I've made a lot of mistakes in my journey as an artist. Here are my thoughts and lessons learned on six of those mistakes.
In my experience as an artist, I've learned a valuable lesson about paying too much attention to vanity metrics, such as social media likes, followers, and DJ chart placements. When I first started out, I was eager for data-driven feedback and found myself fixating on these superficial indicators of success. However, I now realize that these metrics only tell part of the story and may not accurately reflect genuine engagement with my music.
For instance, I've noticed that SoundCloud plays can be inflated, potentially to incentivize users to stay on the platform, and that my number of followers or likes doesn't necessarily indicate how many people are truly connecting with my music. I've also discovered that my best-selling tracks aren't always the ones with the most DJ chart placements, and vice versa.
As a result, I've learned not to place too much value on these metrics and instead focus on making genuine connections with fans. While it can be tempting to chase after likes, followers, and chart placements, I now understand that these metrics aren't always indicative of someone who truly supports my music.
Not Letting Go of Outcomes
Another Mistake I've made is holding onto things I can't control, like expectations. For example, not getting the gigs I wanted or records not selling as much as I hoped. I used to have a hard time dealing with setbacks, especially when it comes to people not following through. But I've been working on focusing on what I can control, like music production and activities that grow my community. I've learned to deal with the valleys better, and while I still have a long way to go, I'm making progress with my mindset.
Growing the Wrong Community
I used to waste time on activities that didn't help grow my community. Attending local events and promoting to non-supporters was not worth the effort. Instead, I focused on building relationships with supporters and creating differentiated content. After realizing my artistry should be my top priority, I now prioritize activities that serve and grow a community that gives back.
Buying Soundcloud Plays
I once made an embarrassing mistake as a music producer, buying 3,000 plays for my first self-released track for $75. Though it was just an experiment, I knew deep down it was wrong. Fortunately, I only bought plays and no likes or followers. I learned that it's unsustainable and that there are no shortcuts to success. I rectified my mistake by deleting the tracks and learned to grow my audience organically and follow my intuition.
Being Out of Alignment with My Artistry
I made the mistake of pursuing opportunities that didn't align with my goals and values, like applying to play at a rock music festival despite being an electronic music producer. I got an offer to play but realized it wasn't the right platform for me. Playing at restaurants or lounges with distractions also doesn't fit my vibe.
I used to be disorganized, but now I've implemented systems in my music production, demo submissions, and release promotions. By separating my workflow into different stages, I can focus on one thing at a time and enhance creativity. I use Kanban style boards, spreadsheets, and task management software to stay organized. I've learned from my mistakes and continue to grow as an artist. Share your mistakes with me, and let's learn from each other.