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

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 shortened, 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 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 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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12 thoughts on “5 Traits Of Successful Music Professionals: Which Traits Are You Missing?

  1. These are really great tips! Musicians who embody those qualities are exactly the types that are succeeding on our platform. You touched on this, but I think a willingness to try new things, fail (without growing cynical) and learn for your experience is so vital. There is no blueprint for success in any field (and even more so in the music business), but it’s far more likely if you’re willing to be a trail blazer.

    1. Hi David,
      thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I also wanted to thank you for taking time to leave a reply. I agree with everything you’ve mentioned. One thing that hits home for me is “being willing to try new things” That alone has opened more doors for me anything.

  2. Greg,
    I’ve always liked your “just do it” attitude. You dive into projects and keep going even when you hit roadblocks. Way to go, bro!
    I like your five. My #6 would be “They find creative ways to go around or bulldoze through roadblocks.” Just like you…
    And my #7 (possibly tied to your #1) would be “When they don’t find a market for what they bring, they either create a new market or shift their thinking to match what people want.”
    Playful blessings,

  3. Hi Greg! I ve been reading you articles for a couple of weeks. And i hav to admit that i never found a bloger in this sfield that never talked crap in his article. Thank you for sharing with us you knowledge and experience.
    You can belive or not, but the information you provide is a huge motivation for those who realy love music with all they heart and promissed themself to never give up on they dream.
    Thank you! Good bless you!

  4. Greg,
    I think you hit all of these qualities on the head! I’m studying music business right now and almost every professor ends each class with telling us to study for our tests, but most importantly, to go networking and meet as many people as we can! I’ve recently started getting out there more and making connections and just that within itself is so satisfying. All of these qualities play off of each other, so the more we practice even one of them, the more we grow in other areas as well!
    I love your positive messages in your posts.

  5. Hi,
    I’m 16 and I really want to be a successful musician, but my Dad wants me to study something along the line of business… I just cannot imagine myself doing something for the rest of my life that I do not have a passion for. I have been playing the piano since I was 8. I started playing the guitar at 12. And most recently the violin. I hope to start singing soon, also. I know a good ammount of music theory. (No where near expert) I have written some musical ideas that I hope to transform into songs on both the piano and guitar. Many people really believe in me and support me a lot, but I’ve been discouraged lately.
    I really want to study music in college, but it is very expensive. I want to start next year if it is possible. I don’t know what to do. Ever since I started playing the piano I’ve always had the vision of being a musician.
    If it is not possible for me to study music (I don’t know what aspect of music yet) and I study something else and later study music, I feel like I would have wasted a lot of time. From my own perspective, I believe if you become well known at a young age you have way more opportunity later on. Take Sungha Jung as an example…
    I have no interested at all in being a dumb pop star that barely knows anything about music theory etc. On the contrary, I am very interested in learning all I can. Even if/when I am well-known I will continue to learn all I can. I believe you can never stop learning.
    Is it hard to get started as an artist? How could I become known? What advice could you give me? Is there any way of getting people to hear my music at my age?
    Hope you can help me out.

    1. Hi Caleb,
      that sounds like a tough situation you’re in. Sometimes parents don’t understand their children’s goals or don’t understand how important they are. Other times, parents want to make sure their kids are secure in life financially, so they push them towards a more promising field.
      If making music is what you want to do, do it. There are plenty of affordable recording solutions out these days experiment with them.
      Is it hard to get started as an artist?
      No, it’s easy to get started, but it could be a difficult to sustain. Some people burn out very easily, others aren’t willing to put in the time.
      How can I become known
      Create music that people like, and what to hear.
      The playing field is more even now than it’s ever been. Before, you had to do gigs and tour to build a fan base. These days anyone can share there music with the world. People build fan bases a lot faster these days than say… 10 years ago. It’s really about putting yourself out, seeing what works/what doesn’t and focusing your efforts on what’s working.
      Hope that helps

  6. Hello Greg. Exactly as you said, it all works, if you have a good judgement, common sense and understanding of market in music business. Good luck to everyone!

  7. Hi Greg..Thanks for such a nice and interesting article.As you have shared your knowledge with us really thankful to you…Every successful musicians have to surely be take care of some of the things which is quite being necessary….These traits are much more important in the Musician’s Success..!!!!!

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