4 Myths That Stop Musicians from Building Their Team

4 Myths That Stop Musicians from Building Their Team

People frequently ask me:

“How in the world do you do it all?”

“You wouldn’t expect a musician to do all of THIS, would you?”

The blunt answer is “yes”, especially if you’re serious about making your musical dreams a reality.

But what I realized is there’s a bit of a mindset gap…

And once you’ve bridged this gap, you’ll be able to see this problem from a different angle, which will make it easier to solve.

Here’s what you need to know:

Myth #1: You’ve Got to Know it All

False.

I think it’s easy to feel that way as an artist. Because when you think about it, even if you’re just the drummer in a band, you end up taking on a lot.

From personal practice and rehearsals, to shows and load-in/load-out, your responsibilities are more extensive than you might be inclined to think about.

And then, of course, there’s the whole issue of recording in the studio, playing to a click, keeping the beat tight, and so forth.

There’s nothing wrong with learning, and I’m a big believer in ongoing self-education.

I even covered it in episode 55 of my podcast:

But trying to gain competency in every area of your career – be it booking, marketing, publicity, admin, business, or otherwise – is a long road, and it’s probably not the best use of your time.

If you’re a drummer, you should be spending most of your time drumming.

If you’re a songwriter, you should be pumping out song ideas.

You want to be spending most of your time in your genius zone, even if you’re occasionally pulled away to handle whatever tasks you’ve agreed to take on.

You want to be spending most of your time in your genius zone, even if you’re occasionally pulled away to handle whatever tasks you’ve agreed to take on. Click To Tweet

And, by the way, if you’re in a band, you should be divvying up tasks based on the strengths of each member.

Myth #2: You’ve Got to do it All

Wrong.

You should never get too good at what you hate, because then you’ll be stuck with the task.

You should never get too good at what you hate because you’ll get stuck with the task. Click To Tweet

I’m not saying it’s always going to be smooth sailing. There are going to be days you don’t want to get up to do what you need to do.

But that doesn’t mean you need to shoulder all the responsibility.

There’s an African proverb you may have heard:

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

What it means is that while you can achieve big results quickly working all by your lonesome, you can ultimately achieve more with the help of a team.

Entrepreneurs have many early regrets. Some say they wished they had started building their email list sooner.

Others say they wish they had known about X book, Y system, or Z resource.

But the overwhelming majority say their number one regret was not hiring sooner.

You don’t need to be the one completing all the tasks, especially if the tasks are low impact, low priority, and tedious grunt work you’re not even good at and don’t enjoy.

Myth #3: You’ve Got to Spend a Fortune on Your Team

By now you should be starting to see how all these myths are interconnected. And by un-collapsing the pieces, you can begin to see the forest for the trees.

So, the insane part about this most musicians don’t realize is…

If they sign to a label, in many cases, they will instantly give up 70 to 95% of their gross revenue.

We’ll say the ratio is 80/20 just to make it easier to understand – the label keeps 80%, you keep 20%.

But you can easily flip these numbers upside down by taking ownership of your career and doing your own hiring, firing, outsourcing and so on.

And there are some incredible tools that make this process simple. Sites like:

Are all great examples.

Whether you’re looking to get some graphic design work done, or you want your next lyric video created, guaranteed you can find someone with the skills, knowledge, and experience to be able to help you in the capacity you need.

Sure, it might take some digging. You might make a few mistakes.

But when you consider the alternative, of handing over 80% of your career versus keeping 80% of it,  you can begin to shift your mindset around your spending, such that you’re actively reinvesting in your career instead of holding tightly onto your financial resources, which will just sit there and do nothing for you.

You can actively invest or reinvest in your career and grow faster. Or you can sit on your financial resources and stay stagnant. Click To Tweet

Myth #4: You’ve Got to be the Smartest Person in the Room

Not so.

An entrepreneur typically wants to be the dumbest person in the room, so they can be a sponge, learn from others and allow the people around them to shine in their strengths.

Again, this goes back to knowing it all and doing it all, which is incredibly inefficient.

You do want to be a good leader. But being a good leader begins with self. If you lead yourself well, and ask good questions, you can lead a team no problem.

One of my mentors is an expert at this. When there’s a project he wants to bring to life, he gathers like-minded people who are committed to the cause.

