You Are Already Being Represented

You Are Already Being Represented

“We don’t want anyone taking our proprietary, custom-designed images.”

So, the graphical assets are locked up.

That’s how these decisions are typically made. But it’s short-sighted.

Every company needs a media page, a place where people can freely access and download their logos, pictures of their founders, product images, and other relevant assets.

Why?

The alternative is to force the people who want to (and may even be required to) talk about you online to take poorly cropped, bad-quality screenshots and use them on their blogs and websites. What exactly does that do to your online brand and reputation management?

Consider:

How do you want the people that come to your business – customers, bloggers, podcasters, influencers, affiliates, the media – to represent you?

Because know it or not, you are already being represented.

7 Ways to Improve Your Marketing as a Musician

7 Ways to Improve Your Marketing as a Musician

Your music marketing efforts might be on track already.

But are there things you could do to expand your fan base and earn a greater income faster? Of course there are! Your music marketing could always be better.

Here are seven ways to improve your marketing as a musician.

1. Review & Iterate on Your Music Career Goals

Now, this might seem like a complete waste of time, and yet it’s the only way to tangibly improve or transform your music and marketing efforts.

Because if you’re not clear on what your goals are, how do you know whether your marketing is even effective?

You must have clearly defined, achievable goals to know whether what you’re doing is even working.

If you don’t have goals, take the time to write them down.

Remember – goals are not accomplished in the mind. They are accomplished out in the world! If you do not write them down, how do you plan to take them from imagination to vivid reality?

Goals are not accomplished in the mind. They are accomplished out in the world! Share on X

If you do have goals, then take the time to review them. Check to ensure you’re headed in the right direction and see if your actions are still consistent with your goals.

If not, revise!

Here’s the thing about successful people – they are always writing and rewriting their goals, reviewing them, revising them, writing down income figures they want to reach, and more. They make a big production out of the whole process!

2 Types of Goals

Now, when it comes to goal setting, I always look at two types of goals: quarterly goals and yearly goals.

And my quarterly goals are there to build up to my yearly goal.

It would be wise to recognize that, realistically, you can probably only add one thing to your career every 90 days, because everything takes time.

Recording an album every 90 days, for example, would be quite ambitious. You could certainly set a yearly goal of recording a new album mind you.

Something you could have as a quarterly goal is releasing a single or EP. Or maybe adding a new marketing channel.

But again, think in terms of what you can accomplish in 90-day increments. It will take a lot of the guesswork out of setting and achieving goals.

2. The Promotion of Music Gets Easier When You’re Clear on Your Brand

The clearer you are on your brand as an artist or band, the easier it will be to determine how to promote your music and where.

The clearer you are on your brand as an artist or band, the easier it will be to determine how to promote your music and where. Share on X

Let’s say you’re a new artist with some great singer-songwriter music, but you don’t know who your music is for, or why people would listen, or who you need to be for your audience.

If your music is great but you don’t have a brand, I’m sorry to say you’re going to fail as an artist.

On the other hand, if you’re a female pop singer whose message is female empowerment, and your image, lyrics, artwork, and everything else is all oriented around that, it’s going to make it so much easier to promote your music.

After all, there are major mainstream artists whose image is all oriented around the idea of female empowerment already and they are massively successful.

So, consider what your core purpose is. What is your mission? What is your reason for existing? That’s your brand.

Once you know that, you can figure out all the other details like colors and logos and fonts. That stuff doesn’t matter as much unless you know what your core purpose is.

3. Identifying Platforms for Musicians Where You Need to Create a Presence

We’ll talk more about social media and other platforms where you can post your music later in this guide.

But the most important platform is bar none your artist website. I’m not talking about a Blogger blog. I’m not talking about a LiveJournal installation. I’m not talking about anything that you can’t personally own and control.

The most important platform is bar none your artist website. Share on X

There are different solutions depending on what you’re looking for. You can go with a great solution like Bandzoogle or you can go in the self-hosted WordPress site direction I’ve advocated for years.

SiteGround is an awesome solution:

SiteGround

Either way, you need a central space where people can go to find everything about you.

You’ll want to build out your press and media kits, share videos and your music, add high quality photos, put email signup forms up and so on.

On every page, make it clear what your call to action is, it’s always good to have a focus for that. If you go too broad and try to get people to do too many things, your marketing is going to suffer.

But if you focus on getting visitors to do one thing, you can vastly improve your results and conversion rate.

Also take advantage of a tool like SimilarWeb to find where major artists are most active.

I looked up the band Korn and found that their fans engaged with them most on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Social media traffic

What artists were you influenced by? What artists do you sound like? You can go and look up their website on SimilarWeb to find out where they’re getting the most traffic from. And that’s going to give you a good idea where you should put your focus as well.

4. Learn How to Promote Your Music on Spotify & Improve Your Marketing

First, determine whether your audience actively listens to music on Spotify. If they’re not using Spotify, trying to send them there is a futile effort.

You’ll need to redirect your energies towards sending them to platforms where they do listen to music, whether it’s Amazon, TIDAL, Apple Music, or otherwise.

And if they prefer CDs, then make sure you press some CDs.

But if you’ve already confirmed that people do listen to your music on Spotify, here are some things you can do:

  • First is to run pre-save campaigns. We hear more and more about these recently, and they are working great for a lot of artists.
  • Second is to get your music playlisted. You might not be able to get into the top playlists, but you can certainly create your own, you can look for smaller playlists, you can collaborate with others in creating playlists together. Getting on playlists will pique the algorithm, so think outside the box and find ways to get on as many playlists as possible.
  • Put Spotify links on your website or blog. This is an obvious thing that sometimes gets missed, so be sure to link up your music on Spotify so your fans have a quick and easy way to access it directly from your website.
  • Next, put the Spotify logo on your posters, business cards, and print material. Even today, there are plenty of people that don’t know that an independent artist can distribute their music everywhere for a small fee. So, you will find that your fans are surprised and amazed that you have your music on Apple and Spotify and Amazon and elsewhere. Let people know. You can put QR codes on your print materials too.
  • Also use Spotify embeds to distribute your music further. You can put it on your own website or blog, you can put your embeds on social networks like BitClout where you can embed media directly on the platform. You can request your friends and fans and family to embed your music on their websites or blogs too. And the more places your music is seen the better the chance people will listen to it.

By the way, this is what a Spotify embed looks like:

5. Know Your Music Social Media Platforms

It so often happens that artists and bands get years into their music promotion efforts without giving their strategy a refresh.

If, for example, you haven’t even reviewed your plan in the last two years or so, you’ve been missing out on the TikTok craze.

Chances are you already know about YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (Twitter is especially hot right now). You might have profiles and pages set up on these networks already. And that’s great.

But these aren’t the only places for music can go. In fact, there are some social networks that have been set up specifically for musicians.

Bandcamp, for example, is an eCommerce solution, but it also has a social media component to it. And you can sell your music at whatever price you want using their platform.

Then there’s SoundCloud. A lot of reviewers like to use SoundCloud embeds on their blogs. And you may want to utilize it for press purposes as well.

