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What is the state of the live event industry amid COVID-19? How are tech companies coping in these times of seismic change?
In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I chat with Ed Vincent of Festival Pass, who shares about his new platform and journey as a serial entrepreneur.
- 00:18 – How are tech companies responding to the current crisis?
- 07:02 – When do you think things will go back to normal?
- 09:44 – Rosy predictions for the future of live events
- 14:14 – How to get more people out to your gigs
- 18:33 – What is the greatest failure you’ve overcome as an entrepreneur?
- 21:26 – What is the greatest victory you’ve experienced as an entrepreneur?
- 22:59 – The joy is in the process
- 23:29 – Are there any books that have helped you on your journey?
- 26:18 – Closing words
Reading is one of the most important activities a musician can engage in.
It can stimulate your imagination, give you ideas for songs and even teach you valuable tactics and strategies for furthering your career.
But it can be hard to know where to start, especially if you’re not in the habit of reading a lot.
Not to worry – I read many books every single year, and on this list, you will discover some of best I’ve read.
In this section, we’ll explore a few catch-all books that most readers would do well to acquaint themselves with.
Essentially, these volumes are general personal development works aimed at helping you get more out of life in general.
If you haven’t read them yet, however, don’t skip over them. They will set a solid foundation for the other books on this list.
As A Man Thinketh by James Allen
James Allen’s As A Man Thinketh is a classic personal development work that tells it like it is.
There isn’t necessarily anything earth-shattering here, but if you’ve never learned that there are both positive and negative approaches to life, and that one produces results while the other leaves you empty and defeated, you must give this short book a read.
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
Most of us don’t understand the benefit of small, positive choices repeated over the long haul. We also underestimate the impact of the opposite – small, negative choices made long-term.
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson will make it clear why some people end up rich and some people end up with heart attacks. And, you will discover why it has everything to do with what you choose today.
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
Best read in tandem with The Slight Edge, The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy begins by covering the same ground Jeff Olson spends his entire book on. So, the opening chapters of this book will reinforce what you learned in The Slight Edge.
Fortunately, the rest of the book gets into valuable insights into personal development, and Hardy’s advice is among the best available.
The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
Often cited as a foundational work in personal development, The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz is a magical book that changes as you grow. Every read-through will be different depending on where you are in life.
One of the key takeaways is to drop your excuses regarding anything you’re trying to achieve. Makes sense. If we hold tightly to the righteousness of our excuses, we won’t see the limitless possibilities staring back at us.
If you can effectively marry music with business, you will achieve expanded outcomes in your music career. That’s the philosophy that I hold to.
So, here are my favorite business books that inspire, entertain and educate. They aren’t stuffy, boring or overly academic.
The Go-Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann
The Go-Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann explains how adding value to others and being generous ultimately leads to growth in your business.
When I think of all the tips and advice I’ve given away, entirely for free on the blog and podcast, I can clearly see all the ways it has benefited the growth of my business.
So, The Go-Giver is a worthy idea.
Double Double by Cameron Herold
Cameron Herold’s Double Double easily makes my top 10 list of books (not just business books).
The promise of the book is simple – doubling your business’ profits and revenue in three years or less.
As a musician, it’s unlikely you will adopt the entire strategy detailed in this work. But there are still ideas worth understanding and implementing, such as Herold’s Vivid Vision process, also described in his book of the same title.
Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a musician, freelancer or entrepreneur – Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid comes with a thorough framework on how to generate more leads and more business.
I remember reading this when my stable of projects and clients was already full to overflowing, but this will prove even more useful to anyone who’s got the makings of solid revenue streams but wants to systematize and grow it.
Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi
Building an online business on the back of content may have been a novel idea 20 to 25 years ago, but today it’s a given.
So, if you aren’t already acquainted with this process, or simply want to upgrade your content marketing game, you must give Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi a read.
This book features a lot of great examples, from bloggers and podcasters to YouTubers and beyond. So, don’t be fooled by the title, premise or the author. This book couldn’t be more on-point for musicians building a career using any type of content.
Work Less, Make More by James Schramko & Kelly Exeter
I talked about James Scharamko’s Work Less, Make More in episode 130 of the podcast.
I’ve learned a great deal from Schramko, and one of the biggest things I got from seeking coaching from him was more traffic. As result of what I’ve learned from him, I’ve been able to double, triple, quadruple and even 8x my website traffic.
But this book will have you evaluating and considering a great deal more, from how to work more effectively by reducing your hours to steps you can take to increase revenue from any product you’ve already developed.
