In her book Music Success in Nine Weeks, Ariel Hyatt presents a wealth of knowledge in a readily-accessible, easily digestible form. The reader immediately gets the distinct impression that Ariel is really trying to help them out, and not just sell them a “get rich quick” book. Music Success is an interactive book in the sense that what you put into it is what you’ll get out of it, like music in general. It’s well laid-out, reads well and the information can be easily assimilated and quickly put to good, real-world use.
The material presented in the book is good, solid advice for indie (unsigned or specialty-label / imprint) bands, and solo artists like singer-songwriters. Some of the material is not applicable to larger acts: I doubt that Aerosmith’s biggest asset is their e-mail list. Please keep that in mind when reading the book. If you’re giving it as a gift to your favorite musician, check it through to make sure that it’ll be relevant to their particular situation.
Some of the tips in this book can help everyone, regardless of the status of their band, such as signing up for Twitter or Flickr and using it, or making sure to not spam: use an opt-in or opt-out list only. As well, the chapter on figuring out who your fans are (week 6) is loaded with great information, because figuring out your demographics, and who your core fan base really is, will help your band tremendously.
I really like how it has a clickable Table of Contents, and all of the internal anchors work. Meaning, if I click on a subchapter, I get taken to that subchapter and not some random page 3 or 4 before or after it. As well, the “five successes each day” approach contained in the book was something presented to me at an early age. It’s a very powerful esteem builder and helps to gain a positive outlook on life.
Since I’m most familiar with extreme metal, the section about putting a “sound alike”, and your genre on your show flyers, may not be applicable, depending on what genre you play. I don’t recall a single flyer in my collection that required such information. I do recall laughing at any band who forgot to include the price of tickets, or the date and location of the show. Usually with metal you can tell – the logos are highly stylized – or it’s assumed you’ll look the band up, or the members will have spent some time talking to you when you picked up the flyer. Of course, this could be different for other genres of music, but it’s a novel idea to me.
Some of the websites in the “essential websites” directory have, in the past, charged for their services, changed their terms of service, or they require personal information to even present you with a sample. As usual on the Internet, be mindful and selective of where you input your personal information.
There were three quotes from the book that stood out to me in particular. Since some readers, myself included, won’t be familiar with these quotes directly, even though they are highly informative, it would be nice to have a bibliography in the back of the book so that people interested in quotes like these could pursue them for further reading.
“Only three percent of all people have their long-term goals written down, and it has been proven that by simply writing down your goals you are much more likely to achieve them.”
“Studies show that the average person can achieve six tasks a day so write a MAXIMUM of six per day – don’t get overwhelmed.”
“Recent studies show that people have the attention span of gnats and that if they have to wait more than 3.5 seconds for a site to load, they’re moving on…”
This book, a cross between a self-improvement workbook and a crash course in management, is superb for musicians who don’t have a lot of business experience. It strikes its target dead-on and really ought to help improve the successes of indie artists who work hard to attain these goals.
While not every situation in the book may be applicable to every person or band, the advice at its core is sound and time-tested. If people put a lot of effort into really assimilating these suggestions, they are sure to reap great rewards.
Review first ran here: http://guitarinternational.com/2010/03/10/musicbusiness/ by Jenn Metalichicka
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