And then there’s also platforms like ReverbNation. They may not be as popular as they used to be. But these sites still exist, they still offer some services, and you might be able to find some use for them.

So being aware of the various platforms available, how you can utilize them, how you can grow your fan base on them, is integral to you having better music marketing campaigns.

It’s never been more critical to refresh your plans every few months because new platforms are popping up all the time.

6. Master Social Media Marketing for Artists

This is how I would go about mastering social media marketing.

Your first step is to make your Dream 100 list, follow them, and model their posts.

What is a Dream 100 list?

Think of all the artists that you look up to. Think of the artists you’ve been influenced by. Think of the artists you sound like. These are the kinds of people that should be on your Dream 100 list because they have access to the audience you’re trying to reach.

And while you may not get any immediate traction from signing up to their email list, interacting with them on social media, and introducing yourself, over the long haul, if you continue to interact with them, if you add value, if you leave meaningful comments, if you buy their products, you’ll get their attention.

And once that happens, who knows? You might be able to get a shoutout, they might ask you to do a co-write, you might have the opportunity to appear in one of their music videos.

This is a long-term play though. You’re not going to get any results from it in the short term. But if you keep at it, you’re going to see good things happen.

The other note I’ll make about social media is to find the pathway. We recently talked about a pathway for Twitter in a video. And by pathway, I mean a steady, consistent, and reliable way to grow on specific social networks.

Right now, it’s easy to build on networks like TikTok, but that’s only because they’re new and their algorithm hasn’t been tarnished, yet. Guaranteed, it’s going to happen at some point.

So, no matter the social network, there is a way to grow, you just need to tap into it.

But understand this can take a lot of effort. It can take a lot of time to figure out what works on each platform so you can’t give up early. Expect that it’s going to take a year or more.

7. Even Unknown Music Artists Can Play to Their Strengths

As I already shared, all audiences have already been built. There’s no need to start from scratch anymore.

All audiences have already been built. There's no need to start from scratch. Share on X

But for some reason many artists still insist on starting at square zero and building from there.

Look at your Dream 100 list and determine how you can build a relationship with each of them. They have access to your audience.

And if you had a Dream 100 list before reading this post, take a moment to review and update it. Who have you connected with? Who haven’t you reached out to yet? What relationships are working? Which aren’t? Have you been able to work your way in or buy your way in? Have you guest posted, appeared on podcasts, or done YouTube collaborations yet? Have you run retargeting ads?

You don’t need to build the audience. You just need to get in front of the audiences that are already out there. So, start thinking on those terms, because there are many ways to get in front of the audiences and the communities that have already been built.

And it’s much easier to go about things that way than to insist on converting one fan at a time playing one dive bar at a time.

Conclusion, Improve Your Marketing as a Musician

No matter what point you’re at in your music career, if you take the time to optimize and calibrate your music, marketing, and your ongoing efforts to be heard, to grow your fan base and earn an income from your passion, you can improve your results.

And by following the steps and tips outlined in this guide, you can have breakthrough, transformative results you haven’t been able to get in your music career yet.

It’s all a matter of how you value the information because if you don’t act on it, or if you only apply parts of it, you’re not going to get the full results.

Improve your marketing with our Digital Marketing Essentials for Musicians course.

268 – Uncover Your Core Message – with Tara Divina

268 – Uncover Your Core Message – with Tara Divina

Do you know what your brand message is? Do you know what difference you’re out to make in the world with your music?

That’s what we’re going to be looking at in this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:25 – Tara Divina’s awakening
  • 02:48 – Why Tara found the career path stifling
  • 03:30 – What does “meaning” mean to Tara?
  • 05:08 – Rediscovering your identity as an artist
  • 08:17 – How to scale a successful business
  • 11:03 – What is core message marketing?
  • 14:40 – Exercise to discover your core message
  • 17:44 – Examples of core brand messages
  • 19:44 – Turning your life and business into a work of art
  • 21:03 – Branding sounds like a lot of work…
  • 23:00 – Tapping into creative inspiration
  • 28:30 – Why is beauty so important?
  • 30:45 – How do artists monetize their work effectively?
  • 34:36 – What’s the last YouTube video Tara watched?
  • 35:03 – What is Tara’s daily routine like?
  • 35:44 – What is the greatest challenge Tara has overcome?
  • 36:00 – What is the greatest victory Tara has experienced?
  • 36:41 – Tara’s recommended books
  • 39:01 – Tara’s final thoughts

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Transcription:

David Andrew Wiebe: Today I’m passing the mic with Tara Divina. How are you today, Tara?

Tara Divina: I’m doing great.

David Andrew Wiebe: I understand that you became an intern at London-Sire Records in New York City at 20 years old. Then you joined the executive team at Warner Music Group overseeing the independent music arm, specifically in digital sales and marketing. But then you realized you’re made for something else. What happened?

Tara Divina: Well, what happened was that I had sort of a rocket ship to the moon type career in the music industry. And I had originally gotten into the business because at the end of my university degree in business, I thought to myself, “What am I going to do next?” And the answer, unlike most of my peers, was not become a product manager at Pepsi Cola, or an accountant at KPMG. That for the going, typical career flow was and so I thought to myself, well, I love music. I love being a musician, perhaps entering the industry will bring me closer to these things. And over time, what I discovered was that being in the industry, took me much further from these things, and from my creative impulses. And so, being a very creative spirit, I began to get progressively more and more depressed and disillusioned, even though on paper, I had everything that anyone would ever want, you know, wonderful, prestigious career, lots of abundance financially, lots of engagement with things. It just didn’t add up for me. And I hit a breaking point where I was starting to decline and then went to Burning Man, I was invited to Burning Man, a little festival in the desert that at the time, not everyone had heard of. And I went out there and I met all these people who were really pursuing their creative dreams, and up to things, doing things that really meant a lot to them. And, you know, things that were overly ambitious and projects that are now defunct, but they were really caring about what they did for a living and spending their time pursuing that, which was their core purpose. And so with that, I bodly quit my career, walked out of the office no plans. And voila.

David Andrew Wiebe: So I think it’s not too unusual a story that people go down the career path and then find it stifling. Of course, many people find it difficult to then make the leap to something creative. So what was it about being in a career that just wasn’t working for you?

Tara Divina: The monotony, the repetition, and the lack of meaning, like, I was never sure if I was helping anyone. So you know, the disconnect between the record labels and the interests of the artists so fast, the interests of the managers and the booking agents, and it just, it felt like a big circular cash grab, and participating in that didn’t fulfill me with any sense of contributing to the planet in any significant way, or even contributing to the artists. And that’s what really got me>

David Andrew Wiebe: You used the word “meaning.” And I do hear a lot of people say that they want to pursue some kind of meaning. But what does that mean to you?

