You wonder why music artists get successful?

You wonder why music artists get successful?

Setting goals and completing them are two very different things. I saw so many artists passing by over the years, successful and not so successful. There are a number of reasons why artists fail to achieve success, including the failure itself:

1. Determination

2. Willpower

3. Devotion

4. Commitment

5. Not making the real decision

6. Motivation

We all think that achieving goals is hard, but it isn’t if you really have decided this is the goal that YOU want to achieve. So my advice would be:

1. Don’t just think or talk about your goals, just start with no thinking

2. Memorize why it’s important for you to achieve it

3. Frame your goals with absolute certainty – that no matter what, you will find a way to make it happen

Do you as an artist know who your fans are?

When it comes to finding success with your music, you can’t rely on fans coming to you, and instead, have to put the elbow grease to seek them out. Here we develop three essential tactics for finding your target audience before zeroing in on your marketing strategy.

You got into this industry to feel connected.

Maybe you wanted to change the world, or maybe you just wanted a way to creatively express how you were feeling. Maybe you just wanted to tell your story, and maybe you wanted to hear the stories of others.

No matter your reason, most of us can safely say we got into this industry because we were craving connection. We wanted to let others know that they’re not alone. We wanted to change lives.

Then somewhere along the way we got bogged down in having to write the next social media post or having to book the next show or having to run a PR campaign. We forgot to remember why we got into this—and our audience suffered.

What I want to talk to you about today isn’t about how to book more shows or how to run your next PR campaign—all of those things are incredibly important, but the truth is they don’t mean anything without an audience.

And if you’re thinking, “I just have to make the right music, my audience will find me”, well, I hate to break it to you, but that’s not how it works.

Getting in front of your audience means getting clear on a few key things. The truth is it’s really not all that complicated—it’s just most artists fail to invest the time and energy needed to find their fans and then let them know how much they matter.

I’ve outlined three ways you can get started today with finding your target audience—the steps are simple, and the results will speak for themselves. So don’t be one of those artists who thinks just making good music will bring them a loyal fanbase. Show your fans what they mean to you and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.


Before you even think about strategizing how to find your target audience, you want to make sure you’re crystal clear on who you are and the message you want to convey. I’ve seen so many talented bands go unnoticed simply because they have no idea who they are. I’m talking about having an actual brand.

Think about your favorite well-known artist and tell me what comes to mind. I doubt you’re fumbling around trying to put the pieces together and that’s because they have a really solid brand.

For instance: What do you think of when you think of Halsey? Mental health. LGBTQ rights. Social justice.

What about Taylor Swift? Her brand may seem to change with nearly every album cycle but there are serious consistencies that mean you and I always strike up some very clear imagery when we think of her. She takes risks. Offers her fans connection. Empowerment. And love her or hate her, she’s a force to be reckoned with. 

Think about your favorite bands and see what comes to mind instantly. Your fans should be able to do the same when it comes to you. Because in order to find your target audience and know who they are and what they feel, believe, and desire, you need to first know who it is you are.


Find a couple of artists who are in the position you want to be, in a similar genre, and make a serious case study out of them to figure out what they’ve done to get there and what they continue to do to stay there.

Find artists who are in the position you want to be in, say, another two or three years. It’s not realistic to compare yourself to a major label artist because they’re operating with an existing fanbase that quite frankly isn’t going anywhere even if they fail to post to social media or take another three years to put out an album.

So find artists who are more established than you are, but still growing (i.e. not necessarily signed to a label or touring the world, but who are playing more of the kind of shows you want, getting the endorsements your after, the Spotify playlists you want, etc.) then you’ll have a really good idea of what’s working.

Study what they do and how they do it. How do they interact with their audience? What platforms are they on? What kind of venues do they play? What kind of merchandise do they have? What cities are they popular in? What hashtags are they using to get in front of their fans? (tip: make a Google Doc of different groups of hashtags to use, so when it’s time to post to IG you can simply copy and paste your go-to hashtags. Having a few different groups to choose from means mixing it up so that IG will favor you in the algorithm. For whatever reason, if you use the same 10 hashtags over and over, IG tends not to like that. Probably because they think you’re a robot.).

Pay attention to everything those artists/bands do, take note, and then make it your own. If you can start to use their own strategies for getting in front of fans and make them into your own, you’re well on your way to building an engaged audience.


There are a lot of ways to find new fans. Offline, shows are a great place to get in front of new faces. This can be at your own shows or (and especially) the shows of others. Sometimes this means going to other artist’s shows and interacting with the audience, maybe hanging at the merch booth if one of the artists on the bill is your friend, and just getting to know people and introducing yourself. It can also mean standing outside venues of major label artist’s shows and getting to know everyone in line, having a conversation, and eventually sharing your music and asking if they want to sign up to your mailing list on the spot.

Online it can mean joining different Facebook groups and getting involved by offering feedback on fellow artist’s posts, commenting with your own stories and thoughts, and just getting involved in your online communities.

On Instagram it can mean finding artists that have a similar sound and are of a similar size to you and seeing who their fans are. If those fans they seem like they might like your music, then get to know them by following and commenting on their posts. (Note: I do NOT mean comment about your music, I mean find common ground in their photos and interact with it – i.e. comment on their photo of their latte with how good it looks and ask them what kind it is.)

At the end of the day, building a community isn’t only one of the smartest things you can do for your career, it’s honestly one of the most fulfilling. Because when you get down to it, we got into this to build a connection.

And sure, it can be overwhelming sometimes to keep up with all the day-to-day. But don’t forget why you got into this—to make a difference. To meet others who are just like you. To tell your story and hope it connects with someone else. That’s all getting in front of your target audience really is. A chance to connect. So don’t worry about “getting it right” or putting a ton of pressure on yourself. Just see it for what it is—a chance to get to know the others who truly think like you, and see the world in the same way you do.

Differences between artists

Every feeling that an artist has (good or bad) is based on the interpretation of what things mean. Changing limited beliefs is all about coming out of the comfort zone and undergo the situation. I have seen many artists procrastinate, there is and never will be the perfect moment, so you might as well start.

How are you going to live the next years of your life? How are you going to live today in order to create the tomorrow you’re committed to? What’s important to you right now? What actions can you take today that will shape yourself and your future?

The power is to make a decision here and now. Different decisions leads to actions. Actions produce different results and reactions. Decision, commitment, persistence are the key elements to achieve the things that you want to achieve.

You will also find a way, because making a true decision means committing to achieving result, and then cutting yourself off from any other possibility. The way to make better decisions is to make more of them.

  1. Decide what to focus on
  2. Decide what things mean to you
  3. Decide what to do

Hopefully this will be the start of a new chapter for you. I certainly hope this for you.

How to promote your music in 2022

If you’re serious about getting your music heard and growing your fanbase, music marketing isn’t an option.

It’s a necessity.

So where do you start?

To get your music in front of the right people, generate momentum and consistent growth, we need to start looking at how you’re going to promote your music. 

Great marketing is all about excitement, storytelling and really building traction over time.

Your music and content is one part of thousands of things just one person will see in a day.

The digital world is the noisiest it’s ever been. So, how will you stand out amongst the crowd?

Most artists focus on making great music but ignore one of the most important parts of promoting it – music marketing.

This is the vehicle that allows you to promote your music, get your music heard, generate more views for music videos, create a fanbase and so much more.

There are so many ways for independent artists to carve out their own space in the music business and make a real impact.

1. Build Your Brand Foundation

This is the most important layer to music marketing in 2022. Without this nothing else sits properly.

The foundation of building a strong brand in music is who you are and what you stand for as an artist, thinking about who your audience is and who would connect with you.

Music promotion isn’t a simple task. But, without a solid foundation, nothing will work.

Think of your artist brand as an extension of your own identity. ⠀

It’s a representation of who you are aesthetically and this is what someone will see the first time you come into their world.

Therefore it’s imperative you smash that first impression.

Here are the first steps to branding yourself in music marketing:

  • Write down everything that relates to you and your music
  • Circle the most important aspects to you
  • What does that LOOK like? Visually map it out. Imagery, colours, tone of voice, music, clothes.
  • Compare that to what you’ve been putting it so far. Does it match?

To make waves in the music industry as an artist, you need to stand for something. Getting your branding foundation right will inform everything else across your music, your imagery, and ultimately, your career.

Don’t skip this stage in a rush to chase arbitrary numbers and metrics. It doesn’t work, especially if you don’t have a solid brand first.

2. Know Your Demographic and Psychographic

The better you know your predicted audience, the better you can create music and content that they’ll love. 

If they love it, you’ll build faster organic traction. 

Knowing who and where your current fans are will help you learn more about who is paying attention to you, and why they are paying attention to you.

You can get detailed analytic information from your social media accounts, Spotify For Artists, and more to understand your demographic and their behaviour.

If you’re starting from scratch, you will want to build an example fan avatar.

It’s common practice in any digital marketing to know exactly who you are trying to market to before you begin. Marketing in the music industry is no different.

Think of artists that are similar to you. What kind of person listens to them and what is it about them that they are resonating with?

3. Look After Your Current Fans First

In music marketing, it’s easy to become obsessed with the numbers when trying to get more music fans.

Here’s the secret.

Marketing your music to more people begins with looking after your current followers first.

It’s in your best interest to build a community of dedicated followers. A tribe. Learn how to cultivate an environment around your brand, your music, and your music marketing platforms that can turn an interested follower into an obsessive superfan.

To do this, artists need to become less focused on the numbers and getting newer followers. 

If you provide value to your current audience, from the outside looking in, people will see a community that they want to be a part of. 

Give more than you take as an artist.

Being in music isn’t the same as being in sales. You need to give more and do more for your followers if you are to set a precedent for future followers to join you on your journey.

4. Allocate Time for Speaking 1-1 With Your Audience

Every single day, you need to allocate time to speak to your audience and connect. 

I can’t stress how important the 1-1 is when growing your audience (it’s still also the most successful form of marketing ever!). 

This means commenting on their pictures on Instagram, replying to their messages, and starting conversations about them. Take a genuine interest and you’ll be rewarded!

Doing this provides a great opportunity for being more human and creating a genuine connection with your fans. 

Want to get the music industry to notice you? The music industry and record labels only care about artists who have an audience. A following of people who would do anything for you. A tribe.

The audience holds the power and strengthening your current audience with real 1-1 connections is how you can create something special.

5. Choose Which Social Media Platforms You Will Focus On

Choose a maximum of two platforms to begin with. You don’t have the time as an artist to dedicate to more properly. Research Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube and work out what suits you. 

Social media is all about consumption and when you utilise social media right, it’s the most powerful tool artists have.

Everyone may say be on every digital platform, but you don’t have enough time in the day to be successful on many platforms.

It’s overwhelming and isn’t the best music promotion strategy when you’re starting out.

So you choose a platform based on where your skillset lies. 

If you love video and being on camera, then I’d look at how you can utilise YouTube.

If you’re wanting to build a community and like photography & short-form content I’d choose Instagram (this is a good place for artists and music in general, if you’re not sure I’d choose Instagram).

If you want to look for where the highest organic reach and engagement is right now, artists should look at TikTok. But bear in mind for this platform you need to learn what works and how you can bring virality, as that’s what TikTok does best.

Choose your platform and keep grinding away producing content that you’re proud of and build your fanbase daily through smart promotion.

What you’re aiming for is just one person to say “I like that” and then they keep returning for more. This compounds from one person to ten people and from ten people to a thousand people.

That is how you get started.

It takes work, it takes learning, but the payoff is that you build a dedicated fanbase that loves you as an artist and your music.

6. Create Engaging Content On Social Media

Most artists view their socials as somewhere to tell people to go to Spotify and then wonder why this doesn’t work. 

It doesn’t work because it isn’t engaging, you haven’t got their attention with just your music alone.

Play the socials game right, do your research, and be creative. 

Average content isn’t enough. You need amazing content.

As a creative and a musician, your job is to entertain your followers. Give them a reason to follow you, a reason to engage with your content, a reason to come back to your page, time and time again.

The biggest mistake musicians make with music promotion is using social media platforms as simply a portfolio of their work.

I always see artists using ‘push’ marketing to get people to stream their new album, listen to their single or consume their music, watch their new music video with no consideration for quality of content or sign of any larger campaign at work.

So what do you do instead?

You need to surround your music with awesome content. 

Instead of just releasing the song or music video and shouting ‘hey go listen to it’… break the release down into several smaller content drops.

Examples of this are behind-the-scenes photos, clips from the song, artwork, lyrics… Anything that you can bring from that master content to your audience in multiple forms.

Think outside of the box and be bold. Only marketing your music releases and not the content surrounding out is a fast track to being ignored.

7. Post Consistently

Music promotion and music marketing on social media requires a lot of effort.

You need to build consistent value every single day to start to build momentum with your music promotion.

If you post on day 1, day 5 and day 17 that is going to have nowhere near the same impact as day 1, day 2 and day 3.⠀

Social media and music marketing is about little hits every day, not big swings. This is why we break down our big single releases and music video content into smaller pieces to make sure we’re giving it in a digestible way to cause the most momentum. ⠀

This requires dedication and effort.⠀

But if you go for it and get it right, social media music marketing is powerful AF.⠀

Here are some questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Are you posting on a daily basis? ⠀
  • Are you replying to every comment on your posts with something meaningful? ⠀
  • Look at your posts and see which did well. Work out why this was and double down.⠀
  • Is your audience returning? Or just liking and leaving? ⠀
  • If this wasn’t your post or your feed, would you like and engage? ⠀

You need to be brutally honest with all of these questions. 

If you’re not putting in the time and effort to put out something meaningful on a regular basis, it won’t grow.

8. Promote Your Music and Single With a Solid Plan

Don’t release your single without a plan. 

Picture this scenario…

You release your new single, do everything you’ve always done, put in less time than you know you should do, and then get annoyed when it doesn’t do as well as you wanted it to.

Does that sound familiar?

Before you release your next single, you know that you need to up your music marketing game. 

Your music deserves to be heard, so it’s time to get your launch strategy and campaign in place.

Too many musicians fall into the trap of having a 24-hour promotion cycle for their music, and then starting all over again after that day of excitement is over.

This leads to an endless and vicious cycle of being underwhelmed with every song release, only to make the same mistakes again and again.

Be organised and have a strategy in place that evolves a couple of weeks before the release date, as well as the weeks afterwards.

9. Music Promotion Through Paid Advertising

Music marketing through paid digital advertising only works when your brand foundation, organic social media strategy and content are in place.

But this is where brilliant strategies really make the difference as you bolster on top of your current brand and messaging.

You can push this excitement and messaging out through digital advertising where you can reach hundreds of thousands of your target audience with a very small budget (video views ads give you the most bang for your buck – just $30 could get you 50k – 100k views on your next music video!).

I get a lot of questions about social media advertising budgets, music promotion and music marketing on a low budget.

One strategy is to put your money into brand awareness and video view campaigns.

If you’re marketing on a low budget, you need to keep people on the platform. It’s cheaper and more cost-effective in the long run.

Traffic and conversion campaigns are more expensive as they take people away from the platform.

If you are going to put money into marketing your music online, remember to target effectively and concisely.

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to hyper-target specific demographics on things like age, interests, location and so much more. The more focused and defined your audience, the more likely you are to get great results for your ads and expand your follower count.

10. Pitch Your Music To Playlists

It’s a good idea to try and get your music on Spotify playlists or other streaming playlists in your genre. 

Getting this right can be a game-changer for your listenership and streaming numbers.

There are loads of Spotify hacks for music artists to beat the algorithm organically, but we can take even more control and manually submit our music for playlist consideration.

You can submit your music directly to Spotify’s editorial team themselves via Spotify For Artists, as well as pitching your new release to listeners and playlist curators.

Whether you are promoting your music on Soundcloud, YouTube, Apple Music, or Spotify, it’s important to understand that your presence needs to be maintained on these services as you would your Instagram or TikTok profile.

The Spotify streaming algorithm in particular works in a similar way to social media. If you are serious about getting more Spotify streams, it’s in your best interest to look after Spotify as much as you would any other social media platform to generate organic streams and healthy data to get heard.

11. Collaborate With Other Artists & Influencers

Collaborations done well can be a worthwhile creative pursuit in music promotion.

You can crossover your fanbase with somebody else’s and generate content that is mutually beneficial for both parties.

You have to be careful with your approach when it comes to collaborations. New fans may not respond well to you if it is obvious you are just doing this for clout or a quick numbers grab!

Be authentic with collaboration campaigns.

You need to bring something genuine to the table. If you are just trying to leech off someone else’s following, it’s painfully obvious and can do more harm than good.

Going back to your demographic and psychographic, where do your ideal audience hang out? Where else is their attention?

This can help you figure out who you can contact for a potential collaboration.

Collaboration doesn’t just have to be with other musicians, although this is the most common. You can collaborate with anyone or anything. Think outside the box and consider influencers outside of the music sphere.

12. Email Marketing Campaigns

Email can be another great way of reaching dedicated fans en masse, directly to their inbox.

A music mailing list for your band is more likely to be made up of those on a different level of fandom. More dedicated followers will choose to be updated on you as an artist.

Communicating with your fans directly via email allows you to reinforce your relationship even further with them, ultimately cultivating that super-fan status.

Owning this communication channel now also gives you another asset to use when promoting your single.

You can build up momentum over time with a smart email marketing campaign and direct traffic through specific links and a call to action on new content, YouTube videos, organic streams, and more.

13. Social Media Contests & Giveaways

Running contests and giveaways on social media might seem like old news, but it can still work if done correctly.

Contests can work wonders for the algorithm as a huge boost of followers take action on your content in the hopes of getting something tangible in return.

If you are going to go through the effort of promoting your music with a giveaway, run it as part of a bigger plan.

Things like giveaways and contests often give your socials platforms a slight boost in visibility. You should expect this peak and be prepared to ride the wave.

Be crystal clear with actions your followers should take and what fans may get for free in return. The giveaway value should far exceed the effort of the action from a fan. This is how you can show how much you value those in your tribe.

14. YouTube SEO

If someone wants to find your original song and they type it into YouTube, it should come up from the sheer fact that it exists.

However, if you’re posting digital content like song covers, gear tutorials, reviews (basically things people will actually search for on YouTube), you can skyrocket the organic reach of your videos.

This is the power of SEO (search engine optimization).

It can be a good music marketing strategy to have a selection of SEO-friendly videos as an entry point to your channel. This is how someone may first become aware of you, subsequently digging deeper to become a fan of your original music and other content.

Think about your demographic.

  • What kind of person are you trying to attract to your channel?
  • What kinds of things would they be searching for?
  • What kind of content can you make?

For example, you could create an SEO-optimized video on ‘best guitar pedals for metal’ if this is something your desired audience might be interested in.

A popular music marketing strategy on YouTube is song covers. Perform a batch of covers from artists you love and attract new fans to your channel, where you can promote your other projects and original tracks.

15. Release Music More Frequently

Music marketing is about building momentum over time and creating exponential growth.

If you are releasing music once a year, how are you supposed to create any noticeable momentum or build a fanbase for the long term?

Planning your next single release is great. But what about the next few singles?

Releasing one song without knowing when the next single is going to be released means you are starting from scratch after every music release.

This causes you to have popularity and focus spikes which constantly lower over time because you aren’t focused on consistent growth.

Quality of music and consistency comes first.

Look after your fans and provide value over and over again with consistent and frequent releases.

Remember, you’re only ever ONE song away from greatness. One song can completely change your life.⠀

You never know JUST how close you are. Keep writing, releasing, and learning!

Warner Music Strikes Deal with Community for Direct-to-Fan Texting Platform

Warner Music is partnering with Community, a text messaging platform for direct-to-fan communications.

This marks Community’s first deal with a major music company. “Our partnership with Warner Music unlocks additional opportunities for artists to drive engaging conversations at scale with their fans. Expanded connections with fans ultimately result in increased sales, greater content consumption, deeper artist affinity, and additional opportunities for Warner Music’s roster and brands,” says David Ross, SVP of Growth, Partnerships, and Revenue at Community.

Warner Music artists have been early adopters of Community. Ali Gatie regularly texts with his fans, sending them personal birthday messages and exchanging selfies. Labelmates Junior Varsity are also building up their presence on Community. They’re doing pop-up shows in NYC and Los Angeles with fans RSVPing by texting Junior Varsity’s Community number.

Community launched in 2019 as a way to power direct relationships and one-on-one conversations through text messaging at scale. The company is headquartered in Santa Monica, California. It helps pop culture stars, local community organizers, small business owners, and more. Community drives direct relationships with their fans and customers.

Select Warner Music artists will be given the power to personally text with fans via their 10-digit Community number.

These numbers will give fans a way to stay informed of exclusive releases, drops, ticket sales, merch opportunities, and more. Community says its average open rates are around 95% within the first three minutes of receiving a text message. It also has a 59% clickthrough rate for links shared through text.

Warner Music believes direct-to-fan communication helps cut through the social algorithm interference, spam, and other distractions. “Community’s model helps us cut through the noise and give us an authentic, personal and unique way to reach superfans,” says

Scott Cherkin, SVP Global Audience Strategy, WEA.

“The direct line helps our artists get to know their fans better and opens up opportunities for them to plug their priorities – whether it be merch, concert tickets, or a new single – knowing they have an engaged and eager audience on the receiving end. Some artists are already promoting their numbers at shows to really great reception and we’re excited to offer Community even more artists in the Warner Music family.”

How to prepare for rehearsals?

This last year, even rehearsing has felt like a luxury, so for those of us without  our own spaces, it will be the necessary first step towards returning to playing shows.

Rehearsing can be an exhilarating, and extremely rewarding, experience; a melting pot of ideas and suggestions or the perfect run through in preparation for a performance. It can also be littered with problems and issues.  

No matter whether you, the band you play with or the band/artist you’re playing for are rehearsing covers, original material or writing new material at the rehearsal, you will be paying for the rehearsal either financially or in personal time and commitment. 

It makes sense to approach rehearsing in a semi-structured way, so that time is maximised, value for money is received and the desired results are achieved.

Ineffective rehearsals and lack of preparation invariably lead to band disagreements yet with some careful planning and effective communication, such problems can be avoided. 

Don’t leave things to chance and by keeping everyone involved and in the loop, everyone should be on the same page, proactive and positive when they walk into the rehearsal room. 

Rehearsals allow minor performance issues to be ironed out, ideas to be expressed and solutions to ongoing musical problems to be addressed. In a gigging situation, many musical errors pass by at rapid speed so rehearsals allow you to tighten everything up to produce an even better and more polished performance.

  1. Communicate

Communicate effectively when it comes to planning your rehearsal, take into account everyone’s prior commitments and availability so if the band doesn’t already, ask everyone to use an online calendar so each individual’s availability can be clearly seen and taken into consideration. 

Once the date of the rehearsal is confirmed and everyone can make it, provide everyone with all the relevant information, such as where it will be, what time the room is booked for and what time the rehearsal will finish, parking availability and nearest train/tube stations and what equipment is supplied. 

If parking is at a premium, suggest that those driving give themselves enough time to find appropriate parking and setting-up time. Also, let everyone know what time the room has to be vacated so that packing away time at the end is feasible. Don’t incur extra costs as a result of leaving late!

2. Make a plan of action

What is the reason for calling the rehearsal in the first place? If it is to write new material from scratch and to develop songwriting ideas, it can be difficult to create a structure as such but if it is to rehearse existing material or to learn covers and build a songlist or to run through an entire gig set before a performance, be organised as to what you want to achieve and use the time to accomplish. 

Send out a list of what songs will be rehearsed, the key they will be performed in and any relevant points of note for individual instruments, such as solos or extended sections.

3. Get your songs in order beforehand

Regardless of whether songs are originals or covers, everyone should have a copy/file of each song that is to be rehearsed or provided with an online link where they can download or listen to the song prior to the rehearsal. 

