Archive for the ‘Set Goals’ category

5 Things I Learned from “The Social Network”

October 4, 2010

Have you seen it yet? If not, you should definitely go check it out. Being a social network enthusiast, this movies wasn’t just entertainment for me. It was sort of like a lecture. I could probably write-off the ticket stub on my taxes. *chuckle* (that’s not a joke…but maybe it is)

1. There’s no point in creating something that already exists. The Social Network is the story of one (or two) very messy lawsuits. One person claimed he invented Facebook, three others claimed they had the idea first. Once Facebook was out in the public, the need for another Facebook-like network was obsolete. Completely unnecessary. You’ll hear/see/feel the anger in these guys over the anguish of losing control over their idea because someone else beat them to the punchline. If what you want to do already exists, be creative and do things differently. No one wants two of the same things if they can have two different things.

2. “It won’t be finished…the way fashion is never finished.”
I can’t remember whose line this was in the movie, but its pretty genius. Yea, in reality FB may die someday (just like Myspace has deteriorated). But the idea is to create something that is always evolving – not toward an end, but toward a new look. It’s actually the story of life. You set a goal. You reach the goal. Then you set a new goal. It’s never really finished. Make this your goal – to always be evolving, to always be growing, changing, innovating. Just like fashion.

3. “”A million dollars isnt cool. You know what’s cool? A billion dollars”
Dream Big. This movie is all about dreaming big, expanding, and doing things that have never been done. If you’ve got an idea, one-up yourself and think of the next bigger idea.

4. Choose your partners wisely.
This one’s for the bands out there. Yea…trying to make 4 people happy is hard, but if you’re not on the same page about the most practical things, you’ll fall apart. This is why the turnover rate for bands is so high. Read one of Grassrootsy’s older blogs: Starting a Band? Here Are a Few Things You Should Do

5. Be strategic
If you watch the movie, you’ll see that Facebook gets its start at Harvard and then slowly expands to the colleges in close proximity to Harvard. The reasoning behind this (according to the actor who plays Facebook’s founder) is that students visiting their friends at other schools would see them on FB and join, resulting in a major “buzz” effect in a concentrated area. Genius. A form of word-of-mouth by association. Make sure you have a game plan because it will help to guide your growth.

If you saw the movie, comment below and let Grassrootsy readings know if you picked up on anything worth sharing.

Speaking of Social Networks, how about Tweeting this post…or even better…Facebooking it!

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If It Feels Right, It Probably Is

March 22, 2010

It’s that time again. Time to reference the blog, How To Make a Living Playing Music, by musician Danny Barnes. It’s an excellent article that every aspiring musician should read if they want a realistic view of what it takes to make it in a music career. Here are today’s thoughts on his blog.

“Keep working on finding more and better places to play, and new contexts within which to place your work. If something feels right, it probably is right. If you are having to bang your head against the wall in regard to something, it may be better to drop it sooner. The longer you work on something that isn’t going to work out job-wise, I think the more time we waste.”

This is excellent advice. I oftentimes find myself trying to push down doors when it’s not the right time or the right avenue.  Here are a few things for you and I to keep in mind.

1. Be Organic
Why is “Organic” such a big fad these days?  Because it’s all about the natural progression of things.  Any good thing takes time to develop. Don’t try to make something happen overnight when it should rightfully take a year.  And remember things that build quickly die just as fast.

2. Don’t Pigeonhole Yourself
The more versatile you are, the further you will go.  Ya, maybe your music appeals more to a specific demographic but don’t limit yourself from opportunities. Barnes’ note on “new contexts” is great.  Don’t limit yourself to bars if you can also get college gigs. Don’t limit yourself to coffee shops if you can also do art galleries.  The sky is the limit and you need your network and sphere of influence to be as big as possible…and to continue growing.

3. Think Ahead
When you’re booking a show, decide what you hope to accomplish by the time you’ve played that show:

  • Will you have reached a new audience of potential fans?
  • Will you have established street credibility with the venue or event sponsor?
  • Will you have a stronger relationship with the other band(s) on the bill…thus keeping the door open for working together in the future?
  • And even if you don’t get the turnout you expected, in the weeks prior to the event, will you have a chance to market yourself to people who’ve never heard about you?

