In developing a music career, I’ve really found it helpful to adopt an ownership mindset.
Another way of talking about this is taking an entrepreneurial mindset to your music career.
The employee mindset, which is what most people have, is this – it’s all about working for money and other people.
Trying to get a record contract is really the key example. It’s all about trying to work your way up the music artist pyramid so you can ultimately be the employee of a label. So, the label dictates the terms and tells you how you should do your work.
It certainly appears to be the best job available to artists, but with 360 deals, which typically take a cut of everything you make as an artist, and other types of contracts that don’t put the artist first, it isn’t always the most attractive option.
Now, I’m not down on record labels. They do a lot of things well, including marketing and distribution, even if they are fully a decade or two behind the times on things like digital marketing.
The point is that there are other ways of getting what you want in music. And by the time you’ve reached your goals, you’ll be in a position of power to choose what you want – whether it’s to continue as an independent artist, or to sign a contract with a label. Because staying independent might start to look more attractive by the time labels start courting you.
Labels aren’t very fond of signing bands and artists these days, though, so let’s just keep that in mind. Basically, the most desirable jobs in music as an artist aren’t easy to get.
An entrepreneurial mindset, on the other hand, is all about having money and other people work for you. And while it might seem a little intimidating, and sometimes an abstract concept, the truth is you’re doing some of this already, just that you need to be more deliberate in applying it in every part of your career.
For instance, if you’re distributing your music digitally, then you’re already having your money work for you.
You can have people and money work for you in a lot of other ways, too, whether it’s getting your fans to pre-save your new release, putting money into advertising, or having someone post to social media on your behalf.
In my current team, I’ve had team members write articles, create graphical banners, run our ad campaigns and more. It’s quite exhilarating when you’re working with people who have expertise or skills in areas you don’t.It’s quite exhilarating when you’re working with people who have expertise or skills in areas you don’t. Click To Tweet
A lot of artists don’t have an ownership mindset, so they end up blaming the lack of their success on a lot of external factors, whether it’s labels, managers, audiences, or the fact that bassist Mike was projectile vomiting on Tuesday.
And I get it. It’s altogether too common for artists to hire a manager or publicist and end up wasting money on press that doesn’t get them anywhere. It’s a sad reality, and there are some things I could say in defense of managers or publicists, but I really do empathize with artists because this has happened to a couple of dear friends of mine, and I never like to see that happen.
The key question I want to leave you with, though, is where can you take more ownership? Where can you be more intentional? Can you put together tracking sheets for your gigs or social media posts? What structures do you have that help you manage and track your effectiveness?
You can’t do it all at once, but you can implement a step at a time. And I would urge you to implement whatever it is you see is missing in your music career structures NOW.
For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.