One vital point here is that everyone learns the same version of the song – check that there aren’t multiple album/single/remix/live versions which can cause confusion. 

Stress that the songs need to be learnt beforehand so turning up to rehearsal with no idea of the song or its format isn’t acceptable. Learning the songs should be done at home, not at the rehearsal on the day so use the rehearsal to fine-tune any minor errors or to make adjustments and work out vocals, harmonies, etc. But, in essence, the ‘meat and potatoes’ of each song should be prepped and in place before arrival.

4. Treat rehearsal like a gig

That means bringing everything you need with you. Don’t assume that the studio or rehearsal premises will have any spares. Some studios will charge you to hire equipment and accessories so don’t make rehearsals more costly than they need to be. 

If the studio is new to you/your band, contact them in advance to confirm exactly what equipment is included in your booking, what amplification they provide, what state is the drum kit in, does the drummer need to bring cymbals/snare/high-hat clutch, will there be enough mics/stands/cables to cover all the vocalists within the band? 

If you’re not sure that the equipment provided will suit your tastes or the sound of the band, bring your own but then there is the transportation to the studio and carrying the gear in and back out again to consider.

5. Record your rehearsals

Whether the rehearsal is for original songwriting of new material or covers, it can prove beneficial to record the rehearsal either on your mobile phone or a separate MP3 recorder or another device.

It may give you insights as to whether you are making any mistakes that might be passing you by due to the hectic nature of a rehearsal or it may allow you to hear how certain vocals may be working well or clashing. 

Hearing how the other musicians are playing or singing may become more apparent if you can listen back to the rehearsal after the event. With original songwriting, having a recording to listen back to can reveal great ideas that may have been overlooked at the time.

6. Be realistic about time

Consider how much time you have and plan what you can effectively accomplish in that time. If the rehearsal is in preparation for an imminent live performance, you may need to run through the entire set so consider have you given yourself enough time to do that? 

Also, have you allowed enough time for setting up, breaking down, food/drink/rest/toilet breaks? If you are rehearsing to add songs to your repertoire, be sensible and don’t assume that one run-through of each song will be enough and good enough for that song to be in your set. 

You may need to fine-tune it, maybe put your band’s own slant on it or incorporate it into a medley of songs. Is the song going to be going into the set immediately or will it be a song to call upon should you need it at a later date?

7. Consider having a leader

Some bands are democratic, some are a dictatorship so establish who is in charge of running the rehearsal, if that’s applicable, and consider passing that role around the band if you rehearse often so the workload is spread around. 

Keep an eye on the clock and prioritise what needs the most work and effort so you get as much accomplished during the rehearsal as possible. 

Consider making the person calling the rehearsal the point of contact and responsible for making the booking with the studio, all communication within the band and with the studio and sorting out the payment for the studio (although costs may be required from each member) unless the band rehearses regularly, in which case let each band member pay for one rehearsal in rotation.

8. Take breaks

Allocate break time in advance, especially when working out how much time you need before making the booking. If you’re rehearsing for 3-4 hours, you won’t need a long break to eat and refresh but for anything longer, allocate 30-45 minutes beforehand which might be broken up over the length of the rehearsal or all in one hit halfway through. 

Does the studio have a snack bar or vending machines or are there places to acquire food and drinks nearby? Alternatively, suggest that everyone brings their own refreshments in advance. 

It might also be worth suggesting eating well before the rehearsal in case there is nothing available, although this might leave some feeling sluggish and tired but rehearsing hungry/thirsty and low on energy is counter-productive for most people. 

Keeping the mind focused and concentrated during a rehearsal can be difficult so drink plenty of water, which has the double benefit of keeping the vocal cords moist and oiled.

9. Make some time for reflection

Mirrored walls can be helpful. Forget any voyeuristic connotations! If your performance involves any sort of choreography or the band’s look and general performance need consideration, hiring a rehearsal room with a mirrored wall or some sort of mirrors could prove beneficial. 

If the band is fairly large, it may also make visual communication with other band members easier without having to shout over the band.

10. Keep it down

Where possible, keep the volume levels down and you will find you feel less tired during and after the rehearsal. Pumping everything up will just drain you as your ears become fatigued by the volume levels. 

IEMS (in ear monitor systems) can make things easier and may allow you to do away with speaker cabinets, PA speakers and loud drum kits if you choose to go down the electronic kit route. 

Don’t be surprised if volume levels have drastically increased by the end of the rehearsal compared to what they were at the start.

How to get your music played on the radio

Getting your song played on the radio has long been a luxury, a service reserved for artists signed to major labels or benefiting from a huge network of influence.

However, in recent years, things have been changing, and new alternatives are being put in place to encourage the discovery of new artistsBut how to get your song on the radio?

Why is exposure on the radio still so important?

With the rise of social networks and new distribution channels (Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and other streaming platforms), promoting your music has never been easier or more complex at the same time. It is easy because these options are accessible to everyone. Today, it is possible to distribute your music at a lower price on the main streaming platforms. On the other hand, it’s so complex because it’s difficult to set up an effective strategy that isn’t too adventurous and time-consuming… Currently, over 20,000 new songs are released on Spotify every day and it’s hard to stick out from the crowd without spending a lot of money or wasting a lot of time.

62% of new track discoveries are made via radio, compared to 20% via streaming.

Traditional media such as the press or television have lost their allure over the years, and it is no longer as necessary as before to go through them to make one’s music known. On the other hand, in the face of competition from streaming platforms, radio remains the main source of musical discovery. 62% of new music discoveries are made on radio, compared to 20% on streaming, especially among non-subscribers to a streaming platform. Apps like Shazam allow listeners to listen to your song over and over again… on Spotify for example!

1. Have a solid musical project to get your song on the radio?

Before approaching any music professional, you must have at least some professionalism yourself in order to stand out and, above all, appear credible in your approach. Refer to the following criteria:

  • Build a strong and singular visual identity to support your musical project.
  • Have a press kit at your disposal or a good biography presenting your project and your background.
  • Be active and have a certain visibility on social networks (Facebook, Instagram etc.).
  • Have recordings of impeccable quality (.wav, 16bits, 44100htz).
  • Fill in the metadata of your tracks (digital information about the music: title, performer, author, composer, producer…).

2. Choose the right single to get your songs on the radio

This is the most critical step in the whole process. You must absolutely submit a work of good sound quality. This means that it must have gone through all the stages of musical creation, from choosing the title to composing, arranging, voice recording, mixing and mastering. The challenge here is to select a “single,” a track that is both representative of your musical universe and that also has a strong potential for listening, and therefore, for the audience. More simply, it is your “big hit.”

3. Respect radio formats

Another essential element in maximizing your chances of getting on the radio is the length of your song. To do this, your track should last between 2min30 and 4min. Beyond that, your chances of getting on the airwaves are often limited. Of course, we do not advise you to restrict your artistic creation. On the contrary, you must extend and express your creative potential to the maximum according to your desires and according to your own rules.

Taking risks and experimenting will help you to assert yourself as an artist. On the other hand, we recommend that you produce a “radio edit” version of your single if necessary. This means that it is a version specially adapted for radio broadcasting, respecting the duration format and excluding any obscene or shocking aspects. This version is also very often used for video clips. One of the most famous examples is Daft Punk’s One More Time, whose radio edit version has a radically different structure than the album version.

4. Takes quotas into account

Think of quotas- if you have a song in the language of your country, you’ll have a better chance of getting it onto national radios! Yes, it’s true. It’s a criteria you have to take into serious consideration if you want your song to be played on the radio. For example in France there’s a quota imposed by the CSA which is designed to protect French-language songs from the invasion of Anglo-Saxon pop songs that are flooding the airwaves.

The law of February 1, 1994 requires private radio stations to broadcast, since January 1, 1996, at significant listening hours, 40% of French songs, at least half of which must come from new talent or new productions […].

By French-language song, the CSA means any work with a text performed or recited primarily in French or in a regional French language. And by new talent, any artist who has not yet obtained two separate gold record-certified albums.

5. Choose the right radio and opt for new networks of influence

Every radio station has its own audience and therefore has a musical genre of reference. The radio station you want to present your song to is therefore also an important choice. For example, it is useless to go and propose a reggae track to a radio station specializing in metal. Choose radio stations that play tracks in the same style as your music and target the ones you are going to approach in a relevant way to maximize your chances of being played.

Fewer and fewer people are listening to radio in its traditional (over-the-air) form and a whole new form of online radio is gaining momentum and providing a new outlet for emerging artists.

What is streaming music

Listen to tunes without downloading them.

Streaming music, or more accurately streaming audio, is a way of delivering sound — including music — without requiring you to download files from the internet. Music services like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music use this method to provide songs that can be enjoyed on all types of devices.

Streaming Audio Delivery 

In the past, if you wanted to listen to music or any other type of audio, you downloaded an audio file in a format such as MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG or FLAC. However, when you use a streaming delivery method, there’s no need to download a file. You can start listening through a device or smart speakers almost immediately.

Streaming differs from downloads in that no copy of the music is saved to your hard drive. If you want to hear it again, you can easily stream it again, although some paid streaming music services allow you the option to do both — stream and download.

The way the streaming process works is that the audio file is delivered in small packets so the data is buffered on your computer and played pretty much straight away. As long as there is a steady stream of packets delivered to your computer, you’ll hear the sound without any interruptions.

Requirements for Streaming Music to Computers 

On a computer, in addition to obvious needs like a sound card, speakers, and an internet connection, you might also need the right software. Even though web browsers play some streaming music formats, software media players installed on your computer might come in handy.

Popular software media players include VLC, Winamp, and RealPlayer. Because there are many streaming audio formats, you may need to install a few of these players to be able to play all streaming music from various sources on the internet.

Paid Streaming Music Subscriptions 

Streaming music subscriptions have made enormous gains in popularity. Apple Music, which is available on Windows PCs and Mac computers, is a streaming music subscription with more than 40 million songs you can stream to your computer. 

Amazon Music and YouTube Music offer similar subscriptions. All of these paid programs offer free trials that allow you to evaluate their services. Some services such as Spotify, Deezer, and Pandora provide free tiers of advertising-supported music with the option of paid premium tiers.

Streaming to Mobile Devices 

On your smartphone or tablet, the apps provided by streaming music providers are the best and usually the only way to enjoy their streaming music. However, every music service offers an app, so you just need to download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play to add streaming music to your smartphone or tablet.

Finding the right target audience as an artist

Contrary to some preconceived notions, no artist can pass from the shadows into the spotlight just by snapping their fingers. Also, getting a good song out there is not enough anymore, and there is no point in making buzz just for buzz’s sake if you want to build a solid and lasting reputation. Finding your own identity as an artist and bringing together an audience around your project is a long-term process.

Indeed, you have to remain authentic, but also use the right methods to capture the audience that corresponds to you and understand what it expects from you. Knowing your fans allows you to interact with them as well as possible, but also to develop a better communication strategy in order to gain visibility- and especially notoriety. Here are some tips to help you target your audience as a musician.

1. Don’t try to please everyone

It is a question of not spreading out in order to satisfy as many people as possible. Your musical project must embody and project your own voice. This is what will make you a unique and original artist. Forcing oneself to conquer all hearts and minds is often a waste of time. It is up to you to discover your own identity in order to remain coherent and authentic. This is how your audience will identify with you. And it is also in this way that you will be able to implement your positioning and development strategy. Here are the questions you should ask yourself before targeting your audience:

  • To which musical genre(s) does my music correspond?
  • Is my project strong enough?
  • Am I able to easily communicate about my music?
  • What are the values/emotions I want to convey?
  • Is my music for a niche audience or a more popular one?
  • How do I set up a visual identity in line with my project?
  • What are my ambitions?

Once you have found your positioning as an artist, it will be easier to find the right audience for you.

2. Engage with a community

In order to better understand the audience you are engaging, there is nothing better than meeting the professionals and enthusiasts who correspond to your musical universe. Go to concerts, fairs, forums or any other musical event aligned with your style.

Take every opportunity to interact with the audience, musicians and even other fans. In short, you will meet people who share the same passion as you. This will not only open you up to new perspectives, but also broaden your creative field.

3. Find online discussion groups related to your musical universe

There are many Facebook groups and forums specialized around specific musical genres that have thousands of fans and insiders. These groups are an opportunity for you to get an overview of trends, listening habits, and news, but also it is an occasion to support other musicians who are in the same boat. Sharing and discovering new music on these networks is an excellent way to exchange, share, and discover other worlds.

It is the best way to maintain contact and be active and dynamic around your musical project. These groups often bring together thousands of people eager for new things and potentially receptive to your musical productions.

A Facebook group dedicated to shoegaze, dream pop, and nugaze music

Our advice: do not hesitate to give before asking (and therefore receiving). Sharing the bond of an artist you love without asking for anything beforehand can be an opportunity to create strong bonds. And one day, you may get something powerful out of it. Our slogan?

“Give, give, give, give, receive.”

4. Find the most famous artists in your musical genre and use them as a reference

Finding reference artists allows you to have a base and determine in which direction you want to go. Take for example Coldplay as a pop-rock reference. Start with accessible artists and adjust as you go along according to your stage of development and your ambitions.

The purpose here is to analyze:

  • What types of social networks do they communicate on?
  • How close are they to their fans?
  • How do they communicate with their fans?
  • What aesthetics do they adopt?
  • On which types of media are they featured?
  • What other artists are their fans listening to?

In short, it is a matter of figuring out how they got to the level they are at. Review their audience and the different communication strategies they implement. Indeed, it should not be forgotten that beyond talent, an artist must necessarily be a good communicator to be able to gain recognition and visibility.

5. Be active on social networks and build your own visual identity

To stand out and spark interest, you have to attract the eye. Proposing a striking visual identity is the best way to stand out and reach your audience with a particular imprint. Even if music remains the raw material, it is an element not to be neglected. A striking aesthetic builds loyalty and engages your audience.

6. Use data analysis tools on social networks and streaming platforms

It can be scary at first, but some social networks, including Spotify and Apple Music, have developed easy-to-use tools to better understand your audience.

On Facebook for example, you can access the statistics of your page [Tip: add /insights/ at the end of the URL of your Facebook page]. In the “People” tab you can discover the distribution in terms of Gender / Age groups / Countries / Cities of people who like your page.

On Spotify for Artists in the “Audience” section, you can also find the countries and cities where your songs are most listened to, their age group and gender, as well as artists that your audience also likes. Apple Music For Artists offers the same option, also adding data from Shazam. All of this data is essential to better understand your current audience and adapt your strategy accordingly!

7. Finding the right channels for promotion

To promote their music, artists have only two main solutions today:

  • Hire a press officer (~1000-2000 euros per month) which is often expensive for musicians who do not always have the contacts or the means, and with results that do not always match their expectations and the investment made.
  • Send hundreds of emails to media and musical influencers (such as blogs, playlists, webradios and specialist journalists) themselves. This is certainly free, but a monumental waste of time in the artist’s creative work. And above all, as the media are overwhelmed by emails, artists do not receive answers, which is often the source of great frustration.

The media, labels and other musical influencers are overwhelmed by emails from artists and their representatives (press officers, managers, labels) every day (between 100 and 500 every day even for small blogs).

Indeed, they offer the best pathways to promote your music with guaranteed feedback. These opportunities will allow you to boost your visibility and gain legitimacy!

How to find the right band members

Most artists have experienced the challenge of finding and keeping the right band members. Hopefully these interview questions will help you find exactly who you are looking for:

  • How serious are you? Be sure that their level matches that of your own.
  • What experience do you have? What bands have you been in, if any? Have you been a band leader? Be sure that you are getting someone who will fit right in.
  • Are you looking to join a band as a sideman, or do you want to join a band in which you are part owner? Be sure their expectations are the same as yours.
  • Have you ever been on the road? For how long? Some musicians think being on the road will be a blast until they see how much hard work it is. Others miss their families or significant others too much and begin to resent the situation. Be sure hat your band can handle your touring demands.
  • How often are you willing to rehearse? Do you need to get paid to rehearse or do you consider it part of the job? What you want to know is their work ethic, and whether or not it is equal to yours.
  • Do you have references? It is vital that you can talk to former band members to learn about any challenges that you might have to deal with.
  • Do you have any other commitments that might prevent you from fulfilling your commitment to this band? Some musicians might have separate gigs already on their books, have a vacation planned or have a day job that might conflict with your own gigs or plans.
  • What are your strengths? What are your limitations? Be sure that the person has a realistic perception of himself or herself. You also want to know up front if there is a gap that you will need to have someone else fill, such as back-up vocals or heavy lifting.
  • Besides your talent, what else can you bring to the table (computer skills, graphic design, marketing skills, contacts etc.)? Obviously, it helps when you can keep some work in-house.
  • How much money do you need to make? How long are you willing to work with the band to work up that salary range, or so you need that much money immediately? Be sure that their expectations are in line with what you can realistically pay them.
  • Are you counting on working with this band exclusively, or will you be picking up gigs whenever and wherever you can find them? Again, their intentions need to coincide with your needs.
  • How long do you plan on taying with the band? Is this a temporary engagement for you, or are you looking for a long-term position? Be sure that their plans and your needs are a match.
  • Have you ever been a band leader? Whether you need a band leader or not, this is important to know. Ssome people who are used to being the leader are not comfortable tking orders from others.
  • Do you need to ask anyone else for their support or pemission before you take this gig, or before you go on the road? You want to know if they have family or an employer who might prevent them from fulfilling their role.
  • Are you willing to invest time and/or money into the band to take it to the next level? This is important if you or other members of the band are investing in the group. You never want an imbalance in this area without a clear understanding of the relationship.
  • Do you have all of the equipment you need, and is it in good working order? Obviously you don’t want a band member whose amplifier keeps quitting in the middle of your shows.
  • Do you have other gear or equiment that could be of value to the band (recording studio, PA, van etc.)?
  • Do you write songs? If so, are you counting on the band performing or recording them? Be sure you manage any and all expectatons so there is no misunderstanding about this.
  • Do you sing lead vocals? If so, is it your goal to be the lead singer, or to share in the lead vocals? Once again, this needs to match your vision or current lineup.
  • Do you have a challenge with drugs, drinking or other bad habits? Know what you level of toleration is (one drink per night, no drugs etc.) Be aware that they might nor answer honestly, so check their references before bringing them into the band.

If you pick the right members from the start, you can avoid dealing with a lot of misunderstandings, ego challenges and bad habits that can jeopardize not only the band, but your reputation.

How to deal with criticism as an artist

Criticism – let that word sit there a moment.

Dealing with criticism is just part of putting ourselves out there, right?!  I have received inquiries in the past from my readers about how to deal with negativity and criticism.  This article will give you some tips that I hope you will find helpful. Today I want to take some time to explore how we can stop letting this type of criticism get us down.

I know better than anyone, that it’s the negative stuff that stays with you, even if 98% of your messages are just lovely. It doesn’t matter what you do, there will always be someone who finds a fault, especially when you are in a subjective field, like making art.

By the very act of creating, and sharing those creations with the world, you are opening the door to other people’s opinions. It’s part of the deal, so let’s learn to deal with it in the most graceful way possible:

Reflect on the critique.

Take some time to read what they’ve actually said. And ask yourself two questions:

  1. Is this person someone who knows what they’re talking about, or is he/she an internet troll?
  2. Is there any merit to what they’re saying?

There are times when criticism is valid, and may just have been expressed in a less than ideal way. For example, if someone left a comment complaining that the photos you share of your artwork are too dark, you could look at ways to improve your lighting. If they moan that your nose is too big, or your voice annoys them, delete and ignore.

There are also times when other artists or teachers may offer constructive feedback about your art. It can feel like a personal attack, because as artists our work feels like an extension of ourselves, but it’s important to know the difference.

Make choices that are right for you.

Like I said before, no matter what you do, and what direction you take your creativity, there will be people who have something negative to say. You can’t control that. The only thing you can control, is you and how you handle it.

You’re not going to please everyone anyway, so remain true to yourself.

Understand your spotlight.

Having an online presence will always attract attention (of all kinds). There is no magic bullet for cutting all criticism from the web, but you can put certain measures in place to limit the impact:

  • If you run an online community, draft strict guidelines about what is and what is not acceptable, and follow through with removing anyone who gets nasty.
  • Close comments on your blog posts or simply moderate them to control spam and unwarranted ugliness.
  • Kill with kindness. If someone has something unkind to say about one of your posts, don’t engage in the negative, simply say “Thank you for your feedback – I hope you enjoy the next one more.”

Appreciate the outpourings of support.

I can guarantee that no matter the size of your creative network, you will receive more positive messages and comments than negative ones. Unfortunately, we all tend to dwell on the ones that make us feel bad.

I would suggest collecting those nice things people say in a notebook or take a screen shot and save in a folder on your computer, and reading back through them every time you have to deal with something mean.

Here’s another thing to remember – those people that really cut you with words are not thinking about how they’ve hurt you. They will already have moved on to the next thing. The people who support you, are the ones that will be thinking of you – so give them your focus too.

Journal it out.

Our journals aren’t there just to look pretty on a shelf, they can really help us work through this stuff. Whether you’re a “regular” journaler or an art journaler, you can use those pages to process your feelings, and move on to a more positive headspace.

Writing it all down can be a very cathartic experience, and I really recommend it.

How to set goals in the music industry

While it’s easy to say, “I want to get a lot more fans” you have to ask yourself, how is saying this actually going to help you achieve your goal? It’s a non-specific “want,” rather then a well thought out business plan.

Studies have shown you’re more likely to achieve your goal if you have a clear visual understanding of what you want to achieve in life. This is where S.M.A.R.T. aim and objectives come into place.

S.M.A.R.T. is a tool we can use to better map out what we want to achieve. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed. That means all of the aims we have for our music career should be specific, we should be able to measure them, they should be achievable, they should be realistic, and we should know how long it’ll take us to achieve this aim. These aims should be written down, so we have a goal to look at and refer back to when we feel a bit lost as to what we’re doing.

You can run a few S.M.A.R.T. aims alongside each other, and they can vary in size in terms of how big they are. One may refer to how you’re going to hit the 100 gig mark (which is more long term), and another may be how you’re going to set up all the necessary social media profiles you need to promote your music (which is more short term).

Make sense? Hopefully it does, but if not, here’s an example.

Let’s take the above aim of:

I want to get a lot more fans.”

This is a very vague aim to have, as it doesn’t give us any idea of how we’re going to achieve this goal of ours. By applying the S.M.A.R.T. formula to it, we can edit it to be an aim we can refer back to and get a better idea of how we’re currently doing. This will make it easier to achieve it.

So first off, let’s make our goal Specific. We want to specifically state what we need to do to achieve this goal. There’s no point saying we want more fans if we don’t know how we’re going to go about getting those extra fans, is there? It won’t make it any clearer how we’re going to achieve that goal; it’s sort of like saying, ”I want to be rich.” The majority of people who say that have no further ideas in their plans to get rich, and therefore never take any real steps to achieving that goal.

OK, so how Specifically are we going to go about getting more fans? Let’s say you have the means to create home made videos of you performing cover songs, and have a YouTube channel via which you can showcase your material to the world. By uploading your videos and encouraging people to like your Facebook page if they enjoy your song, you will get a percentage of people taking you up on this offer. Tell them they will find out about your new videos there first, and that they will also get exclusive bonus videos not shown publicly on YouTube. This will encourage a larger percentage of your video viewers to Like your Facebook page.

You could also get those new Facebook fans via gigging or other means, but for this example we’ll stick to the cover songs strategy. So we can change our aim so it looks like this:

I want to get a lot more Facebook fans by doing cover versions on YouTube.”

Now every time we look at this aim, we know what we should be doing to achieve it. If you want to get more fans by doing other things, you can make other aims to go alongside this one.

Next, we need to make this aim Measurable. After all, how will we know if we’ve achieved our aim if we haven’t got a clear goal to aim for? What does “a lot more” really mean? Is that 20 new followers? 100? Or 1000?

