Creative and Considerate Fame

Your Music and People: Creative and Considerate Fame by Derek Sivers

Derek’s words always resonate with me. This book is tailored for musicians, but it packs a lot of excellent advice for non-musicians on personal relationships, business, money, marketing, and more.

28 Jun 2020

It’s actually impossible to fail if your only mission was to see what happens!

Marketing means making it easy for people to notice you, relate to you, remember you, and tell their friends about you.

Thinking of everything from the other person’s point of view is one of the best things you can do in life.

The more senses you touch in someone, the more they’ll remember you.

When promoting, make sure you’re not barking.

People send business to people they like.

There’s always a favor you can do. Give give give, and sometimes you will receive.

As you climb the ladder of success, giving a gift may go a long way and be remembered for years.

Overwhelmed people don’t have time for all the random first-contacts. Patience and persistence separate you from the rest, and show how much you care.

If I would have known who he was in advance, I never would have had a real conversation with him.

You can write a hundred songs. You can do a thousand gigs. You can have a million followers. But it won’t get you as far as having someone work the inside of the industry.

You have to make your own success first, before you ask the industry for help.

Many more opportunities will open to you once you’ve earned your way through a few filters.

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. You have to decide.

Get to the point of being a competent novice at business, then let an expert take it further.

For a career to be sustainable, it has to be profitable.

Call the destination, and ask for directions. You’ll get there much faster than walking without a map, hoping you arrive someday.

Extreme success requires extreme focus — saying no to distractions and leisure.

This means you need to find specialists at the other tasks. And yes, sometimes it’s hard to find them. But it’s harder to watch your career crawl instead of fly because you’re trying to do it all yourself. I’ve seen too many make that mistake.

If you’re not happy with the way things are, don’t just complain. Go make things how they should be.

Once you’re a household name, and your music is playing everywhere, you can stop describing it. But for now, you need to come up with a great description.

You used to get successful by being normal and mainstream. But now you have a better chance of getting successful by being remarkably unusual.

Have the confidence to find your niche, define who you are, then declare it again and again and again and again.

There are some cool people around the world that would like your music. They may only be 1% of the population. But 1% of the world is 75 million people!

Loudly reject 99%. It signals who you are. When someone in your target 1% hears you proudly excluding the rest, they’ll be drawn to you.

If you’re well-rounded, you can’t cut through anything. You need to be sharply defined, like a knife.

It’s more interesting for the audience if you’re the opposite of normal. So be an extreme character.

There is a vodka company that advertises itself as “the most expensive vodka you can buy”. It’s enticing. It’s almost a dare. (And it proudly excludes people!)

Look at what your competitors are doing, then vow not to do that. Don’t try to beat them at their game. Play a completely different game. Be radically opposite. Don’t be associated with them in any way. Be so different that people don’t even think to compare you.

Fans of the obscure niches search harder for it. Make sure they can find you. You want the passionate fans of your niche, not the casual fans of mainstream.

Every breakthrough comes from someone you know.

You aren’t pulled to success by destiny. You’re lifted there by those around you. So acknowledge their contribution, and bring them along for the ride.

The unhappiest musicians are the ones who avoided the subject of money, and are now broke or need a draining day job. It may sound cool to say money doesn’t matter — to say “don’t worry about it!” — but it leads to a really hard life. Then ultimately your music suffers, because you can’t give it the time it needs,

Money is nothing more than a neutral exchange of value. If people give you money, it’s proof that you’re giving them something valuable in return.

When you sign a deal with a company, negotiate the biggest up-front advance possible. Even if you don’t need the money, it’s the best strategy, because the higher your advance, the harder the company will work to earn.

When people want the best, they look to the price to tell them what’s great. They think the expensive wine tastes better. They think the expensive headphones sound better. Even when secretly, those things are no different than the cheap ones.

You need to distinguish between what is your real goal, and what are the unnecessary details. Don’t let the details distract you from your goal.

Let go of outdated dreams that keep you from noticing what’s here now.

Instead of predicting the future, focus your time and energy on the fundamentals. The unpredictable changes around them are just the details.

No matter what advice anyone gives you — no matter how smart they may be — you need to let this compass guide you. Whatever excites you, go do it. Whatever drains you, stop doing it.

Then you’ll find that doors open for you, opportunities come your way, and life seems to go easier, because you’re doing what you’re meant to do.