Working with both well-known and unsigned artists for over a decade, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering why some people succeed in music while others fail. And though this might sound strange, there are a few physics ideas that can help you think differently about how great music careers are made.
Rule #1: Quantum Events = Music Success
Building a music career is different than learning how to sing or play an instrument. Practice makes you slightly better with your voice or instrument every day – over years, as you put in your 10,000 hours of work, you steadily move from novice to pro (see Figure 1). To be a truly great and lasting artist, you must master your voice or instrument – a lot of this work is done alone or with bandmates. But mastering an instrument isn’t the same as building a music career, and understanding the difference will improve your chance of success.
Talk to any successful artist, producer or songwriter, and you’ll discover that each of them struggled at one level until a breakthrough happened and their career took a quantum jump ahead. Just like playing a video game, artists “level up” when a quantum event happens. Quantum events include things like meeting the right producer, getting feedback on your songs from a master songwriter, being signed to a development deal with an indie label, releasing a great single, having your homemade sex tape “accidentally” leaked on YouTube, etc. Everyone’s quantum events are different, and this diagram shows you some examples for illustration:
When a quantum event happens, your career takes an immediate and significant jump ahead, bringing you closer to success. It doesn’t matter whether you want to be a major pop star or a niche indie artist, the principle is still the same: quantum events jump your career forward, and without them you will stagnate. Therefore, it’s your ability to string together as many quantum events as possible, as quickly as possible, that will make you successful. This is a really important point, so read that last sentence again… let it sink in.
This is great because it means that building a career has to do with actively making these events happen – you don’t have to sit on your ass relying on luck and waiting for random things to take your music to the next level. Instead, you can take control and create your own quantum events. Maybe that means finding a local studio to record your first demo, or co-writing a song with someone new, or meeting the right manager. Using Music180.com is a great start, because getting a realistic plan and meeting the right pros can create quantum events.
Use a hammer, not a pencil.
My college physics teacher said something that always stuck with me: “You can hit a stick of dynamite a thousand times with a pencil and nothing will ever happen, but you can hit it once with a hammer and it will explode.” If you add up the pencil hits, their combined force is greater than the hammer, but a single hammer hit creates an explosion.
In terms of your music career, let’s assume you want to get signed to a development deal with a producer who worked on one of your favorite albums. You could struggle where you are, doing small things like playing local gigs, handing out flyers and buying a better amp (these are pencil taps), or you could make a single meaningful connection with this producer who could sign you to a development deal and immediately take you to the next level (this is a hammer hit, a “quantum event”).
To take your career to the next level, you’ll save time and money – and increase your chance of success – by focusing on the hammer and ignoring the pencil. Figure out what next step will have the biggest impact on your career, and concentrate your time and money on that. If you need help figuring out where you are and what your next step should be, get on the phone with a Music180 artist development expert.
Rule #2: All of your possible futures exist… but you’ll only live one of them.
Quantum physics says that all of your possible futures are real, like branches on a tree – but the specific future that you will actually live depends on what you do (and don’t do) today. Religion aside, this means you don’t have one single “fate” – in one of your futures you’re a Rock Star, in another you’re a manager, in another you’re a plumber, and so on:
What you do today affects which future you live – so make the right decisions, think smart and focus on the specific big steps that will lead you down the path you most want. Nothing is impossible, nothing is pre-determined.
The world needs great new music – Music180.com can give you the tools: a plan, access to lots of experienced professionals who can help you succeed, and other opportunities. The rest is up to you.