There are 7 overlooked, underestimated & misunderstood core principles that are absolutely required to build, grow and sustain a successful career in music. Once you apply them, you will have a massive competitive advantage over 99% of all other musicians pursuing a music career and you will experience a fundamental paradigm shift from ‘looking for opportunities’ to ‘creating them’.
1. The music industry does NOT look for great music to sell – or even great musicians…
Record companies, managers, promoters and big successful bands (who might hire you) look for great ‘people’ who can also create good music. What this means for you is, you need to prove yourself to be rock solid in three key areas (beyond your music) in order to put yourself at the top of the list.
You need to show people and companies in the music industry that any relationship between you and them will be a great the best possible investment for them. You do this by adding lots of value and reducing risks to the other side. Most musicians aren’t aware of this and/or don’t even try. There are lots of ways you can do both of these things once you learn what they are, how they work and how to implement them… This is one of the things I mentor musicians like you to do. Fact is, you MUST do this because if you don’t, the music industry will simply find someone else who will… no matter how great you (or they) think your music is. In addition, when it comes to your music career, you need to prove that you put your money where your mouth is. That means the music industry wants to see you investing in yourself before asking them to do the same – more on this later.
2. Contrary to what the vast majority of people falsely believe, opportunity is never ‘given’ to musicians.
Opportunity is created by musicians who have the right mindset (more on this below), add value & reduce risks for the other side. If you want to build and sustain a successful music career, then it is suicidal to depend on & wait for others in the music industry to ‘give you’ opportunity… You must be proactive and create opportunity for yourself and others around you. It’s not as hard as it sounds when you do the things in point 1 above. This is what I have done and is what I successfully coach other musicians just like you to do.
3. The most underestimated and often misunderstood element required for building a successful career as a professional musician is having the right mindset.
Many people believe they already have the right mindset to become a successful musician… The truth is, I can definitely tell you with certainty that most musicians simply do not possess the right mindset at all – and the few who do, often lose that correct mindset once things get harder, the stakes are higher or situations become stressful… However, the good news is, virtually anyone can learn, master and sustain the right mindset for all situations with the right training and efforts.
4. You really have zero competition.
You probably think the world is filled with competitors and that in order for you to experience your own success in the music industry, you must ‘beat the competition’. The truth is, you don’t really have any competition. Most musicians will eliminate themselves from music career opportunities because they don’t know about or do the critical things I’m teaching you to do (and what not to do) on this page. Once you become truly valuable, low risk and can communicate those facts effectively, the music industry WILL want you, no matter how many other talented people are also trying to achieve the same things you are.
5. The reputable people and companies in the music industry are looking for musicians and bands to invest in for the long term – this is why they invest in ‘people’ and not in ‘music’.
The music industry wants to be sure you are committed for the long term – they won’t be ‘asking’ you if you are committed to the long-term, they’ll be looking for the proof based on what they can find out about you via their research teams… and yes they absolutely will search for all kinds of things about you, your mindset, your commitment, your track record, your strategy, your value and elements of risk.
6. Getting your ‘foot in the door’ is the primary focus of most musicians seeking a career in music.
They think once they are in, they will stay in, or their career will be built on the music they’re creating. This myth is the surest way to get yourself thrown out the same door you just got your foot into. To become a successful professional musician, you must have a strategy that gets you ‘into the music business’, ‘keeps you in the music business’ and ‘makes both you AND everyone around you thrive in the music business’. Until and unless you have that, the chance of developing a successful music career is basically zero.
7. The biggest secret to success in developing your own career in music is integrating all the pieces together.
This means that when you take an action of some kind (for example, promoting your album, getting people to your website, expanding your social media presence, promoting your live shows, seeking deals with labels, managers, promoters, etc.), all of the things that go into doing those things must be integrated with everything else you are doing. When the pieces are disconnected, they are simply single actions – that is not effective. When they are integrated as part of a real strategy, then your chances to achieve your objectives go through the roof.
Now that you know what you need to be, do & have, and most importantly, what NOT to do, what next?
The first thing you need to realize, understand & accept is that nobody makes it in the music business on their own. Every star in the music business today does have or has had a music career mentor of some kind – all of them, zero exceptions.
Credit: Tom Hess