Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros


July 13, 2005

Why Settle for the Slow Track?

One of the cool things about blogs is the ability that readers have to post comments. I found a great one that deserves some extra discussion. An anonymous reader responded to my post called Why You Need to Get Off the Fast-Track Mentality, which encourages artists to take the long-term, time-released approach to success instead of the knee-jerk "get famous quick" mentality.

Anonymous wrote ...
I have a question. Why put a quantity on it? There is no reason to say "you can't do it faster."

What about the people who have music as their full-time job ... who practice hours a day, and through small self-promotion efforts and word of mouth ... seem to grow their audience exponentially without all the hard effort you talk about ... just because their music is really appealing to their audience?

I have your Guerrilla Music Marketing book, and it has worked wonders for me ... but I think discouraging the possibility of massive success, or telling people it's going to take 7-10 years, seems a little extreme.

It would be much more helpful for me if you were to encourage the possibility of promotion into bigger independent success and the possibility of eventually becoming valuable to a major label ... not as a tool for a break out, but as a genuine promotional partner to extend music to a wider audience ...

Great points. Here's my take: My original motivation was to provide a reality check for those weekend warrior-type musicians who may also be lured by the rags-to-riches drama of American Idol. But I also wanted to provide a voice of encouragement for those musicians who aren't starry-eyed dreamers but who get frustrated by the apparent slow pace of progress.

There are a lot of truly talented singers, songwriters and players who "give it a shot" for several months or a couple years and then throw in the towel when they haven't reached a certain predetermined level of success. And that's fine. Not everyone has the drive and passion to keep plugging away when the money or the fans or the critical acclaim are in short supply.

So I think it was important to point out that it's okay to be patient, as long as (as the anonymous poster says) you are continually working on your craft, reaching out to fans and attempting to grow.

However, his or her comments shed light on a flaw in my advice: The implication that you should automatically "settle" for it taking a long time. I'm a big believer in the power of expectations. People with positive expectations generally enjoy positive results. So, by all means, think big ... dream big ... fully expect to succeed.

The trick is not becoming too attached to a particular outcome or specific timeframe. The most successful people set adventurous goals -- but they are infinitely flexible in adjusting their plan and rolling with the challenges (and new opportunities) they face along the way.

Maybe my headline was wrong. Instead of "Why You Need to Get Off the Fast-Track Mentality," it should have been "Why You Need to Be Committed to Your Ultimate Success -- No Matter How Long It Takes."

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