Breaking through and making it doesn’t mean what it once did in our industry…
In the modern music business, all you need is a loyal group of supporters to create your paradise, doing what you love full time-on your own terms.
There are certain rules and principles that have been proven, and once you learn and adopt those rules you will begin to transform your mindset and approach and ultimately liberate your music business. We’ll be talking more about those later.
Even 1,000 True Fans-in many cases, is more than you’d need …
Several hundred avid supporters that you build a relationship with, actively engage, and take along your journey is more than sufficient to make a full-time living, given you follow some proven principles, and overcome your bundle of inevitable obstacles.
Now it’s not just the few lucky Rockstars that everyone used to fantasize about being, but a proven vocational option, and a practical career path available to any committed Artist willing to do the work.
But their’s also a couple new challenges to go with these new opportunities.
The fact is that we operate in a different industry than we had just several short years ago…
Traditional artists are struggling because they aren’t understanding the full scope of roles and responsibilities that must be embraced and managed to enjoy the additional opportunities available, as well as lack the clarity and focus around which next steps to take for cultivating their own music businesses liberation. (Full-time Freedom, creative control, fulfillment, harmony, full modern music career realization)
Artist Revolution Conundrum #2 = The Problem with reality that we’ve got to overcome:
Traditional Artist Development wasn’t Complete Music Business Development, and so there is a lot of essential training missing.
The fact is most artists don’t have any formal business training or entrepreneurial experience and this is making the gap between traditional artists and modern artists increasingly larger, is why artists are behind the power curve in terms of modern business skills, and why so many artists are setup to fail in an increasingly competitive global landscape.
This leads us into Traditional Musician Mistake #2: What we simply describe as INComplete Artist Development. A focus and attitude that dismisses the importance and interconnection between the other two dimensions of the complete music business. The Entrepreneurial. And The Personal/Self perspectives.
The errant mindset seduces us into ideas and thinking that can sound like… “If I just get better at my craft and learn how to play a better pentatonic scale…”
The only problem with this is that it ignores the fact that there are other skills to be developing and are an important dimension in every music career that aims for complete, 3dimensional success.
To be clear again, what we call Complete Success is achievement that occurs without coming at the expense of something else… Financial at the expense of your physical health or relationships, for example.
The cause of this mistake is woven into our very nature as both creative professionals and human beings. We want to express our creativity and do the things we love… and of course, resist doing the things that make us uncomfortable or cause us to face risk and fear.
To be completely candid – Artists are not and probably will never enjoy asking other people for money, or for the sale…
I know this because I am one.
It’s against our nature in many respects and that is exactly where we must look at and understand in order to truly take full control of our fate and financial security as modern music business owners.
This is a very risky blindspot that requires our attention and focus.
In Modern Musician Bootcamp we spend a good bit of time retraining our attitudes about what marketing and sales really are for us as content creators. Which inevitably just boils down to being clear communication. And good communication with the right skills and systems developed will result in sales and scalable growth.
The reason I’m so fixated on helping you achieve Modern Artist Enlightenment is because it truly does all begin or end in your mind. You have to get your mind right first. You have to pickup a few new skills and habits around this less familiar dimension before you can truly liberate your music career, and fully integrate all three pieces of your brand for long term- 3d success.
To Quickly Recap from Lesson #1: Artist Development in the Modern World is a CATCH 22. A paradox.
it takes time to develop yourself as an artist.
it takes time to build a fanbase.
it takes time to learn how to sell your art.
it takes time to learn what you need to learn.
it takes time to actually learn it.
it takes time to develop yourself as the leader of your career.
it takes time to develop a workflow and systems.
it takes time to understand and develop the roles and responsibilities.
Without being properly prepared for the game in the first place, we’ve found ourselves in a bit of a tight spot and the reality is this…
It takes time and money to develop even the most entry-level piece of music, or drawing, or standup routine…
But that investment bill is on us, because, well that’s business.
In many respects, the game of commerce is rigged against us.
BUT we are CREATORS.
We are inherently value CREATORS, as well as problem SOLVERS.
This is one of those weird cases where the problem AND the solution is that we are on our own to make it happen!
Modern Musicians embody and employ a fundamentally different mindset and approach and also stick it out all the way to their Music Business Liberation.
We enjoy the freedom of doing it on our own terms, as well.
It begins with the mindset, a curiosity, and a belief that their is a way to have your cake and eat it too as long as you are willing to do what it takes (pay the costs) to have it.
These are the natural success seedlings born of those fundamental, grassroots career growth efforts we see many are trying to rush or to force, or complacently go through the motions with.
Let me be more specific with some of these “breakthroughs” and subtle shifts that can have a sizable impact by framing things up right and looking at things differently.