Tara Divina: I have reflected on this question. What is meaning anyway, you know, and the conclusion that I’ve come to is a little off the ball, which is that we all have within us a core message. And we’re practically born with this message. And throughout our lifetimes, we have different opportunities to express it, different ways of understanding what that message is. And the closer we are in our lives to living an expression of that message or doing something that connects to that message allows us to express it, the more we feel fulfilled. And so for me, meaning is that actually find that if you look at most artists, if you look at most successful brands, marketers, etc. They all have on full display this core message, whatever it is for them, and everything they do connects to that. It’s how we relate to it. It’s their brand, it’s their essence, it’s how we know it’s for us. And so I believe that each of us is that has one of those messages, we are each a brand of our own, and that it’s not just commercial. It’s actually what is most deeply resonant with our core of our being. It’s what lights us up and makes us smile and feel like we’re in the flow and that we’re doing something that matters. So that’s my definition of meaning.

The closer we are to living an expression of our message, the more we feel fulfilled. Share on X

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. And the description you gave for branding lines up with how I’ve come to understand it as well. So that’s really great. And one of the things you do is help artists to rediscover their identity as an artist. Have you found that a lot of artists are off track in some way? And have they lost sight of their true calling? It’s kind of a multi part question. And what are some common issues Artists face as related to their identity?

Tara Divina: It is such a great question. So there’s two types of people, there are artists who are pursuing a career related to their art, maybe they’re a musician, or they’re a painter, whatever they’re doing, and they have lost sight of their message. And their big why there’s also people who are on track with their life purpose, or they’re doing things that line up with who they are, but they forgotten about their art, they are no longer making it a priority. And so I have found that everyone pretty much falls into one of these two categories, unless they are an artist who also knows their message. Or someone who knows their message, who is also an artist. So I find that first of all, most of us don’t think that there’s a lot of value in art. And so we’re kind of told that it’s, you know, oh, you’re gonna go get an arts degree, oh, my gosh, I roll, you know, are you going to become a musician? And are starving artists? Oh, my gosh, what are you thinking, you know, and so there’s all this stigma around pursuing a career in art, you know, like, maybe we’ll one in a million chance will descend upon us, and we’ll hit the big time. And so there’s a real meme that, you know, being an artist means we can’t make money means it’s not worth it. And what I found is that it is so worth it. And it can be part of income generation for everybody. It’s just that it doesn’t want to exist in a vacuum. And so I think that it’s very difficult to run a business without art. And it’s very difficult to run, being an artist without a business, and that the magic happens, and fusing those two things together around that core message around that identity. So it’s about finding out who we are, what it is, we want to transmit, what our message is, what our big, why is why we’re here, what we want to leave people with, and then build around that space to express our art that relates to that message, which can become part of our marketing, which can become part of our branding, which becomes a reason why people want to tune into whatever we’re saying. And then also, the art becomes part of our business, it’s a way that we can also generate income and make money. And there are so many different ways to do that, that aren’t necessarily the standard typical way, you know, like everyone thinks, oh, I want to become a musician, let me get signed to a label and that sail off into the sunset. It’s like, oh, there’s like infinite ways to make money as a musician that could leave you so much happier than that path. It’s so much more fulfilled, and so much more wealthy. It’s just that we tend to get pigeonholed into the idea that there’s only one way to do it just like we can get pigeonholed into thinking that our business has no space for art. That’s a long answer. But those were lot of really good questions.

David Andrew Wiebe: So personally, I have the sense that most of the time, I’m doing things that I love to do, but I still don’t spring out of bed every day, and in fact, some days I’m tired. And it’s just a slog, and I have a million tasks to do. So should it be the kind of thing that if we’re in perfect alignment with with our true purpose, we should be springing out of bed every day, or are there still times when it’s difficult?

Tara Divina: There are still times when it’s difficult, however, if every day or most days are a slog… My opinion is that delegation needs to happen, right? So the reality is that in order to scale a successful business, we have to delegate and in order to have a business where we’re in our zone of genius and our magic most of the time, which is where the fun happens, we have to delegate and so this is something most people put off, in my opinion, in my experience it for I’ve been guilty of this too, we put it off until way too late, when in fact, we should be thinking about this delegation, the minute we know how to do something, and we identify that we do not like doing that thing. It is time to delegate that thing. To free up our psychic face from having to deal with something that we do not want to do. It’s worth it.

David Andrew Wiebe: You know, I’m guilty as sin. But I think that the part that a lot of people get stuck on and I’ve been stuck on this too is where’s the cash gonna come from for me to go and hire someone? Or even if it’s a freelancer or a contractor, am I just gonna magically make the money back?

Tara Divina: I mean, let’s assume you have any income stream if you have absolutely no income stream don’t have a business, right? So delegating isn’t really something we need to be thinking about. So but like once there is an income stream, let’s say that you’re effectively making 20, 30, 40, 50, $100 an hour whatever it is, right? If even $500 an hour or $1,000 an hour. whatever that number is, as long as the person you are hiring costs less than that it is actually you’re losing money by not hiring. So you only have so many hours in the day, you want to scale your business, you want to get more done by hiring someone out who makes a lower hourly amount than you do, you’re freeing yourself up to bring in a lot more money. So the return on investment is pretty much guaranteed. If you’re doing the right things in your business, if you are actually if you have a good strategy,

David Andrew Wiebe: But to an extent, it’s still kind of jumping out without a parachute, hoping that the net will catch you in a way, which really describes entrepreneurship in a big way.

Tara Divina: Welcome to entrepreneurship land of no net.

David Andrew Wiebe: Well, yeah, and it is about knowing your access to cash and the various sources available, and where you’re going to make it back and all that kind of stuff. And we’re problem solvers. So that is on us to figure out in a pretty significant way. Absolutely. So what’s core message marketing? What is it? How does it work? Why is it important that artists know what it is?

Tara Divina: This applies to everyone, not just artists, but to use artists as an example. You know, there’s a lot of music out there, especially, like infinite music, you know, we’ve entered a land where there’s zero barrier to entry. Like, I could make a song and upload it to Spotify in the next 30 minutes, if I wanted to no problem. So given that there’s no barrier to entry, and there’s unlimited music out there. The music itself is not what is going to sell the music, or the art itself is not what’s gonna sell the art. Yeah, there’s gotta be more, you know, and, you know, is it your life story? I don’t know, you know, like, there’s a lot of life stories out there. But what really sells what really lets people know they’re in the right place is that core message is that essence of who you are and what you represent and what you stand for. Because we humans, we want to stand with other people who stand with what’s important to us. And so we will naturally migrate and flocked to that. And that’s why I spend so much time with the artists who I mentor, honing in on the core message, because it’s so important, it’s so important. And once the artist knows their core message, it’s like maybe, maybe it looks like a sentence as an example. So like, the core message I’ve been working with for a while for myself is make your life a work of art, right, which for me is represents living a life that feels like a work of art itself, like not settling for anything less than what feels like a masterpiece, but also literally making art in your life, like making a work of art for your life. And so everything I talk about centers around that message, all of my songs are about that, all of my teachings are about that my courses, my programs, etc. It’s just obvious to everyone probably but me, you know, we’re always the last to know what our core messages. And so that’s what a core message can look like. And then there’s a million things I could talk about that connect to that pretty much anything I talked about will somehow have the flavor of that embedded in it. And it gives me consistency. That’s how we brand right. And so music tends to carry that core message with it very naturally. And if you look at musicians, song titles, and lyrics and themes, they’re always going to be invariably revolving around that person’s core message if they are writing from an authentic place in them and not just trying to get on the radio or be successful or be appealing. So that’s core message marketing, is making sure that all of the marketing touch ties into that brand to that core message that there’s a consistent thread. That’s interesting, you know, that you cannot shut up about the thing that you could talk about forever, like me going on and on about this.

