What Would John Doe Do? – Music Biz Success Metrics
John Doe is the founder of the seminal Los Angeles punk group X, a solo artist and actor. John answers questions from the KnowTheMusicBiz.com community members in the WWJDD? blog.
A question from Nick in the UK
I was thinking about how people measure success in music today – it used to be simply sales, but I’m curious what the other metrics might be that a band/artist can use to demonstrate an improvement in performance from album to album. Is it email subs? Myspace Friends? Venue size?
It would be great to get your perspective.
Not to sound too Zen but; How do you measure success? If X would’ve measured it by sales, we would’ve given up after the third record. No one has to tell you that the music biz is a cruel master at best. You have to measure success on yr own terms. When I finally understood that making a record (writing & recording) was the greatest reward I would ever receive from the whole process; the eventual outcome (sales & reviews) took it’s proper place. And I learned to enjoy it ten times more. I believe they call it “being in the moment”.
I would say that now-a-days the same holds true. As long as yr audience is maintaining or growing, @ either live shows or on the web, and you still love playing & singing, then you are succeeding. If your goal is to make a lot of money or wield power & you’re not doing that, choose a different line of work. If your gift is to create or perform & the music biz gives you that opportunity, then you are succeeding. Many people in music have more than one job & that allows them to be as artistic as hell when they write & play. GREAT REASON FOR BOTH ! ! don’t forget most poets in the 19th & 20th centuries had “day jobs”. You, as the artist or label rep, will know when you are successful or not because we are all making this shit up as we go.
I hope this is helpful and as always,
thanks for writing,
If you have questions for John Doe about music, the music business or life feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.