There are lots of pitfalls and mistakes for artists out there but here is a several part article on some of most common.
Sounds innocuous enough, right?
We should be good at waiting given all of the waiting that goes on with the craft of music.
Waiting on our collaborators, waiting on getting things tracked right in the studio, waiting to load in, waiting on sound check etc.. There are a million things that we have to “hurry up and wait” for before we even get to the business side of things. (But this is not the waiting I’m talking about!)
The biggest mistake I have seen is that people wait on outside help to start their businesses. Anyone who has tried to raise money can tell you that it is easier to raise money when you have momentum with a project than when you only have a blueprint and some high hopes. This is in no way saying that I think people should do everything themselves. DIY in my opinion is a condition of last resort but a condition that almost all musicians are stuck with at some point or another.
Keep this in mind: When you are someone looking for outside help from someone like a potential manager or an agent, you have to remember that you are asking someone for their time. Given that time = money, you are in fact asking someone to invest in you and your company.
When you are preparing to approach someone for help of this kind ask yourself, “What would make me invest in an artist’s career?” When I ask myself this question I almost always come up with wanting to see that my time and money would be going into a business is already showing signs of life. I would want to see that in spite of or in addition to what my eyes and ears tell me that real consumers are responding to this musician’s material. Generally speaking, those artists who have a spark and have a fledgling business are people who didn’t wait on outside help to get their businesses going.
Here is something that most people don’t talk about. Since the un-bundling of the album, most people are making up their development strategy as they up as they go along. This is even true of the major label artists. There is no hard science to the initial stages of breaking new artists; it is a series of best guesses. Since no one is ever going to care about your career more than you do (at least I hope not), you may as well give it a try for yourself. Even if you fail you will know more about the job and be better qualified to find the right person who compliments your strengths and weaknesses.
There will be times when you are forced to wait for circumstances to change. It happens to all of us no matter what business we are in. However, I urge you to find ways of making these periods productive. No matter what major event in your career is looming large, get out and play, meet people and record as much as possible. Remember, there is never going to be a perfect time to start that next phase of your career. Something will always be in your way if you let it be.
If you found this helpful – read on for another common mistake that musicians make – having unrealistic expectations.