Four Things That Kill Your Chances For Music Career Success

What do you believe is the number one thing that musicians are doing to ruin their chances at succeeding in the music industry? Is it: not practicing their instrument enough? Not putting together enough good music industry connections? Living in a city with no music scene? The answer to all of this is NO – none of these things. There can be countless reasons why a musician would fail to make it in the music industry, but the things above are merely symptoms of a deeper cause. In reality, the most common reason why musicians never succeed in this business is they have a FEAR based mindset.

The majority of musicians allow their fears to ruin their chances for succeeding in music. Some of these fears are understood consciously while others are only identifiable to someone who is looking for them.
Unfortunately, whether you are aware of them or not, your fears can be very devastating to your music career. As one who mentors musicians on how to build a successful music career, I’ve observed this endless times.

The following are some of the frequent fears that devastate musicians’ chances for becoming successful and how to overcome them so that you can quickly move your music career forward:

Musician Fear #1: Fear Of Not Making Any Money

Anytime you have told your friends or family that you want to become a professional musician, what have they told you? Probably something like this:

*”You’ve got to get a safe job first in order to have a solid backup plan for your music career.”

*”Musicians can’t make a good living”

*”All musicians have to play street corners for change just to get by”

In most cases you are told these things out of the best intentions… However, these ideas are highly misguided. Truth is, it’s not as hard as you might think to earn a good living in the music industry if you know specifically what to do to make money as a pro musician (and actually DO it). With this in mind, it’s exactly because the above false beliefs about the music industry are so wide spread, that they cause many musicians to fear not being able to make money. They then do things that lead to the exact OPPOSITE of what is needed to earn a good living.

The following is how trying ‘not’ to run into financial struggles in the music industry causes you to have difficulty making good money as a musician:

*You never make the effort to earn a lot more money in your music career. The worst thing you can possibly do is expect that you’ll struggle to make money as a musician. It’s certain that when you do this, you begin to live into the world you’ve created for yourself in your mind.

*You take your music career in the WRONG direction. By expecting failure in terms of making good money, many musicians start thinking they’ll be better off going to college to get a degree in a non-musical field, working at a “secure” job and THEN going after their music career dreams in their spare time. In the end, they almost always end up failing with this approach.

*You eat the goose that lays golden eggs. Note: What is written below could seem like “self-promotion,” since I mention how I mentor musicians as an illustration of a critical point. Of course, there is a very important lesson for you to learn here, and my words are true regardless of whether I am selling something or not. The lesson for you here illustrates how merely being AFRAID of becoming broke causes you to forever remain broke as a musician, until you make a significant change.

I occasionally receive messages from musicians who initially hesitated to join my music career training program or attend my music career money making event (where I show musicians how to easily make tons of money), because they are under the impression that they “cannot afford it.” Even after I take them through the overwhelming proof for how my programs have given HUGE results to the musicians I’ve worked with, they still remain skeptical and fearful. This skepticism comes from the same false narratives described above – that all musicians will inevitably become broke and struggle, so there is no point in pursuing a music career. Ironically, by attempting to “save” a few bucks in the moment and passing on the training (that is PROVEN to get results) on how to develop a lucrative music career, you are ensuring that you will never make a big income with music. This is referred to as “eating the goose that lays golden eggs” because you decide to eat the goose now rather than wait for golden eggs to appear later. Rather than learning how to earn money in your music career and building toward the future, you give in to your fear… guaranteeing that you will never make progress to move your career to a higher level.

How To Keep This Fear From De-railing Your Music Career:

1. Know that the belief that all musicians struggle to make money isn’t true and it certainly does not have to be your reality. This realization alone will keep you from letting fear steer your music career away from the things you really want.

2. Instead of being preoccupied with thoughts of how hard it will be to make money in music, take action to learn more about how to BECOME financially successful as a musician. There is a clear (and rudimentary) difference between these 2 mindsets and the ends that each one leads to are complete opposites.