In this example we’re using Facebook followers as our measuring point, although you can aim to get more mailing list subscribers, more gigs, make more money, etc. Sticking to the Facebook example though, I will change the aim to:

I want to increase my Facebook subscriber count by 100 followers by doing cover versions on YouTube.”

Now this is something we can actually measure, and can look at to see how close we are to achieving our aim. We don’t want to stop there, though, as there’s more we can apply to make our aim even more useful to us.

Next, we want to make sure our aim is Achievable. Well, is it? In this case, it is. Gaining 100 Facebook subscribers is something most people can do if they offer something of value or interest. It will take some people longer then others, but it is something you can achieve. It is also Realistic, which covers the next section in our S.M.A.R.T. formula as well.

If you was to say you want to increase your Facebook subscriber numbers by 10,000, though, while it may be humanly achievable, it’s not really a Realistic aim for the average independent musician. Therefore, this number would have to be cut back to one that’s a lot more realistic.

Don’t try to cheat with the numbers; they’re only there to help you take manageable steps to advancing you music career. You don’t want to aim for the end goal straight away; this will lead to you not hitting your targets soon enough and only leave a feeling of disappointment and failure. This often leads to people quitting music and believing it doesn’t work, so initially aim for something that is Realistic and Achievable.

We don’t have to change our above version of the aim in this case (“I want to increase my Facebook subscriber count by 100 followers by doing cover versions on YouTube”), as it is both Achievable and Realistic. That said, if you’ve made an aim and it isn’t achievable or realistic, change it accordingly so it is.

The last stage is to make sure it’s Timed. By this, I mean it’s something that we can time, and has an end date.

There’s no point having an aim that will go on forever; if you don’t achieve that aim, you need to know when it’s time to say it’s not working and modify it to something more realistic. This is why we will give it a time limit.

For this example, I think 4 months is a reasonable amount of time to get 100 new Facebook fans. You may want to aim to do it quicker if you already have a starting fan base that you can transfer over to Facebook, but for this example let’s stick to 4 months. So, let’s edit our aim to reflect this:

I want to increase my Facebook subscriber count by 100 followers by doing cover versions on YouTube. I will do this within the next 4 month by [insert date].”

And that’s it, our S.M.A.R.T. aim is complete! Instead of just saying you want to achieve something, you now know how you’re going to go about achieving it, when you should have it done by, you can measure how far along you are with your aim, and you know that it’s an aim you can realistically achieve.

You should carry out this process with all the aims you have for your music career, whether in terms of how you’re going to get more gigs, how you’re going to reach a certain pay rate, or how you’re going to finish an album you’re making. Apply this to all the things you want to achieve, and you will have a much clearer view of what you need to do to succeed.

Important Note:

When you set your music career aims, do them in manageable steps. Don’t say you want to earn a million dollars and be rich; take things in baby steps and achieve one goal at a time. So initially aim to break even, and create a S.M.A.R.T. aim for how you’re going to achieve that. Once you’re at a break even level, next aim to make, say, $100 a month from your music career, and do a S.M.A.R.T. aim for how you will complete this aim. As you achieve it, keep building things up and work toward new aims in manageable and realistic steps.

What Happens If You Don’t Meet Your S.M.A.R.T. Goals (and What Happens If You Do)?

So, you’ve mapped out your S.M.A.R.T. goals, and you’ve been following the plan to achieve your written down goal. But at some stage of following this plan, it becomes apparent that you aren’t going to hit your target. What should you do?

Well the thing about these goals, is you can make them flexible. You will of course want to try and make your goal as realistic as possible when you’re drawing up your plans, but sometimes it’s easy to underestimate how difficult something really is.

If this happens, you should go back to your original aim, and edit it as needed. By now, you should be more clued up as to what a more realistic aim is to have in terms of this part of your music career. Let’s say for example 100 new Facebook follows was too much to aim for. Why not reduce that number to 50 if you feel that’s a goal you really can reach?

On the other hand if you hit 100 fans well before you time limit is up, why not set a new aim for more Facebook fans in a new time range? Only if you feel it’ll benefit your music career of course, you may instead decide to increase interaction with your current followers before you actively try and get any more.

At the end of each S.M.A.R.T. aim, there are a couple of things you should do. Firstly, you should analyze how things went. What worked and what didn’t? Is this something you can scale up to get even better results? Is it worth aiming for this goal again?

Once you decide this, you should make a new aim to keep you busy in your newly free time. Alternatively, you can use that time to work more on another aim you have going on.

After a while, you will start to see what the best place to put your efforts is. You will find that by doing some things, you will be gaining more fans (or making more money) quicker than when you do other things. It’s in these areas that you should start to put more time, as they will give you more rewards for your time. Work smart, AND hard.

What skills are the most useful in the music industry

When people study music, they learn much more than simply how to sing or play an instrument. Most of us can’t become professional musicians as adults, but the time spent on music adds up to much more than “just a hobby.” Musicians gain a number of soft skills that are helpful in any type of career. As opposed to hard skills, which consist of specific knowledge and skills needed for a given job, skills are equally important abilities that allow you to interact well with others and complete work successfully, and they’re in high demand.Having soft skills makes you more competitive in the job market and increases your chances of success in any position — even if you’re self-employed! Whether you end up in a music-related career or not, you will be more prepared to tackle future employment challenges by having these 8 skills learned through music.

1. Self-Discipline and Responsibility

Self-discipline is a crucial skill in any profession. Employers and clients naturally appreciate punctuality, and time management skills are necessary to plan one’s schedule and complete work on time. Musicians must learn how to meet the goals of a lesson on schedule and make adequate time to practice. It also requires organization and personal responsibility, because getting to a concert on time doesn’t mean much if you haven’t practiced adequately or forgot to bring your instrument, sheet music, or other necessary items. 

2. Adaptability

The ability to accept change and go with the flow is a very attractive quality in an employee. Musicians learn how to play with new groups of people, how to play a different style of music, and how to adjust to meet the requirements of a conductor. Whether it’s adapting to work with a different team, shifting to a new procedure, or learning how to use new software, employees who can make a smooth transition will be much more successful than those who flounder when changes occur. 

3. Perseverance

Every job will present its own frustrations and obstacles, but those who have practical experience with perseverance will be ready for the challenge. Even for a person with natural talent, learning how to sing or play an instrument well requires a great deal of practice and repetition. You also gain valuable experience in how to face a new challenge every time you start learning a new piece of music. When a piece is difficult, you cannot give up. You play the hard parts repeatedly, going slowly at first, until you can hit every note right at the desired tempo. It’s also beneficial to learn to recognize when you need help with something, and how to ask for that help. 

4. Memory and Concentration

Musicians must often memorize pieces of music they plan to perform in concert, and memorization is a great mental exercise as it requires repetition and concentration. Attention to detail is an important aspect of learning a piece of music as well, since you must learn which notes to play, how long, how loudly, and so on. Concentration skills are also necessary, especially when playing with other musicians or in front of an audience. You must be able to focus on your own part in the middle of an orchestra or choir, while still paying attention to the conductor and the performance of the group as a whole. This skill comes in handy throughout your life, anytime you need to absorb important information or work in a place where other people are also working or talking.

5. Communication

Good communication skills are extremely valuable, and can mean the difference between success and failure. Musicians learn how to use verbal and nonverbal cues to communicate with one another while rehearsing and performing. They learn how to gauge audience reactions as well. If a team of world-class experts are unable to communicate well with each other while working together, their project will run into trouble regardless of how good each individual may be at their own part.

6. Teamwork

The ability to collaborate well with your team and other colleagues is a critical skill in the business world. People have different personalities and working styles, but they all must work together. Musical ensembles of any size must function as a team, overcoming personal differences to produce good work. Cultivating a sense of responsibility towards your team helps you feel more determined to overcome differences and carry your own part for the team as a whole.

7. Openness to Feedback

Music students learn how to deal with criticism. Constructive criticism from an instructor is a vital part of the learning process, and a music student needs someone with experience to help identify areas that need work and offer strategies for improvement. It’s no different in the workplace. Employees will receive feedback from their supervisors and others, and they must learn how to accept criticism gracefully and adapt their work accordingly. Musicians may also experience criticism that is less constructive, and the same may be true in the workplace. This is unfortunate, but having experience dealing with that as a music student can help mentally prepare you for it on the job.

8. Confidence

You may have many other skills, but without confidence, it’s difficult to apply them to the best of your ability. The pride and sense of accomplishment that come from learning how to play an instrument, mastering a piece of music, and performing it successfully build a music student’s confidence. It also teaches them how it feels to achieve something through steady work.Overcoming any trepidation about performing in front of others is another boon in the professional world, whether you’re feeling nervous about a job interview or meeting, or have “stage fright” about giving a presentation in front of a group of people. Gaining experience with this as a young person can help produce a confident and capable adult.

8 Questions Every Artist Ask Themselves

  • What am I Literally Making?

Your thoughts and motivations for creating a work of art can be complicated, but when you focus on the concrete details of its execution, you take one step closer to your goal. If you want to release music, planning out the dimensions, studio, band members, music, rehearsals, distribution, promotion etc is the way to go.

  • Has This Been Done Before?

It’s okay if the answer to this initial question is, “Yes, this has been done before.” From there, the question can become…

  • How Will I Do This in a Way That Hasn’t Been Done Yet?

If the concept or theme has been done before, fine, whatever. But as long as the realized project is art that no one else in the world but me could’ve made, I’ll consider it a success.

  • Will I Actually Enjoy Doing This?

Potential clients will look to work you’ve done in the past to see if you’re the right fit for the job. If you’ve invested your hard work into projects you loved, you’re more likely to get commissioned for similar projects.

  • What Do I Want to Say?

Once you’ve decided to go forward with a project, contemplate what you want it to convey. Your “statement” can be simple or complex, and it can change over time. Your work should always have some kind of purpose, or it should evoke emotions in another human being. This question is probably the most difficult, so try not to put too much pressure on answering it all at once. I think that this takes years, even decades, to master.

  • Why Does This Matter to Me?

This question goes hand-in-hand with the last one, but it’s slightly different. If you’ve already determined your message or statement, it’s time to dig deeper and think about why it’s also meaningful to you personally.

  • Am I Challenging Myself?

Creative revelations are often the result of pushing yourself to try something different. These challenges can be big or small. 

  • Am I Overthinking This?

Asking yourself questions is an invaluable part of the artistic process, but so is knowing when to let them go. You don’t have to have all the answers and that’s okay.

How Does Data Influence the Pop Song–Writing Process?

Answer by David Plantz, creative director, media consultant, music writer/producer:

Data is certainly popular enough to sustain businesses like Hit Songs Deconstructed, which writers, producers, record label, and radio executives subscribe to. Just like in other parts of the entertainment industry, following music trends is important to economic success, not only for executives but also for artists.

Let me clarify what I mean by music trends. It is more than the genre discussions most of us find ourselves in from time to time: Is dubstep still relevant? Did hip-hop jump the shark? Is disco back? Is country too pop these days? Will their ever be a next Nirvana?

Song writers and producers want to know even more: What’s the average song length? Intro length? Structure? Start with chorus? Is there prechorus? Most common instrument? Most common secondary genre? Are male vocals or female vocals doing better? How long are echos and reverbs? What frequency range is most emphasized? Digital drums or analog? Acoustic versus electric guitar? Noticeable effects? Average BPM? Swing in the tempo? Most popular key? Major or minor? Popular lyrical directions? Snare hits on beat two or beat three? Which songwriters are crafting most hits? What genre is out of top 20? What genre is rising in past six months? And there’s so much more …

I’ve had access to this data before and wrote a pop song or two based off it. Quite honestly, the songs I write with data objectives haven’t been as good as the ones I write for fun. One would think all this data would make it easy. It’s not. You have to be able to balance trends while still committing to something. It’s more important to know when to use the data and when to ignore it. And of course, the song still has to be good, attention-getting, familiar yet distinctive, and memorable. On top of that, it has appeal to the artist on his or her own merits and fit  his or her image and audience.

If there’s anything people should know about pop song–writing is that these days the biggest hits are collaborative team efforts. The days of Brian Wilson crafting a top 10 hit are rare, at least for now. You’ll have one person craft the beat, another craft the chorus and foundation, and another craft the verses. Then the lead producer will work with the team to bring it all together into something that meets the artist’s and the label’s visions. (This is when things like guitar solos are nixed for length, tempos are adjusted, secondary genres are determined or change, etc.) The mixing engineer and the mastering engineers bring their expertise as to how to make something sound more modern or more retro based on the technical trends (frequency analysis, song dynamics, depth, etc).

So yes, data can and does play a big role. But there’s still an art to pop. Otherwise, we could just have machines craft the hits. Maybe down the road, though. Did you use data for making your songs?

When can you say a musician is successful?

According to Will: “Success is what you celebrate when you have decided your ready to give up hard work. If you want to be successful then first find out what success is to you. For some its a dinner with friends and family. For musicians.. Well who knows. Each to their own. For me, It’s seeing the influence in the world that music has created and feeling that my contribution of music has been a positive factor in that influence.

I’m not ready to give up the hard work yet so I don’t feel successful. It’s not about money or having a home or a family. It’s not about being loved or loving through your music, or about creating thought provoking art work or spreading a powerful message of hope through music. It’s not about how many album’s you have made, or how many T-Shirts exist with your band name on. It’s not about a long lasting influence on social cultures, such as the likes of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, have had.

It’s about you. How music makes you feel. When you feel that you may have achieved something that can make you smile if your ever reminded of it. All those moments you have ever had. Add them all together on the day you decided to stop working hard towards your goals. Look at your goals. Did they grow as you grew? Have you been loyal to them. When the answer is yes. Thats when.

According to Leonore: “For most musicians, I’d say that you are a success if you can make a decent living out of playing music. I am assuming you are referring to performers. I agree with others that the most famous and successful musicians are often not the best, and the amount of albums and tours might rely heavily on marketing, management and public image. To me, when a musician is well-respected amongst fellow musicians, and his/her skills are in demand, that is a sure sign that you’ve made it as a musician. For orchestra players, it might mean getting a permanent position in a good orchestra (and becoming the principle player of their section would be the top position), for smaller ensembles, soloists, jazz and other bands, it might mean being invited to perform at sought-after events, or being asked to perform with a famous musician or group of musicians. If your music touches the heart and inspires other musicians, I’d say you’ve really made it. Unfortunately, I think the view of most people would be that success in music is measured by how famous, sometimes how prolific, and how rich a musician is.”

According to Paul Griffith: “The ability to express one’s inner soul and communicate on a completely different level through the power of music is unparalleled in any other form of human communication and having the ability and determination to achieve this is immensely rewarding.”

According to Francesco Tristiono: “To be in line with what you do artistically. (Whether this works out commercially speaking is another question).”

According to Reiko Fujisawa: “Of course we all need endurance and dedication to succeed. But sometimes, success can be measured on a more everyday level – like dealing with a less than perfect piano, or resisting the urge to run away just before the start of the concert!”

What is it about music that makes you feel passionate?

Annie: “Music can change the world, I can change the world…

Passion is a strong word that can take on different forms. Whether the form is love or hate or joy or sorrow, it is a driving force inside the human soul that brings about everything, from art to war. It is a result of great passion. However, passion does not always have to be a huge war to change to world. It has been said, “If you change yourself, you change the world.” The passion inside drives these changes, and my goal is to change the world with my passion: music.

People allow their emotions to be affected by the music they listen to and this vulnerability places a great deal of responsibility on the musicians. Songs can alter people’s perspectives on different subjects. There have been stories of people on the verge of emotional and mental collapse who claim that a song literally saved their life. One night after one of my shows, a girl around 16 years old came up to me. She expressed that my song, “Crash”, had given her hope. The line, “to crash is the only release,” spoke to her and told her that sometimes it is necessary to hit rock bottom to be able to rise again. Music is powerful. Musicians have been given the gift of this responsibility. Songs can change the world. I can change the world.

Music is my passion. I cannot escape it. It is a part of who I am. It has strengthened my understanding of people and their emotions. I have come to realize that music is my calling in life and it must be nurtured correctly to be able to grow and change the world.

Melodies draw people in; the lyrics keep them listening. It is my responsibility to use my gift to change the world one audience at a time. Whatever the feeling, I will use my music to guide, relax, entertain, evoke emotion, give peace, cause reflection, give hope bring a smile, and perhaps, lift a burden.”

What made you want to become a musician?

Yvette’s story:

“I don’t want to be a musician, I am a musician!

I have always been a musician because in my eyes, if you desire to do music and nothing but music then you will always be a musician.

I first knew when I was 5 and I wanted to learn music but my parents couldn’t afford any expensive instruments so they got me a keyboard. It was okay but after a few weeks of lessons my piano teacher (bless his heart) said I was too advanced fro just a keyboard and suggested my skills would be much better utilised on a piano.

My parents finally said they would get me a piano (after trying to persuade me to play something cheaper) and the rest was history! My piano teacher Mr. Parr was probably the best teacher I had. He gave me things that were more challenging than they should have been for someone with about a year’s worth of experience.

I remember hearing Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor somewhere once and I wanted to play it badly. So I went in and memorised the toccata from ear – needless to say he was quite astonished and he got me the score which I learnt. From here on then I had a big interest in classical music and I composed my first works sometime around the age of 6 or 7 which were based around Bach’s style.

It was at this time too which I played Toccata and Fugue and my compositions on a church organ in Fingrinhoe at the local festival – he played some of Bach’s works for me too.

I was also a very good improviser too and this meant that he gave me private sessions where we would ‘jam’ and improvise and he taught me all kinds of theory knowledge such as modes and extended harmony.

Unfortunately he moved away so in high school I stopped piano lessons and carried on, on my own. However, I still retained the knowledge he gave me and in music class they were quite impressed with my composing skills. I had some other really skilled musicians in my class whom I studied with for 5 years through the last two years of high-school and then in college and in my year out too.

I then started to go serious on the earning money side of things. I started getting around with my old music friends and helping them out in production and setting up and I even recorded bits for songs.

Later I enrolled in university and now I’m starting my career as a solo musician :-)”

How do you keep your creativity?

I have asked some musicians: How do you keep your creativity?

Here are their answers:

Sebastian Fernandez: “Eliminate all potential barriers to entry into the flow by having an optimal setup that is ready to go. Listen to other people’s work (but pay attention to the details). Embrace it when it comes but learn to also let it go when it’s not there (go for a walk, take a break). Enjoy the creative process, it’s not about the outcome. Take your time. Use Youtube to learn and develop your craft. Be comfortable being out of a comfort zone (always try to learn new things while mastering the things you know).

Rosa: “I use TikTok… There’s a lot of creative people on there who share ideas and challenge/motivate each other. Also mini tutorials, vocal excercises etc. I followed a couple that I liked and now the algorithm keeps feeding me more, so whenever I’m mindlessly scrolling I always see lots of things that inspire!”

Promote your music online 2021

With so many ways to promote your music online — and only so many hours in the day — how do you decide which platforms are worth your time and energy?

If you try to promote your music through every channel available to you, all at the same time, you’re going to spread yourself too thin and eventually burn out. On top of that, you’ll end up frustrated that all of your hard work hasn’t actually amounted to much.

So rather than attempt the impossible, focus your efforts on a handful of platforms where your existing and potential fans are most likely to spend their time online. (And, you know, the platforms that you actually enjoy using — or at least don’t despise.)

Here are 15 of the best ways to promote your music online.

1. Website

This should be priority number one (and we’re not just saying that to toot our own horn). An official website gives your fans a place where they know they can always find you, no matter which social networks come and go.

2. Email List

Unlike social media platforms where algorithms determine who sees your content, your emails are guaranteed to land in your subscribers’ inboxes. A regular monthly newsletter is a great way to keep them informed about all things going on with you and your band.

3. Blog

If you love writing, consider starting a blog to build a deeper relationship with your fans. Your posts could include insight into your creative process, roundups of new music you’ve been loving, or personal stories about your life as a musician.

4. Electronic Press Kit

An electronic press kit, or EPK, is essentially a résumé for your band. It should include your up-to-date bio, music, photos, videos, tour dates, press coverage, links, and contact information. It’s always a good idea to have your EPK on hand when you release new music, book shows, or connect with music industry folks.

5. Facebook

Facebook has long been considered essential for promoting music online, but it’s become increasingly difficult to reach fans organically over the last few years.

If there’s an audience you want to reach on Facebook and you have some budget to work with, you’ll need to get comfortable with Ads Manager. It’s a powerful tool for creating, managing, and measuring Facebook ad campaigns, but it definitely has a learning curve. As long as you dedicate some time to testing and optimizing, Facebook ads can be one of the most affordable ways to promote your music online.

6. Twitter

Twitter reigns supreme for real-time updates and quick interactions. It’s a great channel for sharing thoughts on relevant trending topics, hosting Q&A sessions with fans, posting setlists, and much more. You can also use the search function to find people who are talking about your music (or similar artists), and strike up conversations with them.

7. Instagram

With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram has exploded in popularity. Between your grid, Stories, IGTV, Instagram Live, and the newly announced Reels (Instagram’s take on TikTok-style videos), it’s the best place to build your visual brand as a musician.

If you have a little money to put towards growing your presence, you can promote Instagram posts through Facebook Ads Manager in the same way that you’d promote a Facebook post.

8. Snapchat

Snapchat is a fun way to connect with fans, especially if your target audience skews younger. It tends to feel more casual, in-the-moment, and personal than other social media apps, which can lead to some unique marketing opportunities that don’t necessarily feel like “marketing.”

9. Streaming Services

Most fans use streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora to listen to their favorite artists and discover new music, so you’ll want to make sure your releases are available on all of them.

Getting even one of your songs featured on a playlist can work wonders for your music career. There are millions of playlists out there for every subgenre, mood, and activity imaginable — which translates into a golden opportunity to reach the right audience at the right time.

10. YouTube

YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google and an enormous driver of music discovery. Besides sharing your videos on other platforms, you can help people find you by making sure that every upload has a clear and catchy title, a detailed description with keywords, and relevant tags. You’ll also want to organize similar types of videos into playlists to build watch time.

11. SoundCloud

SoundCloud is one of the most artist-friendly platforms out there, especially for independent musicians and niche genres. It boasts a massive community of diverse music lovers, and it’s super easy to share or embed your tracks on just about any website. You can even use it to upload demos and gather feedback before investing in professional production.

12. Bandsintown

Bandsintown is the largest concert discovery platform, used by over 500,000 artists and 50 million fans. Whether you’re heading out on tour, live streaming from home, or anything in between, you’ll be able to sync all of your upcoming events across your website and social media channels.

13. Music Blogs

Even small blog features will have a positive impact on your SEO and exposure, so seek out opportunities for album reviews, concert reviews, interviews, and guest posts.

Research music blogs that feature artists similar to you in terms of both genre and prominence, and make sure you take the time to craft a personalized pitch email that will catch the blogger’s attention.

14. TikTok

TikTok has quickly become one of the best ways to promote music online, with over 800 million monthly active users. The app is especially popular among Gen Z, but older demographics have wasted no time hopping on the bandwagon. The fine-tuned algorithm and addictive format give you a better chance of organically reaching a new audience in comparison to other social media platforms.

15. Audiomack

Audiomack is a music sharing and discovery website that lets you host all of your tracks for free, with no storage limits. You can submit your uploaded songs for a potential feature on the “trending” page, where millions of fans go to discover new artists. You’ll also have free access to content sharing tools and a dashboard loaded with detailed stats and engagement data.

Share the music platforms where you promote your music below in the comments.

How to engage fans on social media for artists and musicians

Learn how to boost fan engagement, promote your brand, and increase followers. 

The rise of social media has proven to be a valuable asset for musicians. A strong social media presence is essential for promoting your music, engaging with fans, and expanding your fan base. Moreover, having an effective social media strategy connects you with music industry peers and presents new opportunities.

