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".
Send comments or questions to Tim Sweeney.
© Tim Sweeney
Click here for a printer-friendly version of "Motivation".
Beware! The following may initially upset and frustrate you but you need to read
this all the way through!|
Motivation. Where did it go? What? What do you mean? I spent all this time recording
a new CD, manufacturing it and now playing shows. Just because it's not
selling the way that I want it to I'm not upset about it. Am I?
When you seem to lose your motivation for your music or your art it becomes a
confusing time. As artists we become everything from frustrated and rattled by it to
a state of mind where we are unmotivated and depressed. But where did it come from?
You spent days and weeks writing songs and fine tuning them to capture the
experiences and elements of life that have impacted you enough that you had to
express them. Once you had them down the way you wanted them, you decided they hadto be recorded in the studio so you could put out a new CD for others to hear them. After all, these songs are much better than your previous material. (Sounds
familiar?) Then you made a decision to save money from your day job, borrow from
friends or family or even pre-sell CDs to pay for the studio and manufacturing of
your new CDs. Then after months of hard work and frustration in the studio, at work
and with the manufacturer, your new CDs arrived. Boxes of them.
You gave some out to your family and friends or sold them a few of the initial
copies. You sent out an emailer to your mailing list and said check out my new CD on
my site and come buy one. Maybe a few did but not hundreds. Then you put them on
other music sites that sell CDs. It should have sold hundreds or thousands of
copies. After all they claim to have thousands or even millions of customers. But
again that didn't seem to work either. But that's okay, you just need to
play a CD release party and hit your mailing list again and send an invitation to
the various press people about the show and hundreds of people will show up! However that didn't work the way it was supposed to either because most of the initial
1,000 CDs are still sitting there on your floor.
The next step you tried was to hire a radio promoter or publicist (who really
aren't and who don't care about CD sales). You paid them thousands of
dollars to get you college or low ranking commercial stations to play your CD for a
few weeks in cities and states where you can't even travel to play shows or
for 2-3 sentence write ups in publications that didn't generate any new fans
at your site or at shows. And now you are becoming unmotivated and frustrated
because after they "supposedly" did their job, you still didn't sell hundreds of CDs. Even after more shows in our hometown and more promotion to your mailing list you don't seem to be selling very much!
If this sounds familiar to you, you are not alone! This is what I hear from almost
every artist that contacts me and wants me to help them. How do I fix this scenario
so the artists become more successful? I work with them on the following.
1. This is your passion.
As artists the first thing we have to do is stop taking the rejection we receive
as something personal. Instead of learning from what we are not doing to
effectively tell people about the messages in our songs, we see them not paying
attention or not wanting to hear our music as a personal attack. This includes the
media not wanting to write about us or our upcoming shows or play our songs on the
radio to people not coming to shows or even if they do, not wanting to buy your CD
afterwards. The first step in solving the problems mentioned here is to stop doing
what you are doing.
Throw away your press kit and one sheet that "supposed" publicists and
radio promotion people think is right (but only signifies you as a non-priority that
people can ignore) and create an Artist Profile. One that talks about who you are as
an artist and what your music is about. Two, use what's in your Artist Profile
at shows. Don't play the same shows as before, give people you. 45 minutes of
music is not going to motivate people to buy CDs. Learn to interact with them
before, during and after your shows.
2. Reconnect with the reasons why you wrote the songs.
What inspired you to work that crappy day job and save money to record these songs
in the first place! What motivated you to keep going when it looked like you
wouldn't get the project done? Where did that go? Nowhere. It's still
inside of you! Just waiting for you to bring it out.
3. To reactivate your passion and inspire you to stop sitting around and making the same mistakes, we must change your focus.
You will now focus only on the things that will get people to shows, get you
exposure in your home city and generate sales. First, a new specific marketing
plan that will focus on how to double your fan base that actually comes to shows.
Second, a small list of daily actions you can take with the limited time you have
to promote your music. For example, researching the media in your home city and
what are they writing about or what they are playing on the radio these days. Who
is drawing most of the music fans in town to their shows and how are they doing
it? You must focus on the things that will work right now. Mailing CDs around the
country where you can't put them in stores, play shows or won't get
enough attention that it will generate any online sales either isn't.
4. Interrupt your pattern.
If you can't think of new ideas sitting at home then do what successful
people do, leave. Go to the gym (another place you promised to go to); go
outside, to a coffeehouse, the park or go play golf instead. Change your
environment and you will begin to remember what inspired you to take this path.
5. Understand that this is your passion. Not others.
You must communicate it to people whether in person or in writing. Who cares what
other people think is right or wrong for you. Be bold and passionate. You wanted
to influence people with your music and change them, do it by showing that same
passion everyday! Hand out CD samplers every week so you can meet new people and let them know what you are doing. Play shows in new places.
The passion you have for your music is still in you! You just to find it again.
Here's two ways you can find it right now. One, my two audio books, "Guide To
Releasing Independent Records Part 2" (which is not the same as the first one) will give you new promotion and marketing ideas you can use in the next few minutes. It will also help you write your first draft of an Artist Profile and help you create the materials you need to talk about your music.
My other new audio book, "Understanding Who You Are As An Artist" (which seems to be everyone's favorite), will give you specific ideas of what you need to do to more effectively communicate your passion to people and get yourself remotivated when you are frustrated or depressed. Both of these audio books are designed for you to be able to take the ideas and work with them immediately. You can order them here.
The second way I can help you is directly. The books will help you get going again
and will be a great source of ideas you can listen to again and again, but sometimes
you need someone who has been through it to help you create a specific plan. A plan
that you can actually do and write the material with you and help you accomplish the
things you want to do so you can sell the first 1,000 CDs and start to influence
people in your home town like you wanted to. I have helped and continue to help
thousands of artists in these very areas and help them get on the path they need to
sell more CDs and accomplish what they want with their music. Call me at
Additional Columns by Tim Sweeney