9 Timing Mistakes That Many Indie Artists Make

© 2011 Vinny Ribas

The old saying goes, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ With that in mind, here are some of the most common yet damaging timing-related mistakes that many artists and songwriters make.


  1. Recording a CD without thinking through and mapping out a marketing plan first. 4 months before your CD comes out you need to be thinking about how and where you are going to market it. There are several reasons for this. First, by the time the CD is released you could have generated massive anticipation for it and possibly pre-sold copies. Secondly, you may find that if you just added or left off one song, or changed the cover design, you could have marketed to a very lucrative market that you didn’t consider. Last but not least, when the CD is released and your excitement level is at its peak, you are wasting time thinking about ‘what do I do now’ instead of immediately switching into active promotion road.
  2. Not developing and sticking to a complete budget before recording a CD. This often leads to not having enough money for all of the recording costs (including mixing and mastering), the cover design, the duplication and/or marketing. Develop a complete budget based on the money you have available, and include every single cost involved in the production and marketing of your CD. The stay within that budget. It will give you the peace of mind that your CD is the best that you can afford and you won’t be sweating over your lack of funding. In addition, you will have the money set aside to take your music to the world. Way too many artists have cases of their original CDs sitting in their garage just because they didn’t set aside money for marketing.
  3. Taking a high profile gig before you are ready for it. There aren’t very many feelings worse than performing at a gig and embarrassing yourself because you got in over your head. There are several reasons that this happens – ego, overconfidence, an unrealistic assessment of your own talent, pressure from others etc. But regardless of how it happens, it can be a career-buster. You only get one chance to make a good impression. Ask for a professional opinion regarding whether or not you are ready to take advantage of that ‘golden opportunity!’
  4. Performing or recording your original songs before they are perfected. This goes back to the concept of making a great first impression. It also keeps people from wanting to buy your CD!
  5. Promoting a co-written song without a written agreement in place regarding what percentage of the copyright each co-writer owns. Far too many great songwriting teams are destroyed because of either a misunderstanding or simple greed regarding co-ownership.
  6. Approaching managers or booking agents before you are ready. You can brand yourself as amateur and unprofessional if you are approaching established industry professionals without knowing what they do, how they do it, how they get paid and what level you need to reach for them to consider taking you on as a client.
  7. Putting a music video up a YouTube, promoting a song to radio, submitting your CD to blogs or getting your CD reviewed – all which could generate substantial traffic – before you have a way to capitalize on it.Before you seek mass exposure, be sure you have a great website, have your music available on I-Tunes and other digital retailers and are ready to tour if asked! You may not get a second chance at getting mass exposure.
  8. Prematurely promoting an event, celebrating a contract or making a news announcement.Be sure that everything is solidly locked in before you broadcast it to the world! Otherwise you look foolish backpedaling and having to retract it.
  9. Recording a CD before you have an agreement in place with your producer, and/or work-for-hire agreements with your musicians and back-up singers. Your producer and your musicians/singers are not required to sign agreements after your recording session. And not having these in place can create all kinds of legal hassles regarding ownership of your masters, licensing songs to film and TV and more. Ask your entertainment attorney to draw up the appropriate agreements and have everyone sign them before you lay down one note!

The bottom line is that the sequence in which you do things is often just as, or even more important than the tasks themselves! Doing things out of order can void all of the benefit that the act should have given you. Be sure to think things through completely. Better yet, get a mentor or a coach who can help you plan your career and avoid these critical mistakes.

Can’t afford a mentor or a coach? Consider joining Indie Connect! You will have access to video tutorials, online training, conference call coaching, industry discounts and much for, starting at less than $10 per month! For details, see www.indieconnect.com/join-ic>.

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, a global business club for serious independent artists, songwriters, musicians and music professionals. Indie Connect helps its members increase their chances of success by providing practical career direction and education, combined with live and online industry networking opportunities. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, an artist manager, a booking agent, songwriter and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He is a published author and popular speaker at music industry conferences.[/private_member]

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.