Jan 3

12 Ways Many Artists And Songwriters Self-Sabotage Their Careers

...And How To Avoid Them!

© 2024 Vinny Ribas

Chances are you’ve already set some lofty goals for your 2024 music journey. You know it’s going to take hard work and long hours to achieve them, and you’re up for the challenge. The only thing stopping you is knowing the exact steps to take. And just as important is knowing the best order to do them in!

This skill is called sequencing. Your ability to effectively sequence the steps you take will directly affect the outcome you produce. Being out of sequence is one of the biggest reasons that artists fail, even when they do everything they have been told to do to be successful.

Here are some examples of poor sequencing to avoid:

1. Releasing music before you have put adequate time and effort into marketing it. That’s kinda like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. Develop and implement a marketing plan to create anticipation before you release new music.
2. Booking certain gigs before your act is ready for them. You can severely damage your reputation by misbooking yourself into a venue and looking amateurish.

3. Pitching your music before doing your homework on the person you’re pitching to. It’s important to know if that person even accepts unsolicited songs as well as exactly what they are looking for. Whenever possible, get permission first!
4. Pitching yourself to a potential manager or booking agent before you are actually ready. It’s critical that you put the things in place that will make you attractive to that professional. To do that you need to know what they look for in an artist. Remember, make a bad impression and you may never get a 2nd chance.
5. Performing or recording your original music before you run it by some professionals. It's important to know if it is the caliber you think it is or need it to be. Let’s face it. We all like to think our music is great. But it’s a very competitive field and you always have to put your best foot forward.

6. Submitting your music to any industry professional without asking permission first. Whether you’re trying to land a publisher, get a sync placement or lock in any other kind of deal, always ask 1) if it’s ok to submit your music as well as 2) what format they would like it in.

7. Showing up for a gig without scoping out the venue and talking to the manager and sound person beforehand. You have to know what to expect and what to bring. You can be in for a terrible surprise and even severely damage your reputation if you make wrong assumptions about a venue and what’s expected of you.

8. Working hard to attract fans without first having methods in place to capitalize on and monetize them. If the goal is to make money from your fanbase, it’s most beneficial to put those opportunities in place sooner rather than later. You also need to be sure to include regular calls to action directing your fans your merch, music, show tickets, fan club etc.

9. Jumping on opportunities when you seriously aren’t ready or prepared for them. For example, agreeing to do a gig that requires a 90-minute show when you only have 40 minutes worked up. It’s one thing to recognize an opportunity and not want to pass it up. It’s fine if you know that you can work hard now to take advantage of that opportunity and perform at the level that is expected. But never jump on an opportunity in which you have to ‘fake it’ and can end up embarrassing yourself.

10. Entering into any industry deal without having some form of legal agreement in place that has been drawn up or reviewed by your entertainment attorney. The industry is flooded with very convincing sharks who take advantage of unsuspecting and hungry artists and songwriters. In addition, having your agreements reviewed or drawn up by an attorney who doesn’t know the entertainment business can be just as bad or even worse than not having any agreement at all.

11. Hiring or partnering with someone or with a service without thoroughly checking their credentials. Nowadays it is easy for someone to give the impression that they are reputable and on the up-and-up. Do your homework. Get references. Find former clients and ask them about their experience working for the person you’re considering hiring. Trusting someone just because they say what you want to hear is not a good plan.

12. Making any move in the industry without first studying the proper, generally accepted or recommended way to do it. Every industry has their ‘generally accepted practices’. It is to your advantage to study what’s the norm in the music business so you 1) don’t embarrass yourself by doing something that is unprofessional or unacceptable, and 2) you’ll know when something is ‘not quite right’, thus avoiding getting ripped off.

The bottom line is that you can do all the right things but not be successful because you didn’t do them in the right order. Think carefully how any major move you want to make is going to play out if you rush into it now, or would it be wider to wait until you’ve put some other things in place first.

If you want to learn more about these and other potential issues artists and songwriters, www.cartne.com is a great place to start for free.

About Vinny Ribas

Vinny is an artist manager and consultant as well as the founder of www.Cartne.com.  He has coached over 1K artists and songwriters. He is a former full-time artist, booking agent, songwriter, producer, studio owner, fair entertainment buyer and much more!
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