle for mediocre performances and songs that “will do” when you put out new music.

You know … how you like to be treated and communicated with when someone has something of value for you.

Yet … you pretend to have no clue about how to leave a voice mail message or send an email to someone who can help you.

I guarantee, you know way more than you give yourself credit for.

So, I ask you again:

What are you pretending to NOT know?


Reader Comments (15)

I have to remind myself of this concept always. I still often catch myself in whining mode and have to work to change my perspective. It seems like all of the wise people that I look to for advice in obtaining success unanimously agree that reality is simply a product of your perception. If you subscribe to this concept it follows that whatever situation you find yourself in... you put yourself there. It is up to me to choose which situation I want to participate in. Like you said Bob, I know what to do. If I don't do it, it was simply my choice.

Thanks for the reminder.

Tom Siegel

February 22 | Registered CommenterTom Siegel

Wow! Well put, Bob! You hit the nail on the head. I think sometimes we're either in denial, or we'd like to pass the blame onto someone else when it comes to our "failures". Failure is our own fault. Until we as musicians come to terms with that hard truth, and take responsibility for our success (or failure), we'll never grow, prosper, and succeed in the music biz!

Thanks for a great post!

Clay Butler

February 23 | Unregistered CommenterClay @ MusicIsMyBiz

Too many times subconscious fear of success seems to be the motivating factor for not exploring all the options available. We all do it but it's really about recognizing it and figuring out how to solve the problem that can change this behavior. Thanks for the inspiring post, Bob.

Matthew Wettergreen

February 23 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Wettergreen

Great post! So true and inspiring. Thanks!

Annie Corriveau

February 23 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie Corriveau

I think this was just the kick up the butt I needed. Thanks.

February 23 | Unregistered CommenterAndre McDonald

Tom, Clay, Matthew, Annie and Andre ...

Thanks for the positive feedback. Glad to hear this piece got you thinking ... and hopefully acting in more empowering ways!


February 23 | Registered CommenterBob Baker


Totally agree with you. Thanks for the common sense wisdom !

In my opinion we tend to rush through the day to often. If we would take an extra 5-10 minutes and put in some "thinking" time about the situation or question at hand we could be much more productive and realize what should be the answer or path to take.

Also, people need to be more confident in their abilities. As you mention, quite often we know what to do.

Greg Brent

February 23 | Unregistered CommenterGreg Brent

I digs that.

Perspective + context = clarity

February 24 | Unregistered CommenterstanmorePhoneix

Great post Bob, Thanks for the insightful reading.
I totally agree, especially with your first point about response.
My band and me live and work in Spain, and sometimes it is easier to blame it upon the "lack of response" from people in the industry here, than to consciously work to get obstacle out of the way.
And as you said, we KNOW a lot about the problems of the industry here, but sometimes we dont use that knowledge to guide our actions.
Change of mental chip right now, thanks bob!
keep them coming

February 24 | Unregistered CommenterVitaly Franco

Yep, wise words indeed. Sounds awfully familiar!

February 24 | Unregistered Commenterinkysmudge

Great concept and very true Bob.

The fear of success is a reality for a lot of people, even though they speak of becoming rock stars and making loads of money and going on tour, it is often this suppression of the truth that holds them back from taking the proper actions.

We definitely are all guilty of holding back and not taking full responsibility for ourselves.

And I just read Matthew's comment after typing all this and it is pretty much the same thing. Whoops!

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." --Bruce Lee

February 26 | Unregistered CommenterJeff F

Totally great article. You have nailed it! Thank you for a reminder of how much we "forget" about what we really KNOW.

February 26 | Unregistered CommenterJessica Williams

I´m afraid, you´re right! I have been talking and writing a lot about the future of music business, but I havn´t applied those ideas to my own band yet. Can´t find the time - but that´s another lie, I guess...

March 3 | Unregistered CommenterHagen Kohn

Very well said. It can be hard to remember that you are not a good fit when cash flow is tight. However, I've learned that persistence in finding the right fit can be a much bigger pay off.

March 16 | Unregistered CommenterAMS

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