David Andrew Wiebe: So you kind of have it at the point where everything’s corralled. And it’s centered on that brand. But did you have to like kibosh anything? In order for everything to be centered on it?

Tara Divina: No, because everything always fits in like, this is more like the golden thread that weaves through the center of everything that we’re interested in, than it is a some sort of a box that we’re stuck in. Right. So everything can be woven into that core message. And once we know what that core message is, then our job is simply to ponder for a moment. How does what I’m about to say or what I’m about to do connect in? What is the relationship between those two things, and connect them connect the dots for our listeners and our viewers and our fans?

David Andrew Wiebe: One thing that’s consistent about me is that I’m always evolving. So I’m deeply impacted by the books I read, the courses I take, the podcasts I watch, or listen to. How can someone like me…? Is that my brand, that I’m always evolving?

Tara Divina: Are you open to doing a little exercise with me right now? Perfect, because I’m just curious about your core message. So I’m going to start with sort of a dark macabre thought experiment with you. It takes about five seconds, and the only stipulation is that Don’t have any time to think. And you can only spend about five to 10 seconds answering this question. Is that funded? Okay? Okay, so here’s the thought experiment. Alright, I have some really bad news for you. You thought we were doing an interview today. But actually, this is the last five minutes of your life you’re about to die. And the silver lining on this is that we are recording this interview? And the answer to the question about to ask you is going to be broadcast to all of the 789 billion humans on planet Earth, translated into all the languages, this is going to be your legacy. Except I’m going to ask you this question. And you have to blurt out the answer no time to thick. Are you ready? Yeah. Great. What is your final instruction to all the inhabitants of planet Earth? On how to live their lives? Go!

David Andrew Wiebe: To live a happy fulfilled life pursuing your creative inspiration.

Tara Divina: Okay, thought experiment over, you’re gonna live a long, healthy, happy life. For manifestation purposes. So live it fulfilled life. creatively express yourself, not a shocking message from you. But I’m curious, if you reflect upon it, why do you think that’s the one thing that you chose, out of all the things.

David Andrew Wiebe: Because I naturally gravitate towards it, there’s something in me, whether it’s DNA, or soul, or spirit, that has me wake up in the morning and go, I can’t help but not create. It’s just inside me.

Tara Divina: Right and part of that process for you is learning and evolving and reading and getting new information. That’s a that’s a subset of that message. So I like to think of it like a diamond with multi facets. And we have our core message, which is like the diamond itself. And then there’s facets of that. So one facet for you might be like, continue reading and evolving and learning so that you’re constantly creating you, you know, as part of that, you know, it’s part of your creative fulfillment.

David Andrew Wiebe: Love it. So yeah, you kind of put it in its place by making it a subset of my core message.

Tara Divina: With this, but not everybody identifies a core message from that question. Like, there’s a lot of other questions I can get into with people. But that one tends to be a really great first step. So for anyone, if you’re listening, and you’re playing along, like whatever your answer was, it’s an amazing first clue.

David Andrew Wiebe: One other thing, I was wondering if you had any other examples, because I think there are bands or artists out there whose core messages is “let’s party,” and actually there’s nothing wrong with that. And then there’s ones that are a little more, let’s say, complex or outward looking. In other words, maybe it’s spiritual, maybe it’s Christian, maybe it’s some kind of message of peace or hope or something like that. So, what are some examples that that come to mind?

Tara Divina: Well, the thing about core message is let’s party probably isn’t interesting or unique enough to fully encapsulate your expression. So if you think about each human being is a snowflake, you know, like, we’re all different in some way. There’s something unique about us. And even though our core messages are going to overlap, like you and I both have core messages about creative expression, there’s something about it, that’s a little different. And it’s really important. This is why I have all the other questions to figure out what is uniquely special about the way that you channel that message. So if you think your core message might be let’s party, there might be something special about it, maybe to you, it’s like let’s party by traveling the world and being on boats, you know, like, let’s party by being craziest versions of ourselves the most self expressed wearing the wildest outfits and you know, there’s something about the way that you do it, you do party that is special, and unique. And so it’s important to spend some time to really dig into that.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, absolutely. I guess that example came to mind because I have a friend who’s a drummer, and he used to play in a band for for college parties specifically. And that was sort of the brand to make sure that the band and the artistic image and everything else was set up in such a way that it was just an obvious thing for college parties to book them.

Tara Divina: So totally, yeah, makes total sense.

David Andrew Wiebe: You talk about leaving a legacy of beauty and inspiration. What does it mean to turn your life and business into an attractive work of art?

Tara Divina: I think that a lot of transformational work coaching guidance works from the inside out, right? So it’s like, how do I heal? How do I remove my limiting beliefs? How do I expand my capacity manifests bigger, more abundance cetera? And I think that’s a really great thing. You know, we should all be doing our inner work. But I also believe that a lot of the transformation that we receive experience occurs from the outside in, and that’s the music we listen to The art that’s on our walls, the foods that we eat, you know, like the things that come in from the outside. Because it matters, right? It’s not just about what’s on the inside, but like, we’re constantly receiving inputs and changing just like you mentioned. So in order to make our business, a beautiful work of art, as some of these things have to be tended to as well, it’s like, do we love our branding? Do we love the way that we’re presenting ourselves? Do we love the tone of how we’re presenting ourselves? Do we love the things that we’re associated with the types of people that we’re attracting these things all matter? In terms of, you know, creating a business that we feel really proud of that actually feels like as much of a work of art as the art itself that we may be promoting or selling.

David Andrew Wiebe: You know, the one thing that I started to feel a little bit constrained in my chest, and I’m sure it’s going to be the case for some listeners, too. Branding sounds like a lot of work. What do we do?

Tara Divina: The best branding is the simplest. And I think we are the brand, right? So it’s all about being more of ourselves and not about trying to construct something complicated. That’s not us, because that is going to be hard and laborious and exhausting. I think it’s less about like having the fonts and the color palette that are like just right, been scientifically proven to make people buy stuff and more about like, do I feel good or not? When I look at this, am I proud of it or not? And I think it’s an incremental things kind of like the best we can do. Is my branding. Perfect. Oh, no, you know, I’ve had like, hideous websites for certain businesses before for years, where was like some ugly button that I made 20 years ago on in HTML or something. That was my website. It matters and it doesn’t matter. You know, it gets, we get to a point where I think it does better. But I if we’re trying really hard and it feels like work, I think we’re barking up the wrong tree. And branding should feel like an extension of self expression.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, because you have a really beautifully crafted website now. And part of what I’m getting is that it wasn’t always like that. So it’s the same with me. Like I always keep evolving my website. So to make it something that’s consistent with where I am now.

Tara Divina: Right? Oh, this is so important too, thank you, because branding is a work in progress. And so it’s never done it just like we evolve, our breathing will constantly be evolving. So there’s no there there. There’s no arriving and a brand that’s done. There’s just tending to the brand and and following the threads of inspiration that add to it. Make it more fun for us.