Anything You Want by Derek Sivers
I was relatively familiar with the content in Derek Sivers’ Anything You Want before reading it, but I don’t regret reading it one bit.
I agree with Sivers – business is your utopia. You create the rules. Assuming you’re doing right by your customers and generating the type of revenue you want to create for sustainability and beyond, the rest is up to you.
How do you want to run your career/business?
No B.S. Business Success In The New Economy by Dan S. Kennedy
In the last year, I’ve become a Dan Kennedy junkie, so you probably knew that a few of his books would make this list.
Here we have what I would consider to be one of Kennedy’s defining works – No B.S. Business Success In The New Economy.
The title threw me off a bit, but once I started reading it, it made more sense.
This book is about the commitment required to make any endeavor a success, especially when dealing with customers who are price-conscious, skeptical and recession-weary.
Sex Money Kiss by Gene Simmons
I covered this book at length in a recent blog post. I’m not sure if it would make my top 10 list, but it’s certainly up there.
If you’ve never considered your finances as applied to every area of life, including marriage, then you’re sure to get something from this.
And, that’s the chief strength of Gene Simmons’ Sex Money Kiss. It will teach you how to make more and be smarter with your money.
We all receive communication differently.
Case and point: Religious people might cringe at so-called “curse” words, while the average person makes nothing of them and think of them as a normal part of life.
But these are the types of subtleties that will make all the difference in your communication, and therefore your branding, messaging and marketing.
Here are a couple of books worth digging into.
How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
The Middle Coast (now defunct) is one band that speaks highly of How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie and it’s not hard to see why.
The title is kind of weird, but it’s one of the highest selling books of all time for a reason. People want to be able to make friends and share their ideas in a way that leaves others feeling touched, moved and inspired.
Some people say this book is commonsense, but you can throw that idea out the window, because I personally receive plenty of communication that isn’t thoughtful or beneficial. If it was commonsense, everybody would be doing it.
This book is a must.
Speak To Sell by Dan S. Kennedy
Speak To Sell by Dan Kennedy is a powerful book on how to make money as a public speaker.
You may have no desire to become a public speaker (it’s something you could add to your repertoire as a means to grow your music income), and that’s fine, but the number one thing this book will do for you is shift your mindset around money.
This book, combined with Gene Simmons’ Sex Money Kiss is bound to be a revelation as applied to money, as it was for me.
Creativity is where many musicians shine the brightest.
And, I can’t say I’ve read a lot of inspiring creative books. So, we won’t be looking at many books in this category.
With that established, there’s no question it’s still an important category. Musicians are often under a lot of stress to produce on demand.
Here’s a book that can make your life easier.
The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry
Author Todd Henry was on my old podcast and I also talked at length about this book in an earlier blog post.
The Accidental Creative is a deep thought book that offers valuable tips and suggestions for the create on demand professional.
More than ever, to succeed in music, you must be prolific. You will discover helpful frameworks in this book to better structure your creative activity.
As I’ve said before, I hold to the notion that the bank, your financial advisors, your teachers, your family and even your friends can’t teach you financial smarts, except in exceedingly rare situations (i.e. they’re rich).
If you want to learn how to manage your money (and trust me – you need to), then here are a couple of books that will give you a good head start.
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki will do a better job of helping you establish a solid foundation in finances than school ever will.
Discover for yourself the value of the cashflow quadrant, the four steps each of us must master and graduate from to be able to take full control of our financial life.
MONEY Master the Game by Tony Robbins
Personal development guru Tony Robbins studied and interviewed some of the top thinkers in finances and investing to write MONEY Master the Game, another book with some merit as applied to making, saving and growing your money.
One book wasn’t enough, however, as Robbins later launched Unshakable, a book that complements, amends and elaborates on this one. Still, MONEY Master the Game is going to give you a better financial education than post-secondary school can offer.
I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich is on-point when it comes to teaching you both small- and big-picture ideas to help you figure out your money.
I agree with at least 80% of this book if not more. Some of the tips offered are going to depend on the individual and their exact financial situation. But there isn’t any throwaway advice here.
If you want to make the most of it through, reading it won’t be enough. You must apply what you learn.
Many people feel stuck with their lifestyle and aren’t living the kind of life they want to live. The truth is that you probably have more options than you realize – just that you haven’t been introduced to possibility thinking.
The following books will inspire and give you access to new ways of being that will support you in your desire for a different kind of life.
The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss is a must-read when it comes to lifestyle design. If nothing else, the book will leave you feeling inspired, and when human beings are inspired, they take action. Action is key to getting to where you want to go.
