Are You a Beggar or a Rockstar?

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Beggar or RockstarMost bands out there are looking for support. They want you to help them out, vote for them in a contest, go to their show, buy their CD.

By contributing to their cause you will get them far enough to get their big break. When they get their big break they will have made it and other people will be there to give them all they need and they’ll live happily ever after.

There’s just one small problem with that model: It’s an illusion that will keeps artists trapped until long after all of their dreams are gone.  It’s a fundamental misinterpretation of the way that money and value work. This strategy will no sooner make you successful then it will a beggar.

Money is just a lubrication in the exchange of value. Think about that for a minute. It doesn’t have any intrinsic value. It’s just a symbol. It’s a more advanced way of trading sheep. What the symbol stands for is value. If you’re going to have money, then you’re going to have to produce value in the world. You can’t game the system.

You need to focus on the value that you can give to people. Do you want to get people at your shows? Convince people that you’re going to give them something of value. You can get people to come to a gig or two out of obligation, but if they aren’t getting more in return than they are spending they’re going to stop showing up. It’s just not sustainable.

If your show costs $10 at the door, plus $5 to park and an hour or two of time on a Friday night it needs to be a show that’s worth $20+ and be the best thing someone could do that night. YOU are the first person who needs to believe this. THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS CANNOT BE OVERSTATED.

When you’re well-calibrated to what your fans value, you’re 100% convinced that going to your show on Friday night is the best thing that anyone could do, and that it’s worth 5x the cost of admission, then something amazing will start to happen. People will start to sense it. People will see it in your eyes and read it in your body language. The pictures you take will start to speak to people differently. It’s like sprinkling magic dust on everything you do.

People are repelled by those who want to get something from them, but attracted to people who they believe will give something to them – and when you give them something that’s worth far more than the cost, they will talk about it.

No one will ever come in and save the day by giving you your big break if you don’t first produce more value than what you ask for in return. This is the great illusion that runs rampant in the minds of starving musicians. If you’re waiting for someone to show up and give you your success then you’re going to be waiting forever.

So this is my challenge to you:
Eliminate the idea of charity or support as part of your strategy. Make “support” a dirty word. Don’t ask people to support your band. Don’t ask for favors. Instead, convince them that your band is the best thing that will ever happen to them. Your band will be the soundtrack to the best memories that they’ll ever have. $10 for your CD is the best bargain that they’ll ever find.

If you’re going to convince them of this then you’re going to have to convince yourself first.

This comes BEFORE you get your big break.

Don’t be a beggar.


Article by Scott James of The Independent Rockstar Blog.

2 thoughts on “Are You a Beggar or a Rockstar?

  1. Great idea. Can you post some examples? We watched our indie go go attempts fizzle the more we tried. I want to inspire, not beg. Thanks for this–some hardcore examples of what this looks like in practice would be awesome.

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