7 Questions Every Artists Should Be Asking

Today I got a mass email from Dan McGeorge, the owner and curator of Xanadu art gallery in  Scottsdale, AZ. It was a marketing email sent out to, I imagine, visual artists across the US. I, of course, am not a visual artist and don’t know how I got on the list. But after skimming through, I noticed that its subject matter was completely and fully relevant and applicable to the average musician.

No matter what type of art you’re pursuing, chances are you are dealing with the same issues all across the board – like how to make money, and how to increase your visibility.  So after reading that email in its entirety, here are a handful of questions that came to mind.  You and I should be asking ourselves these questions on a regular basis and using them as a guideline to help us further our music careers.

1. What is my ultimate goal?

2. What is [insert name] doing and how can I learn from their success. I personally like to silently follow one of my favorite musicians, Brooke Waggoner.  She’s much further along on her music journey and is a great talent to learn from.

3. Do I believe in my music enough to sell it to others? (as in selling the actual song and the idea of your music)

4. Am I creating a quality product that is comparable to all the other music out there? Here’s a quote from McGeorge: “The most successful  artists are devoted to high quality. They have the ability to step back from their work and look at it through their buyer’s eyes.”

5. Who in my network can I collaborate with? Don’t limit your definition of the word “collaboration”. It doesn’t just mean come together and write a song. It can mean co-billing on a show, promoting idea to both your fanbases, sharing ideas, or a million other things. It’s all about networking.  If your networking isn’t getting bigger, you’re doing something wrong.

6. Do I have a marketing plan? If your answer to question #1 involves playing out just for pure enjoyment, you probably don’t need to answer #6. But if you want to make a living or have a strategy, #6 is very important.

7. Do I have a strong online presence? This right here is a deal breaker. If you online presence is not strong, your really just can’t reach your maximum potential. Is a sad truth, but it is the 21st century.

Try to reflect on these questions at least once every 6 months (some more regularly, some less). They’ll really help you to stay on track.

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