And slowly, over time, he begins to move the team in the right direction. Remember the African proverb from earlier? He might not get anywhere fast using this approach, but he will go far.

Although he leads his people, he never tells them what to do!

He asks questions, guides the discussion, and helps his team arrive at the answer that makes the most sense for all involved.

Now, he’s willing to have as many conversations as necessary, getting to know the people around him, assessing their suitability to the project, understanding their motivations and desires, ensuring their level of commitment…

But besides teaching his team how to think, having conversations and sending emails, he doesn’t lift a finger. Incredible!

You may not have the same level of patience to lead people in this manner. That’s okay – you’re going to have your own way of going about things.

But the example is certainly one worth learning from.

Building Your Team, Summary

When you’ve got big goals and dreams for your career and your life, you’re going to be tempted to ask “how?”

This question, unfortunately, stops us dead in our tracks. The question we should train ourselves to ask instead is “who?”

There is always someone that can help us build a bridge from one canyon to the next. They might be a freelancer or a full-time assistant. They might offer short-term help, or they might become a permanent member of the team. That part will basically sort itself out, and you need not worry about it.

So, whenever you’re stuck, don’t ask yourself “how?”

Instead ask:

“What conversation am I NOT having?”

Because THAT conversation is the one you need to have next.

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

The Music Entrepreneur Code is my latest best-selling book, and it’s available here as well as on Amazon.

203 – Social Media Marketing for Musicians in 2020, 2021 & Beyond

203 – Social Media Marketing for Musicians in 2020, 2021 & Beyond

It’s taken me a while, but I’m finally getting to something I know you’ve been waiting for me to get to – social media in 2020, 2021, and beyond!

It’s laughable how little has changed (beyond maybe esthetic) since a year, two years, or even three years ago (especially for us here at the HQ).

So, in this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I take a bit of a different approach, and share author Joe Pulizzi’s five tips with you, and expand on them (video below). Enjoy!

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:41 – The evolving identity of Music Entrepreneur HQ
  • 03:22 – This is essential to creating the life of your dreams through music
  • 03:57 – Best social media strategies for 2021
  • 04:26 – Tip #1: Narrow your focus
  • 06:09 – Tip #2: Be clear on your message, your audience, and your niche
  • 07:16 – Tip #3: Be helpful and interesting
  • 08:30 – Tip #4: Create an ownership strategy
  • 09:14 – Tip #5: Be consistent
  • 09:41 – Key takeaways/action steps
  • 10:54 – News and updates
  • 11:26 – Leave a rating and review on iTunes
  • 11:35 – Get a hold of David
  • 11:44 – Your weekly action plan

Transcription:

Your content tilt is your unique identity in the world, how you stand out from others in your space. Click To Tweet
Why I Don’t Think 1 Cent Per Stream on Spotify is Going to Save the Music Business

Why I Don’t Think 1 Cent Per Stream on Spotify is Going to Save the Music Business

Before you hate on me, there’s one thing you should know – I signed the petition!

I’m 100% behind the principle of the cause. It would be great to see one cent per stream versus the non-quantifiable decimals they’ve been trying to pass off as compensation.

Sadly, I think the musician community’s focus has been misplaced. All I hear is Spotify this, Spotify that. Most of it is a delusion.

Yes, it’s important. But not that important.

Especially compared to some of the things I cover in this post.

Fight for Dollars, Not for Cents!

Many musicians say money isn’t important.

But if that’s true, why are we fighting over cents rather than dollars?

You do know that you can still make $5 to $20 selling your releases, don’t you?

And if you’re going to put the same amount of effort into promoting something anyway…

WHY promote your music on Spotify for mere cents? Especially when you could be making dollars?

Musicians need to wake up and realize ONE THING – that their fans aren’t them!

We’re talking about grade school kids that want to find their identity, feeling like they don’t fit in, combating anxiety and depression…

We’re talking about college kids that want to party and rock out because they aren’t ready to be adults just yet…

We’re talking about adults that sit at a desk job all day daydreaming they were somewhere else doing something else…

THOSE are the people your music is for. And, surprise, surprise, they might just have more discretionary income than you do.

Look – I know women aged 25 to 45 that don’t bat an eye dropping $100 per day on food and entertainment. Food for thought.

Now I GET that people don’t always buy what’s readily available for free. We do need to approach the sales process a little differently than we used to. But let me get to that.

