The Truth Is Anything But Simple

Building a career in music is tough. And anything but simple. It always was and it is even more so now. In the pre-digital days, there was a system - a crappy, bloated, intentionally complex system - but a system nonetheless. It was still gambling, but there were winners and everyone played by the same rules. But now, we still have the vestiges of that system and we aren't sure what is necessary or valuable and what is just desperately hanging on to the past. There are fewer and fewer winners and the rules are all but gone. So you have to find your own way. Create your own path. There isn't a book or a website or a person who can wrap it up in 100 pages or a lunch meeting and tell you what will work for you. But find good people and good sources that give you insights and principles and guidelines that you can then apply to your career and your life. There is no "new model" and there are no pre-fab answers for how to make it in music. So know what you want. Read, listen, learn, and work your ass off. Look for opportunities and jump on them when you see them. And tweak it as you go, focusing on the things that do work and throwing out the things that don't. I'm sorry. I know you want something short, sweet and concrete, but sometimes the truth just doesn't fit into 160 characters.

5 Things Musicians Are Too Worried About

  1. Album title. Stop fretting over what people will think about the title. Why? Because people WON'T think about it.
  2. Album artwork. Does it make a difference? Yes. Will you ever be totally happy with it? No. Album covers are marketing, not personal expression - that's what your music is for. So give it some thought, hire a great designer and pull the trigger.
  3. Release date. Unless you are a big artist on a major label with a massive push behind them, the release date is just the beginning. It's the most anti-climatic day of your career.
  4. Press quotes. Quotes are useful, don't get me wrong. But they aren't an end in themselves. They don't sell tickets or CDs.
  5. Everyone else's opinions. Opinions are free. And most of the time, that reflects their real value – nada. If someone is an expert, listen to them. Otherwise, it's just more random stuff to make you question your own judgement. Find a core team of three or four people to make those calls with you. Committees are a horrible way to make decisions, particularly creative ones.