Seven Truths Few Artists Want To Hear

Part of Being a Professional is Seeking and

© 2019 Vinny Ribas, Sydney Owen and Daniel Shaw-Remata

Coffee shop meeting

Far too many artists pour their hearts and souls into their music without ever getting an opinion or heeding advice from industry experts or coaches/consultants who have valuable insights and perspectives. I am not by any means saying that the experts are always right. But seeking, digesting and personally evaluating advice from a music consultant or trusted professional might be the difference between short term and long term success.

Here are seven of the things few artist want to but sometimes need to hear.

  1. There is someone more talented than you. That might sound like a no-brainer. But I have dealt with clients who believed that they were the absolute best at what they do, bar none. As a result they can’t understand why other people have ‘made it’ when they haven’t. Or why they can’t get the gigs they think they deserve. It’s great to have confidence in your ability, but there is no room for an inflated ego.
  2. Your talent is not enough. There are a thousand factors that go into ‘making it’ that might include access to money to invest, where you live (vs. where you should be living), your personal connections, how serious you are, who’s trust you’ve earned, your attitude, your team members and a whole lot more. Most importantly, can you get people’s attention and/or fill seats?
  3. Your career is vulnerable. Your career isn’t necessarily as ‘solid’ as you think just because you’re doing well right now. Trends change and people move. They grow up and have kids. In other words, life happens both to you and to your current fan base. You need to be thinking now about how you stay relevant to them 5, 10 and even 20 years down the road. Plan for that now to stay ahead of them and avoid obsolescence.
  4. You’re not the best person to do your marketing or graphic design. All too often I see artists with great music who have amateur-looking EPKs or CD/single artwork. Many insist on editing their own photos or videos and don’t do a good enough job to show them in a good light. Be honest with yourself and your skills, especially when it comes to your branding.  
  5. You should hire someone else to… When it comes down to creating music, many artists insist on doing everything – singing, playing lead and rhythm guitar, writing all the songs, producing their own music etc. All too often the truth is that the act or final product may be better served with someone stronger singing, playing guitar, producing etc. It’s an ego hit to hear this, but heeding this advice might make the difference between mild and extreme industry success.
  6. You’re not the best person to represent yourself in business dealings. Most artist know whether they are strong and knowledgeable when it comes to sales, negotiating, legal issues etc.. But some just don’t trust anyone else, feel no one can do anything as good as they can or simply refuse to spend the money to hire someone who is a strong business person. If handling business is not your strong suit, you will be more successful finding someone who can represent you professionally.
  7. You don’t build relationships. This is a very tough thing for anyone to hear. But the truth is, many people, not just artists just aren’t good at developing and retaining relationships, even though they may think they are. It might be because they have a negative attitude, have an out-of-control ego, don’t trust anyone, aren’t good at following up or are just weak communicators. Whatever the reason, the artist needs to know that they seriously need to work on this. If you’ve had opportunities to meet people but haven’t been successful in building strong industry relationships, this just might be your problem. Ask people you trust where the challenge lies and then work hard on fixing it.

There are many more sensitive and personal areas that might negatively affect an artist. Wise artists understand that becoming successful only happens if they surround themselves with people they trust to tell him the truth. They seek out people who are stronger in the areas they are weaker in, or people who challenge them to perform at a higher level. No matter what success looks like, they know it is something that must be constantly worked on and refined. Lastly they are aware that the more experts they surround themselves with who are properly and ethically taking care of their business, the more they will shine in every aspect of their careers.

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.