The Artist and Lady Luck

Artists of all kinds need to manage their luck. Most do a very poor job of it.

From age 15 to 20, I made one DJ mix every month. My routine was to share it with just one friend who I knew would listen to it with me.

We are close friends to this day as this routine was a great way to form friendship. But I missed out on opportunities to share my stuff. Each time was a chance for another artist out there to send an encouraging message, invite me to collaborate, etc.

I could have even found a following this way, which would have segued into more opportunities to DJ in the future.

Suppose I had social media game in the early days, 2009 and onwards. Each mix would have been an opportunity to practice using social media. It’s just like this blog: I win no matter how well it does. Even articles which are not read by anyone help me, as they help maintain a habit.

There is no way to tell which of your actions will pay off or how. Results in real life are rarely as exact as you imagine. Always rough around the edges. So find ways to invite luck into the process.

I pause here to make fun of people who say, “The definition of insanity is doing something over and over expecting a different result.” That’s a goal oriented attitude and destined to fail (or do poorly) for any creative journey.

Consider using a system instead of a goal. Scott Adams defines a system as something you can do routinely which gives you a win every time you do it. (He explains it better than I do though, so go buy his book.)

I used to think that I had to hide my less than stellar tracks from Facebook and Twitter because they did not meet my own high expectations. In my mind, the tracks were not good enough. I didn’t want to associate my name with my “learner” productions.

I don’t know what this cost me, because I can’t go back and post my music starting from two years ago when it was decent. What I do know for certain is that routinely posting my music on Twitter and Facebook would increase (for example) the chances of a friend linking my work to another producer, or a music label, whatever.

Now we’ve covered one potential system for a music producer: posting your work online.

It doesn’t matter if it’s not on par with the professional, career musicians at first. All that matters is that it exposes you to positive luck (luck that helps you) with risk you find tolerable. That way, useful relationships can find their way to you, as if your music was a business card.

I have several other systems in mind which I don’t mind giving away. I am honestly not the least bit worried about someone “stealing” these ideas for their own benefit. I want you to do it because you’ll thank me later, thus bringing good luck back to me.

By the way, these are written from the perspective of a music producer. But that doesn’t stop a painter, a writer, or a filmmaker from repurposing these ideas.

  1. start a podcast. Interview other music producers, musicians, creative people, people in the dance music community, whatever. You learn to record, edit audio, market your podcast online, practice your voice technique and conversation skills, and most importantly, meet new people.
  2. Make an Instagram showing off short clips of your tracks. This can integrate with other systems very easily. In another version of this idea, buy a synthesizer and do a “patch a day” challenge (maybe demonstrate how some knobs change the sound). Even iPhone video will do for this.
  3. Write artist bios about people in your local scene. Again, networking plus practice with a skill (writing) and another skill (social media).
  4. Live stream your music producing sessions (like Deadmau5). Even ten viewers per session is worthwhile, since you are learning to produce while splitting your attention.

If you thought this post had some good ideas, buy How To Fail At Everything And Still Win Big because I indirectly got these ideas from Scott Adams.


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