By Cari Cole
After decades of being enslaved to greedy music mogul profiteers, and getting ripped off by managers and unfair percentages that rape and pillage your bottom line, now for the first time ever, musicians have a chance to free themselves.
But not if you still subscribe to the old rhetoric. Most days I still hear artists recapitulating the typical wagers, stuck in the old paradigm, dragging the virtual chains of the past. Stuff like “I’m too old”, when age is no longer an issue (even labels are changing — a friend just got signed to Universal Records at 58 – true story.) Or the common fear about looks, “I have to lose weight”, when clearly it’s not an issue anymore (Adele, Sam Smith, Alabama Shakes etc.), or “I don’t want to make commercial crap” as if you have to sell out to be successful when there are tons of successful artists not making that “crap” in the marketplace. It’s incredible how the big label narrative got in our heads so much that we are still spouting their crap, when it’s not true anymore. But there it still is, in our heads. If we could just get out of our heads.
It’s like a prisoner dragging a virtual ball and chain when they have been released from their prison cell and are standing in the sun, free and clear. Old habits die hard.
But it’s time for a new diatribe. Time for a cleanse. From the inside out. You are no longer a prisoner of the system. Of the music industry. You are free. If and when you choose to be.
Here’s the New Musician Code:
1. Stop Waiting to Be Discovered — Discover Yourself Instead
The biggest pitfall that snags artists, is the belief they must be “discovered” by someone in the industry. Someone who will make them “famous” and “make them” a star. Those days are long gone. And besides, those days were the epitome of egads of schemes and artists who got ripped off blind. One pays a heavy price for the reality of that kind of thinking. Don’t think for a moment that you don’t pay for fame.
And yes, of course, connections are important, but they come along as you are rolling. You are the sole impetus and fire behind your career. You are the one who gets the ball rolling. Get used to it and get on with it. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll be rolling in it ;).
2. Don’t Buy the Bullshit
Stop believing the old, archaic messages thrown out to artists (from an industry that only wants to enslave you and basically doesn’t exist anymore) like:
- Over 27 is too old to “make it” in music. NOPE. Haha. Not true.
- You have to be skinny, anorexic, and willing to starve yourself sick, to be a pop star. NOPE. Nada. Thanks Adele and Alabama Shakes (and everyone else who doesn’t fit that stupid, contrived model that music lovers don’t even care about.)
- That you have to write overly commercial songs (crappy pop songs) that you don’t like or don’t relate to, that you have to sacrifice your artistry to be successful in music. NOPE. Not true, unless you want to be Ariana Grande or some Dr. Luke manufactured nonsense.
And any other bullshit you’re willing to believe to keep yourself down. Cut yourself free baby.
3. The Sky’s the Limit
Your new motto: “I can do and be anything as long as I believe I can, put a plan in motion to achieve my goals, and build a team to help me get there. The sky’s the limit.” BOOM.
4. Ensure Your Future
The only way to ensure your future is to plan and grow your empire. Set goals. Create action steps to reach those goals, build a business, grow your team. Do it. No more hoping, waiting or wondering if you’re good enough. Your desire for music is never going to go away. You might as do it well – now. Or you’re just wasting precious time.
You’re living the dream. Don’t miss it.
Are you ready to see more return on your efforts? Stop waffling, splattering every which way trying to do everything and doing nothing well? Start climbing instead of falling….