The title isn’t accurate, as this isn’t a book about how to work four hours per week, but rather a book about living the life you want now instead of putting it off to some undefined date in the future. But you can’t blame the author for A/B testing titles.e
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck could just as easily fit under the Personal Development category. But since it recounts Manson’s own journeys as a digital nomad, Lifestyle seems like a more fitting option.
This book is a call to challenge conventional wisdom, see things from a different perspective and take a different approach to life that will enable you to continually expand your thinking and your horizons.
Studies show that we often overestimate ourselves in every regard – looks, intelligence, personal qualities or more. Read this book to do away with your superiority and see yourself clearly in the mirror once and for all.
Marketing is one of the most important things for musicians to learn. Having said that, there aren’t many books whose method is sound and timeless.
What follows is my top recommendation for marketing books, but you should also consider picking up the books introduced in the Business section, as many of them contain practical and valuable marketing advice as well.
With that, let’s get into this category.
Magnetic Marketing by Dan S. Kennedy
Know it or not, many experts have adopted, adapted and even teach Kennedy’s marketing method. No surprises here – his strategies work.
The difference is this. If you go to any other marketer or engage in their materials, you’re getting the watered down, less effective, less future-proof method.
I would suggest studying Magnetic Marketing first and foremost to understand how creating a funnel (lead magnet, tripwire, product) actually works.
Without personal development, I would not be the man I am today. It has helped me see beyond my perceived limitations and follies.
The following books are among some of my favorites.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich forms the foundation of many of my personal beliefs.
Hill was clearly an intelligent and long-suffering man. At the recommendation of business magnate Andrew Carnegie, he studied some of the most successful people in the world for decades, culminating into his various books and seminars. This is the most popular of his works.
As I’ve shared before, the title might as well be Think, Act and Grow Rich, as we must act on our ideas, but the title is pointing to something important, that if we think ceaselessly on how to make more money, inevitably, we will, because we will naturally recognize more opportunities.
Personal Development for Smart People by Steve Pavlina
Steve Pavlina is the undisputed guru of personal development online.
I give Pavlina credit for kick-starting my personal development journey and helping me realize the importance of making conscious decisions in life.
In Personal Development for Smart People, Pavlina adopts the role of the kick-butt coach who will push you as far as you can go and then push you some more. To that extent, don’t expect this to be a walk in the park.
But if you’re serious about your personal growth, this book will show you all the practical ways you can grow.
The Success Principles by Jack Canfield & Janet Switzer
Jack Canfield, of the Chicken Soup for the Soul and The Secret (he appeared as an expert in the movie) fame, put together a detailed tome in the form of The Success Principles – principles to follow if you wish to achieve at a high level in life.
With over 60 principles, I don’t know how you could possibly memorize them and implement them all. But it does work as a mirror. You can use this book as a self-diagnostic tool to determine whether you are on the right track.
And, it’s fair to say this is an inspirational book to boot.
Beyond Positive Thinking by Dr. Robert Anthony and Joe Vitale
Robert Anthony has long been considered the secret to the success of many well-known people. It’s a wonder he’s not more well-known.
Of the ones I’ve read so far, Beyond Positive Thinking is my favorite book by Robert Anthony.
Among other things, this book will paint a realistic picture of what it will take to get to where you want to go in your career and life.
I don’t know too many musicians, marketers or coaches that don’t want to be more productive.
After all, if you could do more in less time, you’d be able to make more music or products, generate more leads, book more gigs, make more money and more.
Here are a few books that will change the way you think about productivity.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
An important foundational work in personal effectiveness (most of us would do well to substitute the term “productivity” with “effectiveness”, as effectiveness is ultimately more desirable than productivity), The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is his seminal work.
The main thing to understand in this book is Covey’s four quadrants, which help you place your tasks and to-do items in four distinct buckets based on their value.
Getting Things Done by David Allen
Read this book to discover David Allen’s paper-based system for achieving peak productivity.
I originally read Getting Things Done in 2015, and since implementing the GTD method piecemeal, my processes haven’t changed much at all.
As Allen notes, this is an acceptable way to implement GTD. You don’t need to adopt all of his processes. Take what works for you, discard the rest.
No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs by Dan S. Kennedy
If the soft-spoken, inspirational, “you can do it” approach to productivity just isn’t working for you, get acquainted with Dan Kennedy’s sledgehammer, take-no-prisoners methodology instead.
No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs will help you figure out your worth. Then, you will be taught, step-by-step, how to eliminate unnecessary distractions and set up your schedule for peak performance.
This book isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you want to set yourself up for success, you’ll love it.
