How to Be Successful in Music (or Whatever You're Pursuing)

The music industry is tough.

There's a ton of competition, a lot of pretentiousness, and many people that just don't care about you or whatever you're trying to accomplish.

And that's fine because it's honestly never going to change.

So how do you combat this? How do you find success in such a crowded field?

After starting an event from scratch with no industry experience and growing it to a couple Live Nation venues in roughly a year's time, among numerous other promoting/management successes, I think it comes down to one simple thing:

Your attitude.

Sure, knowing people with connections obviously helps.

If you're in a band, your music probably shouldn't suck.

If you're a manager or agent, you actually need to, ya know, do work for your clients.

But how you approach your potential career is so much more important. You stay in the right mindset:

  • Success will come
  • You won't fall into a deep depression when things don't go your way

So what is the right mindset? I like to think of it as four parts that come together in a nice, drug-sounding acronym so you don't forget them:

DABS.

Don't be a dick.

Ask questions.

Be persistent.

Stay organized.

Let's break each of these down a bit to help your understanding.

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Don't be a dick

No one, and I truly mean no one, wants to deal with an asshole. There's a ton of them in music, so when you're pleasant to deal with, it really stands out.

Just be respectful and treat people how you want to be treated.

It's not fucking hard.

Ask questions

Everyone is going to try to tell you "no." That's fine - you only need one "yes" to continue growing your career.

Never be afraid to ask questions.

Worst case? They say no or ignore you.

Best case? Who knows, you could get a record deal, manage your favorite band, book someone incredible for an event.

You'll never know unless you ask.

Be persistent

Higher-ups in this industry are incredibly busy. They typically have their hands in about 15,000 pots and chances are they're not going to remember - or reply to - your first email (unless you're trying to throw a ton of cash their way).

But that doesn't necessarily mean they're not interested.

Continually follow up. 

No answer to your first email? Cool, wait a week and follow up in that same thread.

Still no answer? Follow up again.

And again and again and again.

Stay organized

This might be the most important aspect of DABS.

98% of people in this industry - that's definitely a scientifically proven percentage - are so incredibly disorganized. Let's run through some examples that I've dealt with...

- Flights booked to the wrong city

- Holds lost because the venue didn't put it in their calendar

- Contracts with glaring errors sent the morning of an event (or just not sent at all)

- Promoters sending incorrect info about the show

All of these could have been prevented by staying organized.

Find an organizational process and stick to it. Personally, I have separate email labels for everything business-related so I can easily find things, I use Google Sheets and Calendar for literally everything, and I write up a to-do list every morning (on paper, scratching things off is so much more satisfying than clicking a check box on an app).

It's not perfect, but it works. 

A person that is organized is a breath of fresh air for those in power in this industry. Trust me.

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As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, you still need to put in the effort and push towards your goals to be successful.

But if you stick with the DABS method, it should make your life - and path to success - at least a little easier in whatever you're trying to accomplish.

Photo by xb100 (www.freepik.com). What up, stock images?

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