If you are a musician and/or songwriter, Congratulations! You have just found something you can enjoy and do your entire life!
One of the things that I see often is that bands are in a rush to be huge, famous, massive NOW. You only have to be truthful and objective with yourself to see that your favourite bands that you hear on the radio, on massive festivals and constantly talked about by press and your friends who only know major label bands (99% of them anyway and I’m not counting Reality TV contestants, because those, friends, are not musicians) are 10 years + deep into their career and on to perhaps their 2nd or 3rd album before they break through.
There is nothing worse as an industry person to see a band who is obviously desperate for their band’s success. It’s immediately obvious and unfortunately, it has the opposite effect than what you are looking for. It will turn people away from your band – industry and punters alike. Put pressure on yourself to keep achieving, sure, but stop yourself short of sending a million emails a day to that booking agent about that one support slot. I saw Steph Edwardes, who works for Handsome Tours in Melbourne and who has booked tours for Band of Horses, Future of the Left, Lykke Li and Gossip, saythis on Facebook 2 days ago – “3 phone calls from the same dickhead in one day chasing a support. Really.” So, yeah. Really think about it – All that time and effort ringing, put it into your music. Go out with it when you have stuff that is ready and realistic to get those kinds of supports. If you don’t know if it’s ready or not – Get feedback from industry contacts that you trust to be honest with you and you are friends with. Don’t get disappointed if its not, because it’s a journey and you will be on it your entire life. If not this one, the next one. It may feel like a kick in the guts, but try different things – try a different producer or method of production, or new musicians or instruments in your songs. It’s madness to keep trying the same thing and expecting a different result. Oh, and learn how to write a great email. Seriously, it’ll make a HUGE difference.
GUESS WHAT? You don’t have to be famous NOW. I read a quote lately that was something along the lines of ‘The longer a band takes to become famous, the longer the fame will last.’ Not that all bands’ goals are to be famous. In fact, a band can be successful simply based on their goals. Your goal can simply be to sell those 500 CDs you just paid for. Boom. Success. Still, a lot of people’s goals are to be huge and play stadiums and headline festivals. But for real, though, there has to be an acknowledgement that IT’S A LONG JOURNEY. There also has to be an acknowledgement that you have to put work in every day on this, learn what it takes, make connections with the right people and don’t ever believe that you are ENTITLED to anything. You need to earn it.
The main thing to remember when you are feeling down about your music not being “successful” is that you are in control of that success – set goals and measure yourself against those and NEVER against other people, that shit will lead you to a LOT of disappointment, I can guarantee that.