David Andrew Wiebe: How does one tap into creative inspiration? And how is that connected to one’s artistic identity?

Tara Divina: Lots of people have different opinions about how to tap into creative inspiration, I have a few special things that I like to promote or I like she was supposed. Because I think that these particular strategies are more likely to produce creative output that aligns with our core message. So that’s why I like them. So one really important thing is to create from where we actually are and not where we want to be. So example, I might have an illusion that in order to write music, I’m in some exalted state, everything’s going really well in my relationship, I feel great. And I sit down at my meditation altered, I break out my guitar, and like, God is flowing through my lips, or whatever, you know, like, reality is like, I procrastinate use up all my time, I wind up with 30 minutes to create, I just had a fight with somebody and feeling crunchy. I didn’t eat all day. I slept poorly last night, one of my strings broke. And here I am. You know, it’s an exaggerated example. But often times can represent the creative process, you know, so it’s like, how do I write you know, especially if I want to be inspiring? Yeah, what do inspire people. And so I found the solution is to like, identify what’s true right now, like, what’s the truest truth that I can say in this moment, that accurately describes a piece of the human experience that we can all identify with? And undoubtedly, I will unearth something that goes along with my core message because that’s why I’m and I actually can’t do anything but that and that seed turns into the most gorgeous flowers. And in fact, you know, some of the most incredible creations that myself and my clients have come up with have been by allowing the heartbreak of the moment or the, the numbness of the moment, even the apathy of the moments of inspiration. To take it to be a seed to take root.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, definitely. Because when I’m writing songs, most of the time, at least to this point has been when I’m angry, when I’m sad, when a breakup just happened. That’s where a lot of the music writing comes from. These days, I pull inspiration from a lot more places, I feel like, but my early days were all about that.

Tara Divina: Well, I think that’s the place most of us know what to do. You know, like most of us know how to write a song when we’re heartbreak that is like the tip like we’re moved or crying, like, we’re feeling the upset of, you know, that’s something that most of us know how to do. And then most of us know how to write when we’re exalted, like, on top of the world, but we have, like, so few of us know how to create when neither of those things are happening. And so I find this as a great way to shake that loose. And another way I love to shake that loose, is no, I’m a big, I’m not religious, but I’m a big believer in prayer, like in terms of our capacity to influence our reality through our words and our desires. They think there’s something to that. And I’ve noticed that if I tune into what is my biggest desire, or if you don’t like the word prayer, there’s no intention of the moment. What am I working on a quote away? Where am I suffering, right? Like, where am I in longing? Where is there a desire, because when I find that, that’s also the seed that can get me into the place of inspiration, or creativity. And oftentimes, I find that my, if I tune in to kind of the wisdom of the others, or my higher self, or whatever you want to call it, there’s a message there. And that message, oftentimes is the song, or the piece of art that wants to come through.

David Andrew Wiebe: I’m listening to an audio right now on sacred gifts. It’s not religious and non denominational. But one of the things she said is a gift for some is prayer. And I think we can all pray and get something beautiful out of it. But there’s people who just love it. Right? They will pray all day, if they could.

Tara Divina: Yeah, absolutely. And I think like, prayer is something that again, been boxed into a religious practice. So we do, like if you pray this many times, God will love you, and you’ll have done your duty. Versus like, the idea that, you know, maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not true, but we all have a relationship with creation. Yes, the creative force of the universe, and fostering that relationship includes asking for help, asking for what we want, stating our desires and our needs. And I think that it’s, it can be sacred, it can also be highly mundane, you know, hey, creator helped me many inspiration right now that I’d like to saw. You know, whatever it is, I just, I’ve found, I think it’s so worth experimenting with, because I’ve found that when I track it, everything gets responded to somehow, you know, usually within about a year, you know, like, about a year later, after making some big, crazy prayer, I’ll find that it’s been answered to the point where I don’t even remember making it. Like it doesn’t even I don’t even remember when I needed that help with that. Unless I wrote a song about it at the time.

David Andrew Wiebe: Why is beauty so important in our culture? And how have we succumb to distraction and shiny object syndrome?

Tara Divina: It’s super clear that beauty is important in our culture, we look at the beauty industry, and the mounting obsession with visual perfection, you know, like the Photoshop and the filters. And also the people are, you know, so into enhancements, physical enhancements these days, like they’re, the obsession with beauty is rising. And one could look at that and say, Oh, my gosh, we’re all so misguided, like, what are we doing wasting our time, energy and money on like, modifying our parents trying to look fake or whatever it is, you know. But I think it’s just a misguided desire for something that we all crave. I think that as humans, we all crave beauties, why art and music and things like that have continued to be important throughout the centuries in the millennia. It’s because we all want the symmetry and the harmony of beauty in front of us. There’s something about that, that resonates so deep in our soul as something is food, something we need. And I think that we’ve gotten confused in pursuing beauty. Only in terms of a tuning to a specific physical standard, Pacific standard of beauty. Beauty in quotes. Yeah. Instead of actually, you know, I think if we all followed our creative impulses, and focused on art, and creating beauty and being in the flow of beauty and appreciating our beauty, that we’d have a much smaller appetite for that, like perfectionistic, unattainable physical beauty stuff.

David Andrew Wiebe: And I feel like the last two years probably haven’t helped. There’s beauty in the mountains, in the lakes, the ocean and the rivers, there’s beauty in flowers. There’s beauty everywhere, right outside our door in many cases, and we don’t always appreciate and enjoy it.

Tara Divina: Exactly. Right. I think we all spent more time with flowers, it would be life changing.

David Andrew Wiebe: Absolutely, it would. So this is the part that I think many listeners are going to want to know. And they’re going to perk up a bit. And it’s possible we’ve laid the groundwork for how this works in this interview already, but how do artists effectively monetize their work?

Tara Divina: Yeah, that’s such a great question. So there are so many different ways to monetize work as an artist. So I would say, you know, this is why I work with individuals on this because I can kind of look at them holistically and look at their whole ecosystem of money making and talents and skills and figuring out how those things go together. And so that’s what I recommend you do if you’re listening, like what are the different things that you love to do with your time, focus on getting paid for the things you already do with your time. So if you’re a musician who hates to perform, don’t try to get paid for bookings, right. That’s not your thing, right. But if you’re a musician who loves to make videos, you know, go apply for the Creator fund on Tik Tok and Pinterest and Facebook or wherever there’s ever monetizing reels right now, like there’s an opportunity for you. If you’re someone who wants to make money off of recorded music, that’s how hard right now, like it’s, you need to have a lot of fans. If you don’t have a lot of fans, yet, a lot of listeners, check crowdfunding, I’ve had a lot of success with that my clients have had a lot of success with that, you know, like, find your local artisans make something really cool and compelling that people want to buy monetize other people’s art as a way to monetize your art. If you’re a writer, and you’re an artist, and you’re stuck, because you don’t think anyone wants to publish your stuff, or they don’t pay very much and like, make products and sell them on Etsy you like make beautiful memes of your writing and frame them and put them on Etsy, sell that right? Like there’s always there’s always a way. But it really is about looking at what you do already how you already want to spend your time, and then getting applying your creative brilliance to notice all the ways that it’s possible to make money from that thing. And then double down on that. That’s my advice.

David Andrew Wiebe: I’ve self-published six books. And so I can definitely say that even if there’s nobody interested in your works or your books, which is not the case for me, but there is a way. And those things would not exist if the time and effort hadn’t gone into them in the first place. So but for me, it obviously pours out of me, it’s not something that I forced myself at a desk to do. It’s actually fun to organize my thoughts.

Tara Divina: Totally. And there’s so many ways to monetize a book other than just selling the book on Amazon. So many books can become programs, they can become art, they can become beans, they can become whatever you want them to become. And it is possible to make all sorts of money from books.

David Andrew Wiebe: Oh, yeah, I’ve gone deep on this myself. You know, you’ve got Medium, you’ve got affiliate income, you got advertising, you could take tips, we could crowdfund. Like you said earlier, you could turn your book into a special edition PDF book, you could turn it into a course, it could turn into a mastermind, or a coaching program, or a live event. So yeah, there’s endless options. That’s for sure.

Tara Divina: Absolutely. The key is, I think, considering your core message, see if it lines up with that and making sure that you are only monetizing stuff that is fun for you to do.

David Andrew Wiebe: I was starting to think about today publishing monthly income reports and then focusing on the exact areas that that produce for me and are fun for me. So what you said is kind of validating in that sense. And next up I think I had a name for this but I don’t remember. It’s the Tim Ferriss round of questions basically, I’m gonna ask you four questions. And these are to reveal your personality and add some extra value to the audience. And the first is what’s the last YouTube video you watched?

Tara Divina: Okay, it was some sort of a sound bath situation. I forget why I was watching it somebody sent it to me but it was a sound bath.

David Andrew Wiebe: Sounds calming and meditative.

Tara Divina: Makes me so happy.

David Andrew Wiebe: What’s your daily routine like?

Tara Divina: I wake up, I spend time with my fiance connecting, and then I recite Vedic mantras. I do have a Hatha yoga practice. I tend to my cat. I take herbs and other things to keep me really well. And I make a really power packed green smoothie with lots of organic greens and fruit and mushrooms and all the things. That’s my morning routine. I love that.

David Andrew Wiebe: What’s the greatest challenge you’ve overcome?

Tara Divina: The greatest challenge of overcome is not knowing what to do with my life in knowing what to do to make money, and still be happy. That was definitely the main source of angst in my life, which is how I wound up advising others on the same.

David Andrew Wiebe: And then what’s the greatest victory you’ve experienced?

Tara Divina: The greatest victory I’ve experienced was going from a frustrated, angsty teenager that wanted to make music and didn’t know how or when that would manifest, to go into the music business. And still not having any clue to having released a couple of albums that really mean a lot to me. I think for me, that is the biggest split of my life albums. That means a lot to other people too, and having gotten to play a part in their healing, as they’ve used the music as a tool for that.

David Andrew Wiebe: And are there any books that have helped you on your journey?

Tara Divina: Oh, my gosh, there are books that have really helped me. So, first of all, on the creativity front, I always crow about Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, there’s so much good juice in that book, I cannot recommend it highly enough on the relationship front. And I think this is so important, because the quality of our relationships informs the level of creative juice we’re gonna have and the amount of energy we’re gonna have to run a business. If we have distracting draining relationships in our life, we’re not going to have a lot of success, most likely. So the book is called Attached. It’s by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. And it’s the science of adult attachment theory. And I think that everyone who relates should read this book, it’s so important, and so freeing. And then finally, another book that just absolutely changed my life that I keep copies of in my trunk to give to people is a book called Healing Back Pain by Dr. John Sarno. He’s a regular Western medical doctor who he’s passed, you know, passed away. But he worked, I think, at NYU. And he figured out the psychosomatic link between back pain, knee pain, wrist pain, you know, tooth pain, whatever, and our psyche and describes how to unhook it. And I myself, read this book and was relieved of about nine pain symptoms that have never come back years and years ago. And I meet people all the time who are healed by this book, because pain, again is another one of those things, physical pain will distract us from our process. And in particular, if it’s psychosomatic, something in our system is trying to distract us with pain. Its role is to distract us. And that is going to take away from our creativity, from our ability to focus on our business. So Healing Back Pain, totally revolutionary book.

David Andrew Wiebe: That’s awesome. And our listeners might want to go back and check out my recent interview with my friend, Amos Bracewell. His product is called Knockout Originals, really powerful stuff. It’s a formulation of essential oils, it smells great, and it feels good on on your back and shoulders and nexk if you’re experiencing any pain, so that might be another thing to check out. So thanks for your time and generosity. Tara, is there anything else I should have asked?

Tara Divina: I would just say if you’re listening and you want to dive in deeper to this work, I actually have a free course on my website called Create and Flow that you can sign up for right now, if you’re interested can just go to TaraDivina.com. And it’ll take you through the process of getting clear on your core message of figuring out how to get inspired in different ways. And we go into a lot deeper in this course, just some of the things that we’ve touched on today. So if that’s something you’re wanting to dive a little deeper, it’s my gift to you.

David Andrew Wiebe: That’s awesome. I’ll have to go check it out, too. And thanks again for being on the show.

Tara Divina: Thank you so much for having me.

Closing Segment

So we recently corralled all of our PDF resources. That includes numerous ebooks, a bunch of blog resources, podcast transcriptions and show notes. And we put them all into what we’re calling the PDF Vault. This might be one of the best things we even have right now. And if you haven’t signed up for it already, I would encourage you to do so. It’s free in exchange for your email address. All you have to do is go to davidandrewwiebe.com/PDFVault, to open the vault and get access to all these amazing PDF resources. That’s MusicEntrepreneurEQ.com p – d – f – v – a – u – l – t. This has been episode 268 of the new music industry Podcast. I’m David Andrew Wiebe, and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.

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How to Make it in Music

How to Make it in Music

Are you wondering how to make it in music?

You certainly aren’t alone.

Let me say at the outset that making it in music isn’t about becoming a publisher, digital marketer, or entrepreneur.

After all, if you could eat, sleep, and breathe your art, that’s what you’d do, isn’t it?

And I can tell you right now that making it will require exactly that – you’ve got to go all in on your art and focus on little else.

Before we get carried away through, let’s talk about what making it in music means.

🔑 Making it in Music Means Different Things to Different People

What does it mean to make it in music?

Can we agree that it means different things to different artists?

Some musicians might be happy with making $500 per month…

Some may want to make a full-time living in music

Others might want to make six-figures

While some artists won’t acknowledge that they’ve made it anywhere without being signed to a major label.

The level of commitment and dedication required to reach one level may look drastically different than the wherewithal needed to reach another.

I’m here to help regardless of what you’re aspiring to, but I can’t cover it all in just one article.

So, the strategy outlined below will help you create options.

By that I mean setting yourself up to be able to choose the highly profitable independent path, or sign with a label if that’s what you desire.

Now, let’s get into strategy.

🧠 Build Your Rock-Solid Mindset

The mindset needed to make it in music

I’ve interviewed enough musicians, musician coaches, music educators, marketers, entrepreneurs, and venue owners to know that you can’t expect to get to the other side of this tunnel unscathed.

You will encounter hardship on this path, whether it’s enduring rejection, having to replace band members, your tour van breaking down on the way to a venue, or otherwise.

And that’s on the MELLOW side of what can happen.

Metallica lost their bassist Cliff Burton in a tragic bus crash.

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven lost his hearing.

Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen lost his left arm in a car crash.

How do you overcome challenges and obstacles? What do you do when the going gets tough?

Without a meaningful answer to those questions, you can’t make it in music.

And the answer is building a rock-solid mindset.

But let me tell you what that DOESN’T mean…

  • It doesn’t mean becoming an “untouchable” robot or ice queen
  • It doesn’t mean you’ll never feel another emotion
  • Never feeling like giving up (you WILL feel that from time to time)
  • Never feeling anxious, depressed, or like you want to cry…
  • Becoming immune to the things we all struggle with as humans
  • Being 100% free from temptation and violating your values

There is ONE THING we can do to ensure we keep going when things get difficult.

We can invite more positive into our lives and do it intentionally and consistently.

Studies show the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day, and 80% are negative.

If THAT wasn’t bad enough, we are surrounded by the negativity of media, pressures of society, and depending on your life circumstances, nagging significant others, disgruntled family members, or whiny roommates.

I have a book called The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship that deals with these all too critical mindset issues.

Either way, I would recommend getting on my email list to begin developing your bulletproof psychology.

🎸 Develop Your Musical Talents

I don’t think we need to spend a lot of time on this…

Because many musicians I see are incredibly talented…

And DON’T have much of a following to speak of.

But just in case – if you’re under any delusion that you can make it in music without any discernable talent – be it singing, songwriting, playing an instrument, or otherwise – that’s what we call a “pipedream” around here.

But if you’re looking to develop your confidence and inner game while working on your musicality, Musical U might be right up your alley.

Either way, I do recommend joining my email list so you can learn more about developing your talent.

🤘 Live & Breathe Your Magnetic Music Brand

Magnetic Music Brand

If you have a magnetic music brand, it means people are naturally drawn to you and your music.

Trying to do things the other way around (convincing people to listen to you and fall in love with your art) is uphill warfare.

I’m not talking about logos, fonts, and colors here. These elements ARE important, but in the grand scheme of things they’re just the ambassadors for your brand – not the brand itself.

Your brand can be summarized this way – the impact you want to have, and the difference you want to make in the world.

Your brand can be summarized this way – the impact you want to have, and the difference you want to make in the world. Share on X

Once you’re clear on that, A LOT of things tend to sort themselves out.

Author Tim Ferriss sometimes talks about what he does between creative projects. He thinks about what the big domino is.

The big domino is the project that will knock down all the small dominos (tasks, ideas, projects, etc.) and make them virtually irrelevant.

That’s what a brand does for you…

  • It makes it easier to attract an audience
  • It makes you more marketable in the eyes of labels
  • All decisions concerning what music to make and how it sounds become mere trivialities
  • And more…

So, if you’re going to prioritize something, I would posit that figuring out your brand should go at the top of your list.

I have a book called The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship that describes many tactics and strategies you can use to achieve clarity with your brand.

Either way, I would suggest getting on my email list to learn more about branding your music.

📻 Release Great Music Consistently

Working on your music until you think it’s “perfect” is only going to bore your fans and prospects to death. They’ll quickly forget about you and won’t come back when you FINALLY release your magnum opus.

So, we need a different kind of plan.

A plan that revolves around releasing music consistently, EVEN if it’s not perfect.

Notice how I’ve been publishing a new blog post daily as of late? Do you THINK I’d be able to do that if I obsessed over perfection?

But don’t take my word for it. See what Jack Conte had to say about releasing before he thought his art was ready.

Here’s what I recommend:

  • Split your year into four, 90-day segments
  • Set a big goal (not an out of reach goal) for each quarter
  • Do EVERYTHING in your power to reach those goals

You can also use this 90-day framework if you wish:

Music entrepreneur framework example

So, this might mean releasing a single, EP, or album every 90 days.

I know it seems aggressive. But if you want to make it in music, you’re going to be consumed by your art either way.

And right now, there’s basically no touring anyway, so you might as well hunker down and get to work on your recordings.

If you don’t know how to self-produce yet, LEARN how. It’s the best decision I ever made, and I bet my friend Patrick Zelinski would agree it’s the best decision he made for himself too.

If you don’t know how to self-produce yet, LEARN how. Share on X

I have an eBook I co-wrote with Goemon5 called How to Record, Promote & Sell Your New Music – Single, EP, or Album.

Regardless, you’ll want to join my email list to learn more about self-producing.

👨‍🎤 Build & Engage Your Tribe

Your fans want to be a part of the creative process. So, how you interact with and involve them is crucial to your success.

A large, disinterested fan base won’t do you much good. You should avoid buying “likes” and using cheap click-bait tactics to try to draw traffic to you.

What you win them with is what you win them to. I had to learn that the HARD way.

What you win them with is what you win them to. Share on X

And that means if they come to your website for free music – guess what? – they’ll stick around for the free music. But getting them to buy something might prove challenging henceforth.

Even if it’s a slow build, it’s worth attracting quality subscribers and followers. Long-term, it will prove much more beneficial to your career.

As my business coach always told me, serving your existing customers is generally more profitable than trying to attract new customers.

If a publicist, booking agent, manager, label, or anyone else is evaluating your online presence, don’t you think they’re going to check whether you have an engaged following?

For instance, having 1,000 likes on Facebook means jack all if that following isn’t actively interacting with your posts.

Also, many artists haven’t figured out that subscribers and followers across different platforms aren’t created equal.

This is how entrepreneur Joe Pulizzi ranks subscribers. Use it as your guide:

You must prioritize and FOCUS. Otherwise, you will do as all busy artists do – get swallowed up in a bottomless pit of tasks, grind and hustle all day, and basically accomplish nothing of substance.

Looking to get more done in less time? I talk about several things you can do to do just that in my book, The Music Entrepreneur Code.

Either way, join the email list to stay up-to-date on productivity best practices.

🗂 Grow Your Rolodex

You don’t need to become an expert at networking. You just need to be a good hang.

I recommend building your Dream 100 list.

This list should be made up of 100 or more people that you want to connect with, collaborate with, and work with.

Don’t leave any stone unturned. Are there brands you’d like to be sponsored by? What about booking agents you’d love to work with? Are there publicists who could get you seen in your favorite magazine?

Make a list of everyone you can think of (even those you would consider too high to reach). And when you come across more, add them to your list.

Once you’ve got your list, all you’ve got to do is:

  • Follow and interact with them on social media
  • Join their Facebook group
  • Join their newsletter
  • Leave thoughtful comments on their blog posts (THOUGHTFUL being the operative word here)
  • Buy their products

You may not end up working with anyone on your Dream 100 in the short-term. And that’s okay.

It’s better to adopt a long-term mindset and start chipping away at this bit by bit than to force something.

This process is entirely about building relationships, and that’s what you should focus on.

The music industry isn’t just about what you know. It’s also about who you know.

The music industry isn’t just about what you know. It’s also about who you know. Share on X

💪 Augment Your Weaknesses

I get that many marketers are telling you to embrace the idea that you’re a digital marketer.

And I don’t disagree with it. I think there’s a lot of good that can come from that.

But there’s just too much to do for the modern musician. You’ve got to build a website. Post to social media. Write press releases. Make videos. Go live on Instagram. That list stretches to the ends of the earth.

You don’t want to do everything yourself because then you won’t get to work in your genius zone, and more importantly, focus on what matters (as I shared earlier).

So, stop trying so hard to get good at everything. You do realize that mastery in any area requires 10,000 hours, right?

There are people out there that are good at things you aren’t. Who knows, some of those people might be a part of your fan base already.

Now, it’s important to understand that timing matters. Bringing on team members is only practical when you’ve already got a profitable and sustainable music career.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t outsource some tasks.

My colleagues and I have had a good success with:

Where most of the time, you won’t end up paying an arm and a leg to get a logo designed or have a lyric video made.

Come out from under the burden of having to do everything yourself and begin to embrace the value of working with people who are talented at what they do and can augment your weaknesses.

I talk about how to create the structures necessary to set yourself up for success in my book The Music Entrepreneur Code.

Either way, you’ll want to join the email list for more.

👀 See Things from Their Perspective

You will go far if you follow the steps outlined above. They will need to be applied rigorously and steadfastly, over the long-term. But so long as you’re committed to the process, good things will happen.

As billionaire Bill Gates says:

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years.

That 10-year commitment is crucial.

But there’s one last thing I need you to think carefully on, because I see many artists complaining about not being able to build a team or attract great gigs, but haven’t given any thought to the economics of working with a label or agent.

A label is a business. So is everything else – talent management, booking agency, publicity, venues, and so on.

A talent manager, for instance, usually gets paid 10 to 25% from the commission they earn on the jobs they’ve booked for you.

If you’re making $5,000 per gig, 10 to 25% would be a decent pay day for a manager ($500 to $1,250).

On the other hand, if you’re making $500 per gig, those numbers don’t look so hot ($50 to $125).

Industry isn’t going to be interested in working with you if you can’t bring home the bacon.

Industry isn’t going to be interested in working with you if you can't bring home the bacon. Share on X

And by the time you’re making $5,000 per gig, handing over 80 to 95% of that (i.e. signing to a label) may not look like a great deal.

Bottom line – industry is looking for acts that are profitable and marketable. If you’re not interested in signing, nothing to worry about. But if you are, you’ve got to keep this in mind.

How to Make it in Music, Conclusion

In this guide, I focused on helping you create options.

Whether you want to stay independent, sign with a label, or even found your own label, is entirely up to you.

Usually, creating options means growing big. But as I said at the beginning, if you’d be happy making an extra $500 per month, you could also follow the above process.

The amount of time, effort, resources that goes into getting to where you want to go will depend largely on how far you want to go. So, if you want to make $5,000 per month, that’s going to require a different commitment than $500 per month.

If you follow the above steps, though, you will create more options for yourself, and what unfolds before you will be exciting.

What did you get out of this? Do you have any questions?

Let me know in the comments below!

Branding Your Music

Branding Your Music

I’ve been feeling kind of exhausted today, so publishing hasn’t been high on my list of priorities (I’ve mostly been laying in bed, watching Netflix, and eating).

Still, I’ve committed myself to publishing every day for a year, so it’s time to get something up here.

So, today, I want to share an excerpt from my forthcoming book, The Music Entrepreneur Identity.

This is turning out to be an exceptionally fun book for me to write,  and while I’ve got pages and pages to go, I don’t expect it to take that long because I’ve got a thorough outline and extensive notes on each section.

For this post, I’ll be sharing part of the introduction (but only part of it).

Unlike most books I’ve written to this point, this book features a longer introduction containing the most critical lesson of all.

The book opens with a personal story, detailing my struggle with finding a brand for my music. I did not understand the critical importance of defining a brand, which led to years of struggle that could have been bypassed.

But that’s the story of life. We don’t know what we don’t know, and until the solutions present themselves, we can remain in the dark for a long time (sometimes forever!).

Enjoy what follows and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

The Music Entrepreneur Identity Introduction

If I had understood the value of defining my musical identity early on, I’m sure I wouldn’t have struggled the way I did, especially in the first decade or so of being a musician.

The people closest to me knew my work ethic. They knew I was serious about making a go of this music thing. They knew I was talented and had the chops to back my passion.

But like most artists, I ended up struggling in obscurity. I couldn’t sell enough music or book enough decent paying gigs to make a living.

Merch? Forget it! I didn’t have the financial outlay to make good on that investment.

I figured there would always be more time to figure it all out. I believed one day I would grow into the Rock Stars I loved and admired.

It would be many years later until I figured out that I would only ever grow into myself…

Turns out we’re all just human beings and comparison is unhelpful.

And unfortunately, things kept turning from bad to worse for me.

Long story long, it all culminated in a hellish six months in 2011.

Because my former roommates, who were also my best friends, had all moved out of my house, I ended up having to bring new tenants in. And the one I ended up with was one of the messiest, loudest, and most messed up guys I’d ever met.

He was convinced that his only two options in life were to get a job as an engineer or become a stripper. He complained that he didn’t want to be an engineer, so you can see where things went from there.

Years later, I found out he chased a girl down to L.A., ended up living on the streets, and was arrested and jailed. For what, I don’t know. But if I had to guess, it was probably for assault.

But getting back to the story…

This was after the global economic meltdown, and my investments had mostly tanked. I was starting to feel the crunch financially and was running out of options.

All I could do was sell my soul to five poorly paying jobs. I had to work mornings, evenings, weekends, and endure long commutes. Sometimes I had to fight for healthy working conditions and the money I was owed. No one cared that I was going through hell. Not their problem. If they could exploit me and drive me like a slave for less than minimum wage, it was a win for them.

All the while, I hoped and prayed these jobs would lead somewhere…

At the time, the only music in my life was the local singer-songwriter open mic night on Tuesdays and the occasional rehearsal or gig. And I would happily go just to get away from my roommate and the mess he was making at my once beautiful home.

For a while, I was undeterred. I just kept going. I believed if I persevered, I’d find a way.

Instead, I broke down. I was carrying a bag full of bricks, and the unbreakable back of Atlas finally snapped with the addition of a single straw.

One Sunday, after church, I ended up sobbing in my blue Toyota RAV4 with two flat tires in front of an Italian restaurant. I was exhausted, defeated, humiliated. My spirit was crushed. In that moment, you could not have convinced me there was anything left worth living for.

I managed to refinance my home and stay afloat for a while…

But I kept getting myself into financial trouble, to where I ended up having to sell my home, my office, my studio – my everything – in 2012.

None of that had to happen.

But you don’t know what you don’t know.

And I didn’t have a clue what had gone wrong.

That’s it for Now…

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