What Does Success Look Like To You?

© 2009 Vinny Ribas

No artist (or any other business) can get to where they want to be, unless they KNOW exactly where they want to be. Just saying ‘I want to be successful’ is not enough. The reason it is not enough is because there are so many ways to be successful You need to be able to define what success means to you. And, the more you define your goals, the easier it is to see what you need to do to get there. Then and only then can you put an action plan in place to get you there.

For example, if success to you just means performing enough and selling enough music to support you and/or your family comfortably, then your action plan might include hitting the road, booking as many gigs as possible, and gradually working your way into larger, higher paying gigs. You might also have CDs that you sell at those gigs. However, if you have the same goal but you don’t want to travel out of town, then your plan might be to tap into the local wedding and/or convention circuit. It might also include a high-impact campaign to sell your music online.

Here are some of the major parameters that apply to every artist. This is only a partial list. There are hundreds of other criteria you can use to further narrow your vision. Decide which ones apply to you and list them on a separate piece of paper. Then rate them in order of importance to you. Once you have done this, it becomes much easier to narrow down the various path options that you have to achieve your overall goal.

  1. Performing live: A lot; some; very little; none
  2. Travel: Heavy travel; occasional travel; weekend travel; no travel
  3. # Of gigs: 5-6 gigs/week; 3-4 gigs/week; 1-2 gigs a week
  4. Travel between gigs: Move once a week; move every few days; move every day
  5. Types of gigs: Mostly bars; some bars; no bars. If you chose some bars or no bars, then what about hotel lounges, concert halls, dance clubs, conventions, house concerts, coffee shops, private parties, churches, youth groups, weddings, fairs, colleges etc.
  6. Type(s) of music: Rock; country; ethnic, variety etc. At first pick as many genres of music as you want, but then narrow it down to just a few. If you’re unique and don’t fit into any common category, then pick the ones whose audiences would listen to and appreciate your music.
  7. Label: Looking for major label deal; will sign with an indie label; I have my own label; no labels; I’ll see what I get offered.
  8. Music: All covers; Some covers; some originals; all originals.

This list can go on and on. Pick other criteria that are important to you, such as the venue size, the band size, who provides sound and lighting, with or without sleeping accommodations etc. Are you an opening act or headliner? How much money you need to get per gig? How much money do you need to make per week? How much equipment you will carry? Will you fly or drive? Who is doing the marketing? Will you do radio interviews? Will you work for all or part of the door? Will you only work where you have a following? How much merchandise do you need to sell per gig, or per week? Every one of these criteria is important in defining your goals and/or the action plan that you need to put together.

Once you have finished this exercise, you will know exactly what success means to you. Knowing this makes it much easier to define a plan that will let you achieve that success.


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.