So, What’s Your Solution?

If you’re a listener of my podcast, then my answer here is going to be “you’re joking, right?”

The New Music Industry Podcast has nearly 300 episodes as of this writing, and I’ve talked about dozens (if not hundreds) of alternative ways you can monetize your music. It’s kind of what I’m known for actually.

It’s funny how my peers are just now making a big stink about alternative monetization. I’ve been talking about this since 2009.

Here’s a small sample (and I do mean small sample) of opportunities just waiting to be tapped.

The first is bundling and packaging your music:

The second is setting up a membership site/fan club:

The third is making money from affiliate partnerships, a topic I’ve covered here on the blog in detail:

I shared FIVE ways you can make money as a blogging musician in this episode:

And the sales funnel approach – which has its pros and cons –  is quite popular among musicians as well. John Oszajca shared eloquently on this topic in episode 147 of the podcast:

Need I say more?

There are a TON of ways to make more money in music, and most of them represent a better opportunity than making a cent per stream.

Have Fun While it Lasts

Kanye may have been right. Maybe Bush doesn’t care about black people.

But it sure doesn’t seem like the government cares about artists, independent musicians, or small business owners like me, either.

What do I mean?

Have a read through the following. These are some of the REAL issues independent musicians and businesses are facing. This is what we’re really up against.

But be forewarned…

If you read what follows, you might not sleep tonight.

Remember – all this stuff IS coming, and you can read all about it if you go digging for it.

COPPA & Increased YouTube Related Restrictions

YouTubers are having a rough go of this whole COPPA thing, and some are caught in the middle of the mess, with their living on the line.

To be perfectly fair, this child protection act has been around for a long time, and for good reason. Children should not be able to access or view content that’s inappropriate to them.

What’s 100% hypocritical about this is that anyone with an unprotected internet connection can easily access pornography at the click of a mouse – child, adult, senior, or otherwise!

But before another YouTuber whines they’re going to lose their poo – because they draw adult-oriented cartoons, and that makes their content incredibly ambiguous – I agree. YouTube needs to sort some of this out before they start acting like the righteousness police.

COPPA isn’t unimportant. The way it’s been implemented, and what has resulted from it, especially on YouTube, seems draconian.

Censorship

You can’t convince me popular social media platforms aren’t actively censoring people.

I’ve literally seen Facebook censor one of my friend’s posts!

I get it. Many of you are crying, “Awesome! We don’t want to hear from those crazy flat earthers anyway!”

No, censorship is quickly evolving beyond what some consider “fake news,” which has become impossible to quantify or verify, when you understand that every event that occurs is seen differently by every human being. And the way media makes money is by getting you to click on scandalous headlines.

It’s getting to the point where voicing an opinion that doesn’t conform to the majority is actively ridiculed, suffocated, and even shadow banned.

What’s wrong with opposing views? Hasn’t humanity thrived, especially intellectually, on inquiry, discussion and debate? Bill & Ted are more enlightened than the woke crowd.

If it furthers humanity, then I’m all for people speaking up!

Want to keep building that fan base on Facebook or YouTube? Better not go against their agendas and stances on anything. Otherwise they will ruthlessly demonetize (love how demon is in the word) or delete as they see fit.

Net Neutrality & Localization

For all of those who thought they were being clever using virtual private networks (VPNs)…

Net neutrality has been a heated subject for many years.

Basically, it’s the idea that internet service providers (ISP) should treat all internet communications the same, without discrimination based on user.

What’s that I hear?

Personalization? Localization? Remarketing?

That’s right. Your ISP is already feeding your bias.

Imagine a future where the visibility of your music and website is even less than it is today…

Where it’s no longer just about cutting through the substantial noise created by your competition…

Where it’s no longer about clever marketing tactics…

But where it’s virtually impossible to get your music in front of certain users because there is no neutrality.

In Canada, they’re talking about policing what people say online. Unbelievable.

Fun future to look forward to, isn’t it ?

Internet = Facebook (or Google, or Amazon, or Apple…)

Another harrowing reality we might need to face is that in the future, the internet might be Facebook or Google or some other big company. As in the internet IS Google. There’s nowhere else to go.

They’re talking about this on a podcast I listen to – PNR With This Old Marketing – so you know it could happen.

