Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Don't be Bullshit!

“I will make it in this business because I believe in myself. I have the drive and determination to be a success. Plus, I have great songs and an amazing band!” Hey, while we are here, let’s add, “I’m smart, talented and, gosh darn it, people like me.”

Reality check, people: it takes a lot more than drive, determination, a positive attitude and believing in yourself to make it in the music business. I’m not saying you don’t need those things. They’re helpful, but they are only one small piece of the whole.

Talk is cheap

If song or artist is good enough, they will be found. Bullshit.

If you just believe it will happen, it will. Bullshit.

If you just know it’s going to happen, it will. Bullshit.

Talk is cheap and, unfortunately, talk is currently taking the place of action. Many artists put all their energy into the determination, the drive and the attitude while they forget to do the actual work to make their dreams real. I am all about positive attitudes and believing in yourself, your dreams and your goals, but you have to do the freaking work in order to achieve them. Too many, and I mean WAY too many, seem to forget that. Without doing the work, you’re just living in a dreamland.

Mixing the drive with the direction

You want success? Then do the work and make it happen. If all you got is talk, determination and belief, then keep your day job. Stop talking and start acting on your dreams.

Think of the positive attitude and the determination as fuel. All those nice happy elements have their place, but without the action, they’re like gas in a parked car. It takes clear direction, it takes a solid plan, it takes consistent work and it takes an engine and a driver to turn the key and move forward. Gas on its own is just fuel. A dream on its own is just a dream. It takes commitment and effort on the worst and hardest days, not just the easiest, to work your ass off in order to make your dreams the reality.

Too many people also claim that they know exactly what it takes to make it in the music industry. But if you have all of the answers, if you have it all figured out, why aren’t you where you want to be?

It takes the right direction. It takes the right approach, a clear plan of action and an approach that will fit you, your situation and your goals. If you are working off of models of artists from 20 years ago, I guarantee that you will not have the same results of those artists. This also goes for all the studios, the producers and the engineers that you talk to that claim you have the best stuff they have heard in years. Now, it may not be all of them, but a lot of them are giving you the compliments you want to hear so that they can get the business and cash they need.

Avoiding the swing set

Avoid the really high highs and the really low lows. Working crazy hours non-stop leads to burn out which leads to neglecting the work that needs to be done. Spread the work out evenly across a number of days maintain your endurance. Of course some days you are going to have to work more than others, but if you have a regular schedule that is easy to keep, the work will easily become habit.

The same goes with the hype. If you spend all of your time talking yourself into how your career is just going to take off and then going around telling everyone how big you’re going to be, you will not only burn out others’ trust in you, but, eventually, your trust in yourself. Talk with confidence and back it up in action. Instead of bragging about how you are “on the brink”, talk about the small steps, like a review you received or how sales are going up, something a little more real and tangible. Otherwise you are just another annoying artist that comes off talking shit and not showing follow through.

Will power, positive attitudes and drive can hurt as much as help

If you spend all your time talking about it and not doing it, you are not moving forward. Be positive, but then use that energy to push you to do the work: call a venue back to inquire about a booking, make sure you get a sample of a song out everyday, etc. That’s showing the drive and determination by applying a plan and executing it.

Plans and workloads

Establish an effective plan and stick to it. If it has to change, then change it for the right reasons and not because you are tired or you don’t want to do the work. Learn from books and other artists who are doing it the right way and getting the right results now. Work on the immediates, such as internet postings, song samples, sending emails or press packs for reviews, posting pictures, doing online sales, giveaways, etc. Reach out to other venues, bands and artists. Research labels, touring companies, booking agents or talent buyers. Divide the work load to take positive steps everyday to ensure that you are being as effective as possible with the allotted time. This is just skimming the surface, but success hinges on a solid plan and continuous execution of that plan.


Instead of talking about what you are going to do, do it. Take small, forward steps everyday. Build the foundation of your music, your product, your branding, your marketing and promotion so that, as you move forward, you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Step up and do it right. Don’t cut the corners. These efforts will pay off in the end. You will appear much more professional and together than a lot of other artists who are appealing to the same people.

Stay positive but match that with the planning, the work, the endurance and the effort. Do it the right way and take the right steps to be in as much control as you can while moving forward in the best way possible. Otherwise, your music will only ever be a hobby.

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