Musician Fear #2: Fear Of Not Succeeding In Your Music Career

Too many musicians mess up their music careers by fearing that:

*They aren’t young enough to have a music career

*They don’t have enough talent to make it in music

*They don’t live in a big enough music city

*They don’t have a university degree in a musical field

*Their musical style is not well known where they live

*There are not enough serious musicians where they live who they can work with

*If they fail, they will look dumb in front of all the people who they told about their musical dreams (friends, family, etc.)

Besides the numerous reasons why these fears are irrational, know the following:

1. What you believe becomes your reality. If you think you have a good excuse for why you simply can’t become a successful musician (such as any of the things above), you will rationalize it and use it as a way to avoid advancing your music career. When you do this, you are GUARANTEED to fail at breaking into the music business. The other side of the coin is also true: if you believe that you are definitely going to become successful, and you are the master of your destiny, you will find a way to do whatever needs to get done to reach your goals. It’s clear that the latter mindset has a massively higher rate of success (both in the music business and in everyday life).

2. If you don’t even attempt to grow a successful music career – you have failed. Even worse than this guarantee of 100% failure, is you are going to regret not taking action to do what you dreamed of with music when you look back at all the opportunities you missed.

Musician Fear #3: Fear Of Becoming Successful In Your Music Career

Does it sound ridiculous to be afraid of becoming successful? It’s not. While the above fear of “failure” is a frequent occurrence for musicians who are new to the music industry, the fear of “becoming successful” is common for more seasoned musicians who are close to making a major breakthrough in their music careers.

These musicians can easily self-destruct by worrying about how their lives will be different when they become successful, how others will view them, how difficult it will be to continue their success or believing below the surface that they do not truly “deserve” to be successful. This causes many musicians begin to intentionally sabotage themselves by NOT doing things they know are in their own best interest (such as joining bands, going on tour or getting the training that they know they need that will build their career).

How To Not Let Fear Of Failure (Or Success) De-rail Your Music Career:

1. Understand that all the things you tell yourself about why you can’t have a music career in your specific scenario are just stories you make up. You have MASSIVE potential for success as a musician (much more than you realize), regardless of how old you are, what your current musical background is or the location where you live.

2. Think like highly successful musicians think. As I explained already, there is a basic difference between “playing to WIN” (in your music career) vs. playing “not to lose”. Successful musicians play to win and they do not focus on “avoiding fear” – they focus on “achieving success”… and this is what you must do as well.

3. Stack the deck of cards in your favor. You will drastically raise your odds of success in the music business (and beat your fear of failure), once you begin navigating the music industry without a blindfold on. Instead, quickly make progress by getting trained by a music career success mentor who has already helped many musicians achieve success in their music careers.

Musician Fear #4: Fear Of Being Treated Unfairly By Music Companies, Promoters And Other Industry Executives

The music industry is filled with long winded stories from (failed) musicians who claim that someone in the music industry has lead them to fail because they forced them to sign a bad contract, refused to pay them enough money or “screwed” them in some other way. Stories like this make many musicians afraid of getting into any business deals in the music industry and sometimes keep them from even trying to pursue a music career.

Here is a big music industry secret that no one will tell you that will turn this fear into potential for achieving success:

It’s the COMPANIES who should have a fear of being taken advantage of by the MUSICIANS they work with. Fact is, most music companies are NOT out there to screw the musicians they work with. Instead, they are really HUNGRY for new talent, for “everyone wins” partnerships and for ways to best use their resources (with the help of musicians they hire) to help everyone involved prosper.

At the same time, these companies are also afraid of spending MASSIVE sums of money into musicians who:

*Are emotionally or mentally unstable

*Feel “entitled” to receive the company’s money and resources simply because they may be good musicians

*Are lazy and can’t be depended upon

*Do not help the company earn money in a way that is mutually beneficial

… and a long list of other factors.

Truth is, music companies invest tons of time, money and other resources into the musicians they work with. They have a lot more at stake than most of the musicians they work with do, so they have to be very careful about doing business with the right musicians. They are inclined to refuse to act against their own best interest by working with musicians who seem risky (as investments) or who ask for more money than they have earned.