The spiritual journey is an important undertaking, and many creatives and musicians will testify to its importance. There are so many ways this can play out.
For example, reading about spiritual matters could inspire new music and inform your creative process.
It could help you develop a polarizing message in your music, attracting a specific kind of listener instead of “being for everyone”, which is highly ineffective.
Here are several of my favorite spiritual books.
Desire by John Eldredge
In Desire, author John Eldredge lays out, from a Christian perspective, what it means to be human and to have desires.
This book is not about repressing, suppressing or ignoring your desires. Rather it’s about leaning into the uncomfortable, and considering why you feel so unworthy and guilty about your desires.
If you’re not violating man or God’s laws, odds are the things you desire are coming from a specific place of your inner being, and at minimum, need to be acknowledged. At maximum, they need to be pursued with abandon.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
If you’ve read anything about Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, then words like “amazing”, “inspiring”, “groundbreaking” probably stood out.
The book doesn’t just live up to the hype. It transcends it.
I read this entire book in two or three sittings, just based on how much it resonated with me.
Honestly, though, this book can’t be described. It must be experienced. I will leave the rest to you.
The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
The late best-selling self-help author Wayne Dyer is credited with the creation of dozens of books, among other products, like audiobooks, DVDs, online courses and more.
The Power of Intention is by far one of his best works on spirituality and personal growth.
Here, Dyer takes a soft-spoken, gentle approach to setting your goals in motion. He offers that everything starts with an intention, and by holding an intention, we can manifest, in reality, what our heart desires.
Final Thoughts on Paradigm Shifting Books
Click HERE for more book recommendations
Depending on what you need, and what stage of growth you’re in, there are other books that can produce results for you.
And, although I’ve read 200 to 300 books to this point, I’m always exploring new material, because it continues to inspire my work and help me do what I do better.
If there’s a specific challenge you’re looking to solve in your career right now, share it with the community in the comments below. I’m sure we could help steer you in the right direction.
With most of the world on lockdown, musicians everywhere have been looking to live streaming as a possible alternative to performing live.
Live performance has been a mainstay and a dominant source of income for many musicians, and never have we seen an all-pervasive force shut it all down in a matter of weeks.
But if you’re looking to live stream, and want to make the most of the opportunity, here are some tips that will help.
Determine What Platform to Stream on
There are plenty of platforms to choose from, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Periscope, Twitch, StageIt, Zoom, Concert Window or other.
For many artists, this will be a simple decision revolving around which platform they have the biggest following on, and where they get the most engagement.
To me, the second piece is far more important, as a disengaged viewer base isn’t going to do much for you. Better to go where fans are more likely to like, comment, share and tip.
If, however, you’re in any doubt as to which platform to utilize, there are a few things you can do.
#1: You Can Ask/Survey Your Fans
If you’ve already got an email list, or a sizable social media following, you can ask your fans where they’d like you to stream. Their answers might just surprise you and may even lead you to new platforms you weren’t aware of.
Not to say that your fans are always right, but if it seems like most of them are leaning one way, you may as well cater to their inclinations.
#2: You Can Experiment
This is more of a trial and error approach than anything, but if you’ve got the time, patience and willingness to explore your options, there’s no reason not to experiment.
As you’re experimenting, keep an eye on which platforms helps you get the greatest reach and engagement overall. Then, you can home in on the one that gives you the greatest ROI.
#3: You Can Take a Data-Based Approach
Music Entrepreneur News recently reported on some stats via Bandsintown that give you a good sense of how fans feel about live streaming.
Bandsintown found that the top three most favored streaming platforms are YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, in that order.
So, you could always plan your activity around this data.
Prepare Your Stage (Room)
Choose what room to live stream from and make sure the surroundings are conducive for your performance.
I’m not going to tell you to whether to clean up or organize, as that may be a matter of branding more than anything. If your brand would be enhanced by playing in dark, dank, messy basements, then do that. If a neat, clean environment is going to make the best impression on your fans, then do this instead.
Either way, it’s a good idea to prepare your stage before you go live. Make sure you’ve got the space required to be able to comfortably sing and play your instrument, and don’t forget to find a comfy chair if you’re going to be sitting.
Figure Out the Technology
You can pull out your smartphone and start live streaming right away. Having said that, there are some things you should be mindful of.
First, you may want to use a proper tripod so you can set your camera at the right height and angle. There are good and bad angles when it comes to filming.
Second, it’s not a bad idea to have a separate device for monitoring and answering comments while live streaming. Good interaction is going to ramp up your engagement.
Third, you may want to use a lighting kit, so your videos look more professional. This is not mandatory by any means. But if you’d like to create a better viewing experience, it’s worth thinking about.
