Top 10 Mistakes People Make When Trying To Become Professional Musicians
By Tom Hess - 04/26/2010 - 01:08 PM EDT
There many things you need to know and do in order to become
successful in the music industry. But even if you learn and do all of
those things, you still might prevent yourself from achieving success
in the music business by making key mistakes along the way. There are
many pitfalls on the path to success, and that is particularly true in
the music industry. After mentoring many musicians who are developing
their own music careers, I see the same false assumptions, problems and
mistakes appear again and again. Here is the list of the top 10
mistakes that can hold you back.
1. How much value do you bring to the deal right now.
Mistake #10 - Not having a compelling image that is
congruent with your music. Most musicians (and bands) severely
underestimate the importance of their image. Yes, music is about
'music', but music business success is about a total package that
includes music, image and visual stage show among other things that
need to be fully developed and integrated in a congruent way.
Mistake #9 - Trying to 'get
your name out there'. Although this seems to be a main goal of
most musicians and bands, it is the wrong approach to start with.
Before trying to be seen and heard as much as possible, it is often
more important to focus on 'converting' the people who hear and see you
into becoming actual fans. This 'conversion' is the first key to your
promotional success, NOT getting seen or heard as much as possible.
Mistake #8 - Believing that social media websites
are the keys to online music promotion for musicians and bands. Social
media websites are a tool. They are ONE piece of the online music
marketing puzzle. Music industry companies (record labels, artist
managers, booking agents, etc.) are far more interested in the
popularity of YOUR website, not how many friends you have at
MySpace, YouTube, Facebook or any other website that you do not own and
control. Want to impress the industry with your band's promotion? Build
your website traffic.
Mistake #7 - Not investing enough time into
building your music career. Most musicians spend most of their
time on music, but put very little effort into the many other critical
elements needed to make it in the music business. If you are already a
talented musician, you should invest at least 50% of your time into
starting or advancing your music career. If you are still developing
your musical skills, you should still invest around 25% of your 'music'
time into building a future music career.
Mistake #6 - Surrounding yourself with people who
are negative, lazy and lack ambition. If you are very serious
about becoming a professional musician and building a great career in music,
then you absolutely must surround yourself with like-minded musicians.
Mistake #5 - Having merely mediocre live
performing skills. Many musicians, who are not yet in a good band,
put off developing their live performing and stage presence skills.
This is a big reason why talented musicians don't get into really good
bands that they audition for. Your music may be good, but a live 'show'
requires more than great music. If people only wanted to hear the
music, they would listen to you at home. Both fans and record labels
want (and expect) to see a REAL show. Neglecting this area results in
talented musicians and bands becoming quickly forgotten.
Mistake #4 - Focusing on increasing the
'quantity' of fans instead of the 'intensity' of your fans. The
'number' of fans you have should always be your secondary focus (not
your primary one) if you want to become successful in the music
industry. The fact is, it is not the number of 'fans' that matters
most, it's the number of FANATICS which will contribute more directly
to your success (or lack of it). This is particularly true in the
beginning of a band's music career. Focus more effort on converting your
existing fans into raving fanatics. Learn to do this and the number of
your overall fans will increase through powerful word of mouth.
Mistake #3 - Not enough cash flow to support your
music career. Like it or not, it takes money to build a music
career. Even if other people/companies are paying for your record, tour
support, merchandise, etc. you still need to have the freedom to
pursue opportunities as they come. Sadly, many musicians miss
opportunities because they can't afford to take advantage of them. In
addition to a decent income, you also need the flexibility of being
able to take time away from that income source to go into the studio,
go on tour, etc. That is why learning how to teach guitar is such a
great way to achieve both if you learn how to
become a highly successful guitar teacher.
Mistake #2 - Not enough depth in your music
relationships. There's an old expression, "It's not what you know,
it's who you know." In music this is often modified to, "It's not who
you know, it's who knows you." The truth is, it's not about either. The
most important aspect of connections within the music industry is how
deep are the current relationships you have now and will develop in the
future. You don't want to simply know people or be known, you want
people who know you to have a real deep connection with you so that you
are always on the top of their mind when opportunities present
themselves. Ask yourself, "What can I do right now to deepen my
existing relationships further on an ongoing basis?"
Mistake #1 - Having a fundamental
misunderstanding about what record companies look for - and expect from
new bands. This is a huge topic, but in a nutshell it's very
useful to think of record companies like a bank that lends money to
people or small businesses. Record companies make most of their
decisions about whom they will work with and what the terms will be in
much the same way that a bank will determine who they will loan money
to and what the terms of the loan will be. Both record companies and
banks basically want to see 3 things:
2. How much risk do you bring with you right now.
3. How much potential value and risk might you bring to them in
the future after they invest in you.
If you want to buy a house, the bank wants to know a lot about the
specific house you want to buy and EVEN MORE about YOU. Record
companies are the exact same, they want to know about your music, your
talent and your band, but they also care as much (or more) about YOU
(and your band mates) as people. What about YOU makes a record deal a
good or bad investment for them.
To learn more about avoiding these big mistakes and building a
successful music career, get my free music career
About the author: Tom Hess is a highly successful
guitar teacher, professional touring guitarist and recording artist. He
mentors musicians online to develop their own professional music
careers and provides free music career
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