For every big dream in music, there are countless things that a musician needs to do to make it happen. We typically associate thorough organization more with the profession of an accountant than a musician. Yet, it’s an asset that could be the difference between your audience hearing your music or not. Whether you’re booking a national tour or are writing new songs, organization will help you in a big way.
How organization helps you plan for the future
We make music and plan tours with the hope that wider audiences will connect with our music. But that’s not always how it goes, unfortunately.
Organization plans ahead for when things turn out how we want them to, but also for when they don’t. For example, if you book a massive three-month-long tour with the assumption your debut album is going to be a big hit, three months of touring is going to be extremely difficult to sustain if you can’t bring people to your shows. Planning ahead forces you to consider different scenarios of what the future holds for your music career. This is crucial for reigning in expectations. Instead of a long national tour, planning ahead might inspire you to get back in the studio to write more songs or to focus on building up your momentum locally by playing regional shows.
How you plan for the short-term in your career can dictate what happens with your music years down the road. Music might be your greatest passion, but if you aren’t able to get organized enough to book shows, pitch music to playlist curators, or schedule band practices, the chances of someone coming along to handle the administrative side of your work are slim.
Why unorganization leads to money problems in music
If you don’t take time to manage your music finances, you could find yourself in debt and unable to work. Whether it’s a failure to hire a lawyer to help you understand the complex contracts you sign with a record label or an impulsive decision to finance a new record on a high-interest credit card, the financial choices you make now could negatively impact your music career for years or even decades to come. Financial planning in music means making an effort to fully understand things like royalty payments and streaming revenues and consulting an expert when you need to. If you neglect your finances now, you could easily find yourself in debt or not earning what you’re worth. When you’re focus is making music, it’s natural to not want to care as much about money. However, it’s important to remember that being unorganized around your finances could prevent you from focusing on music.
If you’re a naturally unorganized musician, don’t worry. The first step to planning your music career is acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses. Then, find ways to help organization become a part of your routine.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.