I think my fans will follow me into our combined old age. Real musicians and real fans stay together for a long, long time.
– Bonnie Raitt
If you want to become successful, then it’s always a good idea to have some kind of a vision, and to develop some kind of a strategy to start with.
If you want to become a successful artist, then you’ll be something like an entrepreneur; and if you want to record your music, then it’s like creating a product.
Of course you want to be an artist first, but I think it’s much more interesting to become a wealthy artist than a poor one.
Earning money will allow you to do all the things you always wanted to do, and having no money will prevent you from doing all of that crazy artistic stuff you’ve been dreaming of.
You may hate to hear that, but money means freedom to a certain degree, at least as long as it’s not too much of it. Things can become quite awkward if you earn too much, but I don’t think that’s your problem at this point already. Many recent artists have become quite wealthy by producing quite crappy music, but often those artists earned more money with live performances (selling over-priced concert tickets) and side projects (such as TV show appearances, modeling contracts, selling perfumes, or investing in businesses) than by selling records. This has not always been the case, and in the distant past artists were able to make a whole lot of money by selling records alone. This is still possible today, but you have already learned that only those artists who make good music and who manage to sell a lot of albums (instead of selling singles) are able to make enough cash by selling records.
The good news is that in order to become successful, our strategy in this manual will be to create GREAT art, and thus to sell ALBUMS.
Selling a lot of albums will only be possible if you will be able to promote your record using at least one song that will make people go crazy. As said before, such a “hit song” or a “signature song” doesn’t have to be bad music, and it can even be great art. You’ll learn more about writing and producing such songs in chapters 5 and 6. As an artist it will also be reassuring to hear that creating something greatly artistic and making money does not exclude each other. You will even learn that it’s quite the opposite:
It may in fact be EASIER for you to earn money by delivering GOOD QUALITY. If you want to create a successful product, then you will need to think about WHO YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL BE.
As a musician, your potential customers will be your fans, that’s the people who come to your live shows and / or the people who will (hopefully) be buying your records. In order to become successful, you must know who your potential fans will be, and what will make them buy your records and come to your live shows. This does not mean that you should create art with customers and sales in mind, nevertheless you will have to understand some of the basics in order to succeed.