10 tips for success in the Music Business. Making music and making a living out of your music are two very different things. My six year old son makes music by banging two pots together and although from time to time I give him $1 to shut the f*ck up, I doubt anybody would want to pay to hear a six year old bang to two pots together. If you’re serious about a career as a rapper, check out these tips!
1. Have a Plan
And write it down – on a piece of paper. Every plan starts with a goal and the plan is usual a map of how you’re going to achieve that goal. A goal of being a Platinum Recording artist is great, but you’re better off taking it one track at a time. Set a goal for each track you’re working on – a tangible goal that you have the skills and resources to achieve. i.e. 500 track sales, 10,000 video views, Radio play, etc..
2. If You’re Not Selling, Stop!
Even though music is an art form – a transcendental language that breaks down language barriers across the world, it’s also a form of entertainment, it is a Music Business. In short, it’s about sales. In order to sustain ourselves as artists – as entertainers – we must be compensated for our time and effort. At the very least, the art needs to sustain itself. You must learn, understand, appreciate, execute, and learn to love sales. This applies whether you’re on stage, at a conference, or online – consider yourself always on the sales floor.
3. (Social) Network
“It’s not about what you know, but who you know.” Don’t just hand out business cards to every potential ally you encounter, ensure that you have something of value to offer them. Remember there are unwritten laws of the universe which even artists have to abide by, “You must give before you get”. In the world of Social Networking, it’s easy to think that spamming is going to get you views. Rather think about what you’re going to give your audience, something of value to them. It’s better to build an army of influencers than an army of spammers.
4. Mutually Benefitial Partnerships
If you can’t exchange dollars, exchange services. Either way, you’re building relationships and displaying a genuine desire to help the other person out. Everyone has goals, help someone achieve theirs and they will help you achieve yours.
5. You Are As Smart As The Average of Your 5 Closest Friends
Surround yourself with firelighters – people who recognize your passion (your flame) and encourage you to move forward, and try to avoid the firefighters – people who diminish your spirits by trying to bring you down – intentionally or unintentionally. You’re known by the company you keep, so affiliate and associate yourself wisely. Do some research on successful people and try to model their success. Also, if you haven’t had a mentor yet, consider seeking one out. Personalized and experienced professional guidance can work wonders for your career.
6. Fear is For Loosers – Take Risks
Overcome shyness, fear and doubt, and don’t be afraid to venture outside your comfort zone. Experiencing discomfort or anxiety really means that you’re entering areas that you’re unfamiliar with – which means you’re growing! Don’t be afraid to do a little traveling, either. Not every opportunity is going to present itself conveniently in your backyard.
7. Be Forever Optimistic
Cut loose the people who are continuously bringing you down. It’s a tough space we’re in, and pessimism will only make it tougher. This touches upon my earlier point of surrounding yourself with winners, because winners tend to be optimistic people. It’s always the losers that tell you that it can’t be done.
8. You’re Not A Thug, You’re a Professional
Present yourself professionally in every medium that you exchange conversation or information with other professionals. From proper sounding voicemails, to practicing good email etiquette (well thought-out subject lines, following up, etc.), to wearing the proper attire to networking situations, it’s important to brand yourself as a professional in every situation you place yourself in. This also pertains on and offstage, as well.
9. Be a Constant Learner
This is where most of you readers already have the leg up. By keeping up on your music industry news, you place yourself ahead of the curve of other would-be professionals in this business, and you position yourself amongst a crowd of legitimate industry professionals. By being informed, you not only are more likely to execute better business strategies, but you’ll always have proper and appropriate conversation to ignite in a networking situation – for instance, “What do you think about RootMusic’s new Social Touring integration for the BandPage app?”
10. Make A Dent In The Universe
At the end of the day, it’s all about being memorable. Personal branding is all about the mental associations people have of you. In order to stand out or move ahead, you must become remarkable at what you do. This also means being authentic – which shouldn’t be too difficult if you’re truly passionate about what you do. Leaders didn’t become leaders by following others…dare to be different!
Shout out to Hisham Dahud (@hishamdahud), musician & music consultant for his contributions to this article!
by Hardik Dave’