What do you envision for your music career?

Cecilia Nysing

Having a plan for your career is important, and the music industry is no exception. Here, music industry consultant Bobby Borg explains why a solid vision statement is a key start to any marketing plan.

Guest post by Bobby Borg of the Disc Makers Blog

Musician, author, educator, and music industry consultant Bobby Borg explains why a vision statement is the start of a serious marketing plan.

Adapted from the video, “REAL Music Marketing Starts Here: Vision.”

The first step in the marketing process is defining your vision and, more specifically, writing a vision paragraph. A vision statement is essentially looking deep down inside and asking yourself, “where do I want to be seven years from now?”

I’m not suggesting you think about the kind of cars you want to drive or the kind of house you want to have in the French Riviera. What I’m talking about is, what specifically is your music career all about? Why are you watching this video and getting up every morning to practice your drums or your guitar or writing beats? Where do you want it to lead you?

When I was 12 years old, I was very sure that I wanted to be a professional musician. I imagined being a drummer in a rock band signed to Atlantic Records that toured around the world and played in front of large audiences and released records and sold merchandise and put on large concert performances. And, ultimately, the brand I wanted to promote to my target audience was one where the audience felt that our songs and our lyrics really spoke to their day-to-day problems and helped make them feel better about their lives.

All of that came true, and part of the reason why is because, when you know where it is that you want to go, it is easier to map out the directions to get there.

Your vision statement

So, let’s go ahead and start with creating a vision statement. The first thing you want to do is ask yourself, “what kind of company am I?” Are you in a band? Are you a solo artist? Are you a DJ? Are you a composer? Are you a songwriter? Are you starting a recording company? Are you starting a beat company?

You might think, “I want to do all of those things,” and that’s great and they are connected in some ways. But when writing a marketing plan, you really want to be focused. So, take one of those things — if you ultimately want to write three or four marketing plans, that’s fine, but let’s go ahead and stick with one thing.

Answer these three questions

1. What is your company? That’s number one.

2. What is your genre? This can be very difficult for a lot of artists. Are you rock? Are you pop? Are you rap? Are you jazz? It’s very very important that you understand what it is that you are doing and ultimately who you’re trying to appeal to. This is a very important step. Don’t worry about pigeon-holing yourself. Generally speaking, what genre do you think you’re gonna end up in?

3. How will you make money? The next thing you need to do is to identify your revenue generators. How are you going to generate income? The reason this is important is, any investor will want to know how your company (music act) is going to generate income. In the music industry, that’s simple on some levels. It’s going to be recordings, in a variety of different configurations, merchandising, and live performances. Then it could be things that you use to expand your product line and things you become creative in innovating

Next, you want to talk a little bit more about your brand and what it is you want your audience to see about you. Are you about world peace? Are you about political justice? Is there a particular message that you have in your music that people can grab onto and feel like they are part of your tribe? That you stand for something and that, by being on your team, they stand for something too? This is an important concept

Then, you want to take all of these things and you want to put them into a short paragaph that includes everything we’ve addressed here so that you can verbalize your vision to whomever asks. For example, if you’re at a convention and you’re in an elevator and somebody says, “Hi, what do you do?” you’re gonna be able to rattle this off and be able to define exactly who you are. That’s why this is also know as your elevator pitch.

Defining a vision is the first step in the marketing process. When you know where you want to go, it is easier to map out the directions.

Want more music career advice? Don’t just read it… watch the videos on Bobby Borg’s YouTube channel.


Bobby Borg is the author of Music Marketing For The DIY Musician (Second Edition), Business Basics For Musicians (Second Edition), and The Five Star Music Makeover (published by Hal Leonard Books). Get these books at any fine online store in both physical or digital format. Learn more at www.bobbyborg.com.

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