Mistakes Musicians Make

Career killing execution mistakes musicians make

When trying to take their career to the next level, there are common many musicians make. Keep these missteps in mind and you’ll stay on the path to success.

Execution is the art of getting things done. It involves adopting the right policies to help you close the gap between what you want to achieve and what you deliver. But many musicians fail to get to that next level of their careers. They create master plans to rule the world with ease, but they fall short with seeing these plans through effectively. What an unfortunate waste! As Ralph S. Larsen, CEO of Johnson & Johnson, said, “The best-thought-out plans in the world are worthless if you can’t pull them off.” What follows are five mistakes musicians make when executing their master plan.

  1. Failure to use reminder marketing techniques and multiple mediums

    Many artists send out one marketing communication before their show (e.g. an email two or three weeks before) and expect their fans to remember to show up. The result: they experience poorly-attended shows, which equals unhappy promoters, which equals missed opportunities. Look gang, you’ll get nowhere by believing that you’re at the front of your fans’ minds 24/7. To be successful, you must send out several notices, spaced-out evenly over two to three weeks before your gigs, and use a variety of mediums (postcards, phone calls, face-to-face selling techniques, etc.) to get the job done right!

  2. Failure to follow up

    It takes a lot more than just one email to that blogger to get a review of your album, or to a booking agent you’ve never met to secure that hot gig. Sometimes it takes calling back at a specific date and time as requested by a certain contact. Tenacity and patience in this regard are extremely important! No follow-up equals no gigs or reviews, which equals zero new fans and sales. That said, after sending off your initial correspondence (email, tweet, or whatever), follow up in a week if the intended receiver has not replied. Repeat this technique or attempt to use another means of communication (phone, letter, etc.) if necessary. Keep notes of your attempts in a spread sheet. And remember to always be nice in your correspondences – the world owes you nothing.

  3. Failure to delegate

    Many independent artists complain that pursuing a career in music is an overly daunting task and so they focus on looking for a manager to help. But remember that managers get paid a percentage of the money you make, and the last time I studied math, 20 percent of zero was zero. What incentive does a manager have to come on board? You must first learn how to delegate responsibilities across all band members. The drummer can be in charge of booking, the bass player might do all the social media, and the guitarist can be the one that seeks out music placements. If you’re a solo artist and don’t have other members to depend on, then you can enlist your super fans — those passionate fans who are willing to kill for you (everyone has at least one). So for the sake of clarity, to be successful, treat your music career as if it were a company with several departments all working toward a goal.

  4. Failure to measure your marketing efforts

    Many artists repeat the same promotional strategies without clearly knowing what is, and what is not, working. In other words, they have no systems in place to determine whether the social media ads they’ve placed or the postcards they’ve handed out are getting results. A simple question like, “How did you hear about us,” when communicating with fans can provide valuable data that can save you a great deal of time and money. Using services like Google Analytics to track the number of hits you get on your web pages can also provide useful information about your marketing effectiveness. Just remember that working hard is not enough. You must first work smart by constantly measuring and adjusting your marketing strategies.

  5. Failure to draft short-term goals

    While it is important to envision your future success, many artists fail to focus on smaller, one-year goals. As a result, they get overwhelmed, wander aimlessly, and sometimes even quit. So don’t just focus on being the next Dr Dre. Instead, focus on the first logical step on the way to being the next Dr. Dre (i.e. writing your own six-song record, releasing it, and building your email list to 5,000 new fans). Then, in the next year, you can focus on recording a second album, playing performances before an average of 500 fans, and producing two new clients. Eventually, with some luck, talent, and planning, you’ll reach you’re ultimate vision. Just remember this famous question: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!


music musiness basicsThe contents of this post are © 2015 by Bobby Borg BobbyBorg.com. All rights reserved. Not to be posted, printed, or used in any other way without proper attribution to Bobby Borg and Disc Makers.

Bobby Borg Is the author of The New Book Business Basics For Musicians: The Complete Handbook From Start To Success (Hal Leonard) available at www.bobbyborg.com/store. Limited time special offer – get the book, CD, and DVD for only $21.99 (a $70 Value)!

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14 thoughts on “Career killing execution mistakes musicians make

  1. THANK YOU FOR THE ROCKIN’ COMMENTS. LOVE YA!

    To be sure: Merriam Webster Definition: Medium

    1. a particular form or system of communication (such as newspapers, radio, or television)

    2. the materials or methods used by an artist

    3. something used to achieve an end

    4. a place or opportunity for communicating ideas and information <I think a blog might be a good medium for sharing your reviews of local restaurants

    Thank you,

    Bobby Borg
    http://www.bobbyborg.com

  2. ARTICLE DEFINITIONS AND USES:

    MERRIAM WEBSTER: Medium: 1) a particular form or system of communication (such as newspapers, radio, or television), 2) : the materials or methods used by an artist (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/medium).
    HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW: Advertising’s New Medium: Human Experience
    https://hbr.org/2013/03/advertisings-new-medium-human-experience

    2) HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW: Advertising Analytics: Impacting One Medium at a Time: https://hbr.org/2013/03/advertising-analytics-20

    3. HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW: Advertising’s New Medium: Human Experience
    https://hbr.org/2013/03/advertisings-new-medium-human-experience

  3. Ha, funny Garrett. But a medium is actually any conduit that a thing passes through to get somewhere. That usage is where psychic mediums (even large, medium and small sized ones) get their name in the first place. — Asided from errant, off topic coments – I liked the article, ignoring the typos and any other reader’s misconceptions. Good info, whether new to me or just a solid reminder. Cool.

  4. Garrett, your English lessons are not needed here. We get the point he’s making. Go teach in a school somewhere. Your grammar lessons aren’t of importance to this target audience.

  5. “Failure to use reminder marketing techniques and multiple mediums”
    Medium” is singular, media is plural, mediums are those who claim to connect with the spirit world.

    1. GARRETT, Please allow me to gently correct you my good friend. The term “medium” is commonly used in marketing discussions. A medium is an agency or means of doing something. Example: “using the latest technology as a medium for job creation.”

      MERRIAM WEBSTER: Medium: 1) a particular form or system of communication (such as newspapers, radio, or television), 2) : the materials or methods used by an artist (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/medium).

      HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW: Advertising’s New Medium: Human Experience
      https://hbr.org/2013/03/advertisings-new-medium-human-experience

      2) HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW: Advertising Analytics: Impacting One Medium at a Time: https://hbr.org/2013/03/advertising-analytics-20

      Garrett, UCLA Extension Online, Berklee Online, and eventually MI Online will offer classes in Marketing. It may be something you’d like to consider.

      All the best,

      Bobby Borg
      http://www.bobbyborg.com

    2. THANK YOU FOR THE ROCKIN’ COMMENTS. LOVE YA!

      To be sure: Merriam Webster Definition: Medium
      1. a particular form or system of communication (such as newspapers, radio, or television)
      2. the materials or methods used by an artist
      3. something used to achieve an end
      4. a place or opportunity for communicating ideas and information <I think a blog might be a good medium for sharing your reviews of local restaurants
      Thank you,
      Bobby Borg
      http://www.bobbyborg.com

      Read more: Career Killing Mistakes Musicians Make – Disc Makers http://blog.discmakers.com/2015/03/career-killing-execution-mistakes-musicians-make/#ixzz3WbSMFI3V

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