Social media marketing for musicians can seem like a daunting task. However, this social media tips guide will help you develop an effective strategy. The following ten proven tips show you how to boost fan engagement, increase followers, and promote your brand on social media.


Who are your fans? What are their interests? Knowing your audience and what type of content they respond to better is crucial. For example, one demographic of fans may like videos, while another likes your photos. It’s also helpful to know where your fans are spending their time online, and when they’re online. This information will help you determine the best times to post.

Most social media networks offer analytic tools that help you know your followers and track engaging content. You can also see your fans location, age, gender, and interests. Understanding this data will help you develop an effective social media strategy for your music.

There are also analytic tools like Google Analytics. They can help you keep track of likes, shares, comments, trends, and other information.


Keeping your social media profile active is important. Post with regular consistency to stay relevant to your fans. This task is vital for musicians who don’t release music or play shows often. It’s critical to create content for your audience even when you’re busy in the studio or between releases. However, don’t get carried away. Fans will unfollow you or stop engaging with your posts if you saturate their feed.

Also, develop a rhythm with your posts, so people know what to expect. For example, post a mashup song every Friday at noon.


Scheduling your posts in advance can be a valuable way to engage with your fans without staying online all day. It’s also a smart strategy to publish when the most active users are online. Determining what days to post and at what time of day is important.

You can find this data by looking at your social media analytics.


Visual content tends to generate more engagement than plain text posts. Sharing photos and videos is a great way to tell stories quick and easy. They also capture people’s attention much faster than text. Below are some visual content ideas:

  • Photos of your music gear, home studio, DJ equipment, fans, etc.
  • A photographic announcing upcoming tour dates, a new single or album, etc.
  • Photos or video of shows you played at or attended.
  • Photos or video of you making music in unique places.
  • A short video explaining the meaning behind a song.
  • Live stream yourself at an event, working in the studio, replying to comments, offering tips, hosting a Q&A, and anything else fitting.
  • Photos or video of favorite moments from your personal life.
  • Photos of inspirational quotes.
  • Animated GIF images and memes.
  • Music videos and interviews.


The type of content you share is critical. It’s essential you post a variety of content fans can connect with, share, like, and comment on to keep them engaged. Balancing both visual and text content is important. Below are some text content ideas:

  • Update fans about a new song, upcoming album, and tour dates.
  • Inspirational and motivational posts.
  • Educational posts that offer tips and techniques.
  • Interactive posts that encourage engagement. The most effective posts include polls, questions, fill-in-the-blank, contests, giveaways, and “caption this” photos.
  • Ask your fans for feedback or their opinion about something. For example, track feedback on a single, songs they might want to hear in your next set, which merch design they like better, etc.
  • Add a “Call to Action” to prompt an immediate response. For example, “Like if you agree.”
  • Categorize or theme posts with hashtags. For example, #MusicMonday, #ThrowbackThursday, #QuickTip, etc.
  • Tell a story. For example, share what’s on your mind, a personal experience, etc.
  • Make various lists. For example, your favorite plugins, songs you’re currently into, favorite music production gear, etc.
  • Write posts that explain the meaning behind your music, brand, or style. Also, share a positive press quote about your music.


People are likely to find your social media profiles first when searching your artist name. That’s why having a clean, optimized profile for each platform is a top priority. Below are some social media tips for optimizing your artist profiles:

  • Make sure all your artist information is accurate and up-to-date. This includes tour dates, latest releases, bio, links, press coverage, etc.
  • Include a current bio or a link to your bio. 
  • Create visually stunning profile images and covers. Also, make sure all images are the correct size.
  • Add links or a “Call to Action” to images and covers. For example, links to buy your music, your website, press coverage, etc.
  • Advertise with cover images. For example, create covers that display tour dates, upcoming release details, new merch, etc.
  • Make use of Facebook cover videos. You can upload a video as your cover. For example, create a looping video or animation that advertises your next release or tour dates.
  • Change your profile and cover images regularly to get some engagement from your followers.
  • Pin your most engaging post to the top of your page. Or, pin the post that best represents you as an artist for all new fans and music industry peers to see first.
  • Increase engagement on your posts with Tags. Tag all the people in your photos or videos and any companies or venues etc. Tagging also increases the reach of your posts by appearing on the feeds of those you have tagged.
  • Ensure all your social media platforms have the same theme. Also, post the same images across your social media platforms. Keeping the theme consistent gives the impression of a complete package. Moreover, artists that have different profile pictures for each platform is confusing. For example, fans may not immediately recognize you if all your profile photos are different.


Developing a personal connection with your fans will help solidify the artist-fan relationship. How you communicate to your fans makes a huge difference. It’s also essential that you show fans your real personality. When you start to show your true self, you’ll begin to see a big difference in the way your fans interact with you.

Take your voice beyond the music with these social media tips:

  • Write like you speak so that your content has a genuine personal tone. And don’t forget to give your posts a once-over for basic grammar and readability.
  • Personalize your message and don’t front a persona that doesn’t reflect who you really are.
  • Embrace your passion and don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Many fear rejection over sharing polarizing content. Letting little quirks in your personality show is ok.
  • Don’t be afraid to open up on social media. Let others into your world and share the good times as well as the struggles. Show your fans who you are, what your about, and where you’re going. Remember, your brand represents you, so don’t hesitate to hide that.


This tip is a no-brainer. However, it can go overlooked. It’s vital that you connect with your fans and show them you care. Don’t just use social media to promote your music and tour schedule. Use these platforms to interact with your fans. For example:

  • Don’t forget to reply to comments, messages, Twitter replies, mentions, etc. Your fans will appreciate that you are open for discussion and engaged in a personal connection.
  • Interact with fans by asking questions, getting involved in discussions happening in the comments, and anywhere else to keep the conversation going. Moreover, take the time to write a good response. For example, if someone says your music inspired them, say more than “thanks!” Interacting with your fans shows that you’re listening to them.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask followers to share or retweet your posts. Also, return the favor. Share or retweet photos, music, shout outs, quotes, and anything else relevant to you. Moreover, encourage them to post photos from your shows or remixes of your songs and tag you. You could even make a regular theme like “Fan Feature Friday.”
  • Remember to check your social media accounts frequently. Don’t create posts and then leave them unattended. Developing a fan base requires your full commitment.


pread the love and share or retweet content posted by your fans. One sure way to boost engagement and excite fans is sharing their content with other fans. It’s also a great way to show appreciation to your biggest fans.

Moreover, show respect for other artists, musicians, DJ’s, and other music industry peers. For example, share, retweet, and like content from your fans. Also, comment on other peoples Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, Instagram stories, SoundCloud tracks, etc. This move shows your engaged in the music community and that your brand is not solely self-promoting. It’s also an excellent way to network and gain new followers.


Below are some other proven social media tips that will help you grow your followers, increase engagement, and build relationships with your fans:

  • Send personal invitations: Invite people to shows you’re playing in a private message.
  • Create a Story: Collect the best moments from your show or anything else and do a recap. Post it as a story on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.
  • Create SoundCloud playlists: Include songs from other artists you’re into at the moment. Spread the love!
  • Create a Facebook Group: Build a community and engage with them. Ask questions, get feedback on your upcoming release and other projects, share content, etc.
  • Live stream: Host an AMA (ask me anything), offer feedback on a project created by a fan, demonstrate music production techniques, etc.
  • Caption contest: Capture a funny moment before or during a show and host a caption contest.
  • Photo tagging: Take a photo with your fans. Let them know when/where you will post it and ask them to tag themselves.
  • Create Twitter Lists: Add fans, companies, venues, and other music industry peers. Lists make it easier to interact with important players in the music industry.
  • Write emotional headlines: Studies show emotional headlines increase shares and traffic.
  • Create videos: Consider ideas like how-to, behind-the-scenes, music culture, shout-outs, event recap, promotional, demonstrations, interviews, and even testimonials.
  • Meet your fans: Host a meetup group for fans and create an event page to share. It’s an easy way to make connections, promote your music, and invite people to your show.
  • Live Tweet/Stream other acts: Highlight other acts playing at a show. Also, tag them in all photos and videos. It’s also a great cross-promotional tool if multiple acts use the same hashtag.
  • Say thank you: Post a message of gratitude if your song received a lot of plays or after a show. Also, tag other acts, the venue, the promoter, sponsors, and any fans you met.
  • Promote your social media channels: Use your social media platforms to promote your other channels.
  • Create a podcast: Launch a podcast series and share it on your channels. Talk about your musical inspirations, life on the road, commentary about the music scene, etc.
  • Invite Facebook Likes: Grow your followers by inviting people who “Like” your posts to follow your artist page.

Figure out what suits your fans and then have fun with it.

Overcome negativity as an artist

“Am I really good enough? Or is this just good luck?”

Have you ever found yourself with this nagging anxiety in the back of your mind? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s so common, there’s a name for it. Imposter Syndrome. It’s common in many professions, but especially pervasive in creative careers where success can often come from subjective works. 

How does imposter syndrome manifest itself? Social anxiety. Believing you’re going to fail no matter what. Devaluing your worth. Underestimating your own expertise. And not only does it seriously affect your self-confidence, but this fear can keep you from taking the necessary risks to further your career and personal growth.

Not only does imposter syndrome make it feel like you aren’t good enough for the praise you receive, but it makes you worry that it’s probably clear to the rest of the world, too—as if someone with more know-how is going to come along and strip us of the title “artist” that we’ve foolishly given to ourselves. And not just for those in creative careers—the brightest CEOs, politicians and entrepreneurs have all fallen victim to this mindset.

But for creatives, the pressure can feel even worse.

“The nature of creative work makes everyone more vulnerable to feeling inadequate and even more so if you are not classically trained,” explains author and impostor syndrome expert Dr. Valerie Young.

It’s a difficult spot to be in: you put your heart and soul into every piece and then have to share it with an art world that can be highly critical, using standards that are completely subjective. 

The irony is that the deeper you dive into your art career, the more opportunities there are for imposter syndrome to bubble up inside you. If you let them, these doubts will corrode your self-confidence until there’s nothing left.

That’s why you have to figure out a way to tackle imposter syndrome head-on, before it affects the success and future of your art practice and damages your self-confidence beyond repair. So, where do you even begin?

Recognize your negative thoughts and work to change them

mposter syndrome isn’t based on reality. It’s just your mind running wild with fear, feeding off nothing but negative thoughts and self-doubt. But you know you don’t have to think this way, right? You can live in any world you choose, simply by changing your perspective.

In other words, you are what you think.

But did you know that there’s a way to train your brain to think more clearly? That there are actionable, concrete steps you can take to become a more positive person? 

Of course, it’s not going to be easy. Habits, as you likely know, can be incredibly hard to break. Especially these invisible mental habits of ours. But that makes it all the more important to try!

Start small. First, work on giving up bad habits. Give up comparing yourself to others, making excuses, perfectionism, the need for praise, taking uninformed advice to heart—all the things that chip away at your self-worth and the reason you became an artist in the first place.

Become a risk taker

Fear is a natural human instinct. Fear tells you to stand back from that ledge, run from that snake, or throw out that expired milk. It’s trying to keep you safe.

The problem is when fear keeps you from doing the things you really want to do. Things that would make your art business soar. 

In fact, safety isn’t always the best place to be! 

Because we’re talking about a fear of failure here, not a bear in the woods. We use this fear and doubt in our abilities as an excuse to stay in our own little, comfortable bubble, because it sure beats failing in front of everyone—which imposter syndrome promises us is inevitable. 

But when you really think about it, what is there to be scared of? 

To get past imposter syndrome, you have to become more acquainted with the idea that failure is not the end of the world. 

The worst that can happen is that things don’t work out this time around. You’re not going to die. You’re going to learn, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of in that. Every failure is another bullet point of experience on the resume, a tool in your artist tool belt that you can use to overcome the next obstacle. 

And, there will always be another opportunity. The more risks we take, and the more we practice being risk takers, the less fearful we are of failure. The only way to get ahead in life is to take risks. You really only fail if you never try. 

Keep a personal “brag” box

So often in a society where we are expected to achieve at every turn, we rob ourselves of the joy and meaningfulness of success. We lose our “why”.

As an artist and entrepreneur, you have a responsibility to acknowledge and celebrate your own successes. There’s no manager to give you a pat on the back or an “employee of the month” certificate. 

This leaves the door wide open for imposter syndrome to waltz on in! Without external feedback from others to let you know you are doing a good job and are worthy of your accomplishments, anxiety, and fear can start to make you doubt where you are in your career.

So try this. Next time you make a big sale, get a stellar review,  complete a commission that is well-loved, land a spot in a show, or get an award, take one minute to write it down. Write down what the accomplishment was, how it made you feel, why it was a success and maybe what lead to this success. 

Celebrate every time you accomplish something big or small, and then keep these reminders in a “brag box” of sorts that you can use to pump yourself back up as needed. It can be an online archive, a folder on your computer, or an actual shoebox of print-outs you keep in the studio—something within arm’s reach that reminds you what an awesome artist you are.

These successes are not to be hidden or forgotten. 

If you can’t trust yourself, try trusting others for a while

Whenever you start to doubt yourself, we want you to think hard about this concept…

Do you really believe that all the people who helped you get to where you are today did so because they were merely taking pity on you? That they saw absolutely no redeeming value in you or your artwork—but decided to believe in you and reward you despite their busy schedule, wealth of knowledge, and their own expertise on the line?

he jurors who’ve selected you for shows. The teachers who’ve assigned you an A grade. 

You’re trying to tell us that they all made a mistake?

The people who got you here are competent. 

Yes, a lot of life is luck, but that doesn’t mean in any way that we aren’t talented and deserving. You need both to succeed. 

And use the credibility of the people who got you here as a form of validation.

Treat yourself like your best friend

Imagine this all-too-familiar conversation: A friend or family member confides in you that they are feeling down about themselves, doubting their abilities and self-worth.

What do you say? You jump right in reassuring them that they are one of the kindest, smartest, most hard-working people you know—because, in your eyes, that’s all true! Even if they’ve failed, you know for a fact that they’ll bounce back, and you won’t leave their side until they realize it, too.

So, why is it so easy to have compassion for others, but so hard to love and believe in yourself?

Reach out to your inner circle when you’re feeling unsure, the people who love you, know you, but don’t need to sugarcoat things. Hear what they have to say, and (here’s the key!) have as much faith in yourself as you do your loved ones. See yourself the way your friends and family see you. Listen to them. Believe them and use this to grow your confidence.

Then start treating yourself like you would treat your best friend.

Get more comfortable with openly sharing your work

A low performing post on social media. One bad critique. A show date with low attendance.  These are all fuel for imposter syndrome. It’s cold, hard evidence! How could it be anything but true?

It occurs when we search for information to confirm our pre-existing ideas or beliefs (i.e. that we are imposters).

And that’s not the end of the self-sabotage! Have you ever heard of the negativity bias? It means that as humans, we tend to exaggerate and remember negative critiques much more strongly than positive feedback—no matter how much positive feedback we get. “Your brain is simply built with a greater sensitivity to unpleasant news,” explains Psychology Today, and research has proven it!

If you’re going to get over this syndrome as an artist, you’re going to have to tackle the social anxiety that comes with putting your heart, soul, and creativity on the line. Because there’s no way around it. What you create is highly public—it’s the only way to sell work!

The key once again is to remember why you create.

Ask yourself if you would make the work you make today if no one would ever see it. Would you paint or sculpt or draw that if you couldn’t show it to anyone? 

You’ve probably heard dating advice at some point in your life that you “have to love yourself first.” Apply that to your work, love what YOU are making, and the rest will follow. And if you still doubt yourself? Remember that you are the expert of your art! No one knows your artwork better than you do.

Give yourself permission to be the expert.

Mentor another artist and share your expertise

Whether you teach a workshop, join a Facebook group, or grab coffee with someone just starting out, mentoring fellow creatives will help you quickly realize how much skill and expertise you have gained over the years.

And while it’s a great boost of confidence, it’s also humbling to realize that nobody knows everything all the time. Not even the most successful artists alive. We all had to start somewhere and there’s always more to learn, even when it appears that our own mentors know everything.

Mentoring another artist also takes some of the focus off of ourselves and lets us give back to the community. It gives us perspective and lets us share that creative spark with others. It’s also a reminder that we are all at a different point on the road in our journey, the important part is to keep walking. 

If you want to get past that stubborn, insecure feeling, you must grow comfortable with the idea of constant learning, shedding your ego, and letting go of perfectionism. Trust that you are exactly where you need to be in this moment, and smile knowing how far you’ve already come and the excitement that there will always be somewhere further to go.

Find value in what’s different

It’s easy to walk into the room and start immediately comparing yourself to all the other amazing artists. You don’t have the same artwork or experiences or successes as (fill in name of successful artist here)—but we’re here to tell you that it’s actually a wonderful thing!

Differences are thought-provoking. 

Unique experiences add to the conversation. 

Different viewpoints encourage change for the better. 

And that goes for whether we are talking about an art career or the artwork itself. Because everyone walks a different path, and everyone has a story to tell. There will always be someone who finds wisdom in what you have to share.

And if you inspire just one other person, even if it’s just yourself, wouldn’t it all still be worth it?

Don’t let imposter syndrome diminish your voice.

It is a mindset, not a one-time goal! And positive mindsets have to be fed constantly.

So jump on the opportunities that will build your self-confidence, give up negative self-talk, and be grateful for the people and experiences that got you to where you are today. Because we all deserve happiness and success—yes, even you!

Understanding your unique voice and knowing your purpose as an artist can help you conquer impostor syndrome. 

Feel free to share your comments below or on

How to make your music collaboration a success

The music you make with collaborators takes everyone to the next level. Music collaboration is a brilliant (sometimes difficult) artform in itself. Anyone in a band can tell you all about it…

Collaboration is an extra pair of ears, hands, and an additional brain to work with. It gives you VIP access into someone else’s workflow. It helps you overcome creative blocks. It even brings out creativity you didn’t know you had.

But collaborating is hard. Where do you find a network? Where should you start? And how do you make it work for your music? Here are a few tips to start (and keep) a collaboration with other musicians.

How to find your music match

Sometimes finding your music partner is as simple as looking around your group of friends – and their friends too. Getting involved in your local creative community is the best place to start.

If you need to dig a bit deeper, here are some ideas on where to find music collaborators:

  • Look on SoundCloud and contact people whose music you like
  • Go to livestream shows in your city and make connections in your local scene
  • Play livestream shows – people will be more inclined to ask to collaborate if they hear you live
  • Find Facebook Groups in your area and get involved
  • Get involved in online music forums, many of which have official feedback threads where artists can post their music and get feedback.
  • Ask your local university if you can put an ad in the music department (you never know!)
  • Share your tracks with people already in your network and ask if they know anyone else who might be able to help

Once you’ve found your other musical half, here’s how to make things work:

1. Know your own strengths and weaknesses

To be a good collaborator, you gotta know what you’re bringing to the table. That way you’ll know what you’re looking for in a music partner.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What can you contribute with your creative voice and skills?
  • What are your short-term goals? What are your long-term goals?
  • What is your process missing or needing help with?
  • What kind of music do you wanna make?
  • How often can you jam or rehearse?
  • What musical and visual aesthetic you’re going for?

Being on the same page about commitments and goals is crucial.

Don’t just ask at the start either. Ask yourself these questions often during your collaboration. Open communication is key.

It will help you both get the most out of your work together now and in the future.

2. Treat it like a jobship: A friendship and a job combined.

You’re gonna spend a lot of time with a collaborator. You better like each other as friends first!

Treat your relationship like a responsibility too. Take deadlines seriously. Arrive on time. Be courteous and accountable. Remain open, flexible and kind. A critique goes down better if you let them know what’s good first. Balance how you talk about ideas but don’t pull punches either.

3. Work Work Work Work Work Ethic

Good collaboration starts with the music. Pick collaborators based on the music they make AND the work ethic it took to make it. If your work ethic, sound or both, don’t match it simply won’t work.

‘Work ethic’ means their values and how they work. So when you’re looking for someone to collaborate with ask yourself

  • Are they easy to work with?
  • Do you have good communication?
  • Do they value the same things as you?
  • Are they punctual, able to meet deadlines?
  • Do your schedules match?

The most important point on that list is communication. Sharing projects and staying connected throughout the creation phase is key, and bouncing around between Dropbox, Gmail and Soundcloud is a huge hassle.

Good music collaboration needs great chemistry, but it also has to work on a practical level as well.

That means the right tools that take the confusion and hassle out of working together whether your in the same studio or thousands of miles away.

4. Set clear and complementary roles 

There’s nothing worse than stepping on feet when collaborating. If the roles aren’t clear you’re gonna get frustrated.

A vital part of collaboration is every member delivering on their part of the process.

Good music partnerships are often based on individual strengths complementing others’ strengths. Let each member shine doing what they do best.

Define the roles early – whether it’s divided by instrument or by step in the songwriting process (writing lyrics, arranging, mixing, etc.). However you do it, set everyone up to excel at their strengths.

5. Make Respect and Trust a Priority

Collaborators don’t always agree—and that’s normal.

The important part is being able to express your opinions with respect and care towards your collaborators. After all, music is a very personal thing.

Don’t let egos get in the way of your work. You’re all working towards a common goal: Good music. Try every suggestion before discarding it. Let yourself be challenged and surprised.

Respect each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Support and encourage each other. Ask for feedback. Give feedback in a constructive and respectful way.

Collaborating means learning from listening AND learning from teaching someone else.

6. Make a plan: develop a vision and concept

A music project is exciting because it’s a whole universe. The best music projects bring you into a total world of sound, imagery, fashion and imagination.

Like Die Antwoord: in addition to their music, they’ve nailed the art of creating personas, unique videos and a recognizable aesthetic that others wanna copy.

So when you’ve found your perfect match, take some time to plan and dream together. Share music that influences you. Brainstorm your overall aesthetic and visual concept. Keep a mood board of things that inspire you. 

Also think of what you want your live performance to look like (costumes? lights?) and how you’d like to be represented in press photos.

7. Have fun or don’t do it

Always remember to keep things fun for everyone involved. Let your collaborators know that you value their work. Praise them when they’re doing something really awesome.

You couldn’t have gotten where you are without each other, that’s well-worth celebrating! Cheers!

Feel free to leave your comments below.

Music and Money in 2021

No need to rely solely on music sales and touring to bring in the big bucks. Here are more ways your music can make money in 2021. Let’s dive in…


Having your music on streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. is a no brainer.

Publishing Royalties

Royalty collection is a complex business. The two most common music publishing royalty types are performance royalties and mechanical royalties. 

Live Streaming

Since the beginning of quarantine, live streaming has taken over the music scene. All the while, artists have become more creative and tech savvy than ever. Don’t get left behind! With in-person shows at bay, live streaming is the next best thing.

If you’re looking to get sustainable results by monetize your streams, you’ll need to get creative.

Here are some ideas to help you out:
  • Host a Live Q&A // Promote an upcoming release by turning on a live stream and hanging out with your fans for 30 minutes. All you gotta do is hop online and start a conversation. Hosting a Q&A not only gives your fans a chance to get personal with you, it also gives you valuable feedback on what your fans want to see in the future or even which songs they want on the next album! — You get free, instant data AND the revenue from ticket sales & tips.
  • Plan a Series of Live Streams // Erykah Badu stepped it up and created “Quarantine Concert Series: The Apocalypse” from her home in Dallas. The series is made up of three separate streams, all unique and full of life. For price, she charged $1 for the first, $2 for the second and $3 for the third. — Streaming is not limited to sitting down in a single room and turning on a laptop camera. Get creative!
  • Stream Behind-The-Scenes // Give your fans a backstage experience they can’t get anywhere else. Show your creative process, you making beats, ask and answer questions, maybe even take some song requests and jam out with your fans. Keep it engaging, down to earth, and personal. Making this connection will foster more dedicated fans who will support you in the long run.


YouTube is another platform that continues to garner major success for independent artists. The easiest way to earn money on YouTube is with Content ID, a digital fingerprinting system that content creators (like record labels and artists) can use to easily identify and manage their copyrighted content on YouTube.

Video Games

he most engaging video games have great soundtracks to go with them. There’s a reason players get so immersed in their virtual worlds, and the music is a major part of that. — Consider putting out an instrumental version of one of your best tracks just for gaming playlists.


Merch has always been a key source of revenue for independent musicians. Although live shows aren’t what they used to be, live streams are a great opportunity to keep your merch sales going strong. 

Sync Licensing

Any time your song is featured in a TV show, movie, commercial, or any visual media, that’s called a “sync placement”. In addition to performance royalties you earn for airing on TV, sync placements also pay an upfront “licensing fee”, which is determined based on the song’s market value as well as the various details of how the music was used in the production.


ilm, they would also be owed “micro-sync” fees and royalties for smaller features.

Some examples of the types of common micro sync placements include:

  • User generated content, i.e. YouTube
  • Social media posts
  • Internal company videos
  • Video presentations at events and conferences
  • Professional wedding videos
  • Podcasts
In Conclusion…

2020 has been hard for all of us. With this crazy year finally coming to an end, its time to look towards the future with hopeful eyes. Whatever the New Years brings, move forward with optimism! If you made it through a global pandemic, you can make it through anything.

Feel free to leave a comment below or email me on

Ways to find inspiration for your music

Finding music inspiration is extremely important for any songwriter, musician or artist. Sometimes our minds seems to be wells filled to the brim with ideas. Just a couple of minutes is enough to dream up a huge new project. But sometimes the well runs dry. No matter how hard you try to rack your brain for song ideas, nothing comes to mind.

To help you keep those ideas flowing, I’ve put together these tips. Inspiration is one of the most important tools in any creative’s bag. It pushes us to try new things and helps us stay excited about our work. These tips are intended to help you think creatively more often, giving you more opportunities for inspiration to hit.

What is Inspiration? Where Does it Come From?

Maybe it’s my extremely useful philosophy degree talking, but before we talk about how to get inspired, I think it’ll help if we talk about what inspiration is first.

We usually talk about inspiration as something that comes out of nowhere. We’re struck by it. It’s a “Eureka!” moment where a new idea becomes clear.

Whether it’s a new melody that you can’t get out of your head or a new idea that changes your worldview, inspiration is the excitement of discovering something new.

The trouble is we’re not always ready to think in new ways. We develop routines and create habits for how we think.

So finding inspiration is really about finding experiences that make us think differently. Here are some of my favorite techniques for creating your own inspiration.

#1: Get Out of Town

Really. Get out of town.

Finding inspiration is about breaking your mental habits. A lot of these habits can be wrapped up in the place you live.

As career coach Dr. Todd Dewett put it in an interview with Moneyish, “We get into ruts at work by following strict routines… Working in a place that’s new, you mess up those routines… waking the brain up, because you’ve changed the script.”

Getting away from your usual surroundings can do wonders for your creative process. 

You don’t need to go on some grand adventure. Getting out of town isn’t about chasing excitement. It’s about getting away from what you’re used to.

Take a trip to a city or town that you haven’t spent a ton of time in. You’ll find that you have to think more actively than usual. Where should you go for food? You don’t know any of the local restaurants, so it looks like you’re going to be taking a gamble no matter what.

You don’t necessarily need to visit a city for this to work, though. The idea is to get out of your usual surroundings, one way or another.

Pull a Bon Iver and go crash in a cabin out in the wilderness for a few days. Getting away from the hustle and bustle may be all you need to focus on a new song.

Or spend an afternoon in a part of your town you don’t normally visit. Maybe there’s a weird tea shop across town you haven’t been to yet. Head there for an hour and see what lyrics it moves you to write!

Breaking your mental habits isn’t necessarily a matter of doing things that are wild and thrilling. Just going somewhere you aren’t used to will make you think about different things than you typically would.

#2: Go for a Walk

You don’t need to be a druidic mystic communing with nature to be awestruck by a massive tree that is already twice your age and will long outlive you. 

Try walking around your neighborhood or a park. While you’re looking at the trees, houses, sky, or whatever, ask yourself what this place sounds like.

Don’t work too hard at it. Maybe nothing will come to mind. But perhaps you’ll hear a song come forward in response to the scene around you.

#3: Learn Some More Music Theory

Music theory can often feel like Songwriting’s boring cousin who you accidentally started an endless conversation with at a party. Despite being dry at times, music theory can be extremely helpful in finding inspiration.

Your first dive into some new music theory concept may not be all that great. You might hate what you write in Lydian mode. That being said, you may just discover a new chord change that you love. And that new chord change may provide the inspirational basis for a new song.

If you’re interested in learning more theory, I recommend checking out Rick Beato. Beato is a music theory expert and he does a terrific job of making complex music lessons understandable and engaging. He’s more focused on scoring than songwriting, but any musician can learn from his videos.

#4: Collaborate With a Friend

I’m a forgetful introvert, so this is a lesson I have to relearn on a monthly basis: Creativity doesn’t have to be a lonely activity!

I do most of my work alone in my room, and while that often works for me, making a point to go out and see friends does wonders for creative work.

Collaborating with a friend can be a wonderful way to expand your musical horizons.

Your friend will be bringing different musical styles to the table, challenging you to step outside of your creative comfort zone.

Plus, with two minds steering the message of the song, you may end up tackling a subject you don’t usually put so much thought into.

Don’t have many musically inclined friends? That’s ok! You may find that you enjoy writing with them anyways.

Even if you find that you and your friend didn’t get much work done, it will still be time spent wisely. We all need time to spend with those that are important to us.

It’s wonderful if you and your friend write a hit. But even if you end up just hanging out and catching up, you will most likely be happier than if you spent all your time working by yourself.

#5: Write With an Instrument You Don’t Normally Use

Typically write on piano?

Switch things up by toying around with a guitar. You may find yourself refreshed by the parts you write on an instrument you don’t know as well. It’s also worth mentioning that some things that are easy on one instrument are near impossible on another. Try out an instrument you wouldn’t normally play and see how much it changes your work. You may just find that it becomes a recurring part of your songs.

#6: Write About a Fictional Character

Songwriters and poets have been writing from the perspective of fictional characters since these art forms first began. Whether you’re Homer writing about the adventures of ancient Greek soldiers or a middle aged pop-punker singing about how hard it is to be 16, not everything you write has to be entirely from your point of view.

Coheed and Cambria are a solid example of musicians who use stories about fictional characters as metaphors instead of writing about the literal events of their own lives.

Coheed’s albums are about a space opera the lead singer, Claude Sanchez, has written. The story, while fictional, is largely about events from his actual life.

If you’re having trouble thinking of something that’s happened to you that you want to write about, write a story instead.

Dream up a fictional setting you’d be interested in living in. Is it a big city or a rural town? What’s the weather like? The politics? What is it known for?

Now think up a character who lives there. What is that person’s life like? What do they do?

Once you’ve got a solid idea of who this character is and how the relate to the world around them, try writing a song about it.

It may feel disingenuous at first, but in all likelihood the story you create will echo a lot about your personality since you will be the one who created it.

#7: Relax and Reflect

Be open to inspiration. The most important part of finding inspiration is your own attitude.

Being open to new ideas and experiences is more important than leaving town or going on a music theory knowledge binge.

Your hike in the wilderness won’t be particularly helpful if you’re stressed out the whole time, getting frustrated with yourself about how you NEED to be inspired RIGHT NOW.

It’s also worth noting that inspiration works differently for different people. While the practices I’ve listed above help many people, they’re be no means the only things that work.

Think back on times where you felt particularly excited about working on a project.

Where were you? 

What were you doing? 

Were you alone or were there people with you?

The answers to these questions can tell you a lot about where you draw inspiration from and what kinds of circumstances make you feel more creative.

Feel free to comment below about how you find new inspiration.

Ways to boost your Self-Confidence as an artist

Do you ever doubt yourself, your art, or your abilities? 

You’re not alone. It’s easy to feel vulnerable when you’re promoting and selling an extension of yourself. So how do you build self-confidence that keeps the negative thoughts at bay?

1. Overcome the Impostor Syndrome

Quite a few artists are going through imposter syndrome. They have difficulty marketing and selling their artwork and feel inadequate. I suggest artists recognize that no one knows their artwork as well as they do. Artists often forget that.

The key is to understand you are the expert of your art and be authentic. It’s as simple as that, but people can have a hard time absorbing it. They’re scared they’ll make a mistake. But, how can you make a mistake when you’re talking about your own creations? It’s impossible.

Give yourself permission to be the expert. No one knows your artwork better than you do.

In reality, whatever you say—as long as it’s authentic—people are going to believe it. How can people question you about your artwork when they don’t have the grounds to? There is nothing to be afraid of as long as you can verbalize your ideas.

2. Do Your Own Reality Check

It’s easy to let negative thoughts invade your brain—no one will buy my art, no one will care, I’m not good enough, etc.

Identify those thoughts and ask yourself if they are valid thoughts. Ask yourself if you have evidence to support them. If you have no evidence, then they aren’t accurate. People attend your events because they’re interested in you and your art. So, just ignore the negative thoughts that invade your mind.

Actively bring yourself back to reality and back to rational thinking.  Get the negative thoughts out of your mind and think logically. People are there to see your artwork because they want to know more.

3. Challenge Yourself

Self-confidence comes when you prove to yourself that you can do it. Competence is the first cornerstone of building self-confidence according to INLP center. When you know you can perform a task, you will be on your way to a greater sense of self-confidence.

Push yourself past the fear of failure and embarrassment by getting out of your comfort zone. It can be scary, but put yourself in situations where you have to grow. The more you do it, the more your fears will lessen. Whether it’s selling artwork, presenting to a curator, or marketing your art, put yourself in that uncomfortable situation. Challenge your comfort zone, but don’t forget to prepare yourself for it.

Serial entrepreneur and professional inventor Chris Hawker says “Breakdowns are often the path to breakthroughs!” So, force yourself to design a new path and create a new future.

4. Find a Support Group You Trust

We tend to beat ourselves up about mistakes. Instead, try other things, be patient, and be persistent. Some people are born with persistency and others need support. Decide who you are and what you need.

If you need a support group to cheer you up or hold you accountable, find a few people who are willing to do this for you. A couple of artist friends are an ideal support group. Ask them for help, brainstorm, and do it together. It’s a two-way situation. There is nothing wrong with needing support. Give yourself permission to need and ask for help. And don’t feel guilty about it. Support groups build up confidence. You can hear other people’s perspectives, and you might find out that your own perspective is skewed. You might realize that you really can do it.

5. Compare Yourself to Yourself

There’s no reason to compare yourself to others because each person is unique. It’s like comparing apple and oranges. They are unique in shape, color, and taste so it doesn’t make sense. It makes self-worth contingent on achievement. You start saying I need to be better than so and so. There’s so much competition in our society and it’s not a healthy approach. It’s unrealistic to compare yourself to others who have different lifestyles, opportunities, and unique talents. It makes more sense to compare yourself to where you were to where you are now.

Comparing your own growth leads to growth. Comparing yourself to others leads to doubt and a lack of confidence.  So, give yourself goals – such as a six month or one-year goal. Ask yourself what do you want to accomplish? Remember you have your own energy, your own opportunities, and your own experiences. Embrace it. Focus on your own growth and inner self – not the competition.

6. Focus on the Process, Not the Failures

If something happens along the way that you didn’t expect or a mistake was made, analyze the situation instead of giving up. That’s when a support group comes in handy. Have conversations with them and analyze the situation together. Discuss what led to what you perceived to be a failure.

Learn what not to do and how you can do better next time. That’s how you grow. You have to learn from the mistakes and challenges you’ve faced. If you don’t want the same outcome, then analyze ways to look at the situation.

7. Become a Lifelong Learner

It’s important to constantly educate yourself and think about your artwork and artist statement.

Think about why your art matters and why people should care. Meditate on that and understand your own work. Put your ideas together in a way you can express them to others. And, learn as much as you can when it comes to sales and marketing. You have to continuously learn and pursue professional development opportunities. Knowing how to verbalize your art when you deal with sales and marketing will only help you.

Strive to become a lifelong learner and celebrate that.

Let me know how you build your Self-Confidence in the comments below or email me on

The art of getting people to listen to your music: Music Marketing 2021

Making music is a reward in itself. But like many musicians, you’ve probably wondered how to promote your music and get people to listen to your music so they can recognize your genius.

Well, in this guide we’ll go over five ways to promote your music online, and another five ways to promote your music offline.

5 Ways to Promote Your Music Online

It’s all happening on the Internet when it comes to music promotion. You don’t need to invest in expensive ads to get heard, either. Here’s five completely free ways to promote yourself online.

1. Music blogs

Music bloggers are always looking for new content to write. And while they get a lot of traffic from covering famous musicians, they all want to discover the next big thing (that’s you!). 

Tip: Check out this list of music blogs that accept submissions right now.

2. Online radio stations

You’d think that radio had been completely replaced by Spotify at this point. But that’s not true. There are many budding online radio stations that accept music submissions from artists. 

3. Music forums

Most aspiring artists start out in very small circles of (let’s face it) nerds who care deeply about their art. You should make friends with them and ask if they want to listen to your tunes.

Tip: If you don’t already have a favorite spot, then use this list of guitar forums to get started.

4. Youtube channels

You could publish your music video on YouTube, but unless you have a decent following then it won’t get a lot of views. Instead, you can submit your tunes to dedicated promotion channels. 

Tip: Here are 15 YouTube music promotion channels you can submit videos to.

5. Social media groups

If you’re not down to sign up for another guitarist forums, then fret not (pun intended!). There are plenty of Facebook Groups dedicated to music where you can ask people to listen to yours. 

Tip: Here are 12 Facebook Groups for musicians you can join and promote your music to.

5 Ways to Promote Your Music Offline (when COVID-19 is gone)

Although the web does account for the majority of music promotion in 2019, there are still effective ways to promote yourself in the real world. Let’s have a look at five of them.

1. Live performances

Few promotional methods beat the old live performance technique. What better way to introduce people your style than giving them a taste of it in person?

Tip: Read up on how to promote your next live gig so you can get in front of the right people. 

2. TV and film

All moving pictures, whether on the big or the small screen, use music. Some musicians have even broken through to the mainstream off the back of them being featured on TV.

Tip: Read about how to get your music featured in film and on TV to learn the ropes. 

3. Local radio stations

Spotify has sidelined a lot of radio stations, and many of the terrestrial ones have been replaced by online stations. But there are still local radio programs hungry for underground talent.

Tip: This guide explains how to get played on local radio so you can build your home base.

4. Street teams

You can get by with a little help from your friends. Use Canva or Design Wizard to design some cool flyers and posters, and ask people to help you out by joining your band’s street team.  If you’re on a tight budget, Design Wizard is probably your best bet. You’ll be able to access all of their tools and features with the free subscription and get more than 10,000 free templates to choose from.

Tip: This article explains how you can build a street team to help you out with promotion.

5. Street selling

If you can’t recruit a street team, then you’ve got to do it yourself. Believe me, selling your music on the streets can be intimidating. But there are still artists making a killing from it in 2019.

Tip: Read up on the rules regarding selling your music on the street so you don’t get fined.

Ready to Be Heard?

If you try each of these ten tips at least once, then you’ll quickly find out what works best for you. Maybe the shotgun approach it best, or maybe you prefer the sniper method.

Let us know in the comments which of these tips works best for you — and feel free to contribute with your own!

Music Industry tips to benefit from

1. Quantity over quality.

In the words of Ed Sheeran, “Run the tap ’til the dirty water runs clean!”. This means you have to output a high quantity of music before the good stuff starts flowing. It’s like Malcolm Gladwell’s famous 10,000 hour rule, which states that is takes 10,000 hours of practise to become an expert at something. Whilst I think there are ways to cut down this amount of time (mentorship and course-taking being two of them), the general idea rings true.

Also, if you start and finish more music quickly (rather than obsessing over one song for 6 months), you’ll multiple the practise you have at creating each element in the song, e.g. 6 songs finished means 6 bass lines written, 6 drum patterns written, 6 melodies written, etc.)

2. Make music that you like – not what you think other people with like.

It’s an easy trap to fall into – chasing popularity and fame, rather than following your heart when it comes to the music you produce. But, if you always produce music that you like (or at least strive to), it’s a win / win situation. If no-one else likes it, yes that can be painful, but at least you’ve expressed what you wanted and enjoyed the process. If you just try and follow the latest trend, the chances are no-one else will like it AND neither will you!

Music production is a time-consuming endeavour, so it makes sense to enjoy the time you spend.

3. Be consistent – Consistency is key!

Gaining any traction in the music industry is a game of consistency. If you release a couple of tracks, then nothing for a year, you’ll lose all the momentum / following you may have gathered. It’s important to keep showing up, putting the work in, and it’s also a good idea to have 3 or so finished songs for a release schedule so you’ve always got a few months breathing space if needs be, where you can keep releasing music.

4. Set goals, but it’s essential to build systems that will help you form good writing habits.

I am a huge believer in the power of goal-setting, but goals without any system for fulfilling them can end up being a painful reminder of what you HAVEN’T done.

Goals are reached by developing good habits, and good habits are developed by systems that support those habits (I don’t recommend relying on will-power too much – it runs out!).

An example might be:

Goal: Finishing 2 tracks per month.

Habit: Producing for 2 hours a day, 5 days a week.

System: Setting a daily alarm for 5:45am, and letting anyone who needs to know that you are unavailable from 6 – 8am from Monday to Friday. Go into your studio for those 2 hours each morning, leaving your phone somewhere else so it doesn’t distract you. Reward yourself in the end.

5. Spend time producing rather than money on plugins.

Sometimes a new plugin will inspire us, but more often than not we buy them hoping it’ll “fix” our music. It won’t. If you learn the stock plugins than come with your DAW – inside and out – you’ll be amazed at the world-class sound you can achieve. What’s more, you’ll learn what the limitations of those stock plugins are, so when you do invest in a new 3rd party premium plugin, it’ll be for a specific reason.

6. Turn your social media followers into email subscribers.

If you collect your followers email addresses using a system like Mailchimp or Activecampaign, that list belongs to you. No one can take it away from you.

You can then use that email list to keep your fans updated on your music, sell merchandise, let them know of upcoming gigs, etc.

Even if you’re just starting out, I recommend starting to build an email list as soon as you can – you won’t regret it.

7. Contribute to the music production community

he music industry is all about relationships! Music production can be a lonely activity, so reaching out to like-minded people online is a great way to start making connections.

Rather than asking and taking, try contributing, too – someone might really appreciate your help. Sure…ask questions – people love to help – but remember to answer questions, too, or link to resources you think other producers will find useful.

8. Be bold!

Don’t let fear of criticism stop you from getting your music out there. You WILL get criticised from time to time…that’s essential, and it’s absolutely fine.

There are three types of criticism:

1. Constructive. When you get feedback on your music from people who know what they’re talking about. This is essential for improvement, and worth listening to.

2. Misleading. This is where you ask your Gran if she likes your filthy, X-rated, porn sampling industrial drum ‘n’ bass track. Spoiler alert: she doesn’t. Similarly, if you ask a friend who’s only into Norwegian Death Metal whether they like your Deep House track, chances are they won’t. Not because it’s not good – just because it’s not to their taste. So seek feedback from the right people.

3. Destructive. From trolls and haters. This hurts, but try to remember it really isn’t personal. Delete, block, move on. It’s from people who don’t know you – most likely lashing out because they’re a) jealous that you’re trying to do something with your life or b) frustrated with their own life.

Once you accept that you can’t achieve anything without criticism, it makes it a little easier to bear when it (inevitably) happens.

9. Enjoy yourself – it will shine through in your music

This is key! Try not to forget when striving for your idea of music success that you started this journey out of a love for music and production. Life’s too short not to enjoy making music.

10. Look after yourself

A bit of an obvious one, but easy to forget. Stay healthy, stay well, and don’t cane it too hard (too often!). It’s much easier to produce music if you’re not perpetually tired.

Feel free to reach out:

How sampling music transformed music

How sampling transformed music. Sampling isn’t about “hijacking nostalgia wholesale,” says Mark Ronson. It’s about inserting yourself into the narrative of a song while also pushing that story forward.

How to stay focused on your music goals as an artist / musician

musician focus

In this digital era, distractions can seem impossible to avoid. Just figuring out how to stay focused on your goals and ambitions in your music career can feel as difficult as actually achieving them. These days, constant distractions can lead to a massive loss in productivity.

Statistics show that employees, on average, waste 28% of their time dealing with and trying to recover from unnecessary interruptions. And that’s at work, where you’re paid to be productive, and where some of us are monitored too much or too closely for comfort.

So, one can only imagine how much time is lost or wasted when we are left to our own devices. Speaking of devices, how many times have you grabbed your cell phone at the very moment you hear a notification, wasting precious time scrolling through social media when you should be using that time working on your goals?

I can bet a lot. But we’ve all been there. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions and efforts to stay on task, we still find ourselves being chronically distracted. Chances are you’ll be interrupted before you can even finish reading this article.

The reality is as undeniable as it is unavoidable: we live in a world full of distractions! But how can you take back control of your time and attention to avoid these distractions and learn how to stay focused on your goals in your music career?

How to Stay Focused on Your Goals in Your Music Career: Designing Your Environment

If you can design your life and behaviors well, you don’t need to rely on willpower.” – BJ Fogg, Social Science Research Associate, Stanford

Real progress occurs when we fully understand and align with what, whom, and where best support our goals. So, the next time you’re in your environment, whether at or outside of studio, try to pay attention to how you feel while you’re there. Note if that feeling changes when you leave that environment.

Examine your surroundings. Look at all the infrastructure and ask yourself these simple questions:
1. Am I in an environment that’s conducive to me achieving my music goals?
2. Is it detrimental to me maintaining my focus on my music goals?
3. Is it on par with people who have already achieved what I want to achieve?

Also, examine your lifestyle and habits. Are you placing yourself in environments and situations that spark personal growth?

If the answers to these questions are anything but a definite and resounding yes, then you should seriously consider modifying or completely changing your surroundings. The more you understand yourself, the more aware you’ll be of the environment that’s most likely to help you stay focused on your music goals.

Let Your Music Goals, Not Distractions, Distract You
If you constantly lose focus on your music goals, you pretty much render them useless. Distractions and interruptions are the biggest culprits of losing your focus. One of the most practical ways to maintain focus is to allow your music goals to constantly distract you. You’ll inevitably lose focus from time to time. But you can limit the number of times it happens and the duration by facilitating your goals to distract you back to your focus.

Now, how do you do that? It’s simple: make visual cues.
There’s a saying that if you don’t see it, you’ll probably forget it. Science agrees; the eyes hold the majority of sensory receptors in the human body. Therefore, the eye is a major component of focus.

The following cues are simply things that will trigger you to focus or refocus your attention back onto your goals.

What type to use will largely depend on what works for you, but below are a few common ones:
1. Tape your task list or habit tracker to your desk or onto your refrigerator at home.
2. Hang motivational posters at frequently visited sections of your house or music space.
3. Post-Its – write your goals in a one or two-word phrase on them and stick where you’re sure to see them.
4. Set cues to constantly remind you to stick with your productive habits.
5. Digital devices – alter the screensavers of your computer, smartphones, tablets, or any other digital device you use regularly to display something about your goal.

Modify Your Inner Circle

You are the average of the five people you associate with most…” – Tim Ferriss

Multiple studies have proven that our mindset, behaviors, and motivations are largely influenced by our peer group. Therefore, the people in our lives have an enormous impact on our ability to reach our goals.

