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shark tankThere’s so much oversimplified or crap information for building your music career out there, it’s difficult to find actual good information that doesn’t perpetuate the long-term myths that leave so many bands dreaming of magically “making it” and wondering why it just never seems to happen.

I’ve long told students and bands to watch the show, Shark Tank, to see real examples of negotiating with investors, which is how you should be viewing most gatekeepers, from labels, to venues owners, radio DJ’s and more. The show really helps you see how adding value to them, and having proof that you will benefit them greatly, gives you leverage in negotiations and makes you highly attractive. This makes people want to work with you, because they get a lot out of the relationship. As I’ve always said, in a world where everyone is asking “What’s in it for me?”, the man who says “How can I help you?” is king. This is especially true in the music business.

During a re-watch of Shark Tank season 3, there’s one episode that enraged me. My beloved show gave a WTF?! moment for musicians everywhere. They had the band, Cab 20, on the show. What followed was the most ridiculous display of ignorance I’ve seen in a long time; not just on the part of the investors, but also the band and their manager. The investors have great knowledge and success in business, and yet saw the band as a “crap shoot” rather than operating on the same principles of success that any business should. Cab 20 and their manager showed no real value, no success other than they had recorded an album, and no proof that they were worth someone else’s time and money other than being a “cool band”; or as their manager said, they have “it” – whatever “it” is. Seriously? You can watch it below and be enraged right along with me. Cab 20 starts at about thirteen minutes in.

I know the show cuts out sometimes 90% of what happened, so perhaps they just wanted to perpetuate the myth of success by dumb luck that seems so popular with media outlets. But that’s not at all what we’re used to seeing on the show. I was infuriated! After how educational the show is about the importance of adding value and showing proof that your business is worth investing in, they put a band on the show and suddenly act like it’s the one type of business that is success by pure dumb luck.


There’s good money to be made in the music industry. Record labels won’t even take risks anymore on artists. You have to prove that you have a sustainable and profitable business before they see any true value in you. Venues and radio wont even take risks on artists anymore. You have to prove to them that you will be good for their business. It’s time that professional artists stand up and educate the world on how the music business really works. It’s time that we let the world know that success by luck us a myth, and we are building real, viable businesses.

Building a real, profitable, sustainable business comes from smart work, planned and tested steps forward, laser-like focus, and constantly looking for ways to add value to your customers (your fans), and your business partners (every gatekeeper that helps you reach your fans). Dream big, focus your actions, test everything, and learn from every failure.

Read about the failures and successes of businesses in other industries and learn from them. Find out the best, most effective business practices out there and apply them to building your music career. Know all of your possible revenue streams and make good use of the ones that keep you moving forward. Create your own luck, surround yourself with open doors and opportunities, and be the band that offers so much value to your relationships that people can’t help but want to be a part of what you’re doing. Most importantly, show proof that working with you is more than just worth it, it’s insanely good for business.

Success by luck is a myth. Let’s show the world that we are worth investing in. Let’s show those dreaming about a successful music career that it’s not just a dream, it’s achievable, actionable, and something they can make happen in a very real way.

Don’t forget to pick up Rockstar Mindset’s Band Booster Pack for free, for more great tips on getting bigger shows, building your fan base, and growing your band’s career.

*image by dconvertini