Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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

January 27, 2009

How to Set and Reach Your Music Goals

The 5th term of my "Music Marketing 101" class at recently wrapped up. The twelfth and final assignment asks students to create a 12-month marketing plan they can use in the real world.

Most students do a great job with it. But it amazes me how many include goals such as:

"Book a lot more live shows."
"Sell a buttload of CDs and music downloads."

Hmm ...

Let me ask you: Exactly how many is a "buttload"? How do you know when you have arrived at buttload status? And how much is "more"?

For goals to be effective, they must be ...
  • specific
  • measurable
  • with a deadline
You must have a clear target and be able to know whether you are moving closer to or further away from the target.

Fuzzy goals lead to fuzzy actions and fuzzy results -- things that won't serve you well.
 More concrete goals would be:

"Book 3 live shows a month in Atlanta."
"Sell 100 physical CDs, 200 single downloads, and 50 album downloads by June 1, 2009."

These goals are more effective because you will know right away if you reached them, exceeded them, or fell short.

So get crystal clear about what you want. That specific destination will influence the focused actions you take, which will lead to results.

And when you effectively evaluate the results -- which you should do often -- the insight you gain will help you adjust your plan and your target.

That's right. Goals and plans aren't set in stone. But having one to begin with sets you on a definite course of action. And action is what you need to make progress with your music career ... and your life.

Another helpful post you should read is Ariel Hyatt's "Musician’s Roadmap to Setting Goals."


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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:25 AM   5 comments


At Jan 27, 2009, 3:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And action is what you need to make progress with your music career" - How about actual "Talent"? You can set as many goals as you want - but goals are not what makes you successful.

At Jan 27, 2009, 3:15:00 PM, Blogger Bob Baker said...

Yup. But "talent" is a subjective thing. The marketplace (meaning actual music fans) will determine what it likes and believes to be talented.

Does perceived "talent" alone make you successful? Perhaps for some. But how many skilled musicians do we all know who struggle in obscurity?

The key is to take your "talent," set goals based on how you can serve others with your gifts, and then act upon them.


At Jan 28, 2009, 10:52:00 AM, Anonymous Simon said...

Talent accounts for about 10% of anything music related, it would seem. The rest is pure solid hard work.

Gladwell's 'Outliers' and Levitin's 'This is Your Brain on Music' cover this point nicely - they point out that even perceived geniuses like Mozart worked outrageously hard. In Mozart's case, his father thought that he was a miracle from God and so worked him incredibly hard from a ridiculously young age (it also helped that his father was considered to be one of the greatest teachers in the western world at that time).

We have developed this myth of talent and used it to separate 'musicians' from 'regular people' where the only real difference is how many hours the musicans have put in (10,000 seems to be the magic number - it's conceivable that Mozart reached this number before puberty).

Goals, REALLY hard work, perseverance in the face of people calling you talentless, and a big dollop of luck are what make you successful.

Talent - and we can take our cues from popular music here - is often optional.

At Dec 7, 2009, 11:10:00 AM, Anonymous Rob said...

Talent doesn't exist, it's all about how hard you work at it. As a teacher I don't believe for a second that some people are just "not talented".

Sure, some people will get where they're going faster than others, some have a head start, but I wouldn't call that "talent". It's still down to hard work in the end.

At Oct 23, 2010, 5:29:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

erm.. the link to Ariels page doesnt appear to be still current ! Nice blog tho nonetheless !


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