Since people have such a significant influence on the direction of your entire life, if you’re really serious about achieving your goals, you may have to adjust your inner circle. This is where designing or modifying your environment for success becomes tricky.

Unlike upgrading your iPhone, changing the makeup of your inner circle can be a lot more complex. One of the most difficult things to do in life is to sever ties with friends, especially against their will, even if it’s for the betterment of the self.

It will likely foster resentment because it will require you to betray the very virtue that served as the keystone of the friendship in the first place: loyalty.

But we must remember that above all else, when we set important personal goals, we must be loyal to ourselves if we are to achieve them. Loyalty to friends, family, or even to your spouse that is detrimental to your success in life will only slow your growth.

By consciously deciding whom you want in your inner circle, you are taking control of the ultimate direction of your life.

Change Your Environment Completely
This method is the most extreme, but it can also be the most effective. While modifying your environment for it to become less distracting is ideal, sometimes it’s just not enough. Certain elements in your environment, such as your social circle, are harder than others to modify. In fact, some elements that are nearly impossible to adjust.

There are times when these elements are so out of your control that the only thing you can do to stay focused on your goals is to make more radical and thorough changes. This can mean changing your environment completely.

Here are some examples of changes you could try to make (only if necessary):
1. Change your physical possessions (ex.: get rid of your TV)
2. Create a new virtual set-up (online)
3. Change your physical music space (work, home, co-working, cafes, etc.)
4. Join a new social group
5. Change locations (home, co-working space, café, etc.)
6. Change jobs or switch branches
7. Drop distracting friends or family from your inner circle.
8. Change your spouse
9. Move to a different country

Of course, these are some extreme steps to take. So, only resort to these if you have tried everything else to stay focused on your goals but are still unsuccessful.

If you’re struggling to figure out how to stay focused on your music goals, it’s a lot harder to make a significant, lasting change without altering some elements of your environment. By taking control of the set-up of your environment, you can influence your levels of motivation, enthusiasm, drive, and desire towards the goals you have set.

Optimizing your environment creates powerful conscious and subconscious motivators that make staying focused on your goals easier. And for many of us, easier is always better.

How do you stay focused on your music goals?

How to build self confidence as an artist in an uncertain situation

Self confidence

“Action is a greater restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all”

-Norman Vincent Peale

What is the definition of confidence?
According to Merriam-Webster, confidence is “the quality or state of being certain.”

When it comes to confidence, it will start within you. You can’t possibly gain confidence from other outside influences. We all experience difficulties throughout the years. As Jim Rohn would say it, “The same wind blows on us all.” We all experience the same difficulties of life like paying for the bills, eating healthy and staying fit, reconnecting with our spouses and raising our children. What separates an insecure person from a confident person is how they handle each and every situation in their life. It’s the direction you take when a difficulty comes up. You can either travel backwards or travel forward towards the direction you want to go in. When you’re able to live in alignment with your deepest values and beliefs in life, your self confidence and inner being will be nourished.

I want to share with you 3  ways that you can be confident and get over any uncertainty in your life.

1. Know your purpose in life.
Why are you living right now? When you know your purpose and the reason why you do what you do, you will be more confident and know that whatever difficulty and uncertainty you are experiencing is only temporary. When you understand what your purpose is, you will see each and every obstacle as a way of making you into a stronger individual. You will know that no matter what you experience, you have a purpose and you will make sure that you live out your purpose. What are the reasons why you do what you do? Maybe it’s for your family or creating stability and security in your life. Reflect on and understand your purpose in life. You will gain so much more confidence if you know why you’re here, and you’ll be able to move away from uncertainty and into confidence.

2. Know who you are.
With so many distractions in this world, we can easily get off track. We can be pulled in every direction other than the direction we want to go in. We can become easily influenced by the media or by friends and family. Because obstacles and difficulties arise, we need to better handle each and every situation. It all starts with knowing who you are. When you know who you are, you will be able to look at an obstacle as a way of you developing yourself rather than having a pity party. It’s all about how you handle situations and staying true to yourself. What makes you, YOU?

3. Perspective.
You can have one of two perspectives about uncertainty. You can have a positive perspective or a negative perspective. The option of making this decision is all up to you. You can either allow uncertainty to take over your life and lack the inner strength and confidence to move forward, or you can learn from each and every situation you experience, and know that you’ll be a stronger person. You see, our mind can only hold one thought at a time. It can either be a negative thought or a positive thought. If you allow yourself to continue to think negative thoughts, ultimately, you will be negative and uncertainty will take over. When you are able to continue thinking positive thoughts and know that whatever you are currently experiencing is not permanent, you’ll be much more confident in your life.

Confidence is all about being certain in your life no matter what you experience.

How to be more creative as a musician

Feel like you lack imagination? Know this: Everyone can be more original, it just takes practice.

You might think of creativity as something clever marketers or copywriters whip out when they need to come up with a compelling ad, or a personal trait only certain people, such as successful serial entrepreneurs or brilliant improv actors, naturally possess. But according to Keith Sawyer, research psychologist and author of “Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity,” everyone can be more creative just by taking eight incremental steps, but not necessarily in linear order. His path to creativity is more back and forth, a process in which the steps to greater imagination and originality build on and feed off each other.

The book is a gem, chock full of fascinating findings from research studies and a deep well of tactics that will get you thinking differently. In fact, Sawyer advocates what is likely a radical shift in mindset for most people. Coming up with good ideas isn’t something we leave until there’s a pressing need. Rather, it’s is a skill that can be practiced daily to solve life’s problems as well as discover its opportunities.

Here are his steps for cultivating creativity, along with a sampling of tips that can help you along the way.

1. Ask the right question.
Sawyer tells the stories of the beginnings of Starbucks and Instagram. Neither company would be what it is today if its founders had continued to try to solve the original questions they sought to answer. Instead of asking “How can I recreate the Italian espresso bar in the United States?” Howard Shultz eventually looked at what wasn’t working with that idea to instead ask “How can I create a comfortable, relaxing environment to enjoy great coffee?” And while Kevin Systrom originally pondered how he could create a great location-sharing app, a better question turned out to be “How can we create a simple photo-sharing app?”

Sawyer offers plentiful techniques for generating lots of questions.
Quickly, without overthinking it, write 10 variations of the same question. For example, for the classic question “How can I build a better mousetrap,” you might ask questions such as “How do I get the mice out of my house?” and “What does a mouse want?” or “How can I make my backyard more attractive to a mouse than my house?” One of your new questions will likely be a better one than your original.
Debug your life. Brutally criticize an imperfect product or situation you come in contact with every day. Once you have a list, think of ways to eliminate the annoyances. This can amp creativity because little problems are often symptoms of bigger ones. Steve Jobs, a genius innovator, excelled at finding bugs that distracted from a user’s experience of a product. Make something then reinterpret it. Sometimes before you get at the right question, you have to make something. Once you do, think of your creation being used for purposes other than your original intent. This process throws away your first assumptions, forcing you to consider new perspectives.

2. Become an expert.
The secret to exceptional success doesn’t lie in natural ability, but in deliberate practice. In fact, research suggest that being world class at anything requires 10,000 hours of practice ( It’s not just doing the same thing over and over again, however. It should involve pushing yourself to master tasks just slightly beyond your capabilities.

You have to become an expert in an area before you can be creative in it. “Successful creators don’t just like knowledge, they thirst for it. They can’t stop asking questions, and they always go beyond what they’ve learned from teachers and books,” Sawyer writes. There are a plethora of methods to do this.

Listen to TED talks. They’re free videos of inspiring, funny, or fascinating speeches made by brilliant people. To get started, check out 6 TED Talks Every Entrepreneur Should Watch ( Use all your senses to thoroughly delve into a subject. Let’s say you want to learn about the town of Mystras, Greece. You could learn some of the Greek language, search for photos of the Peloponnese online, cook some of its traditional food, watch videos of its traditional festivals, stream its local radio, and email an innkeeper there to get insider information about what the town is really like. Get a mentor. Nearly all Nobel Prize winners have them.

3. Be open and aware.
Creative people are always on the lookout for possible solutions. You can do this by becoming more aware and practicing mindfulness, which involves intentionally noticing things and not pegging people you meet based on your expectations or the categories you have established in your minds. Instead, try to be open and curious and resist stereotyping people.

Create your own luck. Researchers have found people who describe themselves as lucky tend to notice things more than self-described unlucky people. They also act on unexpected opportunities and network well with others because they’re curious. Unlucky people tend to be tense and so focused on narrow goals that they miss opportunities.

Don’t let accidents annoy you. Plenty of inventions–such as Penicillin, The Slinky and chewing gum–came into being because someone didn’t brush past an accident, but studied it instead.
Play with children’s toys. Playing children are really good at making new connections. “I’m not the least bit self-conscious about my toy collection,” Sawyer writes. “If you walk into just about any supercreative company, you’ll find toys all over the place.”

4. Play and pretend.
When you play, your mind can wander and your subconscious has time to work. This is why time off from work is necessary for creativity to bloom.

Explore the future. Imagine yourself being wildly successful five years from now. Write down as many details about what this success looks like. Then write the history of how you got there asking yourself questions such as, “What was the first step you took to move toward your goal?” or “What was one early obstacle and how did you move past it?”

Leave something undone. If at the end of the day you leave a task slightly unfinished it may be easier to start on the next day. That’s because cognitive threads are left hanging in your mind and as you go about your non-work activities your subconscious might hook onto them and give you a sudden insight.

Become a beginner. Learn how to do something new, such as Hula-Hooping, juggling, carving wood, or archery.

5. Generate lots of ideas.
This is the part where you come up with ideas, and lots of them.
List unusual uses for common household objects. What are lots of different ways you could use a paper clip, brick, or knife? Give yourself five minutes to come up with a long list. Don’t worry about whether your ideas are stupid or not.

Try toppling. This is where you use free association to keep generating new words. The trick, though, is to use a different kind of connection between each one. For example, if you start with “carrot” you can’t free associate another vegetable; instead, you might pick “stick,” as in the phrase “carrot and a stick,” then “glue” because you’re thinking of a glue stick. Another example: “Rock” might lead to “Scotch” because you drink it on the rocks.
Set an idea time. Block out a regular time when you’re sharp, relaxed, and undistracted. Julia Cameron, author of popular self-help book “The Artist’s Way” suggests taking 30 minutes each morning to freewrite in a journal. As you do, you’ll notice new ideas creeping in.

6. Fuse ideas.
This involves combining things that don’t normally go together. In a recent study British neuroscientist Paul Howard-Jones asked people to create stories by giving them only three words. To one set of people the words were related, such as “brush,” “teeth,” and “shine.” Another set of people received unrelated words such as “cow,” “zip,” and “star.” The people who received the unrelated words made up more creative stories.

Make remote associations. Go to page 56 in two different books and find the fifth sentence on each. Now create a story that tells the connection between the two. Use analogy. Find similarity between two things that on the surface seem different. Find something that’s removed from your problem, then define five structural properties of it. Instead of listing “sharp” or “metal” for a knife, for example, you’d want to identify things like “requires downward pressure to cut.” How can these characteristics apply to whatever you’re trying solve?

Engage with people who are different from you. We hang out with people who are like us, and while doing so may be comforting, it’s not stretching. Also try imagining yourself as someone else–such as a chef, a foreign student, a building inspector. How would such people see the world?

7. Choose the best ideas.
If you’ve followed the first six steps, you should have plenty of ideas. Now the trick is picking the best ones.
Know what you’re looking for. To do that, you need to trust your intuition–the sense that an idea has beauty. Sawyer also recommends going with ideas that are simple, elegant, and robust (the latter referring to a design that will keep working under adversity or if used improperly).

Make ideas compete against each other. Select two of them and define how they’re different, even in the most subtle ways. Or if you have more than 50 ideas write each one on a sticky note or index cards. Move ideas that seem related close together. You’ll arrive at idea clusters and can look at interesting differences between ideas; perhaps they all vary along the same dimension.

Look past the good. Once you’ve decided an idea is a good one, identify its pros and cons, assign each one a number between one and 10 according to how important it is. The pro total should be significantly higher than your tally for cons. You should also think of the worst-case scenario. What terrible things might happen to foil the success of your idea?

Never stop editing. Everything can always be made better. Find a devil’s advocate to come up with a bunch of reasons why your idea is a bad one. Or, ask people you trust will be honest with you to look critically at your idea. And even failed ideas can be repurposed. The Post It, Sawyer points out, was the result of an adhesive that didn’t work very well.

8. Make something out of your great ideas.
Sawyer holds up the Silicon Valley design firm IDEO for its use of “design thinking,” which seeks to get simple versions of an idea into the world as early as possible–maybe in an hour or a day–by using simple materials such as clay or cardboard to give shape to a new concept. It’s a way of thinking through making, a process that often leads to more ideas.

Draw a picture. Even if you think you can’t draw, you can at least doodle and no one ever has to see what you put to paper. Abstract problems–such as your relationship with someone or a crushing workload–benefit most from turning them into sketches. Cartooning with exaggerated shapes or using simple symbols helps.

Make a collage. Grab a stack of magazines and look for photos and ads. Clip any that relate to your problem in any way and glue them to a large piece of poster board. Keep this art near your desk where you can ponder it. You may get a new perspective on your problem.
Build something. Legos, Tinkertoys, an Erector Set, modeling clay, Silly Putty, and Play-Doh are all good materials you can use to build your idea. Sawyer himself keeps a bag of Legos in his briefcase for times when he has nothing to do.

Check out Sawyer’s book if you want to know more–he claims it offers more than 100 tips on how to be more creative.

How to get gigs for artists, bands and musicians

This is the best way to get gigs.

  • Gigs lead to gigs
  • Use your existing network
  • List and approach local venues
  • List and approach relevant promoters
  • Mirror other musicians
  • Look for ‘support’ opportunities
  • Competitions

Sam Smith Announces Dreamy New Single ‘How Do You Sleep’

When the Instagram account @howdoyousleep appeared last month, fans immediately linked it to pop singer Sam Smith. The account, which teased out short sets of lyrics, given tips on combating insomnia and promoted a cryptic website, only followed Smith. Now, fans have finally found out why.

Smith revealed the release date of “How Do You Sleep,” his newest single, on Wednesday (July 10). Sending out the song’s album art and a message revealing the project as his latest single, Smith revealed that the song will be available everywhere Friday, July 19. 

The clip also contains what appears to be a short teaser of the song, as a series of distorted xylophones play an entrancing, lullaby-esque melody. The music had been used in a few of @howdoyousleep’s posts, sometimes slowed down and other times warped beyond recognition.

The album art follows the same theme as Smith’s other 2019 single, “Dancing with a Stranger” with Normani, depicting a bottle of cologne bearing the title of the song on its face.

“How Do You Sleep” is out everywhere July 19. Check out Smith’s teaser clip:

16 accessible and affordable music marketing tips

  1. Keep it old school.

Sure, we may be living in a digital era. Streaming platforms are dominant, and CDs are useful only to anthropologists. But, there will always be music lovers who appreciate all things vintage. Plus, over the past 12 years, annual sales of vinyl records in the U.S. have surged by 15 times! Go to record stores and advertise your band however you like—posters, stickers, buttons, etc. You can also ask an employee if they’re willing to play your latest music.

2. Get on social media.

Americans spend roughly 24 hours per week on the Internet. 33% of that online time is dedicated to social media. That comes out to over an hour per day of social media consumption. 

So, is social media an important part of your strategy? Is Radiohead’s In Rainbows criminally overlooked because people think it’s edgy to say Kid A is their favorite album?

Facebook is terrific for organizing and promoting upcoming concerts. Each month, hundreds of millions of consumers use Facebook Events to find stuff to do in their cities and neighborhoods. In fact, Facebook Local, a standalone app, is designed to direct users to nearby Events based on their locations. 

3. Create an awesome cross-platform community.

People often generalize hashtags as spam. But, did you know that your band can use them to bring fans together and create a super fun online community?

The amazing thing about your fans is that they want to spread your music to new listeners. If you create a hashtag for the release of your newest single, EP, or album, you can rest assured that your loyal followers are going to use that hashtag as well. And each time one of your fans shares it with their social media circles, tons of people you’ve yet to reach are getting exposed to your band.

Hashtags also allow you to find the people who are talking about you online and interact with them. Every music fan fantasizes about getting the chance to have a conversation with their favorite artists. Be the artist who thanks fans for listening and answers their random questions! This does wonders for your public images.

4. Use contests to get more people to your shows.

Music—particularly live music—is all about community. One of the best parts of seeing your favorite band live is reliving the experience with your friends immediately afterwards. 

Your band can tap into the social aspect of concerts by launching a contest! When you create a Facebook Event for your upcoming show, let your fans know how it works. Whoever invites the most new people to the Event gets a prize of your (or her) choice—a backstage pass, a free item of merch, and so on. Running a contest like this is a fun, engaging way to get more people at your shows. Plus, you can do it for as many or as few shows as you want!

5. Play a free show.

If there’s one thing that beats live music, it’s free live music. Of course, from an opportunity cost perspective, it’s expensive to give up a night that you could be using to make money from a regular concert. However, if you have the flexibility to occasionally play free shows in parks, town commons, and coffee houses, it can be a fantastic way to get your music out there and find new fans. 

Plus, in an era when ticket vendors charge exorbitant fees for no apparent reason other than turning a profit, putting your music out for free is a surefire way to brand yourself as a cool, down-to-earth artist. 

6. Play your new stuff on a radio show.

Much like vinyl, great radio is never going to die. Maybe I’m just in denial, but I truly believe that music consumers will always find value in the local radio stations that play stuff you wouldn’t otherwise hear over the airwaves. 

If there’s an awesome indie station in your hometown, or if you have a show booked in a city with such a station, reach out and try to organize an album release appearance. Ideally, they’ll have a set-up that allows you to play live in the studio. But, if you’re limited to simply spinning a few tracks and providing commentary, that’s perfectly good, too.

Either way, local radio stations offer a way for your band to generate buzz and reach a captive audience that can (most likely) get something out of your music. 

7. Go on tour with other artists.

What better way to get new listeners to hear your awesome music than to play a show for an entirely different fanbase? Opening up for a more popular band—ideally one with a sound similar to yours—guarantees that you’re reaching audiences who want to listen. One amazing set is all it takes to get hundreds, if not thousands, of Spotify users to look up your profile before the headliner comes on stage. If you can get new fans out of every show, your band will be the one looking for openers some day soon.

8. Play at genre-specific festivals.

When you think of music festivals, the ones that come to mind are the major players: Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Governor’s Ball, and so on. While it’s no small achievement for a small indie outfit to get on the bill at one (or more) of these festivals, playing them may not generate as much buzz as you would hope. Your band may be superb, but if the majority of attendees are there to get wasted and bop to Travis Scott, they’re probably not going to pay much attention to your dream pop songs.

Alternatively, you can focus your festival energies on the festivals reserved for artists within your genre. By opting for more niche festivals, you’re playing your music for audiences that truly want to hear it. You know the attendees are there for more than the food and the booze; they’re there because they love the genre and want to discover more artists within it.

9. Document your existence.

For whatever reason, we’re a little obsessed with the personal lives of the artists we admire. We hate to break it to you, but your most dedicated fans probably wonder what you eat for breakfast and which Netflix shows you love. A little creepy? Sure. Something you can build on? Absolutely!

You can use a blog as a platform for tons of different stuff. Provide inside looks into your songwriting process. Tell funny stories from the road. Recommend other artists that you love. Publishing content like this makes you a more likable persona and creates opportunities for people who have never heard of you to find your website while poking around Google.

If you’re not a wordsmith, vlogging is another great option. It allows you to give fans the behind-the-scenes content they want and opens the door for finding new listeners through popular video platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

10. Incorporate your fans into the process.

Yes, they’re interested in weird stuff like your dietary habits and entertainment preferences. But, the connections your fans feel with your band and with your music go a lot deeper than that. Like we said under tip #3—they want to help you succeed. An email newsletter is an excellent way to incorporate them into certain processes: naming songs, creating album covers, writing liner notes, etc.

You have to give them an incentive. Maybe you reward the first 100 people who download your newest single by adding them to the newsletter. Or maybe you want to emphasize your live performances, and the newsletter recipients are the first 100 people to buy tickets to your next hometown show. Whichever way you slice it, this is a great tactic to drive downloads and ticket sales. Building your fans into the album release process is certain to keep them engaged.

11. Make awesome music videos.

I know, I know. We may as well advise you to make good music while you’re at it. But, hear us out.

Nearly one-third of all Internet users watch videos on YouTube. Over half a billionpeople watch Facebook videos every day. Between the two platforms, 45% of people watch at least an hour of video content every week. More and more every day, video is the form of content people want the most.

Creating super compelling music videos is a stellar way to grab Internet users’ attention and introduce them to your music. Plus, people love to share videos with followers, friends, and family members.

The best part: you don’t need a huge budget to make a great music video.

12. Reach out to critics and music writers.

As much as people like to poke fun at music critics for being too self-serious, a lot of them exert serious influence over which artists and albums get the time of day. For example, Anthony Fantano publishes tons of album reviews on his YouTube channel, theneedledrop. Earlier this year, he eclipsed 1.5 million subscribers. The visibility an artist gets following one of Fantano’s reviews is immense.

It may not be realistic for your band to get featured on such a popular channel. Regardless, you should email bloggers and magazine writers and ask them to review your latest material. In the same vein as opening for bigger artists, getting reviewed on a reputable website will undoubtedly direct music fans to your streaming profiles. Plus, if the writers are kind enough to link to your website, those blog posts you’ve been writing will inch higher and higher up the Google search results.

13. Or write your own freelance reviews.

Now, assuming that your efforts to take your band to the next level are rather time-consuming, you probably don’t have the time to hold down a full-time staff writer gig.

But, making the time to write occasional guest reviews for music magazines could give you some great exposure. If there’s an EP or album you feel qualified to review, reach out to the editors at music publications like PitchforkThe WireHipHopDX, and XXL. Put together an author bio and mention that, when you’re not writing reviews, you’re single-handedly keeping the indie rock genre alive. 

Directing music publications’ readers to your streaming profiles is the obvious benefit. Plus, working as a freelance writer enables you to develop relationships with the editors who decide what gets reviewed. This boosts your chances of getting your music reviewed and generating serious buzz around new releases.

14. Feature your music prominently on your website.

Under tip #2, we mentioned that Facebook is now encouraging artists and businesses to sell tickets directly through their Events. This is huge because it makes it a lot easier for consumers to purchase tickets to your shows. Nobody wants to catch wind of an exciting concert and then dig around a bunch of different websites for a ticket. The underlying principle is that you want to make consumers exert minimal effort.

This principle applies to your website design. If you bury your songs under a “Music” tab, you’re forcing the people who visit your site to click at least once to find your material. That sounds like nothing, but it makes a difference. Regardless of which streaming platforms you’re on—Bandcamp, SoundCloud, Spotify—make sure to embed your newest music prominently on your homepage. This way, when someone visits your site, they don’t have to lift a finger in order to hear your music.

15. Get interviewed.

Generally speaking, people will listen to anything that sounds good. Unfortunately, we, as a society, have a nasty habit of supporting artists who do bad things in their personal lives simply because their songs are catchy. 

That being said, music listeners really love artists who make great music and demonstrate some kind of moral compass. Getting interviewed—whether it’s on camera at a festival or in print on a website—is your best chance to show people how awesome and likable you are. 

Even if someone has never heard of your band before, one fantastic interview could be all it takes to convince them to give your new single a spin.

16. Take your time.

Justin Mares and Gabriel Weinberg are two dudes who wrote a book titled Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth. Their principal argument is that most startups fail because they dedicate all their time and resources to product development, neglecting to develop their core distribution channels. These companies go to market with a shiny new product and have no mechanisms for building a customer base.

