So I’m currently reading Ari Herstand’s fantastic book, How To Make It In The New Music Business, a collection of smart and relevant pieces about the state of the modern industry. It is genuinely helpful and, as opposed to many of his peers is extremely practical. One thing he talks about is the concept of the “Music Marathon” an idea I really dug. Essentially he says that you need to be building out 1 year, 5 year, 10 and 26 year goals. Once you have those goals you should identify some steps that can help to actualize them. I think this is a good method because it keeps you on a realistic timeline and also forces you to really think about the steps to achieving your goal. Of course – the music industry is fickle and reliant on trends, but at least identifying the baby steps that you need to get to where you want to be is good. This morning I built out a small one to experiment with the concept. Feel free to use this as a template and see where you can go from here!

Your Music Marathon

1 Year Goals

  1. Draw 50 people at home
    1. Open for A, B and C touring bands
    2. Play with A, B and C hip local bands
  2. Play 25 shows, 20 out of market
    1. Set up your job situation so this is feasible
    2. Determine money needed to make this happen
  3. Do three regional runs
    1. Identify local markets that make sense to target
    2. Identify promoters you might connect with
  4. Get coverage in A, B and C publications
    1. Look into what writers there might be into your band
    2. See what online communities they are active in
  5. Play three tastemaker festivals
    1. Identify regional festivals that might make sense to target
    2. Determine selling points for your band to play said festival

5 Year Goals

  1. Sell out regional venues
    1. Do regional dates with A, B and C touring bands
    2. Headline over A, B and C hip local bands
  2. Tour nationally twice a year
    1. Determine an agent who is a good fit for you
    2. Create relationships with agents who might make sense
    3. Create relationships with the bands you want to open for and play with.
  3. Sign to a tastemaker record label
    1. Determine 10 relevant labels in your genre
    2. Determine how to get in touch with/establish relationships with those label heads
  4. Sell 1000 copies of latest record
    1. Create relationships with fans who will want to buy
    2. Tour heavily
    3. Determine what producers are hip in your genre who can help you create a masterful record.
    4. Establish a webstore
    5. Create bargain deals to boost numbers
  5. Play national festivals
    1. See which regional festivals are feeders into nationals
    2. Determine what agents are connected with those festivals
    3. Determine what other smaller bands do to get on those festivals

10 Year Goals

  1. Tour internationally
    1. Determine what international festivals it would make sense for you to be on
    2. Determine what international agents are a good fit for you
    3. Determine what markets are into your genre
  2. Headline 500 cap venues nationally
    1. Open for A, B and C touring bands
    2. Have X, Y and Z bands open for you on headlining tours.
    3. Determine if your agent has the connections for these sorts of tours.
  3. Sign to a major label within your genre
    1. Determine the key labels in the genre
    2. Determine what you need from them that you couldn’t get from a smaller label
    3. Talk with a lawyer about the best path forward for your band.
  4. Headline regional festivals/Have strong billing on national festivals
    1. Use previous relationships with regional festivals to come as a headliner.
    2. Use previous relationships with national festivals to get higher billing.
    3. Determine what selling points can be used to achieve this (Playing a classic album, etc)
  5. Get 1,000,000 Spotify streams on one song
    1. Write a single that is a ‘winner’
    2. Determine what producers you can use to create a winning single.
    3. Get radio support for said single
    4. Get label support for said single
    5. Determine what playlists to pitch too
    6. Determine a playlist boosting service to use.

26 Year Goals

  1. International tours twice a year
    1. Determine what international festivals you can headline.
    2. Determine if your past agent has the connections for this
    3. Determine how to route tours to be able to tour internationally twice a year
  2. Being a major act on a major label in your genre
    1. Determine which labels and relationships are willing to invest in you.
    2. Talk with a lawyer about the best path forward
  3. Headlining national festivals
    1. Use previous relationships to get a headline spot
    2. Determine how to use your legacy in order to get the sort of niche needed to headline these festivals
    3. Determine what festivals seem to be shaped around your interests.
  4. Strong back catalog of releases
    1. Determine what producers will be able to help make this happen.
    2. Determine what the market wants and how that fits with your musical vision
    3. Talk to label people and ask what they want to see from a record.
  5. Ability to support a family from income
    1. Talk to a business manager to optimize income.
    2. Build up royalties via streaming.
    3. Negotiate a salary with management company to ensure income.

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