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3 Things You Don't Know You Don't Know in the Music Industry

One of the tricks to being successful in the music industry is adapting to changing circumstances quickly and professionally- this industry can be really unpredictable, and the opportunities that may launch your career can come at any time. Often, you simply don't know that you're going to face in a given day until it's right on top of you. Here's 3 things I wish I'd known how to handle before they happened:

 

1. Follow Up

When you meet a great contact, write down their information immediately and set up a game plan on how to follow up with them. When I was younger, I was terrible about following up with people that I met, and would often waste amazing opportunities because of lost contact info or lack of follow-through.

Even now, my litmus test for young musicians that want career advice is simple: when they ask me for advice, I give them my card and tell them to call me and we'll talk. I've given out hundreds of business cards, and I can count on one hand how many have actually contacted me. It definitely weeds out those that are serious about their careers, and keeps the musicians that aren't organized and prepared from wasting my time and theirs in a lengthy meetup, when they're not actually willing to do what it takes to be successful.

2. Embrace change 

It happens- when you least expect it, the venue closes down, your drummer quits the band, you realize to be successful you're going to have to move to a new city, etc. While big changes can be stressful, it's inevitable, and the way you handle it can literally make or break your career. If you aren't changing, you aren't growing- in fact, I'd recommend making sure that you have a certain amount of change planned into your life just to make sure you're exploring all possibilities available to you, and to keep you from stagnating.

3. Take big chances

Probably the biggest mistake a musician can make is not being willing to take big chances when opportunities arise suddenly. I'm not suggesting you should take random high risk gambles with your career- what I'm advocating is getting good counsel from people that know your field, roughly calculating your chances, and then committing to your decision.

I personally have always had a hard time doing this financially with my career- I've always been afraid to I commit too much money to any event that didn't make me back the same amount of money, and I feel I've hamstrung my career at times because of this shortcoming. Don't be afraid to commit a bit more money than you might make back if you think your investment will push your career forward significantly. It'll be well worth it in the long run.

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