Your personal toolbox for making your way successfully through this strange and fascinating business should contain 3 subsections of personal assets or skills: The obvious, the hidden and the acquired. Related to the word “assets” is the word “assess”. Any pro carpenter would evaluate not only the proposed job in front of him / her, but also their abilities to perform and their list of appropriate tools. So, our whole process should start with an honest self-examination – a candid inventory to determine what’s working and what isn’t. Be brutally honest with yourself when listing your strengths and weaknesses – the detached general public certainly won’t be anything but brutally honest. They are not waiting patiently for you to explode into their world, and they have no personal attachment to their decision to ignore you. For a brief trip into the real world, simply remember the last time you were driving in your car listening to the radio. Every one of us has switched stations in the middle of a song – if it didn’t push our buttons, we pushed the station button. Any remorse? No! Your choice was anonymous – invisible to the artist. It’s not like you were in an intimate club sitting right in front of the artist and left the scene in the middle of a chorus. If you’ve ever had it happen to you while you were the one performing, you know how it felt.
Your job is to hone your talent and skills to craft songs that will hold people – make them want to actually hear it again! Make them curse the radio station for not back announcing who that was! Even if you are not the sort of artist that would be exposed through conventional radio, your work will not be listened to in total isolation from other entertainment choices. There will be comparisons and choices. Your recordings should be the sum total of your best effort to reach for the top. Remember this – you cannot replace or repeat a first impression, and you know yourself how easily a first impression can influence your choice to be open minded about the next exposure to an artist. Don’t release “excuse” recordings of your work – “it’s all we could afford”… “we just wanted to get something out there”…”we’re still working on our sound”… “it’s the first song we wrote together”… get the picture? Recordings last forever. When someone has had a negative reaction, we cannot reverse the process by building in a “delete” function. Until something happens to change their minds, that’s how they will remember you. Make sure you are justifiably proud of yours. Make sure you and it are market-ready. Imagine what would happen if we placed a rank amateur on the field in a professional team game – name any sport. Sure, it’s exciting for the player, but for everyone else, it’s clogging the process. Pride has no valid place in our toolbox if we haven’t made the effort to excel against the market standard for “good”.
So, be tough on yourself, but not to the point where you lose your inspiration to grow. Listen to what professionals have to say about you. Learn anything you can from those who have had real success in this business – go to seminars, apprentice yourself, read articles and interviews. Enhance your best assets, develop the hidden ones, strengthen your weaknesses and acquire the missing pieces wherever you can.
“Winning The Music Game” is a book being written very slowly by Brian Allen based on his 40 years of experience in the music business