Monetize Your Live Streams
Streaming platforms like YouTube and Concert Window make it easy for fans to offer tips. The easier, the better, as we don’t want to assume any level of technical proficiency from fans.
And, if you aren’t using a platform that has built-in tipping, you can still take advantage of services like PayPal and set up your unique PayPal.Me link.
Tips, however, are but the tip of the iceberg (pun intended).
You could ask viewers to become a patron on Patreon, pre-order your next album, contribute to your crowdfunding campaign, buy your new T-shirt or otherwise.
Of course, in these uncertain times, it’s a good idea to be sensitive to others and their willingness to spend. You don’t want to be overly promotional, but you also don’t want to leave money on the table.
Promote Your Performances
You can promote your performances using all the channels you normally would, including:
- Word of mouth
- Posters/graphical assets
- Direct mail
- Your website
- Your email list
- Social media
If no one knows that you’re going to be streaming, or if you just post about it once the moment you go live, you’re unlikely to attract much of an audience.
So, take some time to plan this out.
Consider where your fans are, and live stream at times they are likely to be awake and available. You can easily cater to fans across the world assuming you don’t mind late nights and/or early mornings.
Connect with Your Audience
Being timely and relevant is critical to connecting with your audience.
As I write this, the COVID-19 scare continues, as people isolate and social distance.
By no means is this going to last, so the key point here is to connect with your fans and tailor your messaging to them.
Presently, a lot of people are scared, anxious, frustrated, bored or otherwise. If you can lift their spirts through your music and banter, you’ll connect with them more readily.
Of course, you can also be polarizing and controversial. Ultimately, it will have the same effect of attracting viewers, even if you do alienate some.
Again, this mostly depends on your brand. If it would be off brand for you to be controversial, don’t be.
Generally, be personable and interactive. Answer fan comments. Mention them by name. Send “thank you” notes after the fact. People are starved for connection right now.
Pay it Forward
It’s no secret that one of the keys to success on social media is being social.
When you interact with others, people notice you more. When you add value to them, they begin to see you as a leader or an expert in your field.
So, if you’ve got time on your hands, why not check out other live streamed concerts. Like, comment and share. Tip the musicians you like. Pay it forward.
And, if I were you, I would steal ideas from the best streams I found, too.
Repurpose Your Content
It’s easy to think of a live stream as a one-time event, just as a typical gig would be. But unlike a live performance, your live streams can have a second and even third life.
With most platforms, you should be able to download your live streamed video, edit it (if you wish) and share it out everywhere.
One live stream could easily turn into 12 videos (i.e. 12 songs), for instance.
I used to – and still do – do this very thing. Last year, I did a lot of Facebook Lives with my community project, Your Music Matters.
I took the live streamed videos, edited them, put them up on YouTube and even shared them on Blogger.
I plan to take clips from those videos and upload them to Music Entrepreneur HQ as well.
Whether you do any of this comes down to your brand and strategy, but I thought you might like to know that it’s possible to do more with less.
Final Thoughts on Live Streaming Concerts
If, for whatever reason, you’re uncomfortable with live streaming, but would still like to connect with your fans using the video medium, keep in mind that you can pre-record and edit an entire performance and live stream that!
Plus, you can still interact with fans in the comments. After all, your hands will be free the entire time, so typing up a few responses shouldn’t prove problematic.
Just remember to let your fans know when you’re live streaming pre-recorded content.
I wish you all the best in your live streaming efforts.
Is there anything else I should have addressed here?
Do you have any lingering comments regarding live streaming?
Let me know in the comments below.
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What actions do you need to take to get the results you’re striving for as a musician? How do you form the right habits to ensure your brand is reaching the right people?
In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I share about the long-awaited release of my latest book, The Music Entrepreneur Code, which you can pre-order on Amazon now.
- 00:18 – Introduction
- 00:44 – The Music Entrepreneur Code
- 01:33 – Book announcements
- 02:09 – Introduction to The Music Entrepreneur Code
- 07:27 – Closing
Welcome to episode 188 of The New Music Industry Podcast at davidandrewwiebe.com.
I’m your host as always, David Andrew Wiebe, and in this podcast, we explore two major themes:
- What’s new in the music industry. How to stay current and continually adapt to rapid changes in technology and best practices to enjoy our creative endeavors to the fullest.
- How to marry business and music to create expanded results in our careers.
These themes are certainly present in this episode, in which I will be sharing the introduction from my latest book, The Music Entrepreneur Code.
