There comes a time where you have to address the elephant in the room.
It has to be said. Musicians suck as bosses.
Some rap artists would have you believe they are the very definition of “boss.”
That is the greatest fallacy ever put to record in quite some time.
Just as companies go through personnel changes, so do bands.
Band members come; band members go.
Managers are here today, gone tomorrow.
It is time musicians come to grips with this, if they ever plan to have a sustainable career.
Without goals and a general plan of action, a business owner cannot expect to succeed.
Independent musicians need to understand that they are inherent business owners.
Therefore, you need to look at your productions as business assets.
You have to understand what value your productions have and to whom.
Artists never seem to think like this. Everything is a gamble.
“If I make it, they will come.” Okay, Robert Redford.
For those that want to stop the insanity, you need to realize where you are failing yourself. It is not because you are not working hard. You are not working intelligently. Here are the biggest holes in your business that are keeping you from progressing.
SMART Goals Are Non-Existent
If you do not have a good grasp on why you are looking to do music professionally, then you should stop wasting your time. If it is “all you want to do,” then how are you actually going to make that a reality? Have you done any research? Do you know where you will find income?
SMART goals can guide you in your quest to doing music full-time. Goals help you come up with a strategic plan. Goals help you temper expectations while at the same time keeping you focused and inspired.
Having a Good Team is an Afterthought
As stated in the beginning of this post, many bands see people come and go in various capacities. Most of the time it is due to people have conflict of interests. Sometimes it is because a person just is not into it.
When you are working towards your goals, you need to make sure you surround yourself with people that will help you achieve them. It is not enough to just be friends with them, if your friends are lazy or negative. When you have goals, you should be driven by purpose. The people around you should understand your purpose and look to complement your efforts. Those that detract from your mission, remove them.
It is hard to run a business by yourself. Good help is hard to come by though. Learn what you can handle on your own and then look to find good people to support in the areas you need help.
Don’t Lead By Example
This goes towards the team concept. You cannot expect your team to work harder than you and if they are, shame on you. As the head of your music business empire, you need to out-work everyone. It is your business after all, which dovetails into…
Managers are Employees, Not Genies, Slaves and/or One-Man Shows
Music managers seem to be misunderstood. Some music managers misunderstand themselves. Simply stated, a manager is your employee. He/She works for you. Their job is to make sure you are getting optimal results from your business decisions.
Yes, traditionally music managers serve as part-legal staff, part-security and part-counselor. The thing is, with so many artists in independent capacities, there is not enough money in it for an individual to wear all those hats. That needs to be parsed among multiple people.
You can help those that manage or consult you by making sure you have a firm grasp on what you want to accomplish. Most artists do not take the time to establish this and that is where they are doomed for failure. Acts like N SYNC got jerked, because they did not know any better until it was too late. Learn about the business first before you start seeking a manager, then remember that your manager works for you, not vice versa.
PR Isn’t Cake Icing
This section should generally state, “do not assume good music will find its audience.” You have to put in the work. There are countless acts like you. If you want to stand out, then you need to be remarkable.
Publicity is not a fringe benefit. It is necessary for success. If people are not talking about you, then you are non-existent. You should not waste your time, if you are not willing to build buzz. The one place that you should seriously consider investing (beyond a solid website) is in a publicist.
These are areas that you need to re-think if you want to have a career in music. It is all hard work, but if you really want it, it will feel like a vacation. That said, I am here to help. Let me know in the comments how you feel you can improve as the owner of your music business.