5 Mistakes Newbie Musicians Make

Everyone is a newbie at some point. Every act, no matter how great they eventually became, started as a bunch of scared young people on a stage, staring at a crowd, and wondering if they can rise to the challenge.

And they did.

There’s no reason to feel bad about not knowing the ropes when you’re just starting out. The music business is huge, complex, and only getting more complex as time goes on. Just remember, the core purpose never changes: you’re there to entertain people!

That’s how to sell music – make great tracks and put on great shows. So, here are a few tips to get you walking down that road as quickly as you can!

How To Sell Music: Five Things A Successful Act Won’t Do


1. Call attention to mistakes.

If you flub a note, or miss a line, or make any other basic mistake in a performance, just keep going like it never happened. Many more people will notice when you call attention to a mistake, compared to the few who might notice when it happens. Never call for a do-over unless things have gone totally off the rails.This is actually one of the most common things for anyone in any form of performance – they make a mistake, and then they pull a face, or say ‘oops,’ or call for a do-over.

Just keep playing and let it be water under the bridge.

2. Ignore the audience.

Audience involvement is a huge part of stagecraft, and a required skill for any aspiring musician. You should always be looking for ways to involve them in your show, even if it’s just taking a break every few songs to talk to them.

Bands that ignore their audience, and don’t provide that participation, rarely make it.

3. Abandon a show.

No matter what technical glitches occur, unless actual lives are in danger, a successful band will never abandon a show midway through. Your fans have paid their money, and they deserve the best show you can put on – even if it’s not quite the show you wanted to put on.

Having the character to overcome challenges and still deliver a great show is one of the marks of a band that knows how to sell music.

Unless you already have your own manager, a successful artist has to be constantly promoting themselves. Use social media, posters, YouTube videos, radio DJ interviews, and any other tool you can think of to push yourself.

4. Avoid self-promotion.

You want to get your name out there, and if you don’t, you’re not going to attract a following.

5. Stay at home,

With the Internet, it’s tempting to just stay home and make new music. While you can get some traction through online radio and YouTube videos, you still need to hit the road and perform for new audiences if you really want to be a success.

Take your show to new people! That’s the key to spreading your name and selling more music!

One Comments

  • Paulina Soberg 01 / 08 / 2013 Reply

    Hi! If you look at my website, you can see I pretty much an doing the best I can, without a manager! (Because I’m very good at managing). I know I will eventually get one, but I enjoy doing this by myself. I have many resources and friends who have been huge help for me. I have to work on number 2. Now I’m wondering, I have songs recorded, I have a good software and good mic, a friend told me to distribute them on iTunes, but I think I should record in a studio and have it professionally done first. I am a solo artist and refuse to have a stage band, kinda like a female Eds Sheeran with just my voice, lyrics and guitar. I had 2 bands and it never worked. For studio recording, I’m sure I would need studio musicians and such. I guess my question is: should I wait to have my stuff professionally recorded, with studio musicians and all, and THEN sell on iTunes? Any help is welcome, thanks!

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