Firstly, let’s keep this personal
We are not talking about starting up a music business or trying to launch your company or fund your next recording project. We are talking about you personally as a professional career music maker.
Many successful organizations I find have fashioned brief statements of who they are and what they do. This “Mission Statement,” as it is called, is a concise statement that tells us what that organization is, what it expects to do and how it expects to get it done. The Mission Statement serves as both the “big picture” directive and as the bottom-line “this is us and what we do.”
… In dealing with the “you, yourself” person, you are probably already aware that you cannot act alone. The fact is that you, as a music maker, singer, songwriter, are automatically the head of an enterprise. Like it or not, you are what is called a “hyphenate,” that is, an artist-entrepreneur.
As the head of your enterprise, it only makes sense that you should make up your own Mission Statement of who you are, where you want to be and how you want to get there.
Let me remind you that you are the star, the personality and the talent that is the product being sold. You are the face of your enterprise. It follows that you must be someone special, someone who, if successful, will be able to stand out in a crowded market, a performer of merit with demonstrable talent and performing techniques. You are a skilled songwriter. You have taken your skills, personality and unique characteristics and packaged them into a powerful identity that will increase your visibility, increase your music sales and website traffic (you DO have a website, don’t you?) and increase attendance at your various gigs and concerts.
If you are not yet that person, how do you create such a powerful Personal Brand?
Well, there are many factors other than basic talent involved, including image, style, management and direction.
For this treatise, let’s deal with very basic elements: Attitude: You are positive and persistent. You have integrity and you are dependable. In other words, you are a professional. You are somebody I can count on. I can book you and know I’m getting the person I thought I was booking and on the terms we negotiated.
I, and others like me, do not deal with flakes.
You have – or should have – talent, knowledge, skills and drive: Talent to write and perform; Knowledge of language, poetry and the art and feel of communicating; Skills as to the technique and proficiency of voice and instrument and Drive.
Let me emphasize this last, perhaps most important ingredient: Drive! I would go so far as to say that if are not passionate about what you are doing, don’t do it. If your ambition and appetite for excellence is deficient, don’t expect any help from others in advancing your dreams. Or just admit that this is not your Profession, but a Hobby.
As writer, Geoff Colvin, highlights in Talent Is Overrated, it is Deliberate Practice that is the key to achieving greatness. Drive and Passion are best expressed in music by the willingness of the artist to practice and rehearse. As he points out, it was not innate talent that forced Mozart to the fore, but rather his tutor father, who, for many of those early years directed and supervised Mozart’s daily practice.
So, to wrap this up with a brief salient summary statement, if you are a serious music artist, whether aspiring or on your way, become accomplished at what you do. If you play an instrument, develop virtuosity. If you sing, develop a distinctive style and presentation. If you have a band, develop a distinct identity. Almost every emerging artist I have seen needs to be produced, that is, needs an objective outside opinion from a knowledgeable manager/producer/director/stager/etc. to give your presentation a “look,” a higher level of performance and musical dynamics. Don’t be ordinary and forgettable, be unforgettable and talked about.
I could go on about performance* and becoming unforgettable as a performer, and, in fact, I have a whole presentation on this subject which I may share with you on another occasion.
If you would find that presentation of interest, send me an Email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: A reminder that I will be presenting a workshop at IMC (Indie Music Conference) at the Musicians Institute this coming October (details on this website.) The workshop will cover the basics of planning and writing a business plan, especially a business plan uniquely designed for the independent creative artist.
from Facebook page for IMC 2011/LA
Independent Music Business Plan :: Stephen Scott will teach a must-attend workshop on putting together a business plan for your independent music business. Stephen will explain why a business plan is important, what subjects should be covered and in what order. He will address some of the common trouble spots and offer solutions. A well crafted business plan covers subjects such as marketing and financial structure. Stephen will also address aspects of creating a marketing plan, and we the basic structure and information called for in the financing section of the plan. This workshop includes a hand-out featuring a course summary and notes section. (IMC 2011 L.A. is Oct. 21-23,at the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood. Workshop schedule and agenda/speakers on website.)