There's been some talk recently about new business models for the music industry. Everyone is weighing in, and that's good, because robust debate is necessary to build a sustainable future for the business.
I've even heard talk that "being good" is a new model. But let's be clear: "being good" has always been the model. And actually, forget good. If you want to find success as a musician, you'd better be the best.
To be a great artist, you must have innate talent. You must have the drive to nurture that talent through practice and performance. You must be self-aware, constantly evaluating your progress and making changes that will further your career. You must develop a compelling artistic voice, one that speaks to your audience.
This is a difficult business. Mastery of the creative process is only the beginning. There are many other disciplines in which you will need to excel. You must be a business owner, taking on the roles of salesman, marketer, publicist, accountant and lawyer. At first, these disciplines don't appear to be related to the music business, but they all are essential core competencies. You also have to be an instrument tech, sound board operator, driver, manager, agent, promoter, vocal coach, choreographer, lighting designer, set designer, royalty analyst. . .the list goes on and on.
Being a successful musician is not like clocking in and out of an office job. You are not a cog in the machine. In this business, you are the machine.