How to Find Your Music Business Lane

I believe that every artist on the planet has a destiny. A place where they belong – a lane, so to speak, one that is undeniably yours. And it’s not just my belief, it’s what I’ve witnessed over 30+ years of coaching artists and watching their paths unfold in the music business. Success for each artist happens differently and often in the most unexpected of ways. It is usually not the story you first envision. A friend of mine once said, “There is a point in the music business when a train arrives. Get on it.”

Most artists start out with the goal of becoming a mega recording artist or to reach as many people as possible. Ask an artist starting out what they want and they won’t say “to make millions of dollars,” they’ll usually say “to sing for as many people as possible.” Once they’ve been in the game for a while, they may change their digits from people to dollars, but it still is about sharing their music with the world, as far as they can reach.

But it doesn’t start with a mega-budget to reach mega people. It starts small and works its way up like you would in any other industry. The key is knowing where you and your music fit ~ finding your lane, and then devising a strategy to drive it all the way home.

Here are my Top 5 Tips to Finding Your Music Business Lane & Driving It All The Way Home:

1. Be You.

That’s where you start. But sometimes that is where you back up to. Because if you’ve been in this industry for a while you might have to work backward to get back to you. Ed Sheeran recently said, “My advice is just be you. There are 7 billion ppl in the world and there is no one like you, no one who writes songs like you, no one who’s going to sing like you as long as you keep it exactly yourself. I mean, imitate people to a point to get your influence, to help you write songs and learn guitar and help you sing, but once you’ve found your voice just stick with it, even if it sounds odd and ppl tell you it won’t work, just stick with it and it eventually will…”

You can’t drive all the way home without it.

2. Know Where Your Music Fits.

This is where the rubber meets the road. If you can figure this out, you’re well on your way to decoding the mystery. Knowing where you and your music fit could be the one thing that separates you from everyone else and creates your success. Try to be objective about your own product. Does it scream film and TV? Or does it sound like you belong in a stadium? Where do you hear your music? In a yoga studio or at Bonnaroo? And if you hear yourself saying “my music appeals to everyone and all stages” you’re in trouble. Be specific and target your approach to be successful.

3. Know How the Music Business Works.

Mary J Blige says: “The music business is no place for people who don’t know things.”
If you want to be successful with your music, then you must know how the music business works. I recommend Donald Passman’s book “Everything You Need to Know About the Music Business” as a starting point. If you want to get there faster, work with a music mentor & strategist like myself ;). In my FREE Step Up to the Spotlight 6 Week Artist Development Program, I reveal my Steps to Stardom Blueprint to use on your own terms!

4. Work Inside the Music Biz.

The first step is working with people in the industry. You could be 20 or 40 and still be exiling yourself from the business. And no, that doesn’t mean working for a label or management company. What this means is to cowrite with writers better than you, meet with your PRO rep, go to see publishers, work with producers with a track record. Get yourself working with people who are in the music biz. That’s how things happen.

5. Design a Music Biz Strategy.

Every artist’s path to success is different. No two artists can follow the same path and should not follow generic marketing advice. To do so is to FAIL. You need a custom-designed strategy to fit you and your music for these 2 reasons:

A. Do Not Follow Generic Marketing Advice. Music marketing is a heck of a lot DIFFERENT than regular business marketing. So those of you out there who are studying with regular marketing coaches – it WON’T WORK. You need to study music marketing with a music mentor who knows the business and have them help you build a strategy for YOUR music.

B. Don’t Try What Worked for Your Friend’s Music. The same thing that worked for your friend’s heavy metal band or your folk singer-songwriter friend is NOT going to work for you. Following a path where someone else found success could end up losing you years chasing your tail.


No two artists make it the same way. Knowing where you and your music fit in this industry, plus great branding + a killer marketing strategy are the keys to real and lasting success.

Also, consider working with a Music Mentor or Consultant like myself, especially if you like a more “hand’s on” approach. I know I did! I like to learn by watching and get the information in sound bytes from an actual person instead of in a manual. Working with someone who’s been around the block and is inside the music business will help you get there faster and help you carve a career that fits you and your music (key). Most artists I mentor had a lot of the pieces in place, but didn’t have that strategic thinking and brand building to take them all the way home. Once we got the strategy in place, wha la! They were on their way!

If you want to get there faster (and better)… you might want to think about joining a free artist development program like ours below. It’s a great way to take a big jump ahead…

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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