017 – If You Care About Your Music Career, Don’t Be A Jerk

by | Oct 25, 2016 | Podcast

In the long run, being a jerk will do more harm than good for your music career.  And once you have a bad reputation, it will take a lot of effort to reverse that image. In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, we look at why you should be aware of how you conduct yourself while you’re building your music career.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:15 – We’re going to talk about how you conduct yourself
  • 00:21 – How you’re perceived by others is important
  • 00:34 – The difference between confidence and arrogance
  • 01:29 – Good reputation and bad reputation
  • 02:20 – Well-publicized jerks in the music industry
  • 02:57 – Jerks attract more jerks into their lives
  • 03:41 – Why extremes are dangerous
  • 04:08 – Finding the balance between honesty and respect
  • 04:46 – Sometimes it isn’t fair


Thank you so much for joining me. Today I wanted to talk about how you conduct yourself, because how you’re perceived by others is really important. You don’t really have to look much further than your branding, your image, what you wear, and how your fans perceive you and your music to know that this is true.

There’s a huge difference between confidence and arrogance, and understanding this difference may help you.

Confidence tends to attract people. Arrogance tends to repel people.

Confidence tends to attract people. Arrogance tends to repel people. Share on X

Confidence is self-belief. It’s the belief that you are worthy, you are deserving, you are capable, and that you can one day achieve everything you’ve set out to do.

But arrogance tends to come with the spirit of entitlement. It’s basically saying, “I deserve all of these privileges regardless of how hard I worked, regardless of how much time I’ve put into mastering my craft, regardless of how much time I’ve spent building connections and have been in the music industry.”

But if you haven’t done anything at all, you haven’t accomplished anything at all, you haven’t put out any releases, you haven’t put out any videos, and nobody knows who you are, then I’m sorry to say you’re probably not going to get those things. And you have to put in the hard work necessary to get to where you want to go.

You know, a bad reputation is easy to create and hard to eliminate. A good reputation takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work to create. If people say enough good things about you, if you make enough good impressions, if you continue to show up and deliver on your promises, then one day people will start saying positive things about you. But it’s going to take some time to get there.

A bad reputation is easy to create and hard to eliminate. Share on X

Whereas, if you make bad impressions with people, and you continue to disappoint them, and you don’t deliver on your promises, it only takes a few to gain a bad reputation. And like I said, getting rid of that bad reputation could be difficult. It’s going to take a lot of time to undo all the harm and bad that you’ve done.

Now I’m aware, there are some well-publicized jerks in the music industry. But that doesn’t mean that they’re in the majority. That might be your perception – that all of these well-publicized jerks that you know, that they’re in the majority, that that’s who the music industry is made up of? It’s false.

It makes sense, right? Think of the vocal minority. Does everybody a comment on a YouTube video? No. It’s the vocal minority that does. And the vocal minority is very outspoken and often polarizing in their viewpoints.

When you are a jerk yourself, you’ll tend to attract more jerks. It’s not much fun – trust me. Because you become who you hang around with. Birds of a feather flock together. If five of your friends – five of your best friends – are jerks, and you’re a jerk, there’s a good chance you’re not going to be able to get out of that situation. And you’re just going to be out-jerking each other, for lack of a better term. You’re going to do bad things to each other. You’re not going to be nice to each other.

When you're a jerk, you attract jerks. Share on X

Maybe that’s one way to relate, but it’s definitely not a way to relate to the world. And as a musician, you’re trying to get fans, and you’re trying to attract and not repel them.

And the reality is, you can also go too far to the other end, and extremes are dangerous. You can be nice to the point of being fake. Fake doesn’t work. Just look at the election and what’s happening with that right now. People relate to authenticity. They don’t like fake. I don’t like fake. Wouldn’t you rather just know what people think?

I’m not saying that we need to be honest in the face of being disrespectful or insulting. And I’m trying to find that balance myself, of being honest and saying what I think, but not a cruel way.

And it’s the same thing with employees, if you have any, or your team. You can delay saying what needs to be said, but then your team member will continue to mess up. Whereas, if you told them exactly what was wrong with what they did in the first place, you could both move on, and you can get them doing the things the way that you want them to be done.

The world works in strange ways and sometimes it isn’t entirely fair. Sometimes it will appear as though the jerks are getting ahead, and the nice people – who are working hard to create a good reputation – are not.

But in the long run, if you become somebody that people want to be around, I believe that you will have a better career – it will last longer, and you will accomplish more.

Achieving everything that you want to achieve – especially if you have big dreams – can be difficult. And we know that not everybody succeeds in the music industry. But you’ll get a heck of a lot closer.

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