It’s that time of the year again. It’s the end of one year and almost the beginning of another. I’m not really into writing New Year’s resolutions per se. But I do find that this time of the year is a natural time to reflect on the year that’s gone by and plan for the next. I don’t really make goals or resolutions per se, more like a list of things I’m going to make happen. Goals strike me as something we're going to try and do, as opposed to something we're going to definitely do. It's a subtle, but important distinction.
So, in that spirit, I thought I’d share with you my plan for next year as it relates to my website, my podcast, my blog, my music and all the content I'll be creating for you.
Here’s my plan for 2017…
2016 has been my best year ever, by a pretty wide margin, both in terms of my business and my music career. So in 2017, I’m doubling down on pretty much everything I’ve been doing in 2016. In 2017 look for a lot more content from me in the form of podcasts, Youtube videos, blog posts and of course, much more original music. As Bill Gates said back in 1996, “content is king” and in 2017 I’m going to be creating a lot of content.
I’m going to essentially keep doing what I’ve been doing, but just a lot more of it and at a higher quality. I’ll also be releasing and distributing content on a regular set schedule, so you’ll know what content to expect and when. I realize some of you prefer certain types of content over others, so I’m going to be releasing podcasts, videos and blog posts, all on a regular basis.
Music, Money And Life Podcast
I’m going to be doing weekly episodes of my podcast in 2017. I’m adding a new segment where I’ll be featuring some of the many great artists that I work with and come in contact with. I’ll be continuing to interview some of the best minds in the world of sync licensing and music publishing in the form of writers, composers, publishers, supervisors and more. I’ll also be doing episodes where it’s just me, exploring and sharing my thoughts on the music business and what it’s like being an indie musician and entrepreneur.
Look for new episodes each Monday starting in January.
My podcast: http://musicmoneyandlife.podbean.com/
On Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/music-money-and-life/id637851748?mt=2
I’ll also be writing a weekly blog post on my website, Aaron Davison.net My blog has been steadily attracting more readers, getting more comments and feedback and my plan is to write a weekly blog post in 2017, exploring a variety of topics related to the music business and life as an indie musician.
My blog has been a great outlet to express my thoughts and ideas about the music business and really, just life in general. It gives me a chance to open up a bit and express a more authentic side of myself than simply writing about the technical aspects of the music business. I tend to reflect on broader subjects like relationships, travel, psychology and more, but almost always relate it in one way or another to the music business and the life of an indie musician. So be sure to stay tuned to my blog if you’ve enjoyed my writing over the years!
Look for new posts, like this one, each Thursday in 2017.
Here’s a link to my blog: http://www.aarondavison.net/blog
I’m also going to be releasing weekly videos on my music licensing Youtube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/urbrock
One of the keys to growing a following on platforms like Youtube is releasing content on a regular basis, so I’ll be doing that on a weekly basis in 2017.
I have two releases at least planned for 2017. One is a guitar oriented production music CD that I’m doing in collaboration with my producer/partner, Gary Gray. The other is a new full length CD of original vocal music that Gary is also producing. I added eight new tv shows to my resume in 2016 and signed with six different publishers and sync agencies! So I’ll be continuing to make as much of my own music as my schedule allows.
Check out the EP I just released, Shooting Stars, now available on Itunes, Spotify, Amazon and wherever music is downloaded, streamed and sold here:
If you want to keep up with what I’m doing music wise, licensing wise and so on, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter related to strictly my own music at: http://www.aarondavison.net/
New Course & Book: The Ultimate Music Licensing Guide
I’ll be releasing a brand new, in depth five hour audio/video course and companion book on Amazon in late January or early February called “The Ultimate Music Licensing Guide”. This project is a culmination of the last eight years that I’ve spent building How To License Your Music dot com and working with so many great writers, publishers and supervisors over this time.
I’ve spent the last several months creating this program and I’m more excited than I’ve ever been about a course that I’ve released. This course will be the most comprehensive and definitive course, that I’m aware of, on topic of music licensing. Period.
The entire program is included at no charge to everyone who signs up for the upcoming “180 Day Music Licensing Challenge”, starting on January 2nd!
There’s still time to register for The 180 Day Music Licensing Challenge here:
To everyone who has been following me over the last few years, a sincere and heartfelt thank you. I have a small, but devoted following of around 10,000 subscribers that have allowed me to continue to pursue my passion of making music and producing educational and hopefully entertaining content and media related to the music business for over eight years now.
