5 Traits Of Successful Music Professionals: Which Traits Are You Missing?

Successful musicians don’t grow on trees. Everyone would like to earn a living from creating music, but how many of you are willing to do what it takes to achieve that goal?

One thing I’ve noticed when conversing with other producers and composers is the extreme lack of confidence, excuses, and willingness to make moves. I hate when people say “yeah, but you’re lucky” or “They’re lucky“. Luck is walking through a busy intersection and not getting struck by a vehicle.

Luck is blacking out and waking up with $1 million in your pocket…. Actually, that would be scary. Anyway, when people use ‘luck’ as a crutch or excuse, It makes me feel as if dedication and education are not the reasoning behind my success. It’s almost like an insult.

What Sets Those Who Are Able To Make A Living In Music Apart From Those Who Aren’t


1. Willingness To Please The Client

The moment you decide to operate as a business you’re telling the world “I’m here to cater to your needs”, “I can deliver the goods”, “I am the right person for this project”.

If all you can do is complain about the ‘wants’ of the client and how it doesn’t fit you, then you’re targeting the wrong audience or maybe being in ‘business’ is not something you’re ready for.

2. Successful Musicians Are Self Educated

Even with schooling and degrees, there’s a lot of self-education that takes place because this business is consistently changing. When a new application or trend surfaces, I can’t afford to wait for a college or tech school to come out with a course.
I have to get it under my fingernails yesterday and turn it into an income stream. Even if you find a school that’s on the ball (always updating) you still have to educate yourself (trial and error) to make the trend/technique or piece of technology work for you.

Here’s a great example! In November 2013, I wrote a post called Maschine Studio vs MPC Renaissance. I wrote this post for several reasons.

  • I wanted to spark a debate between Mpc and Maschine users
  • I had a unique view most don’t consider in gear debates
  • Tax season was coming and people get a little gear lust around that time.
  • As expected, there were great responses, debates, traffic… Hell, I even got some hate mail. Long story short, those that purchased Maschine Studio were all over it when it first came out.

Even during the ‘Buzz Period’ “It’s going to be a game-changer” “2013 is going to be mine for sure” People were flocking to as if it were the missing link to their success. But as months passed, those same people (most) were reverting back to their old setups.

How do I know this? Simple → Social feeds and forums. Why was this happening? → Learning curves! I still chat with people on Instagram asking “how’s machine studio working for ya” the response falls along the lines of

  • “I just don’t have time to learn it right now”
  • “I’m waiting for someone to put out a thorough course”
  • “Still learning it”

Funny thing is, there was a boatload of money to be made (for everyone) within the first three months of Maschine studio’s release and a lot of people missed the initial wave. → Lack of self-education

3. They Position Themselves In Front Of Opportunities

Successful people are go-getters. They put themselves in front of as many opportunities as possible. Ever wonder why the artist with less talent and skill gets more exposure than you?

It’s because they’re putting themselves out there, they’re connecting with people who need their services as well as people who can put them in front of people who need their services.

Bits of my Maschine studio example can be expanded here, but I won’t bore you with that. Kudos if you’re still reading along.

Lazy people, on the other hand, believe the clouds will part and opportunities will fall from the sky. In the event that anyone finds a herd of parting clouds, please let me know, I’d like to trade five magic beans for them.

4. Successful Musicians Are Persistent

Rarely ever take no for an answer. No means, not right now, come back try again. Some believe that persistence can turn into annoyance and that’s true, but it’s all in how you do it.

When a company tells me “no thanks” I improve my idea’s worth or bring something brand-new to the table. There’s always a change or something to enhance the value. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing the target audience.

I was able to do this successfully with companies that wanted nothing to do with my music

5. Successful Musicians Take Action

I know, the phrase “Take action” is getting worn out → “take action, you gotta take action, everyone takes action” but it’s true. Successful people are always in motion, they act on their ideas and newly found education.

If they learn something today, it’s going into action tomorrow or as they’re still in the process of learning. Others wait until they see everyone else’s results then contemplate. They take forever to decide what they want to do while opportunities pass them by.

Then, the next wave or big thing comes along and they repeat the process! There’s nothing wrong with analyzing the situation or possible outcomes, but after your analysis, you have to make a decision, you gotta do something.


I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you notice in successful people within our industry.

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