Tips for Being Professional in the Music Business

By Loren Weisman

That amazing song, that great look, that band that sounds like no other: These are only parts of the music business. To thrive, sustain, and succeed in the music business — the singer on the front of the stage, the drummer in the back of the stage, the manager on side stage, or the production company that built that stage — you need to know the 16 Ps that help you move further in all the aspects of the music business or any type of business today.

In becoming a professional, have the 16 Ps in Place! P is the 16th letter in the alphabet, and these 16 skills that start with the letter P can help you move further, faster, and higher in business than anything else:

  • Personality and the ability to engaging others: So much of the music business is communication and engagement with different personalities. Learn the best ways to resonate and connect with other personalities.

  • Patience: So many have failed because of lack of patience — rushing, posting, reacting, or racing to put something out before its ready, signing on the dotted line before having a third party or lawyer review it, or launching something before the marketing, promotion, and distribution is in place. Be patient to prosper!

  • Perseverance: Continuity and continuing to do the work in the best of times, in the worst of times, and every time in between is a skill that you want to practice in the music business.

  • Practice your skill: Practicing your instrument and making the time to constantly learn and grow is key. Always make time to practice.

  • Professional work ethic: It sounds obvious, but a strong, centered, and professional work ethic makes all the difference.

  • Problem solving: Make sure your problem-solving skills are focused on fixing the problem instead of assigning the blame.

  • Preventative maintenance: After a problem has been fixed, apply the skills and methods to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  • Planning and attention to detail: Looking at every number, every option and every cost allows you to handle every question and every possible thing, good or bad that comes at you.

  • Preparation: Get your ducks in a row, whether you are going in to the studio, sitting down for an interview, or getting ready to solicit an investor.

  • Production: From producing your music to producing your music business plan, the skill of knowing how to allocate time and the attention to each production element is key.

  • Promotion: Promotion never stops. This skill is required to continue to keep revenues and profits coming your way. Whether promoting a studio in which people record to a venue for people to see you perform in, to the songs you want people to buy, promoting and marketing is part of the rest of your career.

  • Phone: Your phone skills need to be up to par. No mumbling, and don’t talk too fast or too slow. Work to avoid the “uhhs” and “umms.” Make sure your verbal delivery on the phone is professional, personable, and prepared.

  • Proficiency: From your instrument to the phone skills, from your promoting skills to your presentation, and everywhere in between, the proficiency skill set, mixed with practice, helps you to maintain and grow all your abilities and all your skill sets.

  • Practical communication: Knowing the right time to talk, the right time to be quiet, and the right way to connect with people is a great skill to have. That old Kenny Rodgers song, says it best. . . “Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run.” Think practically, logically, and considerately in your communication, and many more people will listen.

  • Playing well with others: Don’t hog the sandbox. Your skill set of knowing how to play well, communicate well, connect well, and even argue well, will leave you very well off.

  • Presentation: It’s all about the delivery. With all the other skill sets you have, with all the work you do and details you add, it all culminates in the delivery and presentation. Make it pretty, make it sharp, and make it represent all the Ps in harmony.

Whether you’re a performer, in the spotlight or out, the business person, or the creative type, these key skill sets will take you further than the best song, the best look, and the best band. The music business of today is much more open to the professionals that care and consider others than the egotistical and selfish stars and stories of yesterday.