7 Mistakes Your Favourite Musicians Would NEVER Make!
At WeJam, we are always taking inspiration from music legends. We admire how they overcome their struggles and how they then use their experiences to write some great hits.
But as we all know, success doesn’t come easy for most. Our favourite musicians may have hit some low-points in their life, but they have been able to climb out of that hole by avoiding these BIG no-no’s!
Here are 7 mistakes that your favourite musicians would never make:
1. Not Enough Fan Engagement
If you want to stay in people’s minds, consistent fan engagement is key. When musicians don’t have a current release, they will still post photos, videos and continue to interact with their audience. Furthermore, when a tour is coming up or an album is coming out, advertising must be around the clock. You’ll see musicians posting trailers for the upcoming release, as well as ‘sneak peaks’. This builds up suspense for the audience, especially if promotion is done right.
Musicians can also adopt a ‘behind the scenes’ approach. Many artists include ‘the making of’ the song or tour. Any content that adds a personal touch is a bonus, as it brings the artist and audience closer together. The fans can see all the hard work that has gone into the musician’s work and as a result can make the final product seem more organic.
And you bet these musicians have planned these campaigns for months, right down to the last detail. So you should too.
2. Not Listening To Other Band Members
Some of the most notorious bands like Queen or the Beatles have hit songs written or co-written by other band members. Only true Beatles fans know that Ringo Starr wrote ‘Yellow Submarine.’ However, many band members collide over creativity. To be a successful musician, you must always consider everyone’s ideas, no matter how batty they might sound. In some cases there is a separation between the showman and brains of the band. But just like snowflakes, there is never completely the same structure within bands when it comes to writing songs.
Many bands split due to creative differences, but I would suggest you first of all approach a project with an open mind. But if that doesn’t work or your band members are not as open minded as you, then maybe a new band could be considered. But don’t let that bring you down. Some of your favourite artists have been in some other very questionable bands before they hit the big time.
3. No Brand Image
As more wannabe pop stars swarm the internet, the need for advertising your brand has never been so important.
You need something that grabs the viewer’s attention, logos that people will instantly recognise. For example, people are still wearing Rolling Stones and Nirvana merchandise today as fashion. Whether they care about the band or just want to look good, we don’t know. However, it does help spread the band’s name around. One of the reasons behind this is that the logo is simple yet instantly recognisable. It also has a generic image (tongue or smiley face) that gives the image more movement. People are more likely to wear that, rather than a T-shirt with the name printed on (especially if you’re not a well-known brand).
4. Not Creating An Online Sound.
Let’s face it, the era of CD’s are almost as extinct as the dinosaurs. You say ‘stereo’ to a millennial and they’d think that you’re speaking Latin.
It is highly recommended that if you want people to hear your sound, you must provide a Youtube, Soundcloud or Spotify link. Not only does it save you money and time, but can also boost your popularity online. Take Billie Eilish for example: she is now world famous, mainly from her popularity online and not from the number of CDs she’s sold. That’s not to say that CD’s aren’t still sold by world famous musicians, but it’s probably not as vital for those trying to make their way to the top.
You may also see that many artists are now releasing their albums on vinyl as it grows more popular. However, if you were a musician starting out, it would be best to avoid this for a while, as it can be costly.
However, as your band grows in popularity, it could be an idea to play around with how you release your music. For example Jay Z and Beyonce’ only released their songs through Tidal. Other indie bands have released a DVD of their song live without for a long while after. This is a brilliant business technique as it encourages fans to buy their DVD and also provides them with their stage presence. Which is a good idea, as more gig venues shut down.
5. Playing Too Many Genres
We all love a range of musical styles, but it’s best to stick to one for your band. If you want to jam to jazz, don’t expect your other band members to play a Debussy piece after. Of course, there’s always the option of creating a different band or jamming with different musicians. But putting them into one is very confusing and over ambitious.
It can also be unsettling for your listeners if you include a range of styles in one album or EP. Of course, there have been times where musicians have decided to convert to a different genre, for example Taylor Swift switching from country to pop. But this is planned precisely so it is not too overwhelming for the listeners. And it isn’t done in one album. It is done over time, with each album sticking to one genre.
Nowadays there has been an infusion of genres. For example electronic folk and jazz classical music. So if decision-making isn’t your thing then an infusion of genres may be a very good idea.
6. Lack Of Networking
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good you are, it’s all down to whom you know. You will hear from the likes of Dua Lipa and Elle King that their Dads’ were already known in the music industry, so it gave them a great advantage. Unfortunately, not many of us are that lucky. Therefore we have to work extra hard to make connections. Methods for this would be going to gigs and music conferences to meet new people - from musicians to magazines, every contact can help. It may take some time but stay persistent and you will find someone worth your while!
Also make it obvious to people where you want to go. If one of your connections meets a metal records label - and you have made it very obvious that you want your metal band to get signed- then you are 70% more likely to get some sort of mention from them. It's very unlikely that some big music executive is gonna look at your band and think ‘gosh they’ve got star quality’. Talent shows like X Factor are about as fictional as Trump’s IQ results. If you really want to make it you have to go to them - don’t wait for them to go to you.
7. Never Give Up
This is probably the most important one. In this industry knock-backs are almost a guarantee. But just remember: no one can tell the future. If someone doesn’t like your image then don’t see it as the immediate end of the road. Everyone has his or her own taste.
It helps to look at famous musicians who experienced a series of knock-backs on their way to the top. Take for example, Shakira. She was rejected from the school choir because her vibrato was too much. You can read about her experience here. However, fast forward a few years and her unique voice is infamous. Yes, she’s not an opera singer - but does everyone have to like opera? Another example is Lana Del Rey. Her cinematic and mysterious sound was nothing like the music around at that time. She was rejected from several record labels but finally made her way.
The thing is, musicians like Shakira and Lana Del Rey have been resourceful about their quirks and made it a part of their artistry and it has therefore contributed to a large part of their success.
What I’m basically trying to say is that ‘rejection’ should be your fuel. The more you get rejected; the more resourceful, resilient and motivated you will become. It is fairly evident that those who have never faced a challenge are never as motivated as those who have. When you’re sent back to the drawing table you will find out new ways that those with ‘first-time success’ never will.
So my final advice to you is never give up!
Don’t panic if you’ve realised you’ve made these mistakes, it’s not too late to cultivate a fan club or to start networking etc. These are all mistakes that can be rectified, and now you know about them you’re in a much better position to start building your band’s presence. And if you want to test out your band, why not book a session with WeJam and experience being in a band! You can book here.