I like the internet as it is. I like being able to set up websites. I like being able to promote my business to interested customers.

But no, at some point, things may no longer be as they are, because when you open a browser window in the future, there will be no URL bar, and every “page” we visit could be Amazon.

A place where I have no choice but to pay to play if I want to run any business. A place where I’ve got to obey by a stringent code of conduct or I am booted (also see above).

Same will go for all of us.

Conclusion

As usual, I’m probably going to come across as the contrarian or the jerk in this post, but this needs to be said. And if I’ve got to be the one to say it, so be it.

What we must recognize is that there are more critical battles to be fought.

Technologies, laws, regulations, and restrictions will be rolled out without our consent, in violation of our rights, and you can’t convince me that it’s somehow in our best interest.

When these things do happen, our very way of life will be challenged, never mind the way we monetize our art.

But for the time being, there are MANY ways to generate revenue that don’t revolve around making cents on Spotify.

Better have fun while it lasts…

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

The Music Entrepreneur Code is my latest best-selling book, and it’s available here as well as on Amazon.

The Power of Listening in Music Entrepreneurship

The Power of Listening in Music Entrepreneurship

Episode 14 of my podcast is one of my most listened to, though it may not be for all the right reasons.

The title of that episode is The Importance of Listening to Audio in Personal Development.

My podcast is called The New Music Industry Podcast, so my target audience is musicians. I think this podcast episode attracted a general personal development crowd as much as the audience I was (and still am) speaking to.

There’s nothing wrong with that, however, and in this post, I’ll be going a little deeper into the topic.

The Impact of Words on Water

The human adult body is comprised of up to 60% water.

Similarly, 71% of the earth’s surface is covered in water.

Dr. Masaru Emoto is famous for conducting a variety of experiments with water, exposing it to words, pictures, or music.

Dr. Masaru Emoto water experiments

His findings point to the idea that the water exposed to positive speech and thoughts form visually pleasing crystals, and water exposed to negative intentions would create displeasing crystal formations.

When you connect the dots, you begin to see that words impact our bodies.

When we are consistently uplifted, supported, and given encouragement, our health strengthens, our energy increases, and we’re able to think more clearly.

Conversely, when we are consistently insulted, put down, and discouraged, the opposite happens – our health deteriorates, our energy decreases, and our mind chatter becomes more incessant.

Programmed Through Negative Language

The truth is we are exposed to negative language all day long.

The mainstream media makes money when you tune into their programming, so they make their headlines as controversial and scandalous as possible. They exaggerate facts and claims, and in some cases, astute observers have even found that news consistently reports on the opposite of what’s happening in the world.

The ties between the media and the government have basically become irrefutable, as they always report on “what’s going to happen”, which always seems to happen, as if by magic (hint – it’s not magic, it’s predictive programming).

They’ll talk about tax hikes that are to come, laws that are about to change, or pandemics that are systematically wiping out humanity. Then, it all comes true, as if it were a prophecy. But it never is. They’re just telling us what they’re planning to do so they can’t be held responsible when it does.

So, your world, by default, is saturated in negative words, thoughts, intentions, energies, and language.

You do have a choice in the matter though.

Positive to Negative Ratio

Several years ago, academic Emily Heaphy and consultant Marcial Losada studied the effectiveness of strategic business unit leader teams at an information processing company.

What they found was that the highest-performing teams were the ones that received 5.6:1 positive to negative feedback.

These findings are staggering, as it means we need roughly six positive comments to outweigh one potentially negative one.

Answer honestly – when’s the last time someone gave you six compliments, encouraging words, or words of support before you heard one slightly negative remark?

In my life, the last time that happened, I was attending grade school in another country!

So, when you consider that, by default, you are being bombarded with negative all day long, the only way to make up for that difference is by listening to positive, uplifting, encouraging audios.

The Power of Listening

The act of listening is a powerful thing.

It turns the uneducated and uninformed into skilled experts.

It saves relationships.

It grows businesses.

It cures depression.

It changes lives.

I understand these are grand claims. But most of us take for granted the ability to hear.

There are many ways to learn, but most of us rely heavily on this important human sense.

When a husband listens to his wife, or a girlfriend listens to her boyfriend, a stronger connection can be created.

When a manager listens to his team, he can implement new initiatives or new approaches that lead to expanded results.