I’ve been teasing and sharing about The Music Entrepreneur Code for quite some time, and I’m excited to finally announce Kindle pre-orders on Amazon.
The official launch date for the book will be May 15, 2020, when paperback copies will also become available, but you may as well get a head start, head on over to Amazon and pre-order the Kindle.
As I’ve discovered in my personal development training, transformation begins the moment you make a commitment, not the moment you begin reading the first chapter. So, go to davidandrewwiebe.com/BuyCode that’s b-u-y-c-o-d-e to cast your vote, make your commitment, and bet on yourself, your potential, your future. You’ve got what it takes.
Over the years, you’ve heard me announce several new books on the podcast, but for me the excitement and novelty never wear off, and I firmly believe this is my best book to date.
So, in terms of what’s new, it goes without saying that my book is a new resource for music entrepreneurs like you.
In terms of marrying business and music, this should also be obvious. This book details exactly what you need to know to get in the right habits and daily actions to help you build towards your own version of success and creative freedom, no more, no less.
So, let’s get into the introduction.
Introduction to The Music Entrepreneur Code: How to Get Paid for Your Passion and Impact More Fans Without Wasting Years of Your Life and Thousands of Dollars
There are musicians. There are entrepreneurs. Then there are music entrepreneurs. Though it represents a small group of rare individuals, it’s a movement, and it’s growing. And, it will continue to grow.
In these times of constant change, rapid technological advancement and endless distraction, how you approach your career or business in music matters more than ever.
You can choose yourself and take control of your career. You can let others tell you what to do. And, of course, there are plenty of shades in between. Some opportunities will fit like a glove. Others will kill your soul.
But the fundamental difference – as I’ve so often said – is in how you think. It’s the difference between the entrepreneur mindset and the employee mindset.
As an entrepreneur, you work for yourself. You’re in charge of how much you make, when you work, what you create and how you share it with the world.
In employment, you work for someone else with little to no control over your pay, schedule, creativity or how your message is spread.
There’s no right or wrong. And, plenty of people are content in traditional employment. There are pros and cons to entrepreneurship, just as there are pros and cons in employment.
But as a musician, there are so few opportunities to work for others, and even the ones that exist aren’t always great. It doesn’t help that competition is beyond fierce. If you want to work for others, you’re always at their mercy, what they require of you and how much they’re willing to pay. To add to the tension, they can pull the plug on you and you aren’t owed an explanation.
I don’t intend to steal anyone’s dreams. If you have major label aspirations, then hustle. Make an album, distribute it digitally, get your songs played on radio and tour through every town or city where your music is getting spun. Sell merch. Increase your budget. Rinse, repeat.
But keep in mind that most labels these days don’t start engines. They add momentum to moving cars.
Unless you’re already established, they won’t turn their head your way. To add insult to injury, they will keep most of what you make when they finally decide to work with you.
Surely, a label is owed something for their work. But to the tune of 80 to 95%, sometimes more depending on the deal?
In an all or nothing world, that leaves you with no wiggle room. Signed or independent. No in between. And, sometimes being signed is more attractive than being independent, while at other times it’s the opposite.
What they have in common, though, often, is they are reliant on the established system of venues, festivals, media outlets, radio stations, streaming platforms, online stores and so on.
Fortunately, it’s not an all or nothing world, and there is a third option. It’s called music entrepreneurship.
As a music entrepreneur, you will take complete control of your activity, creativity, product, pricing, marketing, branding, strategy, team and every other aspect of your career and/or business.
Of course, it could be considered a double-edged sword. Being responsible for everything might seem scary and even overwhelming. You’re not going to have answers for everything.
But that’s also what makes it so rewarding and fulfilling. If you believe you have what it takes, then isn’t it worth taking a chance on yourself?
Scary as it might seem, most days, I wake up excited about the possibilities. Do you?
Now, there’s no sense in pretending the established system doesn’t exist. It does. It’s there. If you can court it, partner with it, take advantage of it, you should.
Some seem opposed to utilizing any part of the system, but I think that’s baloney. Even as a music entrepreneur, you are never completely outside of the system. You can’t build your business by separating yourself from it. It’s just that you’re not 100% dependent on it.
I know rock music is supposed to be about sticking it to “The Man”. But you need to face the fact that, as a music entrepreneur, you’re going to become The Man. And, you’ll be one among many.
An entrepreneur uncovers opportunities. She sees possibilities where others see none. She negotiates her own deals. She strikes up partnerships with people and companies that can help her, even those outside of the industry. She will stop at nothing to see her dreams realized.
All you’re doing as a music entrepreneur is adding those possibilities to your repertoire. You’re building a structure to ensure your future success.
