Remember when you first started making music, how every show, every new fan, every kind word, or t-shirt bought made you feel like you were on top of the world? Somewhere along the way as you began to grasp the business side of the industry, you lost that sense of excitement and wonder at every opportunity or win that came your way—no matter how big or small. But learning to embrace and celebrate the small wins, leads to a slew of positive outcomes—including helping you accomplish your stretch goals even after.
So how do you begin to turn small wins into huge successes?
Try being a serious musician long enough and you’ll soon see that nothing about writing, performing, and recording music is simple or straightforward. Whether it’s setting up to track the acoustic guitar on a song or performing to a packed venue, if something can go wrong it often does and sometimes in spectacular fashion. In case you’re not familiar, this idea is called Murphy’s Law, and it’s especially prevalent when it comes to bands touring. Even when things run smoothly, touring can be a challenge for artists, but if you find yourself unprepared for the hidden costs of touring, you could be in for some major problems.
If you’re new to making music or are just plain aloof, it might seem like the world of live music is a free-for-all where bands and their fans can do whatever they want, but that attitude is a classic hallmark of being “that guy” when it comes to shows. Music scenes are sort of like elephants in the way that they seem to remember even the smallest details about musicians and how they conduct themselves publicly, so what you do at shows is actually really important whether you’re performing or not. Here’s a few of the more prominent “that guy” traits that every musician should avoid:
Ah, the dreaded bad review. Even the most talented and successful songwriters often question themselves after reading a negative write-up about their music, but negative reviews are especially potent when they’re aimed at new and up-and-coming bands. No matter who you are and what kind of music you make, bad reviews and harsh opinions about what you’re doing are an inevitability, and crafting your music a specific way to please critics will only make your music worse. So, what do you do when a bad review comes along?
Every January 1st, millions of people make new year’s resolutions that are meant to lead them to greater things. We promise ourselves we’ll get in shape, eat healthier, get that promotion, move to that new city, or start that new business—whatever it is that’s been brewing in the back of our mind for just a little too long. We’re fired up, we’re excited, and we’re ready to take action.
Unfortunately, so often we let the chaos of every day life get in the way of moving forward on those goals. These things we really want take a backseat to the things we need to do. But it doesn’t have to be that way. When it comes to your music career, pursuing your talent, your dream, your musical destiny is possible to manage amidst a busy life. Put these 3 tips into action, and you’ll soon find your career blossoming.
In a perfect world, the musicians we choose to work with will be thoughtful, helpful, and encouraging when it comes to the music we’re making. But like any relationship, the interpersonal connections between musicians in bands and other musical projects can often be as complex and dramatic as music itself. Sometimes the answer is to dig in, find common ground, and to do the hard work of maintaining these relationships to keep them healthy. But when relationships between musicians become damaged past the point of salvageability, there needs to be a major change.
Whether songwriters like it or not, critics and tastemakers representing blogs and media outlets are a major part of how music is vetted, marketed and sold, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. With how important music criticism is to the success and longevity of a release, it can be tempting for writers to try and make their music sound like something they think will please critics, but they shouldn’t. Here are three reasons why:
Like the bands that frequent them, new music venues are born and every day it seems. Great venues are able to deliver a sense of magic and meaning to musicians and the fans that watch them alike, but setting yourself apart as a music venue is almost as tough as creating meaningful music. Here’s a list of five great new American venues doing just that: