The Music Entrepreneur Triangle: You’ll be Lost Without This

The Music Entrepreneur Triangle: You’ll be Lost Without This

Looking to become a music entrepreneur? There are a few models that work. But the most well-worn path is encapsulated in what follows – the Music Entrepreneur Triangle. Understand this and you will have cleared a path for your ultimate success.


For famous music entrepreneurs like Dr. Dre, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and others, it all started with their music. Music is the foundation on which all other opportunities were layered in.

The temptation might be to diversify too early, diluting your focus on the work that matters most. But this hinders progress. You’ve got to become known for something first and prioritize this above all else.

What many don’t understand is the goal of the work, which is to elevate your celebrity status. And it’s much easier to become known for one thing than it is to become known for many things, which is where identifying what’s unique about you and focusing on that makes the greatest difference.

What many don’t understand is the goal of the work, which is to elevate your celebrity status. Share on X

We’ll be exploring what it means to be a celebrity and why that matters in a moment.

Chiefly, to become known, you must work, and you must become known for your work.

People love to point to what they assume to be exceptions, like Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian. The commonality that is often overlooked is how in both cases, sex tapes were used either intentionally, or unwittingly, to solidify their celebrity status.

Make no mistake – the sex tape was the work. That is one way to become famous, yes, but is it the most desirable? If fame is your only desire, then perhaps it is. But dovetailing that into a music career is another matter entirely.

While Hilton may have had a brief stint as a singer, everyone knew she didn’t have a bright future as a pop star. Failing in such a public way doesn’t leave a lot of room for a comeback. And in case you think I missed it, I must point out that neither Hilton nor Kardashian are music entrepreneurs specifically, though they are indeed entrepreneurial.

Celebrity Status

To beat a dead horse, the goal of your work is to become known. Becoming known will swing the doors of opportunity wide open.

Becoming known will swing the doors of opportunity wide open. Share on X

Becoming consumed with income too early is a mistake and may prevent you from doing everything you can do to grow your notoriety. Working on your passion on nights and weekends is the furthest thing from glamorous, but it’s what’s required here. A foundation of financial solvency empowers one to continue to do the work that matters most to them. An earning is made 9 – 5, a killing is made on evenings and weekends.

But let’s be clear about one thing – you don’t need to be an A-list celeb to command the opportunities or attention you desire (and you may not desire much attention at all). There are over eight billion people on this green earth. You want to be known, most of all, by the audience you want to attract, and 1,000 true fans is enough.

On your way to becoming a celebrity is the wrong time to discern who your art is for, however. You should have had at least an inkling of who your audience is before even beginning the work. Only then does the axiom “Ready, fire, aim” make any sense.

Your work contributes to your celebrity status, but in many cases it’s not enough. You need to seek out every opportunity to be interviewed, spotlighted, profiled, or reviewed. Pitch weekly if not daily.

And if you’re taking it seriously, don’t become too reliant on bloggers, podcasters, journalists, or anyone else to cover you. Take on writing press releases, guest posts, articles, and columns for blogs, newsletters, magazines, newspapers, and more, online, and off.


Starting your own brand of headphones, or fragrances, or clothing lines becomes possible and far more viable once you’ve established the other two sides of the music entrepreneur triangle – work and celebrity status.

Now that you’ve achieved a degree of fame, it’s not important that you focus on being known for one thing anymore. Most people will continue to remember you most for one or two things, no matter where you take your career from here. You’re ready to go forth and try your hand at other ventures, which can sometimes take off rapidly thanks to your celebrity status.

I won’t beat around the bush. Being a celebrity has its perks. Money will flow your way merely for doing what you’re told to do when you’re told to do it.

But when do you get to work on whatever you want? When you’ve achieved your celebrity status. Tattoo that on your mind, and remember, even then, that mishaps do occur. And mistakes are lambasted more critically in the public eye than in the privacy of your grassroots fan base. In business dealings, best take your advice from people who know what they’re talking about.

When Any Publicity is Not Good Publicity in the Music Industry

When Any Publicity is Not Good Publicity in the Music Industry

In April 2015, Rihanna famously made tabloid headlines when a video surfaced online. It appeared to show her snorting cocaine inside her tour bus.

It is hardly shocking in today’s culture to learn that artists and singers smoke or take drugs whilst on tour. Sometimes, if they are careless, their activities are caught on film and documented by the media online, on TV and in the press.

The question is, how does this impact the brand image of the artist and what are the knock-on effects for record sales and concert ticket sales?

One Direction Going in the Wrong Direction

One Direction star Zayn Malik was photographed on several occasions smoking marijuana and the story was eagerly publicized in the media.

What must be taken into account is that a large percentage of the fan-base idolizing superstars such as Rihanna and Zayn Malik are children and young teenagers.

These younger fans are impressionable, and it is their parents who buy the merchandise. Whether it’s a Rihanna T-shirt or a One Direction calendar, responsible parents will certainly think twice before spending their money after reading headlines about these artists their children adore, being publicly shamed for taking illegal substances.

The Label’s Responsibility

In the pop world, it should be in a record label’s best interest to help their artists develop a marketable image; to both the parents and youngsters. Artists often act as role models to their fans, and as ambassadors for their record labels.

With social media, bad news travels fast, so record labels need to keep their artists under tight control and protect them from illicit substance abuse. In addition to bad press, an artist is also subject to being arrested if caught whilst taking illegal substances.

Bieber’s Scandal & The Downward Spiral

Justin Bieber was famously arrested on Miami Beach for drag-racing following a drug-fuelled evening with friends. Being arrested mid-tour will undeniably cost a record label considerable funds if they have to cancel dates and refund tickets. This also alienates and frustrates fans who have been eagerly waiting to see their favorite singers live.

Late and lamented superstars Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston died as a result of alcohol and drug abuse. When young pop stars such as Rihanna and Justin Bieber are caught taking drugs people can assume they may well be on the same downward spiral.

Whether this is the case, onlookers will make their own assumptions, and may stop supporting artists they had previously enjoyed listening to as a result of bad behavior.

Positive Artist Reception

Positive artist reception is the fundamental prerequisite that leads to revenues for a record label, in the form to music purchases; merchandise sales and the sales of concert tickets.

Ultimately, for younger fans of pop stars such as Justin Bieber and Rihanna, it’s the parents who will fork out $300 for a pair of concert tickets. If parents no longer deem these pop stars as suitable role models for their children they will not be prepared to do so.

Other Incessant Image Issues

Substance abuse and antisocial behavior is just the tip of the iceberg. Parents will take notice of the visual content of specific pop stars, and many will not agree with the direction of their visuals, choices of outfits, lyrical themes and dance routines performed on set.

Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande and Cardi B are arguably some of the biggest stars on the planet right now. But their entire pop star regimes are built on sexualized outfits, videos and lyrics.

Obviously there is an enormous demand for these singers, and their successes are down to the fact that kids, teens and adults love their music and performances.

But many parents begin to question these full-blown pop icons and their image – consider Ariana Grande’s album cover for her 2016 album Dangerous Woman; donning latex fetish wear and singing about promiscuous sexual encounters.

Whilst Ariana Grande boasts over 155 million Instagram followers, there is something intrinsically questionable about her record label’s marketing tactics and choice of promotional tools that enable her to be adored by children, often oblivious to the meaning of many of her songs and performances.


Whether a pop star is built on the foundations of sexualized themes, or perhaps more substantial and meaningful messages, one moment of poor judgment caught on camera can ruin a career.

Artists need to consider their behavior in the light of their audiences and record labels need to ensure that their artists are protected and chaperoned on a continual basis. This is not just a matter of good social responsibility it is a matter of business.