Our careers are just a series of projects and campaigns right?
We work in projects…. So projects are the vehicles with which we do the things we do, make the stuff, advance our career, share our content, pay the bills, etc…
So one of the breakthroughs clients make is when they start to see and realize that what they are really doing, one of the primary roles and responsibilities they have is, as a Project Manager.
It’s not just the production… Make the music, produce the album… each body of work should be an integrated project that includes the pre-production, the production, the publishing, the promotion, and the performance measurement phases that complete the Project Lifecycle.
When we understand this distinction we start to see the recording studio and/or digital workstation as a complete project studio, what we call the Modern Project Studio.
But let’s talk about strategy and approach. Something with more practical tangibility…
Let me give you an example of a modern artist development strategy. It’s our favorite. The one we most advocate and prescribe to clients and students and would like to see more independent artists adopt and implement. It’s called Paid Artist Development. You’ll begin to see why in a minute.
Jennifer is an incredibly bright, talented, beautiful, emerging Singer/Songwriter. She’s hilarious, has her own style, is extremely engaging and gets pretty great feedback at the open mic nights she does a few times a month.
When she first found her way to me she was working her day job which she did not enjoy much-but did it anyway because it was how she paid her rent and her bills.
She wanted to make the jump to a full time musician but was not only afraid, she wasn’t sure what to do or how to do it in order to make the transition…
“I have always dreamed of playing Madison Square Garden…” She told me.
“I’ll bet you will someday,” I replied.
Although i had no reason to doubt her capability, nor would i ever discourage anyone’s dream or ambition, so i followed up with another question.
“That is a fantastic goal Jennifer. What, if you don’t mind my asking, is your plan to get there?” I said with sincerity and curiosity.
“Well, to be honest I don’t really have one,” she admitted with a little smile.
When we sat down to sketch out some plans and ideas she like so many other artists hadn’t really ever written down her ultimate purpose, or detailed a Vision in writing, or had a written Mission statement.
I told her a couple stories to try and illustrate the importance of having blueprints for her career path as well as some deceptively seductive thoughts that can lead to Starving Artist Syndrome… but my attempt to convey the point missed it’s mark. She sort of shrugged it off, “it’s all so official sounding, so serious!” She said with an innocent and carefree tone of voice.
She noticed that my facial expression and body language changed. I hadn’t bought in to her attitude, nor was i swayed by her charm. She saw that my face had wrinkled and I was about ready to wish her good luck and good day, when she said she would play my game.
It didn’t take long for us to realize that playing madison square garden wasn’t even really what she wanted to do. When it boiled down to it, we determined that she wanted to make a full time living doing what she loved, when and where she chose.
“Ok. So what does that take?” I probed.
“well, making more money, getting paid gigs…” She snapped back.
“So basically you need to find a way to get paid to continue to do what you love, enough to cover all your expenses in order to do it full time and quit your job, is that right?” I asked.
She nodded her head. “That about sums it up.”
Ok. “So where’s the gap between that vision, and where we are at here in this moment?”
She poured out… “Well I don’t have enough material, and what I’ve got isn’t polished enough, I don’t know how I’m going to make money… How “to get a paid gig…
all valid concerns.
“Ok. Forget about all that stuff for a moment. I don’t know the first thing about how to get a paid gig as a comic, but i know that’s not what you really need. What you need is what every Artist in this catch 22 situation needs. See, the problem is that you need to go to “work” to pay the bills, but you need to be spending that time at “work” DEVELOPING yourself as a Modern Artist!”
“So… What would the solution be then?” I prompted.
She looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears… “Well, how about YOU TELL ME!”
She facetiously implied that if she could answer that question, she wouldn’t be talking to me!
I read it right and came back at her with an alarmingly simple solution.
Get PAID to develop her content and DEVELOP as an ARTIST.
“Well, wouldn’t that be nice…” She puffed out of her lips.
I love this part, so I had to work hard not to ruin the big “breakthrough moment.”
It came after I asked her if she thought there were 10 people in the world, that she could reach, who would pay her for new one or more new pieces of content every month…
“I’m… pretty sure…” She said… “ok, so is that a yes, or is that a no?” I prodded…
Ok. Well, IF I really tried, yes, I could find 10 people.
Ok. Great. I said. So there you have it. You’ve answered your question.
That’s when the lightbulb went on… “just go out and find 10 people to pay me to develop more content!”
That’s your next mission. Let’s stop the conversation. You have your marching orders Jennifer. Don’t come back to me until you complete the mission.