The music industry equivalent is a band that drops an album before anyone has ever heard of them. It’s understandable, of course. The creative energy is high and you’re cranking out the best material of your life—that’s awesome. But, unless you generate a healthy amount of buzz with some killer lead singles (and perhaps an EP), your debut album release is going to be a disappointment. 

Take your time and build up a library of stellar songs that could fill three albums. Keep the momentum going while you gradually release songs and let the hype build.

Start your music marketing campaign

The first thing you have to think about when putting together your marketing plan is this:

  • What is your core goal?

It’s essential that the most successful and long-lasting campaigns start locally and build globally, and that no matter how grand the overall goal is, it makes sense for all artists to attack this goal on a per-project basis. A typical music marketing plan looks at the lifecycle of one record (which could end up being more than a year of well-performing release).

For traditional record labels, the goal was easy: sell records. Labels have the infrastructure in place (distribution and marketing, mostly) to replicate past marketing plans with slight adjustments based on the individual characteristics and existing fan base of the particular band they are working with.

Independent artists that do not have a label’s built-in promotion and distribution mechanisms must be more detailed with their plans. For example, the core goal of using their new release to expand their fan base. A band that was formerly signed to a label might be interested in tapping into the national or international marketing inroads that their former label made.

This plan might have the goal of connecting with past supporters of the band to sell an independent release. It’s essential to have a long-term vision in terms of creating a working marketing plan, you need to consider the stage you are at in your career and be realistic about what is possible for you.

6 inspiration tips for a song

At times artists, musicians and songwriters need inspiration for songs. Use your own life story or someone elses life story to inspire others. I give you 6 inspiration tips for a song.

Make a song about:

  • Self-realization / Self development
  • Appreciation / Self respect / Respect for others
  • Recognition / Acknowledgement
  • Social contact / Belong to a social group
  • Safety / Security / Certainty
  • Oxygen / Food / Drinks / Sleep / Sex

5 reasons why artists care about what others think of them

Getting feedback from your environment.

  1. Feedback doesn’t tell something about yourself, it says something about the person who gives the feedback
  2. Feedback which is strategically useful is something you save
  3. You will get criticism
  4. Criticism hurts when it’s a reflection of what we believe in
  5. Ask yourself what is more important

10 tips that will reduce your stress

Stress is not good for our health. It has damaging risks on your body and mind. Therefore it’s important to look at things to reduce your stress. How can you reduce your stress?

– Don’t call stress stress. Most of the time we tell ourselves we stress, if we keep on calling it stress then we feel the stress. So it’s important to call it something else like overwhelmed. Do you feel the difference in words?

– Do sports. Sports reduces your stress level. It keeps you fit and gives you positive energy.

– Walking (in nature). Our head tents to feel overloaded when we have stress. If we focus on nature our head feels less overloaded and is focussed on a few things around us.

– Focus on your hobbies. Work is our main stress factor. When we decide to focus on hobbies as well, we feel enlightened from the experience we have on work.

– Look for positive energy. During stress we feel negative. It’s not the most productive way to work. Therefore positive energy gives us a lot more. Focus on the positive things you’ve already reached.

– Talk to other people. Sometimes we don’t know the answer ourselves. It’s good to talk to other people instead. How do they reduce their stress?

– Take enough rest during the day. We are always running from one work spot to an other. It’s easy to do this, but in the mean time we don’t have relax moments to reflect. Reflection is a good way to see what you’ve already done and be proud of that. 

– Make to do lists. We’re stressing most of the time, because we think we have less time to do tasks at work. When we make to do lists, we can see if we use the time in a usefull and stress reduced way.

– Listen or play music. Music works therapeutically. On Spotify you have lots of music which makes you feel more relaxed and comfortable. 

– Is the stress realistic or not? We think we have stress, but most of the time it’s not realistic. We need to realize in the end we all do the best we can. And sometimes we don’t accomplish work deadlines. Is that really something we should stress over? We still are humans in the end.

And at last, ask for help if you need it.

10 Ways To Find The Music Career That Lasts

Do you wonder why music careers always fall apart? What pushes fans away? Are the expectations too high…or too low? How can you recognize dead-end music careers and stop wasting time on them? What are the signs fans will never commit? What are the red flags you should never ignore? What factors decide whether a music career succeeds or fails? What do fans want from an artist? What are the most common mistakes artists make? Why do fans lose interest?

And most importantly, what are the real reasons artists can’t find the music career that lasts?

1. Choose wisely.
I spent far too many years wondering why music careers always fell apart and artists couldn’t get anything to last. The answer was so obvious I felt like a fool for failing to see it all along: artists were choosing the wrong fans. The fans who wouldn’t or couldn’t give artists what they wanted. When I finally wised up and started with more of a purpose, with the aim of finding something long lasting. I cultivated: I want to see artists have a music career, not a music project.

2. A Music Career is amazing… but it isn’t a fantasy.
A music career won’t make all your pain and problems go away. It won’t erase the memory of all your old hurts and wounds, it won’t give you a healthy sense of self-esteem and it won’t open the gates of everlasting happiness and bliss. A music career can enhance your life in many ways, but it will never be perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect music career.

This one took me a while to fully grasp because like many people in the music industry, I fell for the popular ideology our culture perpetuates about the music career. I thought that with the right people in the music industry, it would all just work out and everything would be amazing. I thought this was enough. But it isn’t.

It’s also about timing (it has to be the right time for both the artist and the fan), fundamental compatibility, similar goals, and emotional maturity. A music career can be a beautiful, transformative thing, but not in a vacuum. A lot of other elements need to align, and you need to accept and embrace the fact that it will take work.

3. Sometimes you’re the problem.
Having a music career that won’t last for an extended amount of time can be for two reasons: you legitimately haven’t met the right fans, or you haven’t got the right music for the fan. I saw artists who ran into fans countless times. It took time before they go to their concerts.

4. Stop wasting time!
Oh what I would do to get back some of the time I’ve wasted over the years. If he / she won’t be your fan, if the fan won’t commit, if they treat you badly, if the fan doesn’t appreciate you, forget the fan. It seems so obvious, yet so many of us fail in this area. Why does it happen? Essentially, we see the potential and get enamored in thoughts of what could be. And we don’t see the fan as the problem, we think we need to try harder, we need to crack the fans code so we can get the fan to be the fan we want. It doesn’t work that way. Doing this usually causes more pain and is a huge waste of time.

5. Everyone makes mistakes.
When I talk about mistakes artists make in their career, a lot of artists will get hyper defensive and say I’m blaming them and it’s not their fault because all fans are jerks. That’s one way to look at things, but it’s not a very productive, helpful way to look at things.

The fact is we all need to understand how music careers work: the dynamics at play, what sets the foundation for an amazing music career, why some last, and why others don’t. It requires being open to the idea that you may be doing things wrong, and that’s OK! The biggest music career mistake that I see being committed, and I was once a major offender, is being too needy and expecting way too much out of a fan and a music career.

6. Self-Love is everything.
What keeps us in bad music careers isn’t that all fans are jerks or that music careers are so hard or that we’re unworthy or that all the good fans are taken. What keeps us in bad music careers is low self-esteem. When you don’t value yourself, you will accept and even welcome people who don’t value you into your life. You won’t see how wrong this is, how unacceptable this is. If you treat yourself badly, you will accept bad treatment from others. Self-love always comes before healthy music career.

7. The Chase is nonsense!
OK not total nonsense, it does kind of work. But it isn’t sustainable! The chase creates the illusion of confidence and leaves enough uncertainty to create the illusion of chemistry. Everything feels more dramatic and exciting when we don’t know how the other person feels. But a music career isn’t built on uncertainty. Yes, that can galvanize things, it can rouse interest, but you need something real in order for that interest to remain and deepen.

8. Fans lose interest for reasons you can’t see.
There are overt behaviors that push fans away, and there are covert ones … the latter causing a lot more confusion than the former! It can really hurt when a fan who seemed so into it at first does a complete 180 seemingly out of the blue and it’s hard not to take it personal.

This usually happens for visceral reasons you can’t see, but that they can feel, and usually comes from too much stressing. Stressing over a music career usually ruins it. As does getting attached to a certain outcome. When you expect a serious music career to unfold with a fan, then you lose something if the music career ends. When you can just go with it, you only have something to gain.

9. It doesn’t matter what you say, it’s the way you say It
I used to be a terrible communicator. No, scratch that. I was able to effectively communicate in certain settings. My direct, no-nonsense, intellectually thought-out and unemotional way of speaking served me well in terms of my career, but it didn’t do me many favors when it came to my music career.

Communication is a huge determining factor in whether a music career will survive or fail. You have to learn how to speak in a way so the other person hears you, otherwise you’re just wasting your breath and getting nowhere.

10. Artist and Fans mutual interest are different
They also need different things in a music career. Fans primarily need to feel appreciated for who they are and what they have to give. They need to feel like winners. If they don’t, then they won’t want to be involved in the music career for very long. You’ll notice in most cases that the fan says the reason it ended is he no longer felt appreciated.

Fans need to feel like the fan, they need to be respected for what they provide (this does not only mean material items).

How To Get Signed by a Label

Today we’re going to look at how to get signed by a label. If you’ve ever had dreams of signing to a record label and have them propel you to fame and fortune, this is a must-read guide. In it we’re going to look at two often overlooked truths of getting a record deal, as well as what it takes to get someone to sign you in this day and age.

How To Get Signed by a Label
Before we look at how to get a record deal, I want to quickly look at the reality behind getting signed. While getting a record label on board with your music career can be great and give you the resources to take your music to the next level, there are two key things you need to think about before signing anything:
– Having a record deal isn’t an instant path to success. In fact, some record deals could actually hinder progress in your career. It’s important you get someone who knows what to look out for to look over any contract before you sign it.
– Even if you’re signed, you should still pay attention to the way your music career is run. You should also be in the loop as to how you are being promoted, and be given some creative control.

Now I’m not saying this to scare you or turn you off getting a record deal. That said, it’s important you know that not every deal will be suitable for your personally. It’s important you get in your head a clear idea of what you’re looking for in a deal before you sign anything and be aware that getting signed isn’t a magic pill that will mean overnight success. Just because you get a record deal, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to “make it”. There are a lot of different types of deals you can sign; some are good, some are bad.

Similarly, if you end up signing to the wrong label, your deal could actually do more harm than good. They could end up completely changing the direction of your music (for the worse), or they could hold back your album and never release it at all. We’ll look more at this later in this guide.

With regards to the second point, it’s important that you have a good base knowledge of music marketing. That said, and believe it or not, record labels don’t always get it right. They may not fully understand what your market wants, or even why any existing fans have taken to you in the first place. Without this knowledge, they run the risk of alienating your existing fans, and attracting new fans that will never be as diehard as the current ones.

If this happens and your sales don’t do well, you will get dropped and be back to square one. Your original fans will have gone, and your new fans that were only there for “the next big thing” have moved on to liking someone else. Some artists are signed on recommendations or referrals. While this is a good way to get your foot in the door, if the label is clueless as to what to do with you (and this does happen), you stand to gain very little from being on the label.

Because of this, it’s important to follow along with what any label is planning for you, and have the knowledge to see when something is being done wrong. From here, you can hopefully work with the label to get your promotional campaign on a better path. Understanding the fact that a record deal won’t mean instant success and that you’ll still need to get involved in the marketing side of things, you’ll be able to negotiate a much better deal when that time comes. And who knows, you may even decide you don’t need one if you’re doing well for yourself.

The harsh reality is that sometimes labels will sign you and then do nothing to help you with your music career. If you don’t know how to market yourself, how to book a tour, or how to grow your fan base, you will eventually be dropped from the label.

How To Get A Record Deal Worth Signing
How to get a record deal. I’m sure if you’ve read any other guides on this subject, they’d suggest you send your demo into record labels and it’ll all get going from there. Now I’m not sure if you’ve tried this or not, but I can tell you one thing now: Unless you’re already established in your genre, this is largely a waste of your time. Unsolicited demos really don’t work anymore.

While this used to be a good way to get on the raider of record labels, the chances of this working these days is extremely slim. Record labels have become extremely picky over who they choose to sign, and generally only go on to give a deal to musicians who have a proven track record behind them. This could be in terms of how many units they have already sold, how much buzz they’re receiving in their chosen genre, or how much of a fan base they already have.

Putting all of these things into place and then approaching a record label is the most effective way to get signed. Forget all the “guides” that tell you how to get a record deal fast or how to get a record deal, below I’m going to break down what you really need to do to make things work for you and why.

At the end of the day, record labels are businesses. The reality is it’s become financially risky for them to sign unproven acts, and it’s expensive to train up newbie acts to become the complete package. But, they still need acts to make their business work. The solution for them? Save time and money by signing someone that’s already at least partly established in their scene. They won’t have to spend as much money to get this musician known, and if they already have experience performing and recording etc., they’ll waste fewer resources teaching them how to do this as well.

So, what am I getting at? How can you get signed? From what I’ve seen, the best way to get a record deal at the moment is to market yourself, build up your fan base, and start getting yourself out there as much as possible as an independent musician. It’s because of this that signing a deal shouldn’t be your main aim for now.

As I mentioned, the majority of people that get a record deal these days are people with a proven track record. As it’s unlikely you’re going to get signed before you’re established, you have to prove that you’re worth the investment before you get a deal. I know you may want a record deal so you don’t have to think about promoting yourself, but the truth is you will most likely have to market yourself initially if you want to get signed. This means it’s essential to learn at least a base level of marketing to gain any kind of success in today’s music industry.

Once you’ve learned how to market yourself, if you manage to get yourself a buzz in the underground scene in your chosen genre, you’ll find that record labels will start noticing you. You may want to send a demo in to potential labels at this point, but only if you’ve achieved a number of things already. This is because you’ll need to attach your musical CV alongside your demo, and if it doesn’t read very long or hasn’t got many standout points, there’s a lot less chance your demo will be taken seriously.

This stage of things isn’t truly essential however, as if you’re at the stage where you’re making a big noise in your genre, record labels will find you. They may not approach you initially, as they often scout people out and watch them over a period of time before they decide whether or not you’re right to join them. Because of this it’s important that you leave clear details of where people can catch you performing live and what you’re doing on your music website.

Make Music That Matches The Record Deal You Want
While this may sound obvious when said out loud, sometimes this is a point that needs to be stressed. If you want to get signed, you need to think about the kind of music you’re making. For example, if you’re making songs with explicit content or themes that aren’t very mainstream, don’t expect to be signed to a mainstream record label. There are some decent sized labels that may still be able to cater to you and your needs, but there are also a lot of labels that won’t.

If your aim is to get a record deal, you need to look at what labels are already out there, and who are some of the acts they’ve already signed. If there’s a record label that already has an act like you, this could either be a positive or a negative. It’s positive as they already market the kind of music you create, but it’s a negative in that they’ve already got a “you”. So why would they need another you?

Ideally, you’ll want to look for labels that cater to your genre and ideal fan base, but that haven’t already got someone doing what you do. This is the best scenario to be in, as the last thing you want to be doing is competing for attention with your label mate. And if your label decides to promote them more over you? You could be left in the dirt. Getting on the right record label is all important, as only the right record label can give you the right record deal.

Become The Kind Of Artist Labels Want To Sign
We’ve now covered the basics of getting signed to a label. But what are labels truly looking for? What makes them go, “yes, we must sign this artist”? This goes back to what was said earlier about having a proven track record. But you might not be entirely clear on what that means, so let’s delve deeper. I’m going to be sharing five keys to getting signed as an independent artist. But know that each of these items are closely linked together, and are inseparable from each other. You can’t work on just one and expect to make it – you must work on everything.

Your Branding Needs To Be Stellar
Many artists struggle with this, and that’s because it isn’t easy to put together. You need to think like a businessperson, and bring your image and your music into perfect alignment. When it comes to your logo and graphics, the font, colors, and shape all need to be chosen carefully. These are the same brand elements you’re going to be using everywhere (i.e. on social media, emails, posters, etc.), so they better be on-point with your musical identity.

Another important element to your brand is your story. You need to think about what your mission and vision is as an artist, and craft a compelling story around it. This is the central place from which all communication and marketing needs to flow. You also need to define your audience. This is something you can begin to figure out as you grow your social media followers, and perform and tour more, but you need to start collecting audience data immediately. And don’t stop at demographics – age, location, gender, and so on. Dig deep. Make note of their preferences for fast food, fashion, beverages, and so on. This also extends into what you wear, how you carry yourself, what you say to people, and so on.

You Must Release New Music Continually
You will also need to invest in the best engineering and production you can afford. This may not be much at first, but you need to make it your goal to get into better and better studios, and work with better producers as you are able. But keep in mind – you don’t have much time to waste in the studio, because the moment your release is ready, you’re going to need to go on a radio and tour blitz. You’ll learn more about that below, but if you’re going to be touring every year, you can’t afford to spend more than a couple of months in the studio.

You Need To Get On The Radio
Forget mainstream commercial radio, because your chances of being played on it are next to none. But community and college radio represents a major opportunity for independent artists, and if you work hard, you’ll even rank in the charts. The major labels essentially control the radio, so they will pay attention to acts that are breaking through despite the controls they’ve put into place. But don’t worry about that. Just focus on getting played at as many stations as possible so you can tour through those towns.

You Need To Perform Tour Like Your Career Depends On It
And make no mistake – if you’re hungry for that record deal – your career does depend on it. Get your butt out there. Record, get on the radio, perform. Record, get on the radio, perform. Increase your circle of influence every year.

You Must Build Your Fan Base
This means growing your social media followers into the thousands and even tens of thousands. And we are talking about legit followers here – you can’t just pay a service to boost your numbers, as any marketer worth their salt will see right through that. So, make it your goal to increase your followers with every show you play. Yes, you will need to be proactive in drawing attention to your social media profiles.

Sign On The Dotted Line
Does the above seem time-consuming, expensive, difficult, or even unreasonable? Perhaps so. But we are firmly in the DIY age, and labels aren’t going to take any chances on artists that don’t have their stuff in a group. What you need is proof, and a string of releases, tours, radio play, and a large social following are all signals to labels that you’re ready for the big time.

Record labels can make for great partners. But that’s what you should see them as – a partner. Not as an express ticket to stardom. In an ideal world, signing to a label would foster meaningful collaboration between the two parties. Sadly, it doesn’t always work that way.

Important: Not All Record Deals Are Made Equal
One thing you need to remember is not all record deals will be good for you. “Getting a record deal” and “getting a good record deal” are two completely different things. Don’t be too quick to sign anything just because someone offers you a deal.

While it’s not as easy as it once was to get signed, it is still possible. You may have to go about it in a different way and take a more hands-on approach before you get signed, but it will make you more knowledgeable as a musician. This will in turn help you get a better deal, and be able to guide your music career in a more beneficial manner. While having a record deal isn’t essential to do well as a musician, having a decent budget and resources available to you can definitely be beneficial.

25 Little Changes To Make Your Day Exciting

I admit it, I’m a change addict. I love new cities, apartments and friends. This can be both a strength and a weakness.

On the one hand, I never shy away from a new experience or opportunity. On the other hand, it takes a strong effort for me to stick with anything once the novelty wears off.

So today I started thinking about all the ways I can make a day exciting without changing any of the big things that need to stay constant if I’m to make progress on my larger goals. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Start the day with a blank piece of paper and the question: “What if today were my last?”

Write down what you’d do differently and then try to do at least five of those things.

2. Wear something much bolder than you usually do.

This gives people the opportunity to see you in a new light, which means they may interact with you differently.

3. Take a different path when you walk to work.

Maybe you’ll pass a restaurant you’d like to try sometime or a gym that’s offering free classes.

4. If you drive, park your car a mile away and take the bus the rest of the way.

I did this one time and met a stranger on the bus who I became friends with. Well worth the detour!

5. If you take public transportation for your commute, make the time meditative or educational.

Practice deep breathing, listen to soothing music, or download an audio book for the ride.

6. Bring your camera and take pictures of things that catch your eye throughout the day.

You’ll notice a lot more than you usually do—and new people will likely talk to you to figure out what you’re doing.

7. Change your workspace.

Bring new pictures and candles, or move your desk if you’re able. Rearranging furniture always makes my space more exciting.

8. Start collecting something you often see throughout the day.

It will make the whole day more interesting if you have your eyes peeled for rare coins, specific pens, and odd food labels.

9. Make it a goal to talk to five people you don’t know.

And I mean real conversations. Ask them what they do on the weekends, what their favorite memory is, and whether or not they like spam. (Okay, the last one is less interesting, but I think it says a lot about you if you eat unidentifiable lunch meat.)

10. Commit to complimenting everyone you encounter on something.

Sometimes it will be easy; sometimes it will be challenging. Every time it will brighten someone’s day and fill you with joy.

11. Take a class during your lunch break.

Head to the gym, learn to do pottery, start guitar lessons. You can always eat a sandwich at your desk later.

12. Eat lunch at a different time than usual.

You never know what you’re missing in the office when you head out at the same time every day.

13. Make lunch and bring enough for two people.

Then offer some to someone in your office.

14. Give yourself a challenge.

Maybe it’s to find a lower car insurance rate or talk to someone you secretly admire. I get a big kick out of little victories like these.

15. Read about a topic that’s completely new and interesting to you.

Then start a conversation about it. It’s always fun to share a new passion, especially if the other person gets excited, too.

16. Learn ten new words from a thesaurus and then use them all twice during the day.

Maybe I’m just a dork but I get excited about stretching my vocabulary!

17. Practice mindfulness during a boring activity.

In Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh’s book The Miracle of Mindfulness, he explains how he stays fully present when washing the dishes—and enjoys it. Anything can be interesting if you get curious about how it works.

18. Count risks.

See how many (smart) risks you can take throughout the day, like accepting a difficult assignment or committing to something you’ve never done before.

19. Say yes to everything.

In the movie Yes Man, Jim Carrey said yes to absolutely everything, even an intimate moment with someone’s grandma. I’m not suggesting you go to that extreme, but you’ll likely have an exciting day if you say yes to most things you’re asked.

20. Commit random acts of kindness.

You’ll get a warm fuzzy feeling and you’ll create some good karma for yourself. You never know when that kindness will come back to you and open up your world.

21. Bet on things.

Once on The Office everyone bet on stupid things, like how long it would take Kelly to explain Netflix to Ryan, or whether Creed would notice they replaced his apple with a potato. If you’re pulling an all-nighter, this could be a fun way to hold onto your sanity.

22. Set up a profile on a dating site (if you’re single).

I was on Tinder for a while—don’t laugh—and I have to admit I kind of watched my app like a kid counting down ‘til Christmas.

23. Ask someone to come out to play.

Kids are always willing to jump around, get messy, and give get their blood pumping. You still have legs and endorphins—tap into that. Play basketball after work, go bike riding, or spend some time on the swings.

24. Learn something new during all your routine activities.

When you buy coffee, ask the barista how long the shop has been there. When you make copies, pay attention to how the machine works.

25. Swap apartments with a friend for a night.

Assuming you trust each other, why not? A change of scenery can work wonders; and it’s always fun to see how someone else lives.

I once read that intelligent people are never bored because they’re always curious. You’re smart—start exploring! If you keep your mind engaged and fresh during your downtime, you’ll have far more passion and focus when it’s time to get productive. And equally important, you’ll enjoy more of the minutes that would otherwise just pass by.

10 Things That Killed Musicians their Motivation and How They Got It Back

Motivation is central to creativity, productivity, and happiness. Motivation is what causes us to act, and when we act, we create movement, growth, and change; we feel involved, masterful, and significant; we feel powerful through experiencing how we can change the world; and we create more of what we love in our lives. And all of this gives our lives purpose and happiness.

Demotivation Is Like Snow
It’s said that Eskimos have multiple words for snow. It’s so familiar to them, they can appreciate the subtle differences between the varied types. These distinctions let Eskimos respond differently to different types of snow, depending on the challenges and opportunities that each particular type of snow presents.