How To Not Let This Fear De-rail Your Music Career:

Know that what you just learned is a huge inside tip into how the music business actually works and will make all the difference between success and failure. Rather than being afraid that music companies are out to screw musicians, understand that you have a great opportunity to put yourself light years ahead of the competition in the music industry. Here is what you need to do:

*Know EXACTLY what people in the music industry look for in you (this extends way beyond your musical skills).

*Gather the pieces of value you require to make yourself the best choice for the greatest music career opportunities.

*Clearly display your value to the companies you want to work with by developing a rock-solid reputation for yourself as a risk-free musician who adds value for others.

By doing this, music companies will actively seek you out to give you the opportunities that other musicians never dreamed of.

Now that you have a good understanding of what fears hold so many musicians back from developing their music careers, take mental note of your thoughts and beliefs around working in the music industry. Once you become aware of the fears that are keeping YOU back, take action to transform your mindset (utilizing the resources and tools mentioned throughout this article). When you do this, you will find that your fears dissolve away as your music career starts quickly going in the right direction.

How To Gain Music Fans And Build Promoting Skills

Would you like to know how to gain more music fans? Do you wish you knew the secret to building a huge following? Would you like to know the best way to promote yourself as a musician? If you want to achieve long lasting success in the music industry, it is absolutely essential that you have a lot of dedicated fans who are interested in what you do as a musician. In order to do this, you must learn the most effective methods for promoting both yourself and your music.

However, the answer to “How do I get more fans and promote my music career?” is not easily found by taking a highly generalized approach that ‘seems’ to work for other musicians. At any given moment, you (or the band you play in) may be struggling with various unique challenges that would require that you take specific actions in order to get more fans or strengthen your promotional efforts. That said, no matter where you are in your music career and what challenges you face, you have 3 goals to achieve if you want to both gain more music fans and promote your music:

You have to get more people to check out your music.
Once someone listens to your music, you need them to help support you in some manner (buying your albums, watching you live, purchasing any merchandise, etc.)
You need to transform your fans into totally fanatics who will use word of mouth to tell all their friends about you and your music.

No matter what it is that you are trying to achieve in the music business, the three goals mentioned above will apply to anything you do as long as you are trying to develop a strong relationship with your fans.

These goals may all seem to be separate from one another; however, they are in fact all connected. Once you are able to achieve success with any single one of them, you will greatly improve your chances for success with any of the others. As soon as you truly ‘get’ this basic truth, you will find it much easier to be productive in your efforts.

In order to achieve great success as you promote you music to your fans, you must learn how to think in a strategic manner rather than just taking inconsistent and isolated actions (a mistake that most musicians and bands make). Instead of trying to find a general formula that you can apply to help you get more fans for your music, you need to begin thinking in the same manner as most professional musicians. While training other musicians to succeed in their music careers, I help them understand how to find creative ideas that they can apply in their own music career in order to quickly gain more music fans. Once you gain the ability to think this way in your own music career, it will become much easier for you to overcome any obstacles that stand in the way of your promotional efforts.

To illustrate what I mean and give you various steps (that you can take right now to get more music fans), here are some quick and easy things you can do to accomplish all three of the music promotion goals mentioned above.

To get you on the path to gaining more music fans and expanding upon your current music promotion efforts, I will now show you various things that you can do yourself to accomplish the three goals mentioned above.

OK, now that you have finished the assessment above, continue reading to find several actionable steps below that you can use to promote your music. While you are reading through them, do not focus as much on the actions themselves; instead think creatively to see the ideas and thinking ‘behind’ the actions to understand why they are so effective. This will keep you from simply ‘copying’ them and will lead you to come up with ideas that you can benefit from in your specific music career situation.

Music Promotion Action Step: Get more people to listen to your music.

Solution #1: Join other musicians in participating in a compilation CD. After you have released a compilation album, you have achieved a couple of important things. First, you have successfully produced a record that contains your own music. Second, not only have you gained a tool to promote yourself to your fans, but you have gained a tool that potentially promotes you to every other musician’s fans on the album (with no additional effort on your part). Remember, the goal of this is not to make money directly, but rather to use the album as a very inexpensive tool to promote your music (and the music of the other musicians) to more people on a larger scale. You can also apply this idea as a way to leverage your own album releases and products to a bigger list of fans. The idea of “leverage” (using one action to gain multiple benefits) is absolutely critical if you want to achieve a high level of success in your music career. This is something I help members in my Music Careers Mentoring Program develop and refine.