Before the wheels now turning in her brain had a chance to land in “guess again gear,” I quickly walked her through exactly how to setup the technical details involved in creating an auto-responder and protecting a page in wordpress as well as how to accept payments. She then enthusiastically shuffled off to enroll her first 10 paying members in her “backstage pass” membership area of the website where she simply uploaded exclusive new content once a week and delivered it to her customers.
I had taught her how to setup her very own fan conversion system. A very simple process using automated technologies that leveraged her email program and her website and repackaged much of the content she had already made to create a mini-sales system that worked for her on autopilot.
She just made a connection with a new person in real life, directed them to a page on her website and then delivered the experience of her content for free and afterwords made an offer for the monthly backstage membership.
What was so great for her was that she was being paid to develop new material, and she had a forced deadline of sorts to deliver on her promise of 1 new piece of content every week.
Her paying members loved the exclusivity, the engagement, the honesty, and of course the content that she consistently delivered. They really felt like they were apart of her journey, and had a behind the scenes window into this very interesting woman’s life, music, and episodic career adventures.
It was a total win win. She came back and reported how excited she was and told me some funny stories and conversations that she was having with her tiny but totally tuned in little tribe.
Now, exuding with confidence I dared her to go out and do that same thing 3 or 4 more times if she thought she could…
Needless to say. She did. And this time when she came back to me she was astonished by what had happened…
“I went out and enrolled 40 more members, in chunks of 10 at a time each night, like you said, as well as continued to deliver my content and engage with my members every week… and somehow I just signed my one hundredth backstage member, Gary.”
What happened is the 50 monthly customers that she enrolled had gone gone out and told a friend. “it just doubled.” my little content business suddenly went from 3 to 100 members. It was crazy fast, and it felt like it almost happened on its own. I just had to give the ball a nudge to get it rolling.”
Now, let’s take a step back and look at this a little further.
In the span of less than 60 days Jennifer suddenly built a content business that paid her $3,000 Net, in pure monthly recurring profits. What’s more is that she had leveraged the best of both worlds and created an artist development system that kept her accountable, continuously creating, and paid to do the work she loved while building an unbreakable, authentic bond with her super-fans who not only fell in love with her, but told their friends and family and spread the word about her.
In just six short months that seemed to fly by in an instant she had 1000 engaged, backstage pass members paying her 30$/month.
Not only that, but she learned how to use most of the tools by slowly being introduced to one new one at a time and then utilizing it in practical application for creating content and generating new subscribers (guest pass) as well as monthly members (backstage pass) paying her to deliver exclusive new content every month.
You do the math. PLUS, Instead of raising her fees, which she could have done, we worked out some additional packages and membership levels.
Modern Artist Development is The Growth of Your 3Dimensional Brand.
Modern Artist Development is what we call Complete Artist Development. It is about developing as a person, it is about developing your artistic talents and your brand, and it is also about developing the entrepreneurial and leadership skills needed to go from a struggling or starving artist, to the visionary and leader of your modern music business. To go from a traditional musician to a modern musician confidently creating a congruent 3dimensional brand-building complete success for the long haul.
The roles boil down to you the Leader, you the Project/Team Manager, and you the Performer.
These are easy to forget about, but it makes sense right? You can only keep making your art-to the capacity that you can make your business work. Plus you can only grow your career to the capacity that you are capable of leading yourself and others.
All three of these dimensions culminate into what we call a 3D Brand, or your Content Business. Your career of creating and sharing your content for a living can only truly thrive long-term, sustainably, if all three dimensions are developed and strong.
Just as you learned that their are 3Dimensions (what, why, and how) to your brand, I encourage you to also embrace their being 3DIMENSIONS to your success.
The solution for helping artists and music business owners-starting with myself was to find or build a complete development system that combines the structure and training, individual support and guidance, helps artists optimize across all 3 dimensions, and gain leverage and momentum as well as greater enjoyment on the journey to their music business liberation.
Ideally, an actionable ROADMAP that you actively follow and use as a guide along your evolving journey and blueprints.
A Complete Artist Development System (as you’re learning in the report) is about integrating a structure that guides and trains, supports, customizes to, and simplifies the mess of overwhelming ideas and data hurling toward you from every angle, breaks down and teaches you what you need to manage in practical application.
The music business coaching system that qualified artists receive in Modern Musician Bootcamp helps you understand your strengths and weaknesses to identify what your core focus activities and core distraction areas are, and integrates that into a customized blueprint for you to grow your career optimally.
The Music Business Architect for Independent Artists & Creators
Proudly Helping Hundreds of Modern Musicians liberate the music business, declare their artistic independence, and earn a full-time living doing what they love-on their own terms.
CEO of The Music Business Liberation Program
Creator of the Music Business Blueprint