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« SXSW - Long On Experience, Short On Years | Main | Moving Beyond The Age of Narcissism »

Don't Play The Lotto

Many people (more than you realize) have a distorted view of the entertainment business. Sure, everyone knows it’s tough in the beginning. But once you catch your break, once you’re discovered by the right gatekeepers, it’s nothing but groupies, parties, and private jets…right?  Wrong. Those lifestyle trappings are out of reach for the vast majority of people that make the pilgrimage to New York, LA, and Nashville in search of stardom. And of those who can attain that level of success, there are even fewer who are able to maintain it for more than a relatively brief period of time. 

Have no doubt: the sheer odds of major success are stacked against every new entrant into the music business (this is true in movies and professional sports, too). Statistically, you’re entering an enormous lotto - and you should assume from the beginning that your number won’t hit. Why? Because if you conduct your career as if a big break won’t come your way, you’ll force yourself to be much smarter in your approach. You’ll have to make money or go home. You won’t be able to use the potential of some big payday in the uncertain future as an excuse to make poor decisions now. If you buy into the lotto mentality, you’re bound to lose. So don’t play that game.

The goal of most musicians should not be to hit it big. It should be to make a steady, respectable income from music while doing their absolute best as artists and businesspeople. For some, music isn’t a viable career option. It’s a hobby. For others, it can be an amazingly satisfying way to earn a living. With all of the tools available today, you can build a lifestyle around something you love if you’re smart and talented. And if you do get a break, the care you’ve given your career and the wise decisions you’ve made along the way will ensure that you’re ready. 

Band 101 is run by Jimmy Brunetti. He has sold upwards of 2 million records independently, and has overseen marketing operations for several independent labels. Band 101 helps independent musicians learn the business and marketing fundamentals that are often overlooked by beginners.

Reader Comments (1)

Love it. Getting bands to build their model on not instantly making a million dollars really gets them to get their priorities straight.

March 10 | Registered CommenterDerek Miller

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