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« 5 Game-Changing Music Industry Philosophies | Main | Musicians Take Note: 3D Is Not Just For Movies! »
Wednesday
Feb232011

The Third Ring: How To Measure Success

So just how good do you have to be to make a career out of your music?

Damn good.

Any advice that I, or anyone else, give out on how to advance your career will only help you do so if the music is amazing.  That’s why it’s important to beware of any books or courses that guarantee success, because without outstanding music, the advice won’t do you much good. You may see minimal success, sure, but it probably won’t last or grow.

So how do you measure outstanding? I was discussing my theory on this topic over the weekend with a talented local songwriter, and I thought I’d share it with the rest of you. I know, ‘theories’ can be boring, but stick with me…

Basically, you have to be good enough to break through something called the ‘third ring.’

Graphically, it looks like this:



Now, let me explain.

At the center is you.  The first ring of supporters is your friends and family, who will (hopefully) support your music career. They’ll buy your CD, they’ll come out to your show, and they’ll probably buy a bit of merch, too.

Those same people will tell THEIR friends how great you are, because again, they want to support you.  So, your ‘friends of friends’ becomes the second ring, and most likely, they’ll come out to your shows simply because your first ring told them to.

It’s important to note that your first ring supporters, your friends and family, will support you REGARDLESS of how good (or bad) your music is. If your best friend, son, daughter, etc. had a band, you’d go and see them no matter what, right? Well, I hope you would.

This brings us to the third ring. Your friends and family will support you no matter what, and THEIR friends will support you because they’re told to by your friends and family.

But the second ring? They’ll ONLY tell THEIR friends, which is the THIRD ring, if you’re amazing, because they have no invested interest otherwise.  THIS is how you measure your appeal to the masses, and in some way, how successful you are.

When you play a show, have a look at who’s there.  No question, numbers are important, but even MORE important is that your audience grows past your friends and family. So pay particular attention to new faces in the crowd and find out how they heard about you.  If they’re there simply because of word of mouth, you’re on the right track.

What I’m definitely NOT saying is that you should ‘water down’ your music to appeal to more people. But, if you want to really get an indication of how people are reacting to your music, look no further than the third ring.

Remember, people spread things they’re passionate about.  If your music falls into that category, your audience will grow by default.

So be amazing. More importantly, be THIRD RING amazing.

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This article originally published here on Your Band’s Best Friend

Learn more about the author here

Reader Comments (1)

Those 3 rings can also be a snapshot of a band or artists served markets.

Ring 1: Most performers start out as hometown favorites and they play every place within like 30 miles of their home. They have a loyal following of fans, family and friends - friends of family and friends.

Ring 2: The second ring is when the performer or band starts touring, maybe around the country - or even outside their country of origin occassionally. At first they're an opener but soon they get noticed. I think that when they hit this ring they get a bit of radio play too.

Ring 3: Thats when you've gone global. You have CD's and Internet presence and fans virtually everywhere. It also means that your popularity makes you a draw in Helena and Helsinki. You can headline and expect a nice chunk of fans to show up

July 21 | Registered CommenterJohn Gouskos

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