Feast or Famine that is the question.

Remember, you need to earn a living while making your way in the music industry. It’s feast or famine in the music industry so prepare for the worst while expecting the best.

Do you know the story in the bible of how Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream? He accurately predicted 7 years of good harvests, followed by 7 years of bad. He was able to devise a plan that would see him thrive during the famine period.

Today many musicians seem to be trapped in a repeating cycle of good times followed by hard times. The cycle length and severity may change, but it seems to be almost a fact of life that periods of strong engagement are followed by tougher times. This cycle is commonly known as feast or famine.

How and why does it happen and why does it persist?

Sometimes it can be down to forever changing trends within the industry. Typically, when a musician achieves success that generates an internal pressure to maintain that level of success. deliver more products or services to customers. It can quickly become an obsession to continually satisfy the increased demand, at the expense of your why. Why you got into music in the beginning. This can cause a panic reaction where you sacrifice your love, your values to maintain your perceived success.

Is it worth compromising your core values to remain relevant. Each body of work we produce are building blocks in our legacy tower. How that tower will look is determined by our values.

I never reasoned what success looked like to me so I accepted the generalisation at the expense of my love for the art. Even worse, I compromised my values to stay in demand, in turn my passion eroded over time.

So how can a I break the cycle?

Joseph advised Pharoah to build reserves in the good times, to see them through the famine.

Within the music industry there are an elite group of artists that are outside the feast or famine paradigm. This can be frustrating to hardworking musicians, yet it has pretty much always been this way. We celebrate there success.

For the majority of musician breaking into the music industry has always been a challenge for artists from all genres. There are tens of thousands of artists vying for attention and gigs, and that’s on top of the artistic challenge of getting the inspiration for new songs, finding the right melody or beat, and dealing with the many personalities within the creative community. The whole process can be overwhelming.

No band ever became successful by accident. It took passion, planning and persistence.

Create something your audience will love. Gone are the days of record labels creating stars. To be successful in the industry today, you must act as your own CEO and create a strong and unique brand. It’s vital to channel your passion to find the right sound, genre, topics, image, and find your unique voice for the music you create. Your music brand is no different than any other, so it’s vital that you do your market research to know:

● Where is your audience?
● How old is your audience?
● What music do they currently listen to?

● What do they want to hear more of?

● What do they hate?
● Where do they listen to music?

● Where do they buy their music?

Remember, you need to earn a living while making your music. Prepare for the worst while expecting the best.

Consider keeping your day job while you write new songs, play live gigs and establish yourself in the music community. Once you start seeing an income solely from your music, you can invest yourself fully.

Nothing happens overnight, it’s a marathon not a sprint. You also need to know that you may struggle financially during your journey but that with one break, it could all turn around.

If you decide to leave your job to pursue your music professionally, you need to find ways to earn money that will facilitate your progress. Networking with the right people at relevant music industry events and gigs, you could also start giving music lessons, play weddings and other events, run sound for gigs, learn how to produce other artists.

Develop key alliances, individuals who you can collaborate with. Not just music collaboration, it could be a tour, a manufacturer, a product, think outside the box.

To navigate your way through any obstacles, you first have to be aware of the obstacle.

Basil Reynolds

Coaching Consultant

Finding the Music Inside