We’ve all heard stories of huge bands breaking up seemingly out of the middle of nowhere. For aspiring musicians, it’s hard to imagine why bands who experience so much success explode and fizzle out, but there’s always hidden dynamics and unhealthy patterns at work in the frayed relationships in these bands. Bands who haven’t achieved major success are often plagued by the same sorts of relationship issues on top of challenges like worries about money and whether their hard work will ever pay off.
So many of these problems are centered around trust and respect. You could be making incredible music, selling out shows night after night, and signed to the label of your dreams, but you’ll be miserable if there’s turmoil within the relationships in your band.
Faking it is something we’re sometimes told to do that will help us be successful in music, and there’s definitely some truth there. Getting up on stage and performing takes a lot of bravery for some musicians, and when they don’t feel brave, acting like they do is the next best thing. But when it comes to writing music that actually means something, honesty has to be at the core of your process. No, this doesn’t mean you need to sit through an hour of therapy before you write music, but it does entail coming to terms with who you are and how you really feel about the world around you in order to write engaging music.
Goals have always been important in music, but they’re more important than ever in today’s complicated music industry. Lots of musicians start bands because they want to express themselves through music, and that is and always should be the driving force behind why a band makes music. But if the goals stop there, your band probably won’t be able to accomplish much.
As a musician, your single biggest challenge is getting your music before your target audience. It’s not enough to create good music; you also have to market it effectively.
It doesn’t help that far too many musicians rely on spur of the moment actions and ad-hoc marketing tactics. Instead of approaching their music marketing with a systematic plan, they make reactive decisions that don’t yield any long-term success.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to create a DIY music marketing plan that actually works. I’ll cover branding, developing a marketing mix, and finding your target audience so you can make better marketing decisions.
Music is, was, and probably always will be an often brutal and thankless career path for most musicians. Summing a musician’s struggle up as lots of work for not much money would be way too simple because for serious songwriters and musicians, the emotional toll of trying to forge a path in music proves to be emotionally unbearable from time to time. For most musicians, money is secondary to their passion, but rejection after rejection and the creeping feeling that an artist’s sacrifice, talent, and work won’t ever amount to anything is often so damaging that it makes even the most promising musicians question themselves. Learning to cope with disappointment is not an option if you love making music and want to share it with people.
Songwriting can be frustratingly unpredictable. You might write for six hours and come up with nothing memorable one day and come up with something incredible the minute you sit down the next. But believe it or not, songwriters are best off pursuing all their ideas, even the ones they think won’t go anywhere. Musicians risk cutting themselves off from opportunities to develop good ideas when they’re too rigid about their own creative processes, and one of the best ways to combat this is by following through on finishing all of your songs.