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William's 2 Step Method For Increasing Your Value As A Musician

Is it weird that I love to study Boar’s Head? You know, the sandwich meat company?

Not only is their quality spot on but I LOVE their slogan –

Boar’s Head – Sacrifice Elsewhere

That is dope (Did I mention that I have no life?). But, it’s a testament to our thinking here at HTBAMS.

We would rather pay 2x the price knowing that we get an amazing product, versus saving a few pennies to get the knock-off. It’s just not the same. 

But, what happens when we invest in ourselves?

The less value we see in something, the less we pay for it. DUH William.

But, certain areas, we do this out of habit. We try out the cheap stuff, it sucks, and we never change it.

As musicians, this comes out as Twitter shotgunning our music, talking to shady venues, lazy practices with our band/instrument, not engaging our fans, and filling out licensing forms on music finder sites – to name a few. We just didn’t know any better.

It reminds me of this Tony Robbins story.

Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker, was getting crazy popular and super successful.

After walking to his car late one evening from a public speaking gig – a homeless person came up and said:

“Say mister, spare a quarter?”

Tony pulls out a wad of $100 bills, flips through them, watching the homeless guy’s eyes bulge. Then he finds the quarter and then gives it to him. As he gives it to him, he tells the man:

“You get in life what you ask for.”

I think this is a very profound story. Here’s why…

As we grow as musicians and entrepreneurs, you will inevitably hear the tale of the starving musician. But, we see that this just isn’t true.

There are plenty of musicians who make 6 figures and up.

I get it – we tell ourselves: “But, I’m more than this…”

And guess what? You are.

When you first start out, you run into these people. The types who go “That’s just the way it is.”

But, I’m here to say, let them go. One of the biggest traits successful people have is ignoring the “work your way up” mentality.

Let me clarify: you and I believe, if we’re going to do something, start out wearing the big-boy pants.

Now I’m not saying to ignore everyone, throw up the middle finger, and run off to a remote island to work on your music. Starting as an apprentice is vital, in anything you do. It’s WHERE you focus your energies, is what’s most important.

What I mean is fetching coffee at internships, playing horrible gigs, grocery errands for musicians, begging for more CDBaby sales, or being mail-boy at the record label is a waste of time.

Step 1: Your Value

By practicing your craft, you are investing in your company, like any other entrepreneur or athlete. You’re building your portfolio.

What happens is, through practice, you become better than others who don’t practice. DUHH AGAIN WILLIAM

Hear me out though. This is actually a selling point.

Apple had a slogan that once said – Years of Evolution To Reach Here.

See the resemblance?

By adopting this mentality, you brand yourself more than just a musician. You are an experience. People don’t just pay for your music – they pay to be around you, to watch you speak, to know you. You can literally take any quality, attribute, skill, or weird habit and emellish it to separate yourself from others.

When you build this value, you begin to position yourself from others.

To determine your value, ask yourself:

Even on the smallest scale, what do I do that’s different from other musicians? (Don’t invent sliced bread. Embellish your own, smallest qualities.)

Step 2: Your Perceived Value


How do I actually stand out from other musicians?

My Answer:

Listen to your fans and customers.

Most musicians don’t even respond to their fans. That alone, puts you way ahead of everyone else. The customers we want are the ones who pay for higher value instead of sacrificing for low value.

That’s great William, but how do I find these high-value customers? Selling your music comes later.

If the venue is run down, a total mess, or the customer is asking how he can get it for free, it’s obvious they don’t really care.

Focus on the venues and the customer who want quality, not quantity.  This mentality translates to everything else. We are confident in our price and we determine that based on our research.

Tours with high prices make tons of money because we see them as being worth it, an investment. It’s not just the music, it’s the event, it’s the people, the merchandise, the food, the atmosphere, etc.

Venue owners will negotiate with you depending on proof of value. You are a majestic piece of art and advertisement that attracts customer to their place – if you show them this, they will reward you.

When you negotiate, it’s not adversarial – it’s a win-win for both.

For example, if you talk to a venue owner or fan, identify theirs needs and ask them simple questions:

What does your business want to accomplish by me being here? What would be the perfect show for your business? To Fans – What kind of show or experience would you pay top-dollar for? What sound would be exciting to you?

You would be astounded on how much they will LOVE you for even asking this. You actually show that you care – and most don’t even feel this from loved ones.

Some venue owners only focus on price – and that’s ok. They aren’t who we want.

Look for the owners who want an experience, they are the ones we want.

You’ve gone out of your way to present yourself more than just a musician.

To determine your perceived value, ask yourself:

What other qualities make an amazing experience besides music? Can I turn this into an up-sell of my product or an angle of my company? (Again, embellish your qualities.)

Readers, out of curiosity, what answers did you come up with? Let us know below.

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