MSI9W - Week1: Goals

 Goals. I have a hard time with this one. Musically, I tend to let things evolve organically, try to stay out of my own way and really allow my compositions to progress the way they want to. I may gently nudge and push things in a certain direction, but like my grandfather always used to say (insert thick Yiddish accent here): "Don't force it, you'll break it." So I don't and it's worked out well for me - musically that is. In terms of marketing and PR, I find that I have to put on a different hat and steer myself out of musician mode if I want to make any progress.

I released my first CD, Binary Scenes in March, 2009 and since then I've made quite a bit of progress in terms of building up my fan base via social networking and mailing list signups. I released a 2nd album, Portal in March 2010 and my annual album sales as of July 14, 2010 are already more than double my sales in all of 2009, so I'm definitely making progress and headed in the right direction. Still, while I find myself making gains, I know I am far from where I'd ultimately like to be and that's where Chapter 1 of Ariel's "Music Success in Nine Weeks" comes in.

Ariel suggests writing down a set of goals in a variety of focus areas, because according to various studies, keeping your eye on the long-term perspective has a greater bearing on future success than education, family background, race and intelligence. Who knew? She also suggested getting some type of journal and writing down these goals in actual marker or pen, as opposed to just typing them on the computer, because the act of physically writing something down on paper somehow makes it more real and makes us feel more committed to following through. God knows I've got hundreds of undone to-do's and tasks and wish lists scattered throughout various reminder apps and what-not on my computer and cell phone, so this rang true to me. So I went out and bought a little Atomic Skunk journal/book type thing and some colored markers, sat down and started to brainstorm some "areas of focus." I broke them down into the following 3 major categories: Musical Goals, Financial Goals and Marketing/Fanbase Goals.

MUSICAL GOALS

So far, I've released 2 albums on my own, one in March 2009 and one in March 2010. Despite the fact that I underwent a 2nd brain surgery this year, I've recovered well and I feel like I can keep up this pace for now and even start to ramp it up in the years to come. So I've set a goal of releasing my 3rd album by the end of March 2011, as well as releasing 2 more albums in 2012 and finally accelerating to a pace of 3 albums per year by 2013. I feel like I can do this, if I can carve out the necessary time. I have endless ideas and feel like a bottomless pit of creativity when it comes to music composition and production. If anything prevents me from reaching those goals, it will be related to financial and work obligations, which brings me to the 2nd area of focus:

FINANCIAL GOALS

Without getting into specific numbers, as I stated earlier, my album sales for 2010 are already more than double what they were for all of 2009, yet I am miles away from where I need to be financially to devote the kind of time to my music that I'd like to. Nevertheless, I've set goals to triple my 2009 gross sales in 2010, 5X my 2009 gross sales in 2011, all the way up to 10X my 2009 Gross Sales in 5 years, by 2015. I believe this is within reach, especially if I can meet my new album release goals.

MARKETING/FANBASE GOALS

Starting from scratch in March of 2009 through July 14, 2010 (15 1/2 months), I have built from scratch, a Twitter following of 28,000 +, A Facebook following of almost 1300 and a mailing list of 1850 subscribers. While this is tremendous progress, I know I can continue to grow in these areas and have set myself the following goals:

35,000 Twitter followers by 12/31/10
50,000 Twitter followers by 12/31/11
2,000 Facebook Fans by 3/1/2011
2,000 Mailing list subscribers by 10/1/2010

All of this goal setting within these main areas of focus was a great exercise for me, but it also got me thinking about what my ultimate goal is as a musician. I quickly realized that It isn't to become some kind of platinum album selling/multi-millionaire rock star, I'd just like to be able to earn a decent living and support my wife and family through my music. Now even THAT may seem like a lofty goal in this day and age, especially in the niche music market of ambient/space electronic music, but hey that's really what it's all about for me if I'm honest with myself and at least it's something I can start to work towards.

Since about the age of 13, when I first saw "The Who" at Anaheim Stadium, I realized I wanted to be a musician. It wasn't until a few years later when I actually got my first guitar, that I really started moving in that direction, but basically from age 13 onwards, all I wanted to do was make music. Period.

As life evolved and the realities of having to actually make a living set in, the possibilities of music as a profession for me seemed to slip further and further away. Sure I was playing guitar in local bands and making some money here and there, but I couldn't support myself on my music alone, much less a wife and family. Fast forward to 2008, I'm married with 2 kids and my own small internet business, my music having been relegated to a mere hobby for the last 20 years or so, when I start my electronic music project, Atomic Skunk. By March of 2009, I had produced enough tracks on my own to release an album and to my astonishment, people liked it and bought it! Not in earth shattering numbers, but for a non-performing musician with a self-produced, released and marketed debut CD, I was very pleasantly surprised :) My Twitter and Facebook following started to grow by leaps and bounds every day, people started signing up for my mailing list on Reverbnation and all of a sudden I had a music career again! (sorta)

I may be a long, log way from achieving my ultimate goal, but I AM headed in the right direction and following along with Ariel's goal setting suggestions, I can now break it up into smaller and more manageable chunks by defining certain areas of focus and breaking goals down into short-term, annual, 3 year, 5 year and lifetime goals. This way I'll have a roadmap laid out in front of me and I can periodically check in to see how I'm doing in various areas and make adjustments as necessary. Onward and Upward!

2 comments

  • Ariel

    Ariel

    These are awesome goals you have here. I feel like you'll have to push to achieve all the goals you've set for yourself, but they are all very attainable. Great work! I noticed you've missed the week 2 and 3 blogs. If you having trouble finding the time to keep up with the contest you can join in on the wave 2 contest starting August 9th. Hope to see you then! Ariel

    These are awesome goals you have here. I feel like you'll have to push to achieve all the goals you've set for yourself, but they are all very attainable. Great work!

    I noticed you've missed the week 2 and 3 blogs. If you having trouble finding the time to keep up with the contest you can join in on the wave 2 contest starting August 9th.

    Hope to see you then!

    Ariel

  • Rich

    Rich

    Thanks Ariel! That's the plan. I fell behind, because things got too crazy, but I'm jumping on the August 9th wave and then I'll be ahead of the game :)

    Thanks Ariel! That's the plan. I fell behind, because things got too crazy, but I'm jumping on the August 9th wave and then I'll be ahead of the game smile

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