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Five Things Millennial Musicians Don’t Get

Millennials (also known as Gen Y-ers) are those born in 1980 up to the 2000s. We’re known to be narcissistic, impatient, entitled, tech-dependent, lazy job-switchers who think we deserve the big things without putting much effort.

In two words: spoiled brats! Of course we just roll our eyes because we know better- we are ambitious and want to create our own path. We will conquer the world because we can. But come to think of it, there is some truth to what they’re saying. We are a little narcissistic sometimes, we are a little bit more impatient than the previous generation, we are absolutely tech-dependent! These traits can bring us success but the same traits can also prevent us from achieving our dreams. For the millennial musicians out there, here are some things we should remind ourselves:

TALENT IS NOT EVERYTHING. So let’s say you’re the best singer/drummer/bassist/pianist. So what! That’s not just a reply from your co-millennial with super high standards, that’s how it’s always been. Talent is nothing without results. That means you need hard work, consistency, determination, and all that jazz. That also means being nice to people and being part of a community. Talent is a necessary requirement but it’s just a part of a pie.

INTERNET MARKETING IS NEVER ENOUGH. Don’t get me wrong. Online presence and online marketing is very, very important for any artist today. But don’t you ever think that your marketing starts and ends online. Sure, Tweet, share, blog…but make sure you get out there and do “real world” marketing- more concerts, more quality time with your fans, more networking with other musicians and music industry professionals, more radio interviews, and a whole lot more. The internet is just one marketing channel, don’t rely on it too much.

YOUR FACEBOOK LIKES IS NOT DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL TO THE NUMBER OF FANS WILLING TO BUY YOUR ALBUM. This is just an elaboration of the point above. You see, even if you have 10,000 likes on your Facebook page, that doesn’t mean at least 1,000 are willing to pay you for anything. Who knows why you had so many likes in the first place. Did you have a contest? Did you post a meme or video that went viral? The point is, we can’t tell for sure if your likers actually like you (as in: as the musician). And what if the ones who really like you for your music are the types who are not willing to pay you for your concert, album, or merch? The online numbers help a little but don’t trust it 100%. Don’t make 5,000 CDs just because you have 10,000 likes.

 SOMETIMES, E-MAIL COMM IS NOT APPROPRIATE/ENOUGH. Let’s say you need to talk to a distributor, event organizer,client, filmmaker who will do your music video, photographer who will take your band photos, etc. Sure it’s okay to e-mail at first because it’s also quite rude to be demanding of their time. But if something needs to be explained or someone needs convincing, my goodness! Pick up the phone or drop by their office to have a face-to-face conversation.

THE WORLD WILL NOT WAIT FOR YOU. In our twenties, we think we have all the time in the world to party and explore all our options. But when we’re turning 30 (which happens at the blink of an eyelash),we start to realize that damn, if we should have just worked our asses off on our chosen craft or saved enough money, it wouldn’t be this hard anymore. At age 30, we realize we’re exactly the same 10 years ago except that now, we have gout and the rent is higher and our girlfriends/boyfriends are starting to hint us about marriage and kids.

Now is a great time to be an artist thanks to the internet and digital technology. Everything is within your reach. But don’t forget the “real world”, “real world connections” and “real hard work.”

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