For one thing, “musicianship” is barely even on the list. It certainly helps, but I think everyone can think of bands who are talentless hacks and still managed to succeed. And there are plenty more who managed to ride for years without learning real instruments or music theory.
If anything, musical talent is more of the icing on the cake. There are other attributes that are going to make you more attractive to promoters and venues, and that is what builds a career in the music business.
Three Attributes A Musician Needs To Get Ahead
1 – Reliability
Honestly, if there were just ONE quality we’d say everyone needs to succeed in music, it’s plain old reliability. The acts that actually show up when they’re supposed to, and play the set without being overly intoxicated, are going to get callbacks from promoters.
Promoters are looking to fill stages and seats, first and foremost. Never forget this. Whether the act is any good is a secondary consideration.
2 – Tenacity
Any musician is likely to hear “NO!” a lot more often than they hear “yes,” especially when they’re first starting out. Musicians or bands who let rejections get under their skin are probably not going to make it very far in the music business.
You have to be willing to keep trying until you start hearing those “yes” responses.
3 – Showmanship
How is showmanship unlike musicianship? Musicianship is a personal attribute which doesn’t require a listener. Showmanship means understanding how the people onstage, along with the crowd, create the show together.
Because, honestly, you know why those mediocre acts keep filling stadiums? They understand showmanship, and they understand how to “work” the audience to make their shows fun and engaging.
(See also: KISS.)
The Music Business Is More Business Than Music
That’s what it boils down to. Focus on being liked by promoters, and by audiences, and you’ll be well on your way to success.
So, which are your favorite “hack” bands who put on great shows anyway?