Last time out in part one of What Your Band Needs to Succeed Online, I mentioned the top four things that are required to help your band succeed. Naturally success will mean something different to just about anyone reading this post...
In my mind, success equals anything that takes you closer to your goals - even if that means you fall flat on your face from time to time. Failure is one of the best ways to learn and if you don't risk failing you're not playing 'to win' you're just playing 'not to lose' which means you're playing it too safe and guess what - safe is the enemy.
Here are the three must-haves that need to be in place before you can truly meet with success.
Marketing - Yeah, marketing is a bit of a dirty word to many musicians but it shouldn't be because (drum roll) Marketing Adds Meaning. Without marketing you won't be able to figure out who your audience is, where they are or how to reach them - pretty much the problem 99.9% of bands have out there. Once you have that part figured out you still need to give your audience a reason to want to buy your stuff.
Without a basic understanding of marketing, you'll play to nobody and sell copies only to your friends and family members and some strangers - if you're lucky.
A Plan - This ties in with marketing and is absolutely necessary; without a master plan, all you have is a series of tactics which more often than not will not work. In order to succeed you need to know where you are, where you're going and have a plan in place with how to get there.
The plan doesn't need to be perfect, it just has to exist so that you can gauge your success and chart the progress you are or aren't making against it. The saying goes, "Fail to plan, plan to fail."
Conviction - It doesn't matter what road you travel in life, but you need to be committed to it if you're going to succeed...and this is especially true for musicians as well. Expect people to criticize you - they won't like your music, your genre or they might and you just might not be fast 'enough', slow 'enough', heavy 'enough' or good 'enough'.
You need to have an unwavering belief in what you're doing or else nobody will believe you or 'buy' into what you're 'selling'. Expect that your friends or family won't get what you're doing and suggest that you 'get a real' job, expect that it's going to be hard and just do it anyway' Keep doing it if this is what you've chosen to do in your life (the keywords being 'what YOU'VE chosen' - not somebody else).
Conviction means that you're going to do what you need to do despite whether it's easy or the popular decision among your friends and family. There's a powerful quote that I read in a John Assaraf book that really brings it home for me:
"If you're merely interested in something - you'll do what's convenient. If you're committed in doing something - you'll do whatever it takes."
So those are the three crucial elements that when combined with the things I mentioned in What your band needs to succeed part one - will take you to the promised land.