Freddy Mercury, David Bowie & Keith Richards all had their very own brands of charisma that served them well in the industry and most definitely contributed to their success. Of course, the industry that they were a part of is almost unrecognisable, and while charisma is useful to a certain degree, other qualities and skills will stand you in better stead if you want to make it in ‘the biz’. Read on to find out what they are.
Back when I was a child, people would always ask me what I want to be when I grew up. Of course, the answer was always the same, to be a rockstar. However, somewhere along the journey that is my life, I started to believe that this wasn’t actually going to happen for me and that I’d better grow up and get a proper job.
The thing is though, I might have got this part wrong. In fact, I think that the tenacity to pursue your dreams of becoming a successful musician, no matter what problems you come across, or what other people around you think, is one of the things that separates the successful from the wannabes.
OK, so it’s not the only defining factor, and there will always be those folks that never get further than a Thursday night pub set in their local. However, having the tenacity to believe in yourself and to do the work to be the best musician consistently is definitely something that is a contributing factor in success.
Musical skill and talent
Another essential aspect of being successful in the modern music scene is having talent and skill. In fact, when it comes to comparing some of the best bands of today with the charismatic powerhouses of yesteryear, we can see that it is not the ability to smash up their equipment or charm fans into bed but their ability to generate an emotional reaction with the music they have crafted that matters.
Of course, to be as skilful and talented in the instruments and genre that you choose needs the utmost dedication and commitment. After all, consumers of music no longer only listen to what they can afford with their weekly allowances at the record store but have access to multiple platforms and a vast range of performers and genres. Something that makes many of them even savvier and discerning than ever, and therefore requires those producing music right now to do so with the utmost passion and skill if they are to be victorious.
Rock and roll, and associated genres used to be all about excess. In fact, you’d get signed up by a label, and they would then spend most of the time during tours or recording sessions trying to keep you on the straight and narrow and actually sober enough to do what you were being paid for.
Of course, the modern music industry isn’t without its opportunity for partying or excess, but if you want to be around for the long haul and have the long term success that is now within many musicians grasp, one thing you will need to have a good handle on is self-care.
What this means is going easy of the booze and other substances, and instead, taking time to look after your mental and physical health. This includes making time for working out when on tour, eating healthy rather than insisting on bowls full of M&Ms, albeit with the brown ones removed, and even having breathing and meditation techniques to help you deal with stress and stage fright.
In fact, this attitude is one that we see more and more in modern music and entertainment scenes, the reason being that artists are taking much more responsibility for everything they do, and also starting to recognize that they themselves are the product. Something that means it is much more essential to take care of their health if they want to maintain long term success.
Horror stories of music labels ripping off naive bands are not uncommon. You know the ones where the contracts are so restrictive that they can’t cut their hair without the companies say so, but only get a fraction of the revenue they are bringing in.
Happily, within the modern music industry where artists are becoming much savvier regarding issues that surround their creative product, including business, marketing, and social media.
In fact, many musicians hoping to be successful in the biz are not only spending their time honing their guitar, composition, and performance skills but are also doing this like this online degree in business administration as well. Something that helps them be in a much stronger position when it comes to the revenue and royalty side of things.
In fact, by having a good understanding of the business as well as music, musicians can minimise the risk of being exploited by any of the people they work with as they build their success, including managers, record labels, sponsors and the like. Something that means when they do achieve success, they can expect a much larger and fairer slice of the pie than those in the past have has access to.
FYI being famous, and even being rich isn’t a good enough goal if you want to make it in the modern music biz. Of course, it’s nice to think that you will get there one day, but if you want real success in the modern era, you will need to be able to visualize the stages that you need to achieve to get there as well.
What this means is that you will need to have the vision to come up with the milestones of what you want to achieve, and then create a plan to get yourself there. Something that can be a lot trickier than it sounds, especially when it involves your own personal talents, successes, and ego.
With that in mind, be sure to always have at least a short term plan, detailing what you want to do within the next year, and where possible one that breaks down where you want to be in five years as well. This should then not only help to keep you focused, but will ensure you are always motivated even when confronted by the challenges of touring, promoting, or studio work.
A peer group
Fans are wonderful, and as an artist or band looking to make it in the modern music industry, it’s vital that you have as many as possible. However, it’s also crucial that you surround yourself with a peer group that can offer constructive criticism as well.
In fact, all creatives need this because it can be tough to see past the end of your own nose when you have been immersed in a project for a long time. Something that means you can be working in a very intense way but not quite hitting the mark.
Of course, that is where the opinion and input of a trusted peer group or even a few honest friends within the industry comes in. In fact, such feedback can be worth way more than a hundred ‘yes men’ blowing smoke up your behind, regarding the quality of your work. Which at the end of the day is something that will have a lasting positive effect on your success.
Urgh, all this ‘on brand’ stuff can sound so contrived, but it certainly is a significant part of the modern music industry. What this means is, before you start to go public with your work, you will need to consider carefully what niche you fit into and how not just your music, but also things the way you dress, your band logo and branding, especially on social media will fit in too.
The good thing about this is that there are hundreds of people that specialize in hitting just the right spot with your branding, meaning you don’t have to go it alone.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can get involved in the other creative aspect of branding your music apart from your sound, such as creating album covers, and the like. It’s just if you want everything to read professionally as possible, and so have the best chance of appealing to your target audience filtering it through a professional in the area is a smart thing to do.
Understanding of intellectual property laws
In fact, it’s not just artists that sample other’s work to use in their own that need a good grasp of intellectual property and copyright laws but anyone that is putting out work in the commercial sphere. After all, you need to not only know how to protect your own work but be sure you are paid your dues when someone else uses or plays what you have created in a commercial environment as well.
To that end, reading up on copyright, royalties, and IP in the music world in posts like the one you will find here is well worth your time. Even if it takes you away from creating for a time. In fact, even if you have all the charisma in the world, without this knowledge, it’s improbable that you will be able to maximize your financial success in the modern music biz.