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pix Making It In The Music Business pix
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pix pix by Tom Hess  

Page added in February, 2015

About The Author

Tom Hess is a professional touring guitarist and recording artist. He teaches, trains and mentors musicians from around the world.

Visit his site to discover highly effective music learning resources, guitar lessons, music career mentoring and tools including free online assessments, surveys, mini courses and more.

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  Do you have total dedication to becoming a professional musician and making it in the music business? If so, you are in the right place. Fact is, 99% of all musicians who pursue music careers fail. However, you do not need to be one of those musicians! For the most part, musicians who fail in the music industry do so because they unknowingly follow the (false) advice of non-professionals (as I explained in another article I created on the topic of how to be a professional musician). However, once you read this article you will avoid this problem by learning the main factors for your success in the music business.

On the other hand, musicians who build and sustain successful music careers utilize an entirely different set of skills, thought processes and values that help them achieve music business success. These things are not music business secrets that are only available to rock stars and music industry executives – anyone can learn and utilize them (this includes you). Throughout the rest of this article I will discuss these various qualities and help you understand how you can use them to benefit your personal music career.

Contrary to what you might first think, learning to play your instrument at a 'professional' level isn't included in the list below. Why? Because it is a 'given' that you must be working towards that goal already every day. In addition, your musical abilities (on their own) will not be enough to guarantee your success in the music business. Fact is, there are countless musicians who can play extremely well, but nevertheless do not build a successful music career... so it is clear that musical talent alone can only take you so far.

The majority of the material covered below deals with your own way of thinking rather than the things you 'do'. Most people do not think in a way that will lead them to a high level of success in the music industry. However, you can learn and develop the right mindset for success with proper training. I know this from personal experience after spending years to develop the right qualities in myself to reach a high level in the music industry. Having reached my own goals in the music industry, I now mentor other musicians around the world to reach success in their own music careers.

The following are the most crucial qualities needed for achieving major success in the music industry.

The Ability To Always Think About 'The Big Picture'

The music business is full of great opportunities as well as obstacles, difficulties and challenges depending on the specific road you take. Regardless of what you do in your music career, you will always have limited resources to work with. To make matters more difficult, you will frequently need to do all your work in advance before you ever reach your ultimate goal.

Unless you are totally clear about where you want to end up in the music business, you will probably be pulled in all different directions that will either take you down a wrong path or drain you of all your energy so that you have no time to work towards anything you really want in your music career.

The musicians who become successful in the music business are always focusing to align their actions up with the end goals they desire most. This gives them the ability to judge what is best for their music career and make the right choice whenever a potential opportunity comes their way. By doing this, they are able to achieve their goals quickly and effectively.

The Ability To Bring More To The Table Than Just Playing Your Instrument

No matter if you are working as an independent musician or together with a music company, you will greatly benefit by knowing how to negotiate, book shows, build a following of fans, put together a tour, communicate effectively, think of profitable business ideas and much more.

Certainly you do not need to be the 'best' at all of these things (you should find others who are strong in the areas that you are weak in) and it isn't always good to attempt to do everything on your own. That said, when you can do these things yourself, you become capable of adding a lot of value to any situation. This gives you the ability to:

1. Stand out as the 'obvious choice' for bands who are seeking new members.

2. Determine different ways to earn a living in the music business.

3. Reduce the amount of money you need to spend on hiring others to do the tasks you can't do.

4. Earn a lot more money because you have more value to offer to others.

5. Transform any project you are working on into a success.

The idea to take away from this is that the most successful musicians do a lot more than just play their instruments. This is why they are able to quickly climb the ranks and make good money by working together with others.

A Positive -'Everyone Wins' - Mindset

The majority of musicians are always looking out for themselves without thinking about the effect their actions have on others. Of course, you will need to get your own needs met, but you do not need to do so while bringing others down at the same time. The musicians who become the most successful and gain access to the greatest opportunities in this business are always getting what they want while ALSO finding a way to help the people they work with do the same. In nearly all scenarios, you can find a way to create a great outcome for everyone involved. To do this, you will need to think from a totally different perspective than most musicians (and people in general). In my music careers mentoring program, I spend a considerable amount of time training musicians to utilize this mindset to succeed in the music business.

A Specific Type Of Work Ethic

Of course it is obvious that you will need to work hard to build a successful music career. However, most musicians do not understand what 'kind' of working mentality is required to truly 'make it'. The type of dedication needed requires more than just working a lot on your career. It requires:

1. Fully understanding the correct actions to take to move your music career in the right direction towards your goals. Simply working a lot of hours every day will not help you unless it is moving you closer to your goals.

2. Doing things the correct way (while wasting as little time as possible). It's common for musicians to be 'busy'. However, despite being busy, most musicians never really accomplish anything of great importance.

3. Being aware of how everything you do factors into the growth of your music career in the long term.

4. Having the patience and commitment to do all the hard work 'up front', long before you get a payoff of any kind. A common example of this would be recording a full length album in the studio before actually making any profit from it.

To develop the right work ethic mindset, work to clearly understand your long term music career goals and find a mentor who will help you determine the steps you must take to reach them.

Freedom To Pursue Music Industry Opportunities

It's a lot a less difficult to pursue any music industry related opportunities when you are free to do so. Gaining this freedom while putting together a music career is part of becoming a successful musician. Check out this informative article about how to start a music career and learn more about gaining freedom as a pro musician.

Steadfast Loyalty

In the music industry, you will not reach a high level of success alone. Music companies, musicians, promoters, managers and other music industry types will all act as your business partners at one point or another in your music career. These people will all invest their time, energy and resources into you and because of this they will expect your loyalty (as you will likewise expect it from them). Musicians who are not loyal are frequently banned from future business ventures and music career opportunities. The majority of musicians take loyalty for granted and only 'pretend' to be loyal until they can take advantage of an opportunity at the expense of their partners.

Although there exist many definitions for what 'loyalty' is – as a general concept it refers to not pursuing opportunities that will benefit you while bringing down those who work together with you. Of course, being loyal does not mean letting others take advantage of you either. There is a balance here that you must learn as you work in the music industry. Without this balance, you will struggle to achieve great success for an extended period of time.

Get more details about what you have to offer people in the music industry and which things they want most from you by filling out this music career training assessment.

Knowing How To Keep Calm During Situations Of Stress

As a professional musician you will encounter many situations that cause you to experience a high level of stress. These situations may include things like recording in the studio, going on tour, attempting to pursue different projects at once and many other scenarios that involve working together with tons of other people who all have different preferences and demands. This is a huge challenge that most musicians are unable to overcome.

Musicians who achieve the greatest success in the music business have an uncanny ability to stay calm in situations of high stress. When I mentor musicians on how to succeed in music, I help them develop and utilize this ability while working to create new music projects with others. This helps most musicians gain a whole new insight on their personality that allows them to eliminate any weaknesses that would limit their music career success.

After reading this article, you have learned the factors that lead musicians to develop highly successful music careers. Here is what you should do right now to improve your chances of success in music:

1. Massively increase your potential for music career success by reading the information in this article on how to be a professional musician.

2. Finish this music career training assessment to see if you are prepared for great success in the music business.

3. After identifying your weaknesses using the previously mentioned assessment, develop a plan for how you will improve each one so you can move your music career forward.

4. Reach your music career goals much faster by working together with a mentor who has already accomplished all the things you want to accomplish in the music industry.

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