You, my friend, are an entrepreneur already. But to this point, you may not have even considered that possibility.
You can’t un-see it once you’ve seen it.
Don’t believe me?
Consider all the gigs you’ve booked, all the marketing you’ve done for your shows and releases, all the music you’ve digitally distributed. You’ve been cutting deals already. Sounds entrepreneurial to me.
Now, the true definition of an entrepreneur is someone who lives off the assets they’ve created. By that definition, there are few true entrepreneurs out there.
But in life, you are what you create yourself as.
So, will you create yourself as an entrepreneur? Will you make your own way instead of waiting for someone else to give you a hand up? Will you empower yourself?
That’s my invitation to you as we begin to explore The Music Entrepreneur Code. Let’s crack the code!
Again, if you’re interested in The Music Entrepreneur Code, head on over to davidandrewwiebe.com/BuyCode. And, while you’re there, you’ll see that all my books are on sale. So, if you’ve been sitting on the fence, consider a new action. Sitting on the fence hurts and the only person who can help you get off the fence is you. Make a commitment to yourself and your growth. You’ve got what it takes.
And, if you have any questions, comments, suggestions or feedback regarding the podcast, please reach out to me on Twitter. It’s really the quickest way. So, please send your @mentions to username @davidawiebe. That’s d-a-v-i-d-a-w-i-e-b-e. I’m more than happy to read and answer your comments on the show, if it makes sense to do so. So, again, send your comments over to @davidawiebe, and I look forward to connecting with you.
I’m David Andrew Wiebe, and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.
Building a music career isn’t exactly a stroll in the park.
As such, staying abreast of the latest trends and finding opportunities to exploit is key to building a following – and, hopefully – making more money from music.
Many musicians, young and old, are now looking to TikTok to fulfill on these requirements.
So, how does one go about making viral TikTok videos to build their music careers?
What is TikTok?
TikTok is essentially the latest trending short-form, video-based, meme-generating social media platform that replaced the once popular Vine.
Many of the videos feature cute pets and attractive people dancing to top 40 music (or some combination thereof). Others feature memes, thrilling rollercoaster rides, amazing human feats (not “feets”) and more.
But there’s no question users are getting creative with it, enticing all manner of responses from viewers – shock, surprise, laughter and more.
Should I Even be on TikTok?
I think this is a valuable question to ask.
Personally, I can think of far more important things to do with my time (making music, marketing my music, merchandising, etc.).
But I still hold to the notion that 20% of your time should be invested in experimentation. After all, you never know what might come of your experiments. This is where some artists find unprecedented success.
Again, I can think of better things to do with that 20% time (e.g. writing music in a style I’ve never written before, starting a side project, finding other creative expressions, etc.). But here’s no reason you couldn’t dedicate it to TikTok.
How do I Make a Viral TikTok Video?
At the outset, I must point out that there is no definitive formula for creating any kind of viral content, let alone on TikTok.
Carl Douglas didn’t think “Kung Fu Fighting” was going to be a hit and the song was put together rather hastily, at the last minute, in the studio. So, success sometimes comes from unexpected places, and that’s an important lesson all its own.
With that in mind, here are some tips that will help you make the most of TikTok.
Use a Good Camera
If you’ve got the latest smartphone in your pocket, there’s a good chance you’ve got everything you need already.
But just in case, since you are going to be creating video content, you should know it’s a good idea to work with a quality camera.
Use Good Lighting
Even the best content can sometimes be ruined by bad lighting, simply because viewers can’t make out what’s supposed to be happening in the video.
Your filming environment should be well-lit (but not overexposed) for best results.
Sync Your Sound
Sound plays an important role in how people experience your content, and to that extent, experienced sound designers are likely to have a bit of an advantage here.
Either way, at minimum, ensure the sound syncs up with your video.
Anyone making video content knows how important editing is.
Although I won’t be offering any specific tips here, in general, it would be best for you to study how professional commercials, TV shows and movies are edited.
Not surprisingly, right now, a lot of creators are incorporating the coronavirus into their content.
Keeping up with the trends might just help you create content that more people will resonate with.
If all else fails, film your cat. We all know how well cats have done for themselves on the internet.
Use Relevant Hashtags
If you’re used to Twitter and Instagram, you should be able to figure this out relatively quickly.
Keep an eye on popular hashtags, and if they are relevant to the content you’re creating, use them to boost views.
Content creation needs to be taken seriously. But that seriousness shouldn’t carry into your content. If you aren’t having fun in your videos, you shouldn’t expect your viewers to have any fun either.
