The biggest myths artists and musicians are told

  1. Followers equals fans - Because we live in a digital dope fiend culture in which people are so concerned with being liked, people are needless to say addicted to the follower revolution. People even game the system in order to get more of these so called non income generating followers. A follower should not even be called a follower. They should be called a parasite. or a digital leach. A digital leach is someone that technically appears on your follower or friend list but does not contribute anything to your cause. They will never retweet your articles, they will never like your posts, they will never come to your shows, whatever. Even if they do "like" one of your posts, that doesn't mean shit as it relates to running a business.
     
  2. Fans equals dollars in the bank - It doesn't cost anything to be a fan of someone. People can believe in what you do, but that doesn't mean it's going to turn a profit for you. In other words, the horses like the water, drink the water but they won't pay for the water.  If you're running a business it's fine to have fans but what you need is customers. A customer is someone who gives you money in exchange for whatever good or service you provide. Artists need to stop looking at their audiences as fans and start looking at them as customers. I could give a fuck less if someone is a fan of my work. I want them to be a customer of my work. I want promoters to book me, I want people to buy my cds, pay for downloads of my music or financially patronize anything I create.
     
  3. Exposure will help you - The only way exposure will help you is if you can generate money from that said exposure. For example, if you perform for free and are able to sell $2,500 in merchandise, then exposure is good. If you play a high profile gig where you are exposed to people who can help you make more money then exposure is good. Most of the time this is not the case. Most of the time, people are trying to use your talent or skill for no money in an effort to further their cause, not yours. There are many festivals I have seen that do not pay their artists and because nobody values their work, they merely become background music at an event that is not even the right audience for them in the first place. You do not want exposure to people who do not value your work. That being said, find people that do and make them customers.
     
  4. You need to be validated by other artists or people to be credible - This is the biggest myth I have heard that has really come about in the last 10-15 years with the Rise of the Fake Artist. You see this especially in the genre of hip hop where you have to have some sort of street cred other than your actual artistic ability to be accepted by the tribe. This is a practice that is primarily practiced in pop music. No guitar player on the planet will deny another guitar player power for being great at what he does. If he can play, he can play. Not so in pop music genres. What shoes you wear and what eye liner you put on is just as important as what comes out of your mouth. This is stupid. Remember to focus on creating customers. Nobody says they're not going to get gas from a service station in the desert because it is owned by Exxon Mobil station and they don't like their geopolitical beliefs. They get gas because they're the only person that has it there. In other words, you don't need credibility if someone is patronizing your work financially. That's what it means to be an artist. To get people to pay for your brand of whatever it is that you are selling.

    People who play solely for "exposure" only tarnish their brand. People do not value things that are free. Not only is this a proven phenomena, I can tell you from personal experience this is true.
     
  5. Mastery or becoming great is all you need - I have seen many great artists that never went anywhere because they believed that if they just focused entirely on their craft they will be successful. This is a myth. If you are just trying to be a master and not interested in the commerce of it, then that is perfectly fine. You can do that and that is all you need, but if you are trying to run a business and generate income from your art, that is not all that you need. You need to understand how to create demand, create customers, brand yourself and run the back office in order to move forward with your career.
     
  6. Managers will come to you - I've certainly heard a few stories of this happening but they are the exception to the rule. Managers and agents are no different than anyone else on the planet that doesn't want to work hard. If someone is a high profile manager that can help you, chances are they are already helping someone else out and have their hands full. You need to make yourself known before people can help you. I've had agents in the past that I had to dismiss for poor performance because they simply didn't put the work in. People only come to you if it benefits them. Even then when that happens, they are going to figure out how to extract money from the situation without providing equal value. My motto is that if you have a track record of making more money for artists than they made for themselves and you can make me more money than I can make on my own, then we can work together. If you can't do those two things or haven't done those two things then we can't.
     
  7. He or she went viral - Viral existed when youtube first came out in 2005, but Viral as it is described today is largely a myth. Everything requires a catalyst to "go viral". This means the said piece of content was placed somewhere people would see it first before they could take action on it. Most of what you see on the internet is being pushed by a major news agency, social media network, website or whatever in order to get where it's trying to go. It doesn't just happen by itself. I've even heard stories about socalled "sleeper hits" that when I read the actual story, it wasn't a "sleeper hit" at all. It may have been a good or great song, but the reason it reached the top of the charts was never organic. It was the result of art turning into product which was then distributed to a wide audience by a major corporation, entity or dedicated resource.
     
  8. Focus on one direction - The titanic focused on one direction and looked what happened to that big beautiful ship. Goliath focused on being a big lenky alpha asshole and he was killed by a fucking skinny dweabe from Rome or whatever the fuck. Focusing on one direction will get you killed in the real world. What you need to do is develop a mercenary attitude and bring about death by a thousand cuts. Consistency, perstistence and going from zero to 1 is how today's or even yesterday's artists survived. There is a restuarntuer that had a chain of italian restaurants he sold to al arger corporation. He made most of his money investing in heart stint technology though. Had he adopted the focusing on one direction, single minded mentality he would not be several hundred million dollars richer.
     
  9. Image is everything - Yield back to points 2, 3 & 4. You need to focus on creating customers. A bottle of water does not need a bow on it to a man that has been stranded in the desert for 3 days without a drop of it. Focus on fulfilling needs people have. Music especially fulfills a fundamental human need to be connected. I think the music industry needs more contrast, so I create that contrast. Other people believe this as well and they patronize me because of it. I am fulfilling a need they have. A need to connect with someone who also thinks outside the box like they do.
     
  10. Fame equals being rich - This goes back to point 2. Probably one of the worst things that can happen to an artist or individual is to be famous and not be able to monetize that fame. You see this with a lot of youtube stars and celebrities that are really good at entertaining people but lose fans the second they try to monetize it because then their fans feel "they are selling out". You need to start your artistic career being a sellout so that you attract the right audience to your work. Quality over quantity. I would rather be unknown and have a fat bank account then known and broke. There are even articles that have been written on this phenomena. The fact that you have these youtube stars with millions of followers and they are working at the coffee shop because nobody monetarily respects their work.
     
  11. You need to attend industry events and conferences - Opportunities I have received from these events pales in comparison from what I did through my own sales activity. Calling someone or emailing them personally has yielded actual profits in my bank account. Industry events make you a small ass fish in a Big Ass pond. You don't need to be at South by Southwest to be heard. Even if you go there, the people that can help you are going to help themselves first before they help you. Always remember that. You spending $3,000 on a conference to hear someone talk about how to become a sustainable musician or artist is not sustainable.
     
  12. Timing is everything - If you are a Fake Artist who is trying to people please and set in or get in on a fad, then yes, timing is everything. You must participate in the pitch correction movement before it is destroyed by a master worthy of praise like myself. Real artists serve a universal and timeless need. Jimi Hendrix will always be relevant. He is so relevant that even rappers that can't play instruments attempt to compare themselves to him. If you are a real artist constantly getting better at your craft, more opportunities will always be there because you are creating them not taking them. Creators always have opportunities. Consumers take opportunities. Being a Fake Artist is a form of consumption and timing is very important because there are only so many crumbs to go around. Concentrate on cultivating a piece of land that will continue to wreap rewards for as long as you choose to be a farmer on it. Yes there may be droughts and years that reap bigger harvests than others, but being an experiecned farmer or artist will allow you to endure these moments.
     
  13. Scarcity alone creates demand - Obviously I mentione in the previous points that if you're the only person providing a good or service then people are going to naturally choose you. The exception to this rule is that in the art world you have to make yourself known to people. You need to sell yourself and let people know that you are an option.