Most of us have just one conception of demotivation, which means that whenever you’re unmotivated, you’re likely to assume that you’re struggling with the same problem. The truth: Demotivation is a category of problems, containing many variations. When you have just one kind of demotivation, you’ll apply the same old strategies whenever you feel unmotivated. For many musicians, those strategies look like this: set dreams, push harder, create accountability checks that will push you, and run your life using to-do lists. These strategies are ineffective with most types of demotivation, and in some instances they can even make you more unmotivated.

At its essence, demotivation is about not fully committing to act, and there are many reasons why you might be in that position. Having more ways to categorize your demotivation will help you identify the real reasons for your unwillingness move forward. Then, you can pick the right tools and strategies to help you get motivated again.

Here are 10 types of demotivation and the strategies that I found while working with musicians, their motivation and how they got it back:

1. You’re Demotivated by Fear
When you’re afraid, even if you’re entering territory that you’ve chosen to move into, a part of you is determined to avoid going forward. Fear slows you down and makes you hesitant and careful, which can be beneficial to you, but sometimes your fears are based on your imagination rather than on an accurate assessment of the risks in your reality. If your fear is big enough, even if you’re also excited to go forward, the part of you that wants to keep you safe can successfully prevent you from going forward into territory that’s both desirable and safe.

How to get motivated again: To get motivated, you need to deal with your fear. Start by naming your fears so that they’re out in the open. Remember to say a gentle “thank you” to your fears–they’re trying to protect you, after all. Then question your fears: “Why am I afraid of that happening?” “What are the chances that would really happen?” Some of your fears will slip away now. Look at the fears that are left. What are they telling you about the research you need to do, the gaps you need to fill, and the risk management strategies you need to put in place? Honor that wisdom by building it into your plan. Finally, consider breaking down the changes into smaller steps and focusing on just the next few small steps–this will calm your fears.

2. You’re Demotivated by Setting the Wrong Dreams
Martha Beck has a great model for understanding motivation. She explains that we have an Essential Self and a Social Self. Your Essential Self is the part of you that’s spontaneous and creative and playful, the part that knows what’s most important to you. Your Social Self is the part of you that has been developing since the day you were born, learning the rules of the tribe and working hard to make sure that you’re safe by making you follow “the rules.”

We’re all surrounded by so many messages that feed into our Social Selves and we’re keen to impress our tribes. When you feel unmotivated, it’s because you’re setting dreams based purely on what your Social Self wants and this is pulling you away from the direction your Essential Self wants you to take. Your Essential Self uses demotivation to slow you down and to detach you from the toxic dreams you’ve set.

How to get motivated again: Take some time to review your dreams. Since your Essential Self is non-verbal, you can easily access your Essential Self through your body. Notice how your body responds as you think of each of the dreams you’re trying to work on.

When your body (and particularly your breathing) shows signs of tightness and constriction, that’s a pretty good indication that you’re trying to follow toxic dreams. If you get a constricted reaction, scrap your current dreams and question all your stories about what you “should” do with your life. Notice what makes you smile spontaneously or lose track of time, and set dreams related to that stuff instead.

3. You’re Demotivated by Lack of Clarity
When you haven’t consciously and clearly articulated what you want, your picture of your future will be vague. We like what’s familiar, so we resist what’s unfamiliar and vague and we stay with and re-create what’s familiar to us. If you’re not clear about what you want to create, then it makes sense that you’ll lack motivation because you’d rather stay with your current familiar reality.

How to get motivated again: If you want to create something different from what you’ve been experiencing, it’s not enough to just know what you don’t want. You need to know what you do want, and you need to articulate a clear and specific vision of what you want to create so that you can become familiar with that new outcome and feel comfortable moving toward it. Take some time to articulate what you want and why you want it.

4. You’re Demotivated by a Values Conflict
Your values are what’s important to you in life. If you have a values conflict, it means that there are two or more values that are important to you but you believe that you can’t satisfy all of those values in a particular situation.

This situation causes you to feel conflicted and pulled in different directions as you try to find ways to get what’s important to you. You might have brief spurts of motivation to work on something and then lose motivation and start working on something else, or your motivation might dry up altogether because the effort of dealing with internal conflict quickly tires you out and saps your energy.

How to get motivated again: You need to unpack your values conflict and play mediator. You have to get the parts of you that are advocating for different values to play on the same team again. Start with acknowledging the internal conflict.

Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle so that you have two columns. Write about the two different directions you feel pulled in, one in each column, and summarize it with a statement of what each part wants.

Now, pick one column and chunk it up: “Why does this part want that? What does it hope to get as a result of having that?” Keep asking the questions and writing your answers until you feel that you’ve hit on the result that this part of you ultimately wants. Now do the same for the other part, and notice when you get to the level where the answers in the two columns are the same.

Ultimately, all of the parts of you always want the same thing, because they’re all you. Now that you know what you really want, you can evaluate the strategies that each part had been advocating for and decide which strategy would work best.

Often, once you’re clear on what you really want, you spot new strategies for getting it that you hadn’t noticed before. Sometimes by doing this exercise you’ll find ways to satisfy all of your values, but sometimes that’s not possible. If you’ve taken time to think through your values and you’ve consciously chosen to prioritize a particular value over your other values for a while, this clarity will ease the internal conflict and your motivation will return.

5. You’re Demotivated by Lack of Autonomy
We thrive on autonomy. We all have a decision-making center in our brains, and this part of us needs to be exercised. Studies have found that this decision-making center in the brain is under-developed in musicians who have depression and that if you practice using this part of the brain and making decisions, depression often clears.

In the book Drive of Daniel Pink, he writes about the research that shows that when it comes to doing creative work, having some autonomy to decide what we do, when we do it, how we do it, and whom we do it with is core to igniting and sustaining motivation, creativity, and productivity.

How to get motivated again: Consider how much autonomy you have in relation to the dreams you’ve been trying to pursue. Are there areas where you feel constricted and controlled? Consider how you could gradually introduce more autonomy in your task, time, technique, location, and team, and then, if you’re employed, have a discussion with your manager and ask for greater autonomy in a few specific areas of your work.

6. You’re Demotivated by Lack of Challenge
Challenge is another crucial ingredient for motivation that authors like Daniel Pink and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, highlight. When it comes to dealing with challenges, there’s a sweet spot. Too great a challenge, and the fear becomes too great and saps our motivation (see point 1), and if the challenge is too small, we quickly get bored and struggle to stay motivated. We’re designed to be living, growing creatures, and we need constant challenges and opportunities to master new skills. Without challenges, our Essential Self steps in and demotivates us as a way of telling us that we’ve departed from the path that’s right for us.

How to get motivated again: Review your dreams and the projects you’re working on. Are they challenging you? Are they going to require you to grow in order to achieve them, or are you treading water in your comfort zone, doing only the things you know you can do? Try tweaking your dreams to make them a bit more challenging, take on projects that will require you to grow, and find a new thing or two to learn to stimulate yourself.

7. You’re Demotivated by Grief
At the beginning of any change, we go through a phase of wondering if we should or could hang on to the way things were and grieving what we’ll be losing if we make significant changes. Confusion, self-doubt, mistrust of the world around us, and feeling lost are common symptoms, and the bigger the change, the more powerful these symptoms. Sometimes we even go through a bit of depression and social withdrawal. Martha Beck calls this phase the “Death and Rebirth” phase of change in her book Finding Your Own North Star. With all the grieving and fearing and feeling lost that go on in this phase, it’s normal for your motivation to dry up.

How to get motivated again: If you’ve just experienced a trauma or loss, or you’re going through a major change and finding that there are days where you’re hit hard with Death and Rebirth symptoms, don’t try to make yourself motivated and proactive. You can’t rush grieving or the undoing of your old life and ways of thinking, and you can’t skip the Death and Rebirth phase and go straight into Dreaming and Scheming.

You need to give yourself a lot of space for nurturing and reflection. Look after your body with good food, rest, and exercise. Express your grief, confusion, and fears with people who can listen lovingly. Spend time in nature and with calm, loving people to center yourself. Accept every feeling and thought you have–they’re all normal and safe.

Take one day at a time and go easy on yourself. Confusion, forgetfulness, and clumsiness are all normal in this stage. The grieving will end when it’s ready, and if you relax into it and express your grief, it’ll be sooner rather than later.

8. You’re Demotivated by Loneliness
This is an especially important one for those of us who work alone from home. You know those days when you feel a bit cabin-feverish, you just don’t feel like working, and you’d rather be out having a drink with a friend or playing a game of soccer? Well, perhaps it’s because we’re designed to be social creatures and sometimes your Essential Self is just longing for some connection with other people. Your Essential Self hijacks your work motivation so that you’ll take a break from work and go spend some time with other people.

How to get motivated again: Take a break and go spend some time with someone you enjoy. You may be surprised at the motivating impact this has and find yourself much more clear and productive when you return to your work. And then look for ways that you can begin to build more networking and joint venturing into your work.

9. You’re Demotivated by Burnout
I attract overachieving Type A’s, and, as a recovering Type A myself, I know that sometimes we’re banging on about wanting to get more done even after we’ve exceeded the limit on what’s sustainable. If you’re feeling tired all the time, you’ve lost your energy for socializing, and the idea of taking a snooze sounds more compelling than the stuff you’re usually interested in, then you’ve probably pushed yourself too long and hard and you may be burned out.

Your Essential Self will always work to motivate you to move toward what you most need. So if you’re burned out and needing sleep, your Essential Self may even sap the motivation from the things that you’re usually really ignited about–just to get you to meet your core needs again.

How to get motivated again: Sleep. And then when you’re done sleeping and the quality of your thinking has been restored, check back in with your Essential Self about what’s most important to you. Start building sustainable ways to do more of what’s important to you.

10. You’re Demotivated By Fuzzy Next Steps
Your end-dream might be nice and clear, but if you haven’t taken time to chunk it down into smaller dreams, you’ll get stuck, confused, and unmotivated when it’s time to take action. Some projects are small and familiar enough that they don’t need a plan, but if you’re often worrying that you don’t know what to do next and you don’t have a clear plan, then this might be the source of your demotivation.

How to get motivated again: If you want to keep your motivation flowing steadily through all stages of your projects, take time to create clear project plans and to schedule your plans into your calendar.

Use your fears to point you to the potential risks you need to manage. Write down all of your “I-don’t-know-how-to” concerns and turn these into research questions. The first part of any planning stage is research, and you’ll find new research questions along the way, so realize that conducting research should be part of your action plan at every stage of your project. Finally, ask yourself what smaller dreams need to be achieved for you to achieve your end-dream, and schedule deadlines for yourself.

Dream-setting, planning, organizing, and accountability structures are often touted as the big solution to demotivation and the silver bullet that will get you creative and productive again. The truth, as you’ve learned: It’s a useful strategy for dealing with only some types of demotivation. Pinpoint your unique form of demotivation, and start to tackle it in a specific way.

How Famous Musicians Struggled Before They Hit The Spotlight

Living the rockstar life seems easy-peasy but little do we realize that a lot of blood, sweat, tears and hard work has gone into getting that coveted spotlight. Many famous musicians struggled plenty before making it big. Here are some of them and the stories of their hardship:

– Elvis Presley. It’s been ages since he passed away. But even today today, the very name of Elvis Presley makes $55 million in a year. But he wasn’t so fortunate when he first started out. After his very first performance, his manager fired him and advised him to go back to driving a truck since he felt Elvis was not talented enough for the music industry.

– Kailash Kher. At present, he has the whole country swooning to his melodious voice, but Kailash Kher has had his fair share of struggles. Before his major break through, Kailash Kher lived on a railway platform in Mumbai. He ran away from his house and learned music from 15 different teachers before moving to Mumbai, where he lived a life he could never imagine.

– The Beatles. Who can ever forget the infamous dialogue by John Lennon that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus, but when they started out, they faced a lot of problems. In fact, a recording label went ahead and said, “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” Disagree much?

– Asha Bhosle. Today, she has given her voice to over 12000 songs, however, when she started out, things were not easy. In a candid interview she said, “No one helped me. I would go begging for work. It was not easy as I had no godfather or someone to help me. A lonely person tends to make mistakes, it is always better to have someone to guide you. I had no one.”

– Beethoven. In his younger days, he struggled with the violin. Even though his heart lay in composition, he found it hard to practice the violin and neglected his practices. Most of his teachers felt that he was hopeless and wouldn’t have a career in music composition. However, this turned for the better and he composed some of his best works despite having a hearing impairment.

– Sonu Nigam. Hailing from a lower middle class background, Sonu Nigam’s journey has been anything but easy. When he started out, he would stand outside music directors’ offices for hours without any food or water. He faced a lot of humiliation and had a lot of insecurities before getting his actual breakthrough.

– Jay-Z. As a young boy, Jay-Z always had big dreams for himself. He saw himself as a famous rapper, but the world did not agree. During his struggling days, he was refused a deal with almost all major labels. Everyone refused to sign him on. However, that didn’t stop him since he went on and started his own music label, Roc-A-Fella Records.

– Madonna. Before all the fame and glory, Madonna was just a high school drop out. After leaving school, she moved to New York city where she worked as a waitress at a Dunkin’ Donuts. But apparently, she didn’t last too long there. Not even one entire day.

– Mohit Chauhan. After getting his masters degree in Geology, Mohit denounced the 9-5 life and moved to Delhi to pursue music. Here’s where he formed Silk Route and enjoyed a fair amount of success before the band broke up. For a few years, he was out of commission until he made a comeback with the song “Guncha” in 2005 from the movie “Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh.

– Andrea Bocelli. Born with a poor eyesight, Andrea, an Italian classical tenor, recording artist and singer-songwriter, lost his eyesight at the age of 12. However, his setback didn’t stop him from chasing his dream. Because of his love for music, he was forced to moonlight as a piano bar performer before he was discovered at the age of 33.

There’s no doubt that musicians have to struggle a lot before making it big, but thankfully they all got there in the end.

Lil Wayne – Mess

There is always a bleary ballad on a Lil Wayne album, a foggy moment of reflection and empathy. He has a playlist’s worth of these tracks—“I’m Single,” “How to Love,” “Shoot Me Down,” “Tie My Hands”—and “Mess,” from Tha Carter V, deserves a slot on the best of “Tender Moments with Weezy.”

Over a distant loop of acoustic guitar and some small pings from a keyboard, he spills himself all over the track, mixing up double-time rapping with crooning and half-confessions with boasts and corny jokes. It isn’t quite a banger or a ballad, but something surprising in between. The song is, well, messy, but purposefully and excitingly so, sloshing over its own edges with Wayne’s unstable momentum.

Like he always does, he mixes metaphors and feeds clichés into a wood chipper, from “Put yourself in my shoes, but you gotta tiptoe” to “She don’t believe in ghosts till I get ghost,” but he moves lightly enough on the track to make it all blend together and dovetail. Forget Best Rapper Alive: Wayne, at his most thrilling, is the most musical rapper alive, and “Mess” taps back into that well.

Cardi B to make first awards show performance at AMAs since giving birth

Cardi B is making her comeback at the 2018 American Music Awards!

The rapper, 25, will be taking the stage at the Oct. 9 show, marking her first performance since welcoming daughter Kulture Kiari with husband Offset on July 10. She’ll be joined by Bad Bunny and J Balvin to perform their hit “I Like It,” PEOPLE confirms exclusively.

In addition, the AMAs will be Cardi B’s first awards appearance in the weeks since her now-infamous New York Fashion Week brawl with Nicki Minaj on Sept. 7.

Sixteen days after she delivered baby Kulture, Cardi B announced in late July she would not be performing on Bruno Mars’ tour in order to spend more time with her daughter and give her body more time to recover from the birth. The mother of one previously made her first event appearance as a new mom when she attended the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards in August. Cardi B opened the show with a short sketch but did not perform.

Cardi B is tied for the most nominations of the year with Drake as they both received eight nods. The pair will compete against each other in the show’s top category, artist of the year, along with Imagine Dragons, Post Malone, Ed Sheeran, and Taylor Swift. The star, who released her debut album Invasion of Privacy in April, is also nominated in the favorite new artist of the year, favorite female artist, pop/rock, and favorite artist and rap/hip-hop categories.

PEOPLE exclusively revealed that Carrie Underwood, Imagine Dragons, and Post Malone featuring Ty Dolla $ign will also be performing at this year’s show.

Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross will host the AMAs for the second consecutive year.

The 2018 American Music Awards, presented by YouTube Music, will broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Oct. 9 (at 8 p.m. ET) on ABC.

Don’t every give up on your dreams

Over the last 15 years Synergy For Music noticed a lot in the music industry. When musical artists and musicians come to Synergy For Music with their questions, they found a few things:

1. There is a lot doubt about what they should do
2. Therefore we asked them what they already have done
3. The doubt is keeping them from achieving their goal

Musical artists and musicians tell Synergy For Music after collaboration they found new energy, motivation and inspiration to take their career to the next level. They say they have never done so many actions to achieve their goal and see so many other possibilities.

Synergy For Music is committed to continuously thrive to create more clarity for those who need it. And yes, Synergy For Music is also constantly learning from their clients.

Don’t every give up on your dreams, the path to your dreams is more then worth it. And maybe even more beautiful then when you have reached your dream.

Christina Aguilera gives fans a peek at her first tour in more than a decade

Christina Aguilera is ready to “Accelerate” into her first tour in over a decade.

In an exclusive video, the “Genie in a Bottle” singer, 37, takes PEOPLE backstage as she prepares for her Liberation Tour, which kicks off Sept. 25 in Hollywood, Florida.

In one shot, the former The Voice coach sits and looks into the distance nervously. This is the singer’s first time going on tour since 2008 — and she says she is “thrilled” to get back on stage.

“I feel like a new artist again, which is so refreshing,” she told PEOPLE this summer. “It’s what I’ve been needing for so long. I don’t really have any expectations.”

In the exclusive video, the songstress is seen practicing both sensual and emotional choreography alongside multiple male and female dancers, in what looks like will be spectacle to watch during her tour. This week, the singer shared that she was adding the “finishing touches” to her tour, posting a photo of her getting her makeup done on Instagram.

Aguilera also told PEOPLE this summer that along with her dancers, her adorable daughter Summer Rain, 4, will be joining her on tour.

“She’s a mama’s girl and I’ll definitely be taking her on the road with me,” said the “Beautiful” singer of Summer. “She’s going to learn to see life through a different set of eyes.”

It was the birth of her daughter and her son Max Liron, 10, who encouraged Aguilera to take a small break from making music and coaching on The Voice so she could “have a stable, one-place, rooted environment for my kids.”

“But with any artist, that will run its course and feel stagnant. I was like, ‘Man, I won’t be of service to anyone if I don’t get back to who I am and what I love to do,’” the “Sick of Sittin” singer shared. “I said, ‘Mama’s got to hit the road again!’”

The behind-the-scenes video ends with Aguilera faintly asking her fans to “remember.” And how can fans not remember the five-time Grammy award winner’s most iconic songs and performances?

The Liberation Tour in the North America begins Sept. 25 and is set to end on Nov. 13. Fans can access tickets through Aguilera’s site.

Demi Lovato’s mother speaks about her daughter’s overdose for the first time

Watch here the whole interview:

Demi Lovato’s mother Dianna de la Garza has opened up about her daughter’s July overdose for the first time, speaking to Newsmax TV about her finding out, seeing Demi for the first time at the hospital, and Demi’s status today. de le Garza’s interview was also meant to raise awareness on the opioids crisis in the U.S. and was done with Demi’s blessing.

TMZ reported news of Demi’s condition before de le Garza found out, she said. “I literally start to shake a little bit when I start to remember what happened that day,” she started. “I was actually looking at my phone and all these texts started coming in. Just text after text after texts. And I thought, ‘What is going on?’”

The texts were from friends who had seen TMZ’s report, de le Garza recalled. “The first lines of these texts were saying, ‘I just heard the news, I’m so sorry, I’m praying for your family, I’m praying for Demi.’ I was in shock. I thought, what is going on? And someone said, ‘I just saw on TMZ. I’m so sorry. Please tell me it’s not true.’ And I mean, my heart just dropped. I didn’t know what I was looking at. And so I thought okay, I have to get on TMZ on Twitter and see what they’re saying. And before I could get on TMZ to see what they were reporting, I got a phone call from Demi’s assistant at the time, Kelsey.”

“And I answered the phone and Kelsey was rambling like she had obviously been through something terrible, and she said, ‘I need to tell you what’s going on. You’re going to see a report come out. Well, it’s already come out.’ And I stopped her and said, ‘Kelsey, just tell me what’s going on.’ And the next words that came out of her mouth are words that are so difficult to hear as a parent. She said Demi overdosed. So I was in shock, I didn’t know what to say. It was just something I never, ever expected to hear as a parent about any of my kids. And I hesitated to ask but I had to ask her, I just remember it felt like the words took forever to come out of my mouth. I said, ‘Is she okay?’ And she stopped for a second and she said, ‘She’s conscious, but she’s not talking.’ And so I knew at that point that we were in trouble.”

de le Garza had her other daughter Dallas drive her to the hospital where Demi was, saying she didn’t think she could drive herself. “[My daughters] Dallas and Madison and I jumped out of the car at the emergency room and ran into the emergency room to be by her side. She just didn’t look good—at all. She was in bad shape. But I said to her, ‘Demi, I’m here. I love you.’ And at that point she said back to me, ‘I love you, too.’ So from that point on, I never allowed myself to think things weren’t going to be okay.”

de le Garza said the family didn’t know “for two days if she was going to make it or not.” She credited everyone’s prayers and the team at Cedars-Sinai, the hospital Demi was at.

Today, Demi is seeking treatment and doing well. “I can honestly say today that she’s doing really well. She’s happy. She’s healthy. She’s working on her sobriety, and she’s getting the help she needs. And that in itself encourages me about her future and about the future of our family.”

Noah Cyrus to refund fans after GoFundMe scam

To be fair, she didn’t think anyone would actually take this seriously.

After listing a $12,000 bottle of tears on her merch site, Noah Cyrus probably didn’t think people were actually going to try to buy it. Well, someone tried really really hard. So hard, in fact, that Cyrus had to reimburse an entire GoFundMe campaign.

Following her very public, very melodramatic breakup with Lil Xan, Cyrus did what any smart business woman would do: Create an emotionally-charged merch line. However, her merch line, more specifically a $12K bottle of tears, has caused some trouble. To be clear, the tears were never real. The was never a bottle of Noah Cyrus tears. There probably never will be a bottle of Noah Cyrus tears. It was all a big stunt for social media and news outlets, like us, to latch onto.

However, the singer clearly underestimated the power of scammers and stans on the internet in 2018. If you attempt to buy the tears via the pizzaslime store, your money will automatically be put back into your account. However, user Sad Cyren decided to start a GoFundMe campaign that inevitably would avoid that nice little feature altogether, according to TMZ.


In just 15 hours, eight people donated to Cyren’s cause, bringing the total to $1,240. One person even donated $1,000. At this point, the GoFundMe campaign caught the attention of Cyrus and her team. The campaign is now closed and Cyrus has since offered to reimburse anyone that donated to the GoFundMe. Additionally, anyone who donated was offered a backstage pass to one of Cyrus’ shows.

Noah Cyrus sells her tears

Noah Cyrus (18 years old) collaborates with the clothing line Pizzaslime. She sells T-shirts with a picture of her father’s (Billy Ray Cyrus) face tattooed with the words “achy, breaks” and “Dang Flabbit”, “Noah Cyrus Tears” mugs and sweatpants with the words “Sadness”.

But she also sells a bottle of her tears for $12,000, because of her breakup with Lil Xan. Pizzaslime says: “This is approximately 12 tears made by Noah Cyrus as a result of sadness. Human digestion of these tears is not suggested cause tears are generally pretty salty and that would just be super f——— weird if you drank someone else’s tears.”

Hello Belgium

Always great to be working in Antwerpen, Hello Belgium!