And why not?! It’s exciting for the audience and the singers & bands. Who wouldn’t want the chance to have someone “just hear me, so they’ll love me and I’ll be a star”? To achieve fame and recognition because of a hit song, a viral video, or a TV show, sounds like an easy way to make a career happen. It’s like winning the lottery.
Until recently, I hadn’t heard anyone suggest the lottery was a good investment. But not long ago, Forbes magazine published an article, “Why Playing The Lottery Is A Good Investment.” In the article, a respected financial advisor says, “As soon as you plunk down your $1, you can’t help but start to think about what your life would look like if you won…”
He goes on to say, “The daydreaming stage is where most people stop, however… there’s a better approach… The real question is not how winning the lottery would change your life. The better question is how would winning the lottery improve your life?” Here’s where he suggests it becomes a good investment: “Daydream how the win would make your life better, and then figure out how you can create this change in your life even if you don’t win.”
This financial expert went on to say that this is a good exercise: write down what you’d do if you won the lottery. Then, instead of waiting for the mostly impossible lottery win, do what you can to achieve your goals through persistent hard work and focusing on the important stuff.
I totally agree! You see, there are two problems with the typical lottery approach to a music career: 1) when singers and musicians put all their focus on attempting to break into the industry and being a success through the lottery they will probably be very disappointed (what are the chances, after all?); and 2) if you do end up winning the lottery you may not be ready to make a long lasting success of it, because you’ve probably failed to work on other necessary priorities (like working on your live show, developing your songwriting skills, discovering & refining your style, building a fan base, etc.).
Don’t get me wrong… I have nothing against auditioning for American Idol or any of these other contests. Really, what do you have to lose? In fact, I’ve worked with and taught artists for numerous audition type shows. Jordan Sparks (2007 American Idol) was nice enough to say, “Thanks to Tom for helping me on the road to American Idol!” Charity Vance (Idol finalist) and Rachel Potter (X Factor finalist) both attended Tom Jackson Bootcamps. Even one of my DVDs (The Reins Live Music Makeover) shows my work with The Voice finalist Angie Johnson.
But, let’s be realistic … how many times can you audition in an artificial situation for less than a minute, and expect someone to assess your talent properly? If this is your only strategy to build a music career (auditioning for every talent contest), I wouldn’t expect a lot to happen.
I might play the lottery, hope to win millions, and have it change my life. But I wouldn’t run into every place that sells lottery tickets, and I certainly wouldn’t use my last dollar to play. It wouldn’t be my main focus! If I expect to make a living or build a career by playing the lottery, I’m going to be sorely disappointed (and will probably end up living under a bridge).
So do what that financial advisor tells his clients: “Have fun, day dream what it would be like if you won, and then do everything you can to create that life even if you don’t win.”
Photo courtesy Matthew Anderson on Flickr