How can I succeed in music without really trying?

Friday, June 13, 2008| by Will Chen

"How can I succeed in music?” I don’t know how many times I asked myself that question, and I’m sure I’m not alone. In reality, I don’t really know the answer. Like many I gave it a shot but couldn’t really get over the semi-pro hump. Many will tell you its luck of the draw, knowing the right people. The more people I get to know which have "made it", the more I realize this isn’t true. I think the answer is most musicians really want to know “How can I succeed in music without really trying?”

First of all, we often have grandiose visions of what success really means. I think to some degree the internet has allowed us a fair amount of insight into the lives of musicians and that making it doesn’t have to mean being a mega millionaire. When young, many musicians also make the mistake of never fully realizing profit potential. They scoff at “commercialism” and “selling out” while they work a menial job barely paying the bills taking away so much precious time from their true art form. Why not take the cover dance band gig? It will pay for your new guitar and rent while you fine tune your original stuff.

Another mistake musicians often make is completely ignoring the business and marketing side of their music. While myspace has offered an extremely affordable way to get online, often times traditional marketing methods are completely ignored.

We have to wear many hats early on if we are to succeed, from songwriter and performer to accountant and marketing manager. It’s nearly impossible to know everything about everything. However, a general understanding of basic business and market concepts will give you a huge advantage in the highly saturated music market.

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