It’s important to take look back at the basics when it comes to your music business as an artist. It allows you to think like a beginner again; back to when you could visualize the most possibilities. No matter where you are in your music career, the following pro tips will help move forward your career in the music business.
Write it down – on a piece of paper, in a dairy, on the wall. Just put your plan down and visualize daily. Studies have shown that physically writing things down not only helps in retaining the information better, but handwritten goals can bring clarity and focus. If you’ve already typed out your goals somewhere, rewrite them again on a piece of paper. You may come across new insights that can bring even more clarity and focus to your plan. Furthermore, you should be able to clearly articulate your goals so well that there isn’t the least bit of uncertainty or confusion when you’re out making progress towards your plan.
As music professionals, today, we’re all in the business of sales. For some, this can be a hard fact to swallow. After all, music is an art form – a transcendental language that breaks down language barriers across the world. However, it’s also a form of entertainment. In order to sustain ourselves as artists – as entertainers – we must be compensated for our time and effort. At the very least, the art needs to sustain itself. You must learn, understand, appreciate, execute, and learn to love sales. This applies whether you’re on stage, at a conference, or online – consider yourself always on the sales floor.
You’ve heard it time and time again: “It’s not about what you know, but who you know.” This is certainly true, but only to a degree as people you may know these will give little to no support for your craft. Just as important as whom you know in this business is what you can do for them matters as well. You shouldn’t be handing out business cards to every potential ally you encounter. You should first ensure that you have something of value to offer them as well. In a proper networking situation, a mutually beneficial exchange of resources occurs where both parties benefit from one another. If at first you seek to help others, and do so genuinely, you will gain leverage in earning what it is you’re after. Yes, while everything is sales as I mentioned above, it’s important to remember the art of “selling without selling” – to give in order to get.
In Africa, most label mangers have recognized that collaboration is a great spot for any good artist’s survival but unfortunately there’s little room for better partnership deals on the continent but the good news is that, all hope is not lost. In an ideal world, we’d all have large amounts of capital that we can allocate to pay top-quality help. This obviously is not the case, but sometimes money isn’t what is needed to gain the services we seek. If you can’t exchange dollars, exchange services. Either way, you’re building relationships and displaying a genuine desire to help the other person out.
Present yourself professionally in every medium that you exchange conversation or information with other professionals. I cannot stress this enough for young talents in Africa. From proper sounding voicemails, to practicing good email etiquette (well thought-out subject lines, following up, etc.), to wearing the proper attire to networking situations, it’s important to brand yourself as a professional in every situation you place yourself in. This also pertains on and offstage, as well. Also, educate yourself as a musician. Keeping up on your music industry news, you place yourself ahead of the curve of other would-be professionals in this business, and you position yourself amongst a crowd of legitimate industry professionals. By being informed, you not only are more likely to execute better business strategies, but you’ll always have proper and appropriate conversation to ignite in a networking situation