Spinning your wheels is not the recipe for a sustainable music career. Pay attention to the business details and recognize the difference between working hard and working smart.
I am often asked the question, “What inspired you to create Artist Growth?” Usually, I begin by talking about a need I recognized for a better management application that artists and their teams could use to keep their business organized and efficient.
That answer satisfies most people, but in truth, the genesis of the company is tied much more closely to my own story as a working independent artist and how difficult it was to create a true livelihood playing music.
I haven’t been on stage in almost three years, and looking back, the most powerful realization that I’ve had about my years as an independent artist isn’t that I failed to build a sustainable music career. The fact is, I never really tried.
Yes, I played shows all over the country. Yes, I sold albums and merch, built a website, used social media, and tried to grow my fan base. At the time, I thought I was working as hard as any musician on earth.
In reality, I was spinning my wheels. I had no business plan. I didn’t pay attention to every penny that was earned or spent. I didn’t track or compare performances across cities and venues. And to be honest, I didn’t care. It was all about the art for me, and I didn’t want anything to do with business.
I figured that someone would come along and take care of the business parts once I had enough buzz and fans. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The only way I was going to be able to build the fan base I wanted was by paying attention to these details.
My perspective on “building a business” drastically shifted when I had a child. I had to face a reality: if I couldn’t make a living and support a family with music, then I’d have to give up and move on, and that was not an option I was open to.
These days, when I meet artists who have really great music and are just starting out, it’s the number one thing I tell them: “Build a story that someone will want to invest in. Pay attention to the business details. Don’t wake up 10 years from now just to realize that you’ve been spinning your wheels when you could have been making real progress.”
Image via ShutterStock.com.
Matt Urmy became obsessed with creating software that could help artists manage and build their careers, and that’s how Artist Growth was born. The goal of AG’s platform is to make business management so easy that artists can take charge and truly have a shot at building a sustainable career independently, while devoting most of their time to their creativity.
Burned out? Maybe it’s time to pause and refill the well.
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