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Your Success is Important to Me!

As we say here in the south, “I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed”.  But, one thing I have is perspective.  

I’ve worked with hundreds of artists over the years and taught at workshops around the world.  

My expertise is the live show.  I’ve seen the struggles artists have with their careers and seen what works and what doesn’t work.  


I’m getting ready to speak to over 2000 artists at three events, in the next month, (DIY Musician’s / CD Baby Conference, Nashville Songwriters Association International/NSAI, and the CCMAs in Saskatoon, Canada), and that got me thinking about you and how I can help you.

I’m reminded as I talk to people at events like these why we do this music ‘thing’.  I believe there are four reasons.  In no particular order they are:

1. The first is obvious…Music: those of us who have the music bug know it’s part of our DNA and we have to do it.

2. Message: We feel we have a view of what’s going on in the world and we’d like to make a difference and a connection to those who feel the way we do.  We could go into depth on this, but that’s for another blog…

3. Money: Most artists I talk to would like to make a living with music.  They don’t have to be famous. They just want to pay the bills and do what they love to do.

4. Me: When I say “Me” I’m talking about that sense of fulfillment that we all strive for…doing what we know we’re created to do.  I believe that sense of fulfillment as an artist can happen when we walk out on stage. 

In the past few weeks I’ve had conversations with two bands/artists and a manager about that fulfillment and how an artist makes a living.  

The manager’s artist has been given performance things to work on and encouragement to move forward.  The manager said that unfortunately his artist hasn’t wanted to implement any help from anyone.  The vocal coach gave him things to do and he didn’t do the work.  

He’s been given other things to work on both in performance and musicality, and for whatever reason, will just not put in the work.  This artist has had a hit song, so he’s getting the opportunities, but the feedback from his show is not good.

On the other hand the two indie artists/bands I talked to have taken the instruction and implemented it into their shows through studying, wood-shedding and at rehearsals.  They have put in the time and effort to implement what they’ve learned.  

One of the bands/artist (a full time indie artist) surprised me by how prepared they were when I went to work with them.  They told me that when they put the performance concepts into practice from the book and DVDs, their connection with the audience grew exponentially…and so did their merchandise (merch) sales.

They had been averaging $100 a night in merch sales. After working on the material in the book and DVDs and completely re-doing their entire show, their merch sales have grown to over $1000 each night.  They are definitely more connected to their audience and building a fan base that will support them for many years to come.

The second band/artist I talked to is on a huge arena/festival tour.  I’ve been working with them for over twenty years.  (Since I was nine years old…)  

They do over 70 dates per year on a tour with 9 other artists.  They’re by far the oldest group on the tour, (the youngest band member is 42), with the other groups and artists on the tour being younger, hip artists.  

This second band’s merch sales are number 1 or 2 each night among the artists on the tour and average $10,000 to $15,000 a night.  Most of the other groups sell much less product even though they’re playing to a young audience.  

There is definitely a sense of fulfillment when connecting with an audience.  It’s NOT just about product sales.  The product sales is a reflection of how connected an audience feels to the artist.  

The artist has touched them on a personal level and they want to take the product home to relive the “moment” the artist created.  (I’ve talked many times about creating moments in a show…again that’s another blog…)

I really do wish it was easy to put together a great show!  Unfortunately, it takes work, study, wood-shedding and rehearsal; trial and error, and the willingness to take risks.   However, the process should be fun and will be rewarding!  

It’s important to me that you succeed and are fulfilled in your career. Many of you have my books and DVDs..  Out of the thousands of you who have bought my materials, I suspect only a small percentage have taken the time to wrestle with the material as it applies to you.

So, I want to encourage you.  Don’t just read the book once, take a few “tips”, and think that will give you a great show.   

If you really want to make a difference in  your music, message, money and fulfillment, take that book and the DVDs down from the shelf.  Mark up the book.  Read and re-read sections.

Stop and rewind the videos, take notes and write down elements from your show that relate to a particular section.  Work and rework your songs and show to create the “moments” that will connect you to your audience.

I’ve seen this stuff work for over twenty years and I really want you to succeed.  I’ve always, always, (did I say ALWAYS?), seen this work, when implemented.

We’re planning to do a webinar with you soon to answer your questions.  I will let you know the date and time in an upcoming email.

I wish you success in your music career and would love to hear your success stories!  

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 whole heartedly believe in this 100%, but has been difficult with either people “not interested” in putting on a show/having showmanship or too many lineup changes which has impacted the group’s ability to perform. the latter being the bigger problem.

    • Hi Ger, …I would suggest creating the moments in rehearsal. Once the moments have been created, (the verbal, the visual and the musical rearrangements), you can record the rehearsal. Then when your lineup changes, you can send the mew players the video (instead of just the recordings of the music) showing what you expect from them. I hope this helps! Thank you for your comment! Tom

  2. This is great advice, Tom. There are a number of changes I need to make in order to move to the next level, and the effort it will take it daunting. But I know you’re right. Sometimes it’s difficult to step out of that comfort zone, especially if we have a number of fans telling us how wonderful we are. It’s easy to get lazy. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

    • Hi Jonathan, You’re right. It’s a constant struggle to keep growing and not get complacent. I have the same issue at times. We need to encourage each other to stay sharp! Have a good Christmas! Tom

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