Monday, April 09, 2012

Why You Probably Won’t Be Famous

If you don’t become the next megastar in music, it’s not because you aren’t talented. It’s not because of your looks, or because you never got your “big break”. It’s not even because you didn’t get on American Idol or the Voice.

So what is it? Why are you much less likely to be famous these days as a music artist?

It’s because there is so MUCH.

There’s just too much music out there.

It’s getting harder and harder for anyone to find good music they like. There’s iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Bandcamp, eMusic, Pandora, Sirius/XM, Jango, CDBaby, your local radio stations (that play the same thing over and over), and even your DMX or whatever they call the music channels on your cable box.

But you still can’t find anything new or great that you like.

Oh sure, there is Lady Gag (sic), or some other flavor of the week that somebody found on Youtube and we all huddle around a phone or monitor to laugh at it or be mildly impressed.

But is it music we want to “live” with. In our cars, on our iPods, in our hearts!? Um, no.

So what’s the use, you say? Why even try to make music in this crazy age where there’s so much music that there is no good music?

I think we have to make music we believe in. It has to come from our hearts, and be purposeful. It has to be music that can make a difference in someone’s life.

Why? Because if it’s just about being “famous” then I just don’t think God will honor that. Most of us are fond of proclaiming we are doing this for ministry, or to profoundly affect people with our creations. So we need to prove it.

We need to die to being famous, and strive to make amazing art that deeply moves people.

So how do we do this? Let’s break this down.

We have to make music from the heart.

Sounds a bit cliche’, but for you people with music ministries out there this is pretty crucial. Other forms of music fit this category too like Jazz or Classical.

This is music that makes someone feel something deep and meaningful. There may be lyrics that touch or affect, but it could just as well be a beautiful melody.

It doesn’t have to be a ballad or slow either. It’s about making something that makes someone take pause in their day, take refuge in the song, or just get lost in the music. I call it “the stop in your tracks in the middle of the Walmart” song. You seek out a speaker to hear your favorite part.

It’s music that makes a difference to someone if they hear it or not. It’s music they take with them on trips. It’s music that has become like a good friend; a part of their life.

Find the audience for your music, and go after them with all you’ve got.

I mean, you have to live to serve this audience. You’ve made music that you feel says what you want it to say, now get it out there to the people.

Is it easy? No. In fact it’s much harder than Step 1. Way harder. Sure the Rolling Stones and Beatles had radio, TV, and huge concerts to push their music. But they didn’t have FB ads that could reach millions, the ability to make music and put it up for the world to buy immediately. They didn’t have many of the tools we have at our our fingertips just because we have an internet connection.

We have to NOT quit.

Seems simple enough right? Just keep working on our craft, getting better, finding our audience, and keep serving them. Year after year. But the truth is many of us give up, or quit, or lay it aside because it’s very hard. It seems like no one is listening. You’ve put your heart and soul into it, and still you’re not getting anywhere.

This is where the hard truth comes in. We’re not going to be famous. We’re not going to be able to quit our jobs immediately and tour. No one is going to drop money in our lap to do this.

So we have to be willing to find that place where the music fits in our lives, and be happy with that. We have to still be tenacious even though our visions of fame have not become reality.
The truth is they probably never will. But that’s OK. In fact, maybe your destiny all along was to build a small but loyal following of listeners around the world. Those people who will buy your music, bring you to their area to perform, and touch their hearts and soul with the music they can’t live without.

We’ve all had those moments where we touched someone musically, and saw it on their face. It was more than just a “sell”, but a ministry.

And it you haven’t had that experience, make THAT your goal and ambition. To change someone’s life with your music.

Now that’s what God made you for. He’s the real famous one you know.

Have a great week!

Eric Copeland is the president of Creative Soul Records, a kind of, sorta label and music production company in Nashville, TN. His company works with music artists who deal with fame aspirations and ministry concerns every day.


Jeffrey B. Scott said...

I think you're absolutely right, Eric - especially about the part where, even though we have all these tools to broadcast our music to the world at a moment's notice, it is still hard. Sometimes you can, but MOST times, you can't even track the impact of what you've done until much farther down the road. And the waiting for it is the hardest part.
Even so, great challenge today - here's to many people deciding "famous" isn't what they're after any more!

Indieheaven said...

Great post Eric.. I agree 100%, I'll share this with my members of

beth champion mason said...

That's good stuff, Eric! We all need to be reminded of this from time to time. :)

Sublime Carwash & Detail said...

Love it! Couldn't of said it better!

Brad said...

That was great and very encouraging. Great blog.

Unknown said...

Dear Mr. Copeland

I can Praise the Lord for your life. Your words inspire all of us to keep up the good work, focused in the real objective, with the right motivation and the correct perspective. My music ministry and I have focused in this and in deed a lot of blessings and satisfactions have come along the way giving the Glory & Honor to our God through what we have been called to do to serve Him, our brethren & to all the people around the world who have listened to the musical art we develop to praise the one real famous one.

Thank you!
God bless you!

Athena said...

Wow! you just put everything I have been thinking and feeling into words. Thank you so much. I needed to hear all of that. blessings to you!

Tommy said...

This is all so true. I stopped trying to be "famous" when I got saved, and started trying just to make a living doing what I love. That would be success. But better than that, I should be more interested in people hearing what God has given to me as a message for them. That's ministry. I do, however, find it easier to find music I enjoy listening to lately because of the internet. Now since more music is available to us, there's more selection from people who aren't "famous" that I like. This is a good thing, in my opinion.

Pastor David said...

Thank you Eric! Very encouraging words. Insightful and a cause for re-calibration. Your words spoke to my heart.

Unknown said...

This article makes perfect sense but it is a little sad somehow. Its not about the 'famous' part, its more about the reality of just how hard it is to be heard, and the near impossibility of music being anything more than a hobby for most of us. Yes, we can sing to that small collection of people we manage to attract, but making a living or even a supplemental living is just not on the cards for most of us. The reason this is sad is because you will never reach your full potential, skill or ability by doing something as a hobby. So many rough diamonds will remain just that - rough.

Unknown said...

So many thoughts on this, but I think it always comes back to matters of the heart. We Christian song writers are kind of odd. Lets face it.....we need to keep creating in order to share those things that have touched our hearts. This is how we connect to the Lord during personal times of worship. Its never ever been one of my goals to be in the spotlight, but rather any spot that shines his light! Carry on!