The music industry is expanding day by day, with a lot of people who are talented and some who are not talented, the people who understand the concepts and the genres of music etc.

If you want to become successful in the music industry, there are many things you need to know and do. You also need to know what NOT to do, so you avoid critical mistakes that can hurt your music career and keep you from becoming very successful.

Doing the wrong things can hurt your career even if you do everything else right. A single error in judgement can undo years of hard work you invested into building your career as a pro musician.
There are many mistakes you could make if you:
• Build your music career based on trial and error (versus following proven strategies that work),
• Copy musicians who are not truly successful (and have never been successful),
• Don’t learn how the music industry really works TODAY (versus how it worked 20-30 years ago),
• Take advice of people who have never been professional musicians (more about this below).

Here are the most common mistakes to guard against to save yourself a lot of time, money and frustration and become a successful musician much faster;

• You Think That Moving To A Big City Will Get You More Music Career Opportunities.
        You can create music career opportunities for yourself no matter where you live (especially in today’s world) and you can find professional musicians in every city in the world.
        When you worry about the city you live in, you waste a lot of energy that could be used on building your career and becoming more successful.
        Now that you know what mistakes hurt your music career, your next step to becoming a professional musician is to learn how to get your fans to buy your music.

        This helps you earn a lot more money in the music industry and do what you love without working a day job you hate.

• You Think That A Music Degree Will Help Your Music Career.
        Your music degree only means that you (probably) have good musical skills. However, your musical skills are only one of many elements that record companies look for in you.
Thousands of musicians probably have musical skills just as good (or better) than yours. The easiest way to become really successful is to excel in areas other musicians lack.

        Fortunately, this is not very hard to do. Most musicians only focus on improving their musical skills and self-sabotage their music career in other ways.


• You Don’t Have Music Career Mentoring.
        Imagine you are trying to navigate through the jungle… would you prefer to roam wildly and hope to survive on your own? Or would you feel safer with a proven guide to follow every step of the way? The answer is obvious… and navigating the music industry is no different.
It is virtually impossible to achieve long-term music career success on your own. Your odds of making it go way up when you are guided through the process by a proven music career mentor.
• You Copy What Unsuccessful Musicians Do.
        When you do what unsuccessful musicians do, you get the same result that those musicians get failure. Want to build your music career faster? Learn the strategies that are proven to work and follow them.
• You Take Advice From People Who Are Not Professional Musicians.
        Be careful about taking advice from friends and family who know nothing about the music industry. When you listen to the wrong advice, building a successful music career becomes virtually impossible.
• You Don’t Fully Understand What Record Companies Look For In You.
        Want to understand how record companies work in a simple way? Think of a bank that lends money to people or small businesses. A record company works very much the same way. A bank loans you money to start a business, so you can pay the money back later (with interest). A record company invests money into your music career, so you can become successful and they can earn a return on their investment later (with interest).

Both record companies and banks want to know;

○ How much value you bring to them right now.
○ How much they have to risk right now by working with you.
○ How much potential value and risk might you bring to them in the future after they invest in you.

        Prove to record companies that working with you is the smartest investment they can possibly make… and you will get opportunities other musicians can only dream about.

• You Spend Way Too Much Time On Social Media To Promote Your Music.
        Your social media profiles are only 1 piece of the online music marketing puzzle. Record companies are a lot more impressed by the traffic you (or your band) get to your personal website. Why? Because you cannot fake traffic to your personal website as easily as you can purchase fake Facebook “likes” or YouTube channel views & subscriptions.  Record companies know this and they look carefully to check how much traffic your website is getting.
Social media marketing is still important in the music industry… but it cannot be the main thing you rely on to promote yourself.
• You Are Not Investing Enough Time Into Building Your Music Career.

        To become successful in the music industry, treat your career like a business. You should still practice your instrument, but your music career must take priority.

