The 6 Stages Of An Artist’s Career

© 2011 Vinny Ribas

An artist who has ‘made it’ has most likely reach several major landing points in his or her career. This happens in many different areas of the artist’s career, such as the gigs they played, the recordings they released and the fan base they’ve amassed. After all, success is a process.

Here are the major steps that an artist takes during their career gigs. Find where your career sits right now on this list. It is important that you know this so that you can: a) know what the next step should be in your rise to the top; b) you don’t try to jump to higher steps before you are ready, and; c) you can gauge how far you are from where you want to be.[private_freebie]

Introduction Mode

  • You’re a brand new act, one that has made a change or one that is going into a new geographic market.
  • You are taking every gig you can just to tighten the act and get exposure.
  • You are frustrated because you’re anxious to get some traction.
  • Gigs are scarce.
  • You fight every day to prove yourself.
  • You are aware that you need to outshine the competition.
  • You can’t command anywhere close to top dollar.
  • The band might be wondering if it’s worth the struggle.

Exploration Mode

  • You are searching to find your niche, and it’s becoming clearer.
  • You are getting a regular stream of fans signing up for your mailing list at gigs.
  • You are playing multiple kinds of venues and have started to identify the exact places and audiences that you fit best in.
  • Seeing where you fit into budgets, playing with your asking price and wondering what people would really pay you.
  • You are trying new things on stage to up your performance level.
  • You are seriously tightening the act.
  • Little by little you are discovering what your real selling points are.
  • You’re gaining ground on the competition.
  • You’ve released your first CD and you’re selling it at gigs.

Maintenance Mode

  • You know your audience and have found your niche of venues.
  • You’ve honed your act to please your fans and have a loyal fan following.
  • You keep going back to the same gigs or same kinds of venues.
  • You might have a house gig.
  • Your income stays roughly the same or increases very slowly.
  • You are in your comfort zone.
  • You might settle in to this mode for weeks, months, years or decades.
  • You now have steady income.
  • You are the competition the others are trying to buck.
  • Your mailing list is still growing steadily.
  • You’ve released your second CD.
  • You are getting some Internet and maybe even local airplay.

Breakaway Mode

  • You are starting to be in high demand.
  • You can now pick and choose when and where you want to play.
  • You’re getting calls from venues in other cities, regions or even other states.
  • You’re playing to many new audiences and in different venues.
  • Name your price rather than being dictated a price.
  • You are getting airplay, on some terrestrial radio and on popular Internet stations.
  • You have an above average income, but your expenses are also higher.
  • You have a business team, such as a booking agent and manager.
  • You feel like your career is moving ahead.
  • You’ve broken away from the local competition.
  • Your 3rd CD has been widely acclaimed.

Made It Mode

  • You are where you always wanted to be in your career.
  • You have an excess of income above expenses.
  • You have widespread notoriety.
  • You are playing the biggest and best venues.
  • You are on par with the artists you admire.
  • You may reach icon status.
  • You’re at the top of the industry.
  • Your CDs are selling well internationally.

Post Stardom Mode

  • Your light isn’t shining as brightly.
  • You’re tired.
  • You’re not as in demand as you once were, or you’re not in demand at all.
  • There is a new generation that you are trying to appeal to.
  • There is a new generation that has never heard of you.
  • The industry is looking for ‘younger artists’.
  • You still have a following, but many of your fans have moved on to newer acts.
  • You won’t fill the bigger stadiums any more.
  • You’re playing larger clubs.
  • You consider retiring from music, or actually do.

Obviously many artists take different paths. Some never quite get to where they want to be. Others rocket to the top right out of the gate. Some catch a lucky break that enables them to skip a few steps along the way. But if you’re not one of the exceptions to the rule, you should be able to match your career to these milestones.[/private_freebie]

About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.