The objective perspective is the idea of getting an unbiased perspective from someone who isn’t as close to your situation as you are. The objective perspective has many uses in music. We’ve all had problems with our significant others–if you go talk to a friend about it, you might gain a newfound sense of clarity on the situation. Even if they just reaffirm what you already think, sometimes you just need to hear from someone else. The same goes with your music: You may have gotten so deep into a project and worked so hard on it that you’ve become insensitive to the finer details.
Kurt Cobain did not play guitar technically as well as Eddie Van Halen, nor did he have the vocal range of Freddy Mercury. Who cares? He started a musical revolution! Don’t get caught up in comparing yourselves to others or waiting for the perfect song or perfect tour etc. No one is perfect. You are who you are. Accept it and be real. Start NOW and find your own voice. Don’t be sidetracked by critics. Push through the noise and become who you are meant to be. Your limitations are what make you special. Embrace them.
I know that phrase sounds crazy, but it’s true. One of the reasons you’re going to build your fanbase–without begging people you’ve never met to get involved–is so that you’re not desperate to get help from anyone who comes along. You need to be exceptional and self-sufficient, so you don’t sign with “professionals” who might destroy your future. There have been countless musicians who signed with the first team member that came around. Even though these team members weren’t good enough to handle their talent, they signed on with them and then had their potential sunk when opportunities were squandered away.
Sadly, that happens everyday. Talk to any musician that had a good buzz and went nowhere. They will usually tell you the reason they failed was they trusted their career to someone who didn’t carry their weight. They trusted a manager or label to do something for them and, eventually, momentum died and they were no longer a rising star–they were falling fast. It’s sad when you see an act you think are amazing that never takes off. Often, the hidden story behind that failure is that they trusted team members who ended up dropping the ball.
You need to gain momentum and make progress promoting your music on your own. This way, when a record label comes along–that you aren’t totally convinced is the right fit–you can say, “I don’t care if we sign with them, we’re doing fine without their help.” Even if you don’t sign with the label, you still win. You’re self-sufficient, raising awareness every day and continually expanding your fanbase. So even if you don’t sign with the label, you are still operating full steam ahead. Eventually, a worthwhile manager or label will come knocking and you’ll be able to work with them, strengthening your team even more.
Additionally, if you’ve been doing the groundwork that comes along with building a fanbase, you’ve become familiar with almost every job that is part of the process. This makes it easier to determine whether a potential team member is competent and a worthy addition.
This is the philosophy I have brought to any group I have worked with. I want the group to work as hard as it can on its own–and if someone worthwhile takes notice and can help us grow, we add them to our team. If not, we keep trucking along, knocking down doors and making sure the world notices how great we’re doing on our own. This always makes potential team members take notice. Instead of begging people to listen to your music, you can demand attention by making them interested in you.
If someone asks to be a part of your team, they have to prove they’re capable of pulling their weight and being on board. On the other hand, if you’re writing people emails and begging them to work with you, they won’t feel the need to work as hard because of how desperate you were to have them on in the first place. After all, you should be grateful they even gave you the time of day. Never be desperate for help. Instead, take charge of promoting your music so that you never waste time begging people for their assistance.
A lot of musicians trust team members who don’t pull their weight and are too short-sighted to recognize the problem before it slows down their momentum and kills their dreams. You want to be able to create momentum on your own so you’re never in the position of having to take on a lackluster team member.
Even if your ultimate goal is to get signed to a label and have a manager take care of everything for you, you have to work hard to build a team to make this possible. You can’t become a rock star who dates celebrities and plays video games all day without promoting yourself and getting noticed early on, making it so you can’t be ignored. Waiting around and hoping to be discovered from an email or half-filled live show is a fool’s game.
If you haven’t heard, the evil goons at Google have decided to help make it easier to ignore your band’s email blasts. By using a tabbed system, your emails to fans will now be labelled under a tab called promotions, making it easy for users to ignore them. Seeing as Gmail is the most popular email platform, this change is going to take away from the effectiveness of your email campaigns. So what can you do about it? You can write a personal appeal to your fans and ask them to drag your next email blast into the “Primary” folder, so they will always see them, or link the above video and have them disable tabs altogether.
“We are looking for help getting on bigger bills and our first tour. Please let me know if you’d be interested in helping us”.
This kind of email does not inspire anyone to click on a link to listen to your music and discover that you have 146 YouTube views and 322 Facebook likes. The industry is not about music it’s about stats. Only when your band is of value and appears to be a returnable investment will those in power be willing to “help” you… and at that point, they’ll be finding you anyway.
The phrase “Industry Standard” has no meaning. It’s mirage, a diversion to throw bands off their game. The words have become so overused in all aspects of the music industry that people now take “industry standard” at face value. At it’s core, the phrase exist to manipulate bands. However, bands aren’t the only group taken advantage by the phrase, producers hear it from labels, agents hear it from managers, managers hear it from attorneys, and so forth. It’s truly the evil cycle. Here’s 3 ways to dismantle someone when they drop the term: HERE
Sjimon Gompers is a freelance writer, editor, advising consultant and part time produce schlepper. He resides in San Francisco, with an eye on the happenings of the local and global coasts. He contributes regularly to Impose Magazine, known for his massive Week in Pop roundups in his column, affectionately titled with tongue in cheek; Goldmine Sacks. Bearing an unusually insightful and a great music mind, Sjimon recently agreed to answer some of our most burning questions about the biz.
As someone who has a lot of respect for both Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich’s talent and wit, it pains me to have to write this and discuss how wrong they are when it comes to Spotify. Check it out on Property of Zack.
Without dreams we are nothing.
We might as well be dead.
I will tell you this: Please DO NOT think that your success is defined in the music business by how much money you make. If that is your goal, then I politely suggest you quit now, or wrap you head around this: Please DO measure your success by how much music you make.
Make great music. Make music that makes you happy. Make music that gets you out of bed every morning. Make music that is an escape from the responsibilities of everyday life.
Do this and consider yourself a success!
What are you doing right now?
What steps are you taking to reach your goals and make your dreams a reality right now?
How will you define your own success right now?