Unrealistic expectations of entitlement in the music business

singerworkhardMost experienced musicians know that being in the business is a long road. There are many step backs, failures, refusals and put downs. You get your face slammed into a brick wall several times, that’s just the nature of it. Still so many people get in to the music business with outrageously unrealistic expectations. We have seen the few people jump through the cracks, whether it was a record label picking up a child star and pumping crazy amount of money into promoting them, or they became overnight YouTube stars. By the way, the YouTube route is like winning the lottery. It is not something you can base your business plan on. Sure use YouTube, it is a great tool for musicians, but don’t expect it alone to make you famous. These overnight success stories are on in a million!

There seems to be expectation of entitlement these days. We get to play one successful festival show, or a breakfast TV show and we expect to get a manager the next day. The truth is far from this delusional expectation. Here is a great example I heard in a music business conference about ten years back. A world music artist had been touring the festivals for several years and their following was starting to be quite impressive and they got a manager interested in working with them. We all would assume the manager at this stage would take over the business side of things and elevate the band to the “next level.” But the truth was very different. The manager actually sent a suitcase full of music business books to the artist and told them to read all of them.

You see, there is no shortcut. You still need to learn your business, you still need to put the hours in to get great at what you do, you need to get your hands dirty at the grass root level, (touring on a shoestring budget, building personal relationships with bloggers, journalists, venues, sound engineers, recording album after album with no money at all…) you need to be willing to commit to it all for a very long time.

You don’t become a doctor overnight, it takes year of studying, it takes year of working as an intern, before you can actually get started in your career. The same goes in music business. Having an unrealistic expectations of entitlement in the music business is only going to fog your vision. Get out to the local pub to play shows in front of a tough crowd, do this over and over again. This is where you earn your chops. Read everything you can get your hands on about music business, online marketing, social media, recording, video production. I would go even as far as to say learnt the basics of web design and coding. Become an expert in the field of Independent music business. Write and rewrite your songs, and do it all the time.

This all might sound like I am trying to dishearten you, or trying to quit before you start. In fact I am actually trying to do just the opposite. I am trying to give you the tools to get ahead, I am trying to learnt o love the process. You see loving the process is vital, as it takes so much work to succeed. But it won’t feel like work if you love it 🙂


The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE