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Making it in the Music Industry: 3 Things that Must Happen

Singer Charity Vance at microphoneAre you trying to “make it” in the music industry?

You have the talent, you feel like your songs are good, and you’ve got a passion to do this thing called “music.”

You’re special. You are confident that what you have to share with your music is unique. Now you need to get someone to notice you.

You know if you could just get your CD in the hands of a record label, you’d be set. But how do you make that happen?

Let me tell you something that should help: you don’t NEED to get your recording in front of a label!

Here’s why.

There are over 300 million people in the USA. If you had only 1,000 of those 300 million as fans… and if those 1,000 fans tweeted about you, mentioned you on Facebook, and Instagrammed you at concerts, because they had a “religious” experience at your show (in other words, they are “True Fans“)… then who cares about giving your CD to someone at a label!

With those 1,000 True Fans you’d have a team working for you, doing your marketing at no cost. You will have created a buzz all by yourself.

But there is something that needs to happen first in order for you to create those fans. It’s not enough just to “be you.” There has got to be some differentiation at your live show between you and every other performer. But most artists don’t understand what it takes for that differentiation to happen. Actually, there are 3 things that have to happen.

3 things that must happen at each and every show you do:

1. You must capture and engage your audience to the point that they can’t believe a whole hour/90 minutes/20 minutes (or however long) has passed since they first sat down.

2. You must make an emotional connection to everyone in the audience because of the “Moments” you share (they will have laughed, been inspired, felt good about life, moved to tears, and everything in between).

3. You must create a live show experience so incredible that the entire audience walks away absolutely changed in some way because of what they just saw.

That’s when they’ll go home (via your merch table to buy all your product), tell all their friends about “how great this new artist is,” and fill every social network they are part of with your name.

And you don’t have to go through the old funnel of pitching your songs to a label and trying to get signed so the label can try to build your fan base (which for most artists is about as likely as winning the lottery).

A great live show will motivate people to see you live again and again, visit & follow you online, and tell others about you.

And that’s what I call “making it” in the music industry.

Tom Jackson

Tom is uniquely talented and skilled at transforming an artist's live show into a magical experience for the audience; helping artists at every level create a live show that is engaging and memorable, teaching them to exceed their audiences' expectations and to create fans for life. Tom has taught indie and major artists of every genre. He has worked with Taylor Swift, Le Crae, Home Free, The Tenors, Shawn Mendes, The Band Perry, Francesca Battistelli, Jars of Clay, & many more. Tom also teaches at colleges, conferences and events worldwide.

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Greenroom Comments

  1. I think you are exactly 100% right. That’s what I remember from every show I’ve gone too where I didn’t leave feeling bored. I’m trying to create those moments like you talk about in your videos and on your website. I think I have a good start but I could use some direction in developing them. I’ve tried dink and talk, lateral movement, jamming the intro, developing specific sections of the song purposely for the live show, etc. I’ve had success with all those things you teach. But I haven’t been able to take it as far as I want to. I’m not sure what else to do or what I am doing wrong. I’ve watched all 107 of your video’s on youtube. I really want to be a member of your website but unfornately, I am so broke, I can’t afford to sign up. I really believe in what you teach, I just don’t know how to take it to the next level. Currently I am stuck in rut. It’s been a few years since I released my last album so I’m not as relevant anymore. Granted my last album has sold in 9 countries and has radio airplay in the US, the UK and France. But, it came out in 2007. I live in a small town of 3,000 people with no opportunities to perform. I also don’t have a car at the moment. So yea, things are tough. But I spend upwards of 20 hours a day, writing, rehearsing my solo shows, promoting, networking, etc. Do you have any advice?

  2. Tom, what you said is absolutely true. The trouble is most musicians:

    a) don’t want to do what it takes to create a great show
    b) in fact, most think a live show is just a secondary thing
    c) they don’t want to put in any effort into promoting themselves so they could get those fans.

    What they picture is “Once the labels see how great I am, they will put me ‘out there’, shower with money and stuff, I’ll enjoy the fame and then probably do a show – if they invite me to the Grammy Awards that is!”

    In other words, they have a very glamorized vision of “what it takes to make it in the industry”.

    • True, Jean Paul. It’s usually misunderstanding or miscommunication. Misunderstanding how important the live show is… misunderstanding what to do to make it better… miscommunication with the audience… Good news is, all those things can be learned!

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