6 Music Biz Essentials for Artists

We’re making progress. The indie revolution is settled in and has taken hold. Artists are carving their paths, and music marketers have come out of the woodwork with more advice than one ever should follow. Besides, following generic advice or advice that tells you how to make it is just that ~ generic. It’s just not a one size fits all business. It’s as diverse as could be. I have friends who are massively successful who no one has even heard of and others who are so known they feel like prisoners to their work. Careful what you wish for! Today’s article are 6 quick new (and old) music biz essentials, those that ring true no matter when they came to be.

I hope it helps you fit the pieces of your puzzle together and rock your music career.

Here they are:

My 6 Music Biz Essentials: Traversing Music Mountain, With the New (and Old) Rules of the Road

1. Know What Makes You Different (and stick to it no matter what).

Thanks to my friends at Sonicbids who just posted this video of Ed Sheeran on their site. It speaks volumes, so I decided to repost it here.

For years I’ve been preaching and teaching artists to follow their own uniqueness. To be yourself no matter what the cost. Listen to Ed talk about his similar success strategy. It will most definitely enlighten and possibly surprise you.

2. Know Your Message and Get It In Your Brand.

Stop promoting and start sharing ~ your message. And don’t expect it to just show up at the snap of your fingers. It’s a process that unfolds as you dig deeper into your artist psyche. It’s not usually so obvious at first glance, and one of the most frustrating pieces and perhaps the key element in an artist that hooks us or not. Start with keeping a journal, asking your most trusted friends and mentors. Be on a mission to discover who you are and what you have to bring. Don’t stop until it’s obvious to you and everyone around you and then build it into your brand so it’s experienced by your fans.

3. Don’t Isolate: Build a Community of Like-Minded Artists and Industry Mentors Who Tell You The Truth But Give Real Solutions.

Someone said years ago at an ASCAP Conference and it stuck with all of us. They said something like ‘Stop trying to get the attention of big names in music. Look around you and find the smartest, most capable, talented people and rise up with them.’ Stop trying to do it alone. You’ll waste valuable time and resources and you’ll never get to the horizon you’re looking at.

4. Know the Music Biz and How It Works!.

Listen up. The music biz is a complex and complicated business. Just in the set-up alone, it usually requires a lawyer or tons of research to understand how to register your copyrights and song titles to get paid. Then the process of getting paid of which was never something artist’s got an even share of, even before the rise of streaming.

As Mick Jagger said on getting paid online royalties, “… it is a massive change and it does alter the fact that people don’t make as much money out of records. But I have a take on that – people only made money out of records for a very, very small time. When The Rolling Stones started out, we didn’t make any money out of records because record companies wouldn’t pay you! They didn’t pay anyone! Then, there was a small period from 1970 to 1997, where people did get paid, and they got paid very handsomely and everyone made money. But now that period has gone. So if you look at the history of recorded music from 1900 to now, there was a 25 year period where artists did very well, but the rest of the time they didn’t.”

As Mary J. Blige says: “The music biz is no place for people who don’t know things!”

5. Become the CEO of You, Inc.

One of the biggest secrets in the music industry, one that the industry doesn’t want you thinking is true – which is why they butter you up with big expense accounts – lots of money and bling while they just write it off and take it out of your pay anyway – is this:

Most successful artists out there are ENTREPRENEURS.

Like the Rolling Stones, Kiss, Bon Jovi, Green Day, even Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift. They are all CEO’s of their empires. And you don’t have to have a mega empire, but you have to be the CEO of YOUR EMPIRE. And until you are, you will fall victim to that secret that the industry wants you to believe.

6. Make Your Own Luck: Don’t Wait For Your Big Break.

Ben Folds says: “Don’t wait for your big break. I realize the big question for most aspiring musical artists is how to get your break. There isn’t really a break. It’s a lot of different breaks, some good and some bad. There will be significant lucky opportunities that you may or may not recognize as such. It’s not an exact science and the landscape is constantly morphing. Advice on how to ‘make it’ is dubious business. I do believe that if you’re not ready musically, the best opportunity in the world isn’t even an opportunity.”

Want more great tips, solutions, and some free guidance? Join my FREE 6 Week Online Artist Development Program: Step Up to the Spotlight. This program has helped over 13,400 artists amplify their impact and skyrocket their careers. I want you to be next.


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