Pittsburgh Music Tips, Vol. 1

For this week's post, I was asked to talk about the "right" steps for getting started as a "serious" act in the Paris of Appalachia - Pittsburgh, PA. Or put another way, something that helps a new-ish band to find success a little bit more easily than they would on their own.

Well first of all, I would humbly suggest that bands at any stage need to establish more clearly-defined goals for themselves. So many of the artists that I work with or consult for tell me the same thing: that they’re “just trying to get to the next level”. I’ve used this phrase in the past as well, so I criticize it from a place of tough love. But the music industry isn’t a video game and there actually is no “next level”. What we mean when we use these words is that we have an abstract yearning to improve beyond where we currently are - more sales, more streams, more followers on social media, more people coming to our shows.

So the #1 thing that I tell anyone who asks me for advice is this: instead of convincing yourself that you need someone to come along and magically help you get to the next level, get specific by clearly defining your goals and then help yourself by working backwards in order to concretely achieve them. No one knows what “the next level” is, so nobody knows how to get there. But did you actually mean that you want to get 1,000 streams on your new single? Because that’s a real goal that can be measured, and there’s lots that you can do to work towards it. Same if your goal is to get 100 followers on Instagram, or if you want to get 10 people to buy your t-shirt. Once you start thinking in terms of hard numbers, you’ll be on your way towards reaching all of your goals.

(And when you’re ready for vinyl, be sure to order from Pittsburgh’s own Hellbender Vinyl!)
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