Solution #2: Work together with other musicians locally. Instead of considering other local musicians to be your competition (for gaining more fans), work together with local musical artists of a similar genre to help you gain access to larger amount of fans who are interested in hearing and seeing you play music. One method for achieving this is to work with another band to perform at the same venue in an effort to bring together the fan base of both bands. By doing this, you will not only improve your relationship with the owner of the venue (because you are bringing in more people), but you will have the opportunity to advertise your music to the other band’s fan base (and them to yours). This idea is very fundamental, but in reality not many bands take initiative to actually go out and do it. On top of that, many bands make the mistake of sharing the venue with other bands who are not in their target market, or with bands who do not make a strong effort to attract their fans to the venue (thus taking away the mutual benefit). One example of pulling this idea off (which is fairly common in the music business) is when a band with a small following becomes and opening act for a much larger band. However, if you cannot find a highly successful band to open for you can still achieve this; you will need to simply find a band that contains musicians who have enough ambition to take ACTION and implement this strategy.

Music Promotion Action Step: Get your fans to take specific actions.

Solution #1: Make sure that people have incentive to both be a fan of your music AND purchase your music. Those who have mastered the ability to successfully promote music find ways to get their fan base to buy their music as opposed to downloading it online for free. Additionally, they are able to take an average listener and turn him/her into a loyal fan. A great way to do this is to offer something special to people who actually BUY your music (that cannot be obtained by simply downloading it for free). To effectively do this, it is important that whatever you are offering cannot be easily reproduced through digital media. This could include things such as VIP passes to your concerts, merchandise or other creative and unique items. The main thing to get out this idea is that you can implement a single strategy to achieve good music promotion while also developing a stronger relationship between you and your fans.

Solution #2: Become familiar with your current fan base. It is easy to successfully promote yourself as a musician when you can put yourself out there to those who already give you their support whenever you pursue new projects in your musical career. Most musicians think that their biggest problem is a lack of music fans, when in fact, they simply do not know who their real fans are and how to get in touch with them. Instead of contacting these specific fans, a lot of musicians focus their efforts on the general public. The truth is, this approach can work; however, promoting your music in this manner will cost a great deal of money and time. To dramatically cut down on your costs with regards to money, energy and time; make your musical promotion more effective by finding an easy way to stay in touch with your fan base at all times.

Music Promotion Action Step: Transform your current fans into FANATICS

Solution #1: Put together special gatherings or events that immerse your fans in your music and engage them on a whole new level (in contrast to merely listening to your music or watching you live). There a nearly endless ways for you to do this – limited only by your own willingness to be creative. However, remember the key is to develop your relationship with your music fans.

Solution #2: Focus on rewarding your most loyal fans with unique gifts that casual listeners don’t have access to. This concept can be used together with the first point described above or as an idea by itself. If you’d like for your music fans to take a particular action (for example bringing more people to your performances or to purchase your albums), focus on finding something of high value that you can offer them that goes beyond the scope of music. (Remember: Your music fans do not necessarily want free money or t-shirts… think of something specific to offer them)

As you have read, once you take a more detailed approach to understanding specifically what it is that you want to do when it comes to “gaining more music fans”, it’s a lot easier to understand specifically which action steps you must perform to make this happen. The majority of musicians only think about improving their music while trying to appeal to the general public, but doing this is only one aspect of musical promotion. Of course, your music is important; however there are aspects of your music career that you must work on in order to effectively get more fans for your music. As soon as you begin focusing on these aspects, you will start to gain much greater results in your music promotion efforts.

Tom Hess is a music career mentor, touring musician and the guitarist in the band Rhapsody Of Fire. He teaches online guitar lessons to musicians all over the world and mentors musicians on how to build a successful music career. Visit his website for many free musician resources to help you start a career in music and learn about the music. Start getting more music fans by measuring your current music promotion skills with this music career promotion skills assessment.