Connect With Us

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner



« Can we set some rules? | Main | DATE CHANGED- The Rights Workshop Presents: Make Music, Make Money: Get Paid To Write Music »

Are You a Beggar or a Rockstar?

What I’m going to write about is what I consider to be the biggest fundamental difference between artists who thrive and artists who struggle to survive.  It’s a mindset, a paradigm, a way to view the world.

Most bands out there are looking for support.  They want you to help them out.  Vote for them in a contest.  Go to their show.  Buy their CD.

By you contributing to their cause you will get them far enough to get their big break.  When they get their big break then they will have made it and other people will be there to give them all the resources they need and they’ll live happily ever after.

There’s just one small problem with that model:  It’s an illusion that will keep you trapped until long after all of your dreams are gone.  It’s a fundamental misinterpretation of the way that money and value work.  This strategy will no sooner make you successful then it will a beggar.

Money is just a lubrication in the exchange of value.  It doesn’t have any intrinsic value.  It’s just a symbol.  It’s a more advanced way of trading sheep.  What the symbol stands for is value.  It’s not about “getting” money. If you’re going to have money, then you’re going to have to produce value in the world.  You can’t game the system.  It will all add up in the end one way or another.  If you don’t produce value then you won’t even have the capacity to hold on to value.  Whatever you get, you will lose.

You need to focus on the value that you can give to people.  Do you want to get people at your shows?  Do you really want to make some real money?  Then convince people that you’re going to give them something that they value.  Anything less will get you nowhere.  You can get people to come to a gig or two out of obligation, but if they aren’t getting more in return than they are spending then they’re going to stop showing up.  It’s just not sustainable.

Does your show cost $10 at the door, plus $5 to park and an hour or two of time on a Friday night?  Well then it needs to be a show that’s worth $20+ and be the best thing that someone could do on a Friday night.  YOU are the first person who needs to believe this.  THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS CANNOT BE OVERSTATED.

When you’re well calibrated to what your fans value and you’re 100% convinced that going to your show on Friday night is the best thing that anyone could do, and that it’s worth 5x the cost of admission, then something amazing will start to happen.   People will start to sense it.  This will come through in your communications.  People will see it in your eyes and read it in your body language.  The pictures you take will start to speak to people differently.  It’s like sprinkling magic dust on everything you do.

People are repelled by those who want to get something from them, but attracted to people who they believe will give something to them - and when you give them something that’s worth far more than the cost, then they will talk about it.

No one will ever come in and save the day by giving you your big break if you don’t first produce more value than what you ask in return.  This is the great illusion that runs rampant amongst the minds of starving musicians.  If you’re waiting for someone to show up and give you your success then you’re still going to be waiting when you’re old and grey.

So this is my challenge to you:

Eliminate the idea of charity or support as part of your strategy.  Make “support” a dirty word.  Don’t ask people to support your band.  Don’t ask for favors.  Instead, convince them that your band is the best thing that will ever happen to them.  They’re going to tell their grand kids about you.  Your band will be the soundtrack to the best memories that they’ll every have.  $10 for your CD is the best bargain that they’ll ever find.

If you’re going to convince them of this then you’re going to have to convince yourself first.

This comes BEFORE you get your big break.

Don’t be a beggar.




Reader Comments (2)

You can never have enough lubrication. This is a good post. I think you could have gone without the lecture on money though..



October 21 | Registered CommenterMusic Think Tank

This one got me; thanks.

I was raised on, "Be nice", and the negative images associated with the idea of being a Rock Star had blinded me to the idea that there may be a positive side.
I had to be convinced that it was OK for me to ask for "support", after the "Make Great Music, and They Will Come" model left me stuck in first gear. (For the record, Empirical evidence exists confirming that I don't suck.) The thought was that if I made it easy for people to spread the word, it would happen more.
I got vastly improved results from that mindset, but still seem to have hit a wall that I couldn't identify. I got good results, and will continue to employ those techniques, but I think that incorporating this idea will move things along nicely. Thank you again.
As I spoke to some of my friends about the article, they were concerned that I had given up on being a good guy - I don't believe that is the intention here; it's just about knowing the value of your product before you try to sell it. If I have to abandon my core values to become famous, I'd rather go back to welding.

Best wishes, and please visit my website if you like Singer/Songwriters, you don't want to miss out on

October 28 | Unregistered CommenterTony Barker

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>