Every day I’m presented with bands looking for help. Invariably they’re all looking to generate buzz and awareness for their new projects. While that’s totally cool –who doesn’t want publicity?– it’s hard to explain that money spent doesn’t equal success.
For example, a band records their first album after a couple of decades playing together. Ultimately it’s the extension of a hobby. They’re older, have a bit more budget than kids starting out, so they recorded a disc together. That’s great! Lots of fun! But now they want more. They want it promoted to radio, publicized and trumpeted to the press. Oh, and they’re willing to pay for all of this to happen.
I explain that we can do this, that, and the other thing. We can create social media calendars, do some Facebook advertising, pitch a few dozen publications, and see what happens. They’re cool with that, and off we go.
Here’s the catch: lots of people release new music. Hundreds, if not thousands, of new albums get released every week. What’s going to make your record stand out?
And even if you got a dozen reviews, and a couple of thousand new fans on Facebook, what does that change? How does this change what you’re going to do with your burgeoning career?
The sad answer is that it doesn’t. Odds are if this was a hobby before, it’s just a better funded hobby now. So at the end of the day, you’ve gotten yourself nowhere.
Without sounding redundant –I’ve said this in books, blog posts, on panels, and to clients a million times– when you release a new project, you’re competing with every project that has ever been released. Whether it’s The Beatles, Bach, or Bobby McFerrin, you’re all fighting for space in the same crowded marketplace.
So you’ve got to do some soul searching. You’ve got to ask yourself:
Is my product is going to be competitive in the marketplace?
- Is there an audience for my music, and can I reach that audience?
- Am I taking all the necessary steps to ensure success?
- Am I overly reliant on others for the success of my project?
- What are the consequences if my project isn’t successful?
Don’t invest your life savings into a recording project. Don’t assume that extra effort on Facebook will make up for the fact that you have no website and don’t plan on performing or touring. Don’t substitute the efforts of hired gun marketers and publicists for a lack of hustle on your own.
The best person to make you successful is you. No excuses. No shortcuts.