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5 Possible Sacrifices for Musicians

Updated: Jan 16, 2019

To sacrifice one thing for another is more or less inevitable when it comes to any life decision. As a pianist, I know that I've sacrificed a ton of my youth practising the keys. I'm sure you've sacrificed a ton yourself to cater for your skill set and craft.

While doing some monthly music reflection and goal-setting updates, I realized that some things went according to plan and some did not. This isn't something to be too worried about but knowing why things didn't go according to plan and what to do to get those goals sorted is crucial in order to get your journey 100% back on track. Unfortunately, this means that you will have to make a few more sacrifices in order to attain those goals. Below are 5 possible sacrifices that you may have to take in order to get your music career back on track:

1)Time: Take away from a day-to-day aspect of life.

A day is made up of 24-hours. In a day, we have certain tasks that we can break up our day into hours. An example of Friday broken down is as follows: Work (8 hours), Sleep (8 hours), social life (5 hours), Relationship Upkeep (2 hours) and Music (1 hours).

In scenario 1 , work which is 33% of this day is non-negotiable. Sacrificing an hour from everything else and adding it to your music aspirations is a sure way of getting your goals in check. Scenario 2 is a visual aid of how this effects the same individual's day.

Obviously this approach is too ideal as some things can’t be accounted for properly, like the time to get to and from work. However, having a mental picture of how much time you’ll be spending doing each task will help get you focused on the important things.

Having a diary is the only way I am able to stick to a day-to-day time sacrifice and I strongly suggest you get a method of breaking down your day into hours so you can quantify how much time you’re spending on your craft.

2)Money: Value Your Music More Than Comfort

When it comes to money people tend to shy away from spending on something they don’t feel as important. What if I asked you to sacrifice one taxi ride and walk instead and then use the money saved for recording time? Have one less of your vice of choice in order to save up for a new midi controller?

Sacrificing money from something that isn't as important as your music career is a sure way to keep the cash flow towards your hustle blooming. This is all pointless if you can’t actually see the money that you've sacrificed go somewhere so I suggest you get a savings account for your music hustle or have a piggie bank for the smaller amounts. For more about budgeting as a musician, click here.

3)Statistics Vs. Income

On the 08 Mar 2016, I released my EP titled “Jumped On A Plane & Wrote This EP”. Previously, when I released music I had the long term goal of having plausible stats ie. Plays, downloads, likes etc. and not make an income at all.

With a change in business model, I had to decide if I'm willing to sacrifice downloads for an income. I decided to sell my music on iTunes, Google Play etc. in order to get some form of income to my music hustle. Hardcopies are also available for my EP and I made it 100% stream-able on my website in order to get traffic through to my website and also give the cash strapped listener a way of listening to my music.

Sacrificing total downloads for a modest income isn't a must but something worth considering especially if you paid for everything that went into making your music. Another thing to consider is that your true fan base will purchase your music regardless of your streaming options. Put in a little effort and give them reason to show support, they want to.

4)Featuring Your Collaborators

Collaborating is a sure way of improving your art and getting your talent into another artist’s listenership. What if the person you are collaborating with has the same listener pool or no listener pool at all? What if you are working with someone that is unreliable and is compromising your efficiency? What if it’s a demo for a record label but the featuring act is compromising the overall feel of the track?

Discarding a feature for a better end product may be the way forward in order to get that song you’re working on to its maximum potential. If the feature is still there, then you’ll be able to release a remix or a deluxe version of the same track.

5)Your current mindset of making it

This may not necessarily be a sacrifice but a switch in the mentality of what your goals are. As you know, there are a lot of musicians hustling and trying to get ahead in the music biz. Unfortunately, most of them or rather most of the ones I've interacted with, are still caught up in the old, getting-signed-is-the-only-way-to-make-it business model.

Well I'm telling you that the time of the independent artist is now. You can make a living off of music without having a label that does all the work and taking all the profits off of your music. It all starts with getting empowered. Educating yourself and constantly finding and coming up with ways of doing things, on a manageable scale that the label folk are doing. Constantly adapting your business model to fit in with your experiences and real-time goals.

All the artists now days are huge independent artists before they are considered by the major labels so empower yourself. Find out what SAMRO is, what a publisher does, how to optimize your current business model become business savvy etc.

Sacrifices are necessary in order to keep up with your competition and keep up with your own self imposed pressure. Greater sacrifices are needed to carve out your own lane completely.

Remember, the best artist you can be is yourself. Use this tool in all aspects of your music from recording to marketing and you’re bound to succeed. My email address is and I'd like to hear your music… if it’s original. Let’s connect.


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