Having been in the music business for nearly 10 years now in a multitude of different capacities, I can honestly say this is one of the most challenging businesses for an individual to be successful at, especially in terms of an artist. Often times I will have DJ’s ask me “What does it take to get ahead in the music business?” which I’ve always thought was an interesting question. I think the answer to that question first depends on what each artist determines as success in the first place.
You have heard that saying, “The glass is always either half full or half empty depending on each persons perspective.” Some artists want to be mega stars constantly touring and playing the worlds best festivals and events, while other artists simply measure success by producing a specific type of sound which they believe in, or acquiring a certain residency at a local bar or venue in there home town, etc. So success is in the eye of the beholder and depends on what goals each individual artists has, and what they aspire to do with their career. With that being said, in my experience and observations in the music business there seems to be some universal traits, concepts, and principles that I feel artists that have achieved a certain level of success, no matter what there goals and aspirations are, tend to posses. I would like to share a few of those.
1. Innovation – Typically successful artists tend to be the ground breakers at doing something, whether it be a certain type of sound, marketing campaign, event etc. Innovation and creativity is key to getting ahead because once you are the initiator of something new people tend to follow. It’s better to be the leader then to simply follow and do the same things that other artists are doing. Leaders stand out, followers tend to get caught in the fray with everyone else.
2. Determination – In order to succeed you have to have failed first. Determination will allow an artist to deal with disappointment and be able to move on. The music business is not for the faint of heart! One thing I always tell my agents is you will hear alot of no’s before you will start hearing yes. This holds true from an artist standpoint as well. Successful artists tend to be determined and strong willed, not letting set backs distract them from the goals they have set for themselves. If an obstacle stands in the way, an artist must stay determined to find an alternate course to the goal.
3. Focus- Typically successful artists are very focused about their trade as well as goals. In many cases setting a plan and adhering to the plan of action to grow and develop the artists career is essential. Successful artists ALWAYS have a plan, whether it’s by themselves or with the assistance of management etc. Sticking to the plan and having the focus to see it through is key to having success. Case in point, usually the artist/Dj that tries to change their sound multiple times often has far less success then if they would have stuck to a specific sound genre and simply focused there attention on the being the best at it. This is one of many examples of focus and it’s importance presents a good case scenario.
Hopefully these ideas and observations can help any aspiring artist with some ideas and perspectives for their personal careers.
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