Just some things to think about…

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Ignore Everybody and Just DO

January 11, 2010

"Please hire me. I'm a hard worker"

Ok, I admit.  Last week’s post was a bit brutal. But the more I look over various chapters of MacLeod’s Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity, the more I realize that he is offering the reader two choices. DO or DON’T.  You either DO your passion or you sit back and watch others do theirs.  It’s as simple as that. And the kicker is that if YOU don’t do your thing, it will never get done.

The best way to get approval is to not need it.

Sovereignty:  “It doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be yours.”
…and when it’s yours, no one but you can tell you what to do with it.  As independent artists we often make the mistake of trying to do what singer/songwriter XYZ has done.  But originality always wins out. See Creating Value: Is your Music Worth Something?

Grassrootsy  talks often about mimicking other artist.  See Mimic the Artists You RespectLearning from people who are more experienced than you is essential; but mimicking is not the same as copying.  Take what others have done and put your own spin on it.

Sovereignty is ownership.  If it’s not yours, you don’t own it.

Power:    “Power is never given. Power is taken”
…and when you have sovereignty, power will follow. You don’t need someone to give you control over something you already own. If you’re an artist looking for that “big break”, make sure you’re making as many breakthroughs as possible on your own.  No one wants a freeloader when they can have a hard worker.

Consider the following:

  • Do you truly own what you have?
  • If you owned a record label, would you bring yourself on as one of your artists?
  • Are your methods original or have you been trying too  hard to copy someone else?
  • Are you confident in yourself or are you continually looking for other people to affirm you?

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Resolutions that Remain – Making Moves in Your Music

December 28, 2009

“Goals that are products of dreams are worth pursuing”

It’s the last week of the year.  Yea, official “New Year Resolutions” are highly overrated but goals are not. Take some time this week to really think about your life and your music.

Evaluate: Where were you last year and how far have you come?
I was hanging with a friend the other day. He said the holidays are a time of reflection. Each Christmas you see the same people – the same family and friends. The only difference is that you’re all 1 year older and you all have hopefully come just a little further in the pursuit of your purpose – whether that’s being a good dad, an accomplished businesswoman, or a successful musician. What have you done since last year?

Where do you want to see yourself this time next year?
Now, flash forward? This is a huge question. Where do you want to be next?  Where will you actually be? Can these two things be the same? Be realistic. Set achievable goals but don’t be afraid to dream a little.  Goals that are products of dreams are worth pursuing.

In what area of your music do you want to get better?
Pick that one thing that you really wanna focus on for the new year. LicensingTouringDeveloping Your Band? Social Networking? Then pick a few smaller areas that you would also like to give some attention.

Make plans and tell someone about it. Your goals become more tangible and more realistic when they actually exist in time and space. Not just thoughts. Your friends, family, and fans will hold you accountable when they know what you’re striving for. They will also try to help you.  I can’t stress how important this is.

Got a few good resolutions? Share your thoughts and ideas with others on the Grassrootsy facebook page.

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Dream BIG, Start small

November 16, 2009


As independent artists, our job is to do what the labels do without the money or network that labels have. See Thinking Outside the Box – Thinking like a Record Label).  It’s an overwhelming task and chances are that you’ll never be able to do it like the “big guys”. But there are ways to make this job easier.

Many independent artist have found success by compartmentalizing and working to conquer one territory (or one facet of the music business) at a time. Take Grassrootsy favorite Allison Weiss for example. She says she went from open mics, to coffeehouses, to clubs, before even moving on to regional touring.  Here are some thoughts on the matter.

Vision: Think Big
Too much vision never hurt anybody; but an overly zealous attitude can be detrimental. We’ve all heard the expression “Don’t bite off more than you can chew”, and it’s especially relevant in this case. See Less is More: Keeping it Simple On Stage and Off. Remember to write your vision down.  Even if some parts seem unrealistic,write it all down. 