Social media is about connecting and engaging with people. So, make it fun for everyone involved.
Brainstorm & Experiment with a Variety of Ideas
If you’re going to be posting fresh content once or twice per day (recommended), then you’d better start generating plenty of ideas. I’d suggest writing them down somewhere you can easily find them.
Then, experiment plenty. You just never know what idea might end up resonating, even if you think it’s “stupid.”
The 3 Pillars of Success with Social Media
I hold to the notion that there are only three pillars to social media success. They can be applied to any platform. They are simple but not easy. Violate these rules at your own peril.
Let’s look at what these three pillars are and how to apply them to your TikTok efforts.
Pillar #1: Publish Platform-Centric Content
You can always take your TikTok videos and share them elsewhere (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and so on – I’ll talk more about this in a moment).
But first and foremost, if you want to do well on TikTok, you must create the type of content that works well on TikTok (short videos that make people stand up and take notice).
This is easy to do, easy not to do. In other words, if you get lazy and just take unremarkable clips from your YouTube videos and republish them to TikTok, you’re less likely to do well on the platform.
Pillar #2: Publish Remarkable Content
If your content doesn’t warrant a response from viewers, it’s not going to do much for you.
This doesn’t mean you’re going to hit the content nail on the head every single time. Making good content takes work. So, you can’t just fly by the seat of your pants and expect to succeed.
Try to come up with content that leaves people feeling something. Draw out an emotional response. If you can do that, you will get viewers hooked on your content.
Pillar #3: Publish Consistently
Each piece of content may require quite a bit of brainstorming, planning, filming and even editing. Is that something you can commit to?
A lot of people publish one thing (or a few things) and hope it takes the world by storm. Generally, that’s not a winning formula. You need a larger archive of content along with new content to harvest attention and keep it.
Determine exactly how many times you’re going to be publishing daily or weekly and when.
Once you’ve built a bit of a following, you can post a little more sporadically, but until then, stick to the plan (no matter how tedious it gets).
Bonus Pillar: Distribute, Syndicate & Promote Your Content
You’re a musician. So, hopefully you understand how important it is to promote your works.
With releasing new music, for example, you can’t just distribute the release and hope everyone streams it. Unless you’re well-known, it just doesn’t work that way. You must promote your work.
It’s the same with social media content. You can’t just post it and hope everyone sees it. You must distribute, syndicate and promote the content you’ve worked so hard to create.
What’s the Benefit of Becoming Popular on TikTok?
I don’t know. You tell me.
I have often said that social media numbers are irrelevant unless you’re trying to achieve a specific end. I have always felt that website traffic, email signups and ultimately sales are far more important metrics.
But let’s talk about those “specific ends”.
For musicians, that might mean getting booked for a festival (they might be more inclined to book a band that can bring a crowd).
For bloggers and authors, getting a publishing deal (most publishers want their authors to be able to pre-sell tens of thousands of copies of their book).
By the way, not to be overly indulgent here, but it does help when you follow me on social media. I’m confident I’ve added some value to you today, so please take a moment to follow and engage with me on these platforms:
For speakers, getting podcast interviews and maybe even speaking engagements (some podcasters hold to the notion that the bigger the following you have, the more your message is honed).
There are good reasons to grow a following. But a following should never be confused with success in every area.
A big following doesn’t mean you’re making lots of money.
A big following doesn’t mean you’ve got it where it counts (website traffic, email list, sales).
A big following doesn’t mean you’re popular or famous.
And, a big following certainly doesn’t mean you’ve got something better to say than others.
So, be realistic here. Be clear about what you’re trying to achieve. Otherwise, you’re pointing in the wrong direction and need to course correct as soon as possible.
Final Thoughts on Viral TikTok Videos
Wouldn’t it be great to go viral? We all think about it from time to time and imagine what it would be like.
But I believe social media consultant Lori Taylor said it best when she said:
Going viral is not an outcome; it’s a happening. Sometimes it happens; sometimes it doesn’t. Just remember, fans are vanity and sales are sanity.
I could not have said it any better than that!
Just so we’re clear, I’m not anti-social media. I’m just anti-distraction and anti-unintentionality.
When adopting a new tactic, a high degree of intentionality must be employed. And, when it comes to a low-level opportunity like social media, you’d better have absolute clarity around what you’re doing and how much effort it’s going to take.
But if you’ve chosen TikTok to help you grow your following, great. Apply your best thinking to the platform or you’re unlikely to achieve much.
Is there anything else I should have addressed?
Do you have any unanswered questions regarding TikTok?
Let me know in the comments below.