When a patient listens to a psychologist, they can find ways of managing their emotions and even find new, positive emotions to latch onto.

When you hear an impacting message, it touches you at a heart level, and leads to decisions that change your world from the inside out.

Listening is foundational to all we truly desire in life.

And because we forget this, we also forget to feed our minds with positive and protect it from harmful and negative content, people, circumstances, and situations.

Growing Your Career by Tapping into the Power of Listening

If listening truly is as powerful as I’ve just described, then it stands to reason you can grow your career by regularly listening to empowering audio.

Have a listen to episode 14 of my podcast here:

If you’d like to take this a step further, may I recommend my book, The Music Entrepreneur Code, which covers the practical side of engaging in personal development?

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

If you’d like the Kindle or paperback, the book is also available on Amazon.

The Shiny Object is Often Just a Distraction in Music Entrepreneurship

The Shiny Object is Often Just a Distraction in Music Entrepreneurship

You’ve seen those big, sexy claims in articles and on YouTube, haven’t you?

This is how I earn $3,000 per month from my music.

She makes $50,000 per month selling on Amazon.

My affiliate business made six-figures last year.

So, you end up being lured in by the sexiness of the promise. Let’s face it – it’s hard not to click on those headlines.

Sometimes, the content delivers on its promise. But many times, you’re left scratching your head or shocked at the financial outlay required for the course or mastermind or system being sold.

So, was it worth it? Was it worth being ripped away from your goals and dreams to go and read that article or watch that video for 10 minutes?

When you’re clear on what you want to accomplish and why, doesn’t every minute count? Aren’t all other things a distraction, pulling you away from the promise you’ve made to yourself?

Comparison kills all possibility. It’s easy to forget – but your journey is uniquely yours. So, while it’s good to see what’s possible, you’ve got your own path to walk, and that path probably won’t look a whole lot like anyone else’s.

Look, we’re human. We’re all going to be drawn in by amazing sounding promises from time to time. I used to chase the shiny object myself. It’s possible I didn’t have complete confidence in my ability or chosen path yet.

But then I had a realization. That whenever I came across an article or video with a title like the above, that there were some critical questions begging to be asked.

What follows is an excerpt from my latest book, The Music Entrepreneur Code. I hope you enjoy it.

Managing Your Money & Understanding Shiny Objects

If you can’t hold onto money, or don’t know how to manage it, it’s of little consequence how much you make.

Millionaires have gained and lost their fortunes repeatedly. Just look at radio show host Dave Ramsey, entrepreneur and author James Altucher, or for that matter, MC Hammer or Vanilla Ice (this is a good lesson all its own, as it shows you can lose it all and still gain it back).

That’s why I’m not impressed by numbers. Everywhere you look, people are talking about the results they’ve achieved:

How I earned $3,000 from a single Medium post.

She makes $50,000 per month on Amazon.

I make $6,000 a month freelancing and here’s how.

How I make over $4,000 a month selling music online.

(Sidebar – I’ve been making high four figures for a while and don’t need any advice on how to do that.)

Now, I don’t want to diminish or make anyone wrong for sharing their successes. You and I get to learn from them and that’s awesome.

But these metrics mean nothing.

If a friend of yours is earning $8,000 and saving $80 per month, and you’re earning $3,000 and saving $300 per month, who’s coming out ahead? You, right?

So, whenever you come across these success stories, these are the key questions you should be asking:

  • How much money did they spend to get to that revenue figure?
  • How much of their own time are they putting into earning it?
  • How much money are they saving?
  • How much money are they investing?
  • How much money are they reinvesting into their business/putting better structures into place?
  • Can they sustainably earn the same amount monthly or annually without burning themselves out?
  • Is their revenue recurring or do they start from scratch every month and work their ass off to earn the same amount?

When I first got started in business, I wasn’t asking these questions. And that had me chasing too many shiny objects to mention.

Being smart with money isn’t just about learning how to make it. You must learn to manage it and filter out distractions too.

Being Smart with Money

In episode 66 of The New Music Industry Podcast, I shared a little bit about how to manage your money as a musician.

You can have a listen here:

The Music Entrepreneur Code

Interested in learning more about managing your money? Want to discover the steps that will help you create an amazing financial future?

Learn more about The Music Entrepreneur Code now.

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

If you’d like the Kindle or paperback, the book is also available on Amazon.