Music Career Advice: “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You”

This post was originally written and shared by Bas Grasmayer on the MUSIC x TECH x FUTURE newsletter. 

The 7 words that make up the title, a quote from Steve Martin, deserve to be an article of their own, on their own. It has come to be one of my favourite quotes for ‘making it’ in the music business.

I attend a lot of music business events and sometimes give lectures at schools, and I end up meeting a lot of artists who are asking the wrong questions. Questions like:

  • “How can I get this signed to a label?”
  • “How do I find a good booking agent?”
  • “How do I get people to buy my music?”

The successful artists I know obsess over one question alone:

“How do I make this better?”

They invite feedback and listen with attention when getting it. Even when that feedback is not coming from a label representative, but an industry outsider, because they realize that in the end most of their fans will be industry outsiders.

So if you’re still looking for a new year’s resolution, then make it this:

  • I will focus on improving myself and the art I create.
  • I will make it so good they can’t ignore me.
  • I will be critical of myself and invite feedback so I may learn.
  • I will find people who can teach me how to be better, either by direct feedback or by being positive role models.

Because once you get really good, people will find you. People will share your music. People will want to collaborate with you. You’ll get your opportunities. You’ll be able to surround yourself with skilled people who can worry about those other questions.

Focus on yourself, because that’s where change is easiest to make.

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DaveMusic Career Advice: “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You”

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