• You Surround Yourself With People Who Are Negative, Lazy And Lack Ambition.
        The people you spend a lot of time with have a direct influence on your mindset & success.
What do you think happens when you are around people who are: lazy, lack ambition, tell you why you cannot become successful and try to talk you out of pursuing your dream? Answer: your mindset goes in the toilet and you begin to doubt yourself and your potential.
Seek out people with the mindset of a champion and spend as much time as possible with them. This strengthens your own mindset and makes you more likely to succeed. Avoid toxic people who weaken your mindset, desire and drive.
• You Have Only Mediocre Live Performing Skills.

        Want to impress record labels, your fans and any band you plan to addition for? Learn how to put on a REAL show and blow your audience away every time you perform live. Being great in this area puts you far ahead of most other musicians and helps you get new opportunities in your music career much more easily.

• You Focus On Getting More Fans Versus Making Your Current Fans As Intense As Possible.
        The number of fans you have should always be your secondary focus (not your primary one). It is not enough to simply have a lot of people like your music. You need to convert your existing fans into raving fanatics of you, your band and everything your music represents. This is particularly true in the beginning of your band’s music career.
        Your most loyal fans (fanatics) are going to come to your every show, buy your every album, buy your merchandise and help you acquire new fans through powerful word of mouth. All of this grows your music career like a bodybuilder on steroids.
• You Do Not Have Enough Cash Flow To Support Your Music Career.
        Like it or not, it takes money to build a music career. Even if other people/companies are paying for your record, tour support and merchandise, you still need to have the financial freedom to pursue opportunities as they come. If you have financial problems, you will miss many opportunities because you cannot afford to take advantage of them. That is VERY frustrating!

        In addition to a decent income, you also need to have freedom of time to commit to new projects, work in the studio, go on tour and do other things that grow your music career.

• You Do Not Have A Compelling Image That Is Congruent With Your Music.
        To be successful in the music business, you need to have a total package that integrates your music, your image and your visual stage show in a congruent way.
When you have a compelling and congruent image, record companies begin take you a lot more seriously. This means you have a much easier time getting a record deal and attract opportunities that other musicians (who don’t have such an image) do not get.
• You Do Not Have Enough Depth In Your Music Career Relationships.
        Ever heard the expression, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”? In music, this is often modified to, “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.” Fact is, it’s not about either.
To become really, really successful in your music career you need very deep relationships with important people and companies in the music industry.
        You don’t want to simply know people or be known. You want people who know you to have a real deep connection with you, so that you are always on the top of their mind when opportunities present themselves.
        Here is how to make it happen: focus less on networking and trying to meet as many people in the industry as possible. Instead, focus on a handful of relationships and look for ways you can add value to their life or business. Ask yourself, “what are the goals of these people and how can I help them achieve them?”.

        Apart from these mistakes above, your career may not move forward even if you are a multi-talented person due to the following reasons;

▪ You Take Advice From People Who Are Not Professional Musicians
        You’ve no doubt received tons of music career advice from people who never made it in this business. Although these people mean well, it’s a very bad idea to follow the advice they give you.
For instance, a lot of people say that working in the music business is a very unstable way to make a living. They tell you that you must go to college to get a degree as a backup plan.

        Following this advice only leads to you spending less time with music and more time in some other field (with added student loan debt).

▪ You Don’t Have A Way To Leave Your Day Job And Earn Money From Music
        One of the most common music career traps you need to avoid is getting stuck working 40 hours per week at your day job while your music career slowly fades over time. To avoid the frustration and regret that comes with this, you need to learn how to create multiple sources of music-related income.

        You don’t have to rely on a single paycheck to pay your bills when you earn money from many sources at once.  When you understand how to make money from many sources in a passive manner, you gain both time AND money. This way you have more time to pursue musical projects and grow your music career.

▪ You Don’t Know How The Music Industry Really Works
        People call the music business a business for a reason. You become successful in your music career when you learn how to make yourself valuable as a potential business partner for others in this industry.
        This involves learning how to earn a great living from music alone so you don’t need to work full time at a non-music day job just to get by.
Check my previous post on 10 Questions Upcoming Artiste Should Ask Themselves…
Fafeyiwa Oluwaseun Adefolarin
A music executive and Creative Writer
Email: kingadefolarin@urban180.com
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s personal opinion and not a corporate opinion of urban180.com.

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