Hey ABTS-ers! Ron and I are getting prepped to give a talk tonight at the Vanderbilt Blair School of Music (no relation). It’s a songwriting class that also incorporates music business talks - super cool. If you’re interested in stuff like this, I highly encourage you to look up a similar class/gathering in your own community. Getting together with other like-minded people once a week will not only be a great learning experience, but it can also give you the motivation you need to get your project rolling.
In light of community, today’s topic is the old comparison problem. As in, the thing that artists and managers almost can’t help but do within the first few years of a project. Some people never get over it - and it’s a hard task to accomplish, but eventually you should realize that comparing yourself and your project to others is not only unproductive, it can actually also harm your forward momentum.
Here’s the thing. No two projects are 100% identical and have the exact same path. Luck and hard work comes in many forms and sometimes someone might get an opportunity before you do. That does NOT mean that you won’t get that opportunity as well. Yeah, sometimes it sucks to feel slighted and left out, but if you start taking everything as a personal attack, your life will get pretty miserable pretty quickly. Once you start to nitpick and compare irrelevant metrics, the harder it is to get out of your own head and out of your own way (“I mean, I have 5,000 more facebook followers, I should totally have gotten that radio in-studio before them” -- sound familiar?).
As for personal experience, we have PLENTY of it. For a while when Ron and I first started working together, it was almost impossible to not compare him to other artists in New York and others that got their start from the internet. It felt pretty specific so it felt personal. I get it -- this is your life’s work, it does feel so personal. However, you have to get over that notion of thinking, and quickly. Eventually we realized that we were spending so much time fretting over what “they” had that we didn’t that we were losing sight of the things we had been able to accomplish. We weren’t taking stock in what we had and that we were walking our own path. #Blessed.
If you seem to be constantly comparing what you do to someone else, it could very well be the product of your environment. Do your other artist friends do the same? If so, try to be the force that changes that thinking. Once you build up a community of supportive musicians (and industry!) you might be surprised at how you all start to get opportunities and can then help each other out. Friends! Remember that post??
Negativity is like a disease in this industry. Don’t be the source of it.
Bottom line: Just because someone is successful doesn’t mean you can’t be. If someone from your community/genre/friend group has some success, that can only be good for you. Support them and in turn, you’ll get their support when something great happens to you.
Bottom bottom line: don’t be a hater.
REASON TO IGNORE THIS ADVICE: You’re a jerk who wants one more hurdle in this already tough world!