Why The Music Industry Is Past The “Big Break” Era

When I was a younger, more naive musician, I thought being on NBC’s The Voice would be the ticket to a successful career. Boy, was I wrong.

Years ago, I had been in talks with a company that wanted to help me go on a tour of colleges across the country. I didn’t have the moola for the upfront fee, so I declined.

But then my contact at that company said The Voice had asked them to submit singers they knew to audition for the show.

And he wanted to submit my name.

So I said sure.

I never heard anything from it, so he was either lying to me to get on my good side, or he actually submitted my name and I got rejected.

And after that, I gave up.

That is, I gave up on the idea of getting signed or getting on some singing competition.

Here’s why: making a living from music is something that requires a steady work ethic.

Those who do it have worked hard for it.

Good things come to those who work, not to those who wait.

So don’t stake the success of your entire music career on winning The Voice, America’s Got Talent, or getting signed to a label.

If that happens, great. But if not, what then?

Instead, work hard. Rely on yourself to make a living from your music.


Will Ferrell Didn’t Think He’d Make It As A Comedian

When Will Ferrell first started comedy, he didn’t think it would work out.

During an interview with The Off Camera Show, he talked about getting his start in comedy. And he shares a couple valuable lessons that DIY musicians should listen to.

Will Ferrell’s first lesson: be smart about pursuing your dream.

When he first started out in the 90s, there was a big boom of comedy. So he tried it out, going to stand-up nights at local restaurants.

But he made sure to keep his head on straight.

“I was still very realistic in the sense that ‘What if this doesn’t work?'” he said.

He’d come home after doing stand-up and his mom would ask him how it went.

“Thank God I have a college degree,” he would say.

A college degree or learning a trade is smart. Having a worst-case-scenario backup plan is not being afraid of failure, it’s being prepared for it.

Because making a living from your art is difficult and rare, especially making it work long-term (but still possible).

RELATED: Gain 1,000 True Fans, Make A Living From Your Art

Will Ferrell’s second lesson: just have fun.

When you have that safety net to fall back on, just in case, it can release the pressure, which is true for Ferrell.

This means you’ll just have way more fun playing music.

“So I just approached it with like, ‘This is probably not going to happen, so might as well just have a blast,'” Ferrell said. “And because I gave myself that break internally, I think it — unbeknownst to me — opened all these doors because people could read that I was so free with what I was doing.”

Have a blast. People will notice. Joy is infectious.

RELATED: As A Musician, Stage Presence Is Crucial