Start Small
Big jobs seem easier when they’re split into small jobs.  Every month, think of one thing you want to work on to promote yourself.  Possibilities include: spending time getting your website up to speed, teaching yourself a little bit of html and photoshop, familiarizing yourself with various new social networks and the best ways to use them, attending as many open mics as possible…etc.

Starting small also has alot to do with your monetary investments. Spend a little here and there. Compare the amount of money you spend on your music to the amount of time you spend.  If you’re only working on your music for 5 hours a week (20 hours a month), don’t spend $300 a month on it. That doesn’t make any sense. It’s like spending $15 every hour or $75  a week. If you can’t afford it, don’t do it.

Evaluating Yourself
Each year of your musical journey, you should be asking yourself if you’ve made bigger moves than the year before.  Are you getting bigger opportunities? Are you getting more traffic on your websites? Are you bringing in more money? Is your fanbase a little bit bigger than it was a year ago? These are all important questions that cannot be answered over night. Take a second and compare where you are now to where you were this time last year. Serious…do it!

Check back on Wednesday for some thoughts on being a Big fish in a small town vs. being a small fish in a big town.  What are the pros and cons?

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Creating a Killer Marketing Plan for Your Music

April 27, 2009


While visiting Artist House Music  (and incredible music business site) today, I came across a really rock-solid marketing plan by Boston-based Band Convey.  It prompted me to put up this post.  Make sure to check out Convey’s Marketing Plan when you have a chance.

The key to having a killer marketing plan is being practical.  Yea…you’re supposed to have goals…and they can even be hard to reach goals. But make sure that you intend to put in enough work…so that even if they are hard to reach, they’ll still be attainable.

Have a Budget
As it’s been said many times in this blog, money issues are the hardest part of pursuing music.  Having a budget doesn’t necessarily make things easier but it will help you to keep a clear cut account of what your funds are going into. How much are you willing to spend on PR material (i.e. press kits, posters, cds, display…etc)? When you have a defined limit, you’ll be able to make careful decision on what expennses are absolutely essential.  Budgets will especially benefit bands.  Its good for a band to corporately decide when/how/what they will spend their money on.

Plan Ahead (ya, there’s so much about this concept on Grassrootsy)
There’s plenty to read on this.  Check out the Planning Ahead – The Key to a Successful Show post or Planning a Tour: Making it Worth The Trip.  There’s no greater way to make a show or CD Release a success than planning ahead.  Convey plans to have their CD at their doorstep a full 4 weeks before the release date!  Their giving themselves a month to submit their songs to iTunes thru Tunecore.  That’s impressive for an indie artists.

Doing things with a Bang
Do what needs to be done to show people you are serious about a project or an event.  During that 4 weeks of promotional time, Convey is redesigning their website, their myspace, setting up a paypal account, iTunes purchasing…etc.  Like it says in the Looking Professional Even When You’re Not (or are you? i just can’t tell!) post, when you show people you are serious, they will take you serious.  Doing things with a bang doesnt mean you need to spend ridiculous amounts of money. But it does mean you need to spend ridiculous amounts of time.   There is no way you can do the job well if you don’t spend time maintaining your websites, recording and posting those videos on itunes, corresponding with your audience, and hyping up shows via social networking sites.

Market around specific events
It’s nearly next to impossible to build hype if there’s nothing to build hype around. Marketing thrives off of the facts: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. If you don’t have a specific event, tour, or significant peice of news, then you simply become like the other millions of bands on myspace who have their music posted.  And anyone can have music online.

Its worth it to set tangeable goals for your music, then create a marketing plan for any large event(s) you have.  If you’re marketing is successful, then you next step will simply be to keep the momentum going by regular communication (w/ fans and pr contacts), website maintenance, quality performances…etc

Be sure to check out Convey’s Marketing Plan.  See what they’ve mapped out for themselves.  Mimick it and alter it to fit your band’s goals.   Here are some other Grassrootsy posts that are related and relevant:


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