Oct 16

The Music Success Equation

I am a firm believer that talent is not enough to build a sustainable music career. That thought is affirmed by just these 2 facts:

  1. Millions of very talented singers, musicians, and songwriters try every day but fail to launch a successful music career.

  2. Many artists get one song to go viral on social media, but then quickly fade into the endless sea of content makers.

After coaching over one thousand artists, I am convinced I there is a path to music industry success, and it's not rocket science at all. It just takes a few key ingredients.

I have put those ingredients into an equation that anyone can use:

Marketable Talent + Industry Knowledge + Trusting Relationships + A Pleasing Personality + Perseverance = A Profitable, Long-Term Music Career

Now, before I dig into these, I need to mention that everyone's idea of 'success' is different. So for this equation, I define success as making a good, steady income over a long period of time.

Let me define each of these components as they relate to this equation.

Marketable Talent: You can be one of the best at your talent. But if no one wants it, it's not a viable component. For example, let's say you are amazing at playing the spoons. However, there aren't many bands hiring spoon players these days. Or, more realistically, you may be an amazing opera singer. But if you don't live near or travel to venues where they hire opera singers, your talent is not marketable in your area. Your talent needs to be something people want. You don't have to be the best at your talent. You just need to be marketable.

Industry Knowledge: If you don't know how to navigate the music industry, you'll never be able to market or take advantage of your talent. In fact, chances are you'll throw away a lot of money, waste a lot of time, and even get taken by some sharks because you don't know how the industry works. You'll also leave a lot of money on the table because you don't know that you've earned it or how to collect it.

You can learn the industry through trial and error, by going to school for it, by hiring a coach or artist developer, by getting a mentor, or by taking advantage of robust online educational resources like Cartne (www.cartne.com).

Trusting Relationships:
Many people believe they just need to knock on every door and meet everyone they can in the industry. However, that will not get you to where you want to be. People may know your name, but they don't yet trust you enough to help you, to open doors, or to refer you for opportunities. Your job is to build close relationships with some key people, such as booking agents, members of the press, publishers, and even other artists who are a few steps ahead of you. Or maybe the relationships you need to build are with professional songwriters, venue managers, event planners, etc. They are the ones who, once they trust you, will be willing to 1) help you as much as they can, and 2) walk you past the gatekeepers.

Pleasing Personality:
Having all of the above pieces in place won't help you at all if people don't like you or like being around you. No one wants to put their name on the line by referring you if you are moody, negative, depressed, confrontational, abusive, etc. Just picture what it would be like to spend a month on a tour bus with several musicians and their support staff. You would want everyone else to be easy to get along with or it would make for a very long and mentally depressing trip.

There is no doubt that it's virtually impossible to put the building blocks of a long career in place in a short amount of time. It takes time to hone your skills and make them as marketable as possible. It takes time to learn what you need to know in the industry so you can build out a viable career plan. It may take a lot more time to build trusting relationships. And of course, all of these will take some financial investment on your part. But if you know the business, you'll know how to earn the money you need to invest instead of taking it out of your pocket.

Understand that you are embarking on a journey that will lead you to your final destination of making a living in music. Maintain the course. no matter what. Your reward is waiting for you!

 © 2023 Vinny Ribas

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