Over the years, I have written a few articles on rejection and done several
workshops including ones at MusicStrategies.com about it. In continuing the
philosophy of what you have been learning in the previous articles, "Wait! Before
You Write Your New Marketing Plan..." and "Learn From Your Fans Regarding CD Sales", I want to take a few minutes to remind you of some important points.
Artists often interpret rejection as a personal attack. Since we usually view it as
that to start with, we get emotional about it. But we need to stop and be analytical
Rejection is easy for others to give. All they have to do to generate it is simply
not listen to your music, not pay attention to what you are saying or merely offer
some worthless comment. For example, someone may say, "I don't want your
CD sampler because I don't like your genre of music." But we interpreted
it as they didn't like "our" music. Instead we should find out which artists they like and if we are similar. Someone may leave the club after the previous group is done and when you ask them to stay, they state they were only there to see the other artist. We see that as rejection. Maybe their not staying because the last few times they did stay after their friend's band, the other people weren't very good and they assumed it would be the same thing again. (We have all had that experience. The one where we wondered how the booking guy ever came up with that line up!)
As I talk about in the book, "Growing Thicker Skin" with John Dawes we are all susceptible to rejection. Most
of the time the person offering it doesn't have any valid reason other than
trying to draw attention to themselves by offering it. Recently I had someone say,
"I don't think sample CDs work." I said, "If you have found
something better I would love to learn about it from you." They just stood
there and said, "I just don't think they work." When I asked him
if he had experiences making "proper" ones and handing them out he
stated, he had never made one or ever given any out. Again some people love to draw
attention to themselves without offering any viable or valid alternatives or input.
That's the whole point. As I brought up in the previous article, if someone
doesn't want to buy your CD at your next show ask them why. What didn't
they like about your show. Listen carefully and closely to what they say. Is there
something of value there? Can you learn something from what they are saying? Can you make changes that will be beneficial to you, your music, and your show?
This should be your strategy when it comes to receiving praise. While you are
thankful for receiving it, be analytical. Understand what people love about your
songs. What are they connecting to? How can you use what you have learned to connect with even more people?
While I will show you how to "profit" from rejection at the Advanced
Music Strategies Conference each October, remember
this point. People are at different points in their journey through life. Sometimes
they can't hear what you are saying because they are lost in their momentary
problems. This can be frustrating to artists like you and I because part of
"our calling" in music is to educate and refocus people with our lyrics
and music. But sometimes you can't. They're in a place where they
can't hear you.
So the next time someone rejects you or says they love your music, listen to what
they are really trying to say and determine for yourself how valuable they are to
Author Tim Sweeney is head of Tim Sweeney & Associates, who are entering their 18th year of being, "the only true artist development company in the world."
Tim is one of the music industry's most sought after experts and consultants, and has written several influential books including "Tim Sweeney's Guide To Releasing Independent Records".