From "Music Career Killers!", a white paper by Chris Rockett of Music Marketing Classroom.
Every hour of every day there is a talented musician somewhere on the planet, who makes the mental decision to put their artistic side on the back burner in favor of a more stable career.
Although they vow to themselves that they will still pursue music in their spare time, just this simple mindset shift will mean that writing songs and doing gigs will always take a back seat in the face of almost everything else in life.
In a way it hurts too much to do music when you make this decision, because it reminds you of all the dreams you had, and a feeling of being a failure.
Even the most committed musicians are ground down to nothing after a few years of playing empty shows, and sending out 100's of demos with no reply.
In this guide I want to show you some of the common pitfalls that attack your enthusiasm, leaving you feeling like there is no chance for your career.
It's my hope that once you start to recognize the common mistakes that people make, you will be able to avoid them and get on with the real work of consistently creating music that your fans will appreciate...
Music Career Killer 1: Not working on your music everyday...
You can spend your whole life learning music marketing and still fail if you don't have great music to promote...but you can suck at marketing and still do well if your music is on point.
The ideal though, is to find that perfect balance between marketing and music creation...
It can help to make this into a little game, so every once in a while go back three months in time on your YouTube channel and see the kinds of songs you were writing then.
Over that time period you can really start to notice an improvement if you just commit to work on your music skills for an hour a day, and do the marketing for the rest of the time that you can spare.
Music Career Killer 4: Not selling anything...
I see many musicians drop the ball at this stage, they will produce great music for the fans but then feel bad and not ask people to take the next step to buy something....
Or they do try and sell, but because they don't feel comfortable with it they get all nervous and it does not come across in a cool way. Selling is just letting people know about the cool things you've set up for them and you should never feel ashamed about it.
It's like there is this unspoken law where all but the top few famous musicians have to be penniless and work for nothing. So if you don't currently have anything for sale on your website then don't do anything else until you have.
It can be as simple as a $5 per month subscription to get a song of the week delivered to their inbox. This will cost you nothing to set up and you can have it up and running in under 10 minutes.
You can just use a simple PayPal subscription button on your site.
Music Career Killer 8: Not taking at least one marketing action everyday...
When we began here I mentioned the importance of daily progress with your music, but also just as important is the power of just one thing per day that will get your music out into the world and in front of a targeted, interested fan.
See, music marketing is like trying to push a car with your bare hands.
At first it seems like it won't budge, but then you start to get a little movement and before you know it you're going at a steady and predictable pace...
...and once in a while you will come across a hill where you can sit back and let things roll, all you have to do is steer.
But if you stop making progress, then come back and try again a few months later you will never build up enough momentum and it will never get easy.
One of the biggest challenges that faces the modern DIY musician is consistency, because things will come up in your life that seem more fun or more important than working on your marketing.
But a little bit of focus on one really cool project can work like magic, all you need to do is remember why it's important and why you decided to start learning music marketing in the first place.
For me it's being able to work for myself and have freedom from the rat- race...I find that idea always allows me to re-focus on what's important and always stay in the minds of my fans.
Music Career Killer 20: Getting jealous of other musicians...
Nobody feels great about getting jealous, but it's natural right...?
You work your tail off for months to try and get hits to your site and then you see another musician getting featured in the press and you know that in one day they are going to get more hits than you got in the last three months. I'm sure you may have felt something like this at some point and I know I have.
But it does not have to be that way if you just make a little mindset shift that I think will give you a new perspective on the success of others...
...and that is simply this...
When you see another musician doing something cool like getting played on the radio, getting signed or getting press think to yourself "Cool, that means I have the opportunity to do the same thing, because the other musician has just uncovered another potential opportunity for me to market my own music as well".
Shoot For The Tipping Point
There comes a time in the life of every successful musician, when you have added so much value to the world that suddenly your Twitter and Facebook numbers are going up everyday, and your website traffic is increasing by itself.
This is the point at which enthusiastic fans start to become like your automatic promotion machine, and if you give up before this ever happens you will never know what it feels like.
Having reached "The Tipping Point" you can scale back your music promotion a little bit, and focus much more on the creative process.
Diligently promoting your music on a regular basis for an extended period of time will bring you great rewards, especially if you keep these killers in mind and stay on your toes.
As Bon Jovi once said...
"Oh you got to KEEP THE FAITH!!!"
The mission of the Music Marketing Classroom is to empower musicians to create a sustainable income, even with a modest music career, and teaches a simple four-step marketing philosophy to achieve that goal. Learn more at MusicMarketingClassroom.com