My plan going forward is to turn this into a true empire. Really. My goal is to become a known brand (even better known) in this space, as both a musician, podcaster and educator, and continue to work with, promote and support the many talented independent artists around the world. Music and art cannot die and whatever I can do to help artists flourish and continue to follow their passions, as I follow mine, is what I will continue to do.
To an amazing 2017 and beyond. It’s going to be a busy one, but I know it will be fruitful. Cheers & Happy New Year!
PS – What about you? How was your 2016? What are your plans for 2017? Let me know in the comments! And let me know what type of content you prefer most from me and what you’d like to see more, or less of, in 2017. Blogs? Videos? Podcasts? More music? Your feedback is greatly appreciated!
I have to admit, sometimes I get a little bored with writing technical articles about the nuances of how to make money by writing songs for the medium of film and television. Talking about things like contracts, the ins and outs of music publishing, music marketing and so on, aren’t necessarily the most exciting topics to discuss.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to stop doing that. My goal is to continue to help all of you figure out how to navigate your way through this crazy business of music, to the best of my ability.
I’m more than happy to share things that I’ve learned on my journey with anyone who can benefit from what I’ve learned. In fact, I consider it almost a sort of moral obligation. I feel like it’s my civic responsibility, if you will, to give back.
But… sometimes, I have to remind myself why I’m doing all of this in the first place. Sometimes it’s good to get back to what really motivates and drives us.
For me, it’s really all about the music. It’s ultimately about my love for writing, performing and listening to music. That’s why I feel so compelled to help other musicians, because I know you have this same passion for music. We have the same sickness!
Making money is an important part of life. Without sufficient resources, it’s hard to focus on what we truly love… music.
With that said though, sometimes I get burned out on all this focusing on money and networking and marketing. The constant feeling of having to call this person or upload your song here or get back to this person here and so on. The constant pressure to earn more money and move forward in life. It can all get a little overwhelming sometimes.
I know, I know. The work must be done! We must keep fighting the good fight. We only live once after all, and this is our chance to make a difference in the world. To leave our mark. A sort of metaphorical carving of the words “we were here” on the tree of life. We must continue on, marching forward towards the realization of our dreams. I truly believe it’s the only way to live life; inspired and purposeful.
But, every once in a while, when I’m feeling tired and frankly, from time to time, a little weary, about all the work that must be done, I stop and I take a break. Sometimes for a few hours. Sometimes for a day or two. And I pick up my guitar and I just write music. I focus on why I’m doing all of this in the first place. I get back to my own personal center.
And, when I do this, music comes out. I remember why I was so drawn to music from the time I was twelve years old. I remember why I get up every day and get back to work, even when a lot of times I don’t really feel like it and would rather just binge on Netflix or go for a walk.
I remember the feeling that drew me to making music in the beginning, when I was just a young boy. I remember the sense of magic and wonder that I felt when I first heard a song that I loved. I remember the sense of awe of going to see my favorite bands perform live and the sense of energy and excitement that filled the air as the crowd roared in approval.
I remember laying in my bed for hours when I was 13, on a Sunday afternoon, listening to the radio and discovering new songs for the first time. I recall the sense of elation the first time I learned a pentatonic scale on the guitar and could play something that sort of resembled a blues guitar solo.
It’s times like this, when it all makes sense again. The whole struggle to succeed in the music business starts to seem like a sort of trivial game, when compared to the simple and pure love I have for music in the first place.
In moments like these, when I’m really in touch with what motivates me, I feel like I write the best music. Music that’s from the heart. Music that’s not really trying to accomplish anything other than simply being the most simple, pure expression of myself that I’m capable of. Isn’t that what music is really all about?
Here’s a new song that I wrote recently during one of these creative breaks called "Where We Were".
This one features background vocals and harmonies from my good friend MJ, a life long friend since High School and as always, production was provided courtesy of Mr. Gary Gray.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it and as always, I wish you continued success and happiness on your own musical journey, wherever it may take you.
John Lennon wisely observed that “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”. I’ve always loved this line and how astute this observation is. You can set all the goals you want for the future, but that won’t change the fact that your life has to be lived moment to moment and day to day. Having goals is great and can help give your life a sense of direction, but life unfolds in the here and now.
Many of us seem so overly focused on accomplishing certain goals that we completely neglect the process of becoming who or what it is we’re trying to become. We romanticize the idea we have of what it means to be successful in the music business to the point that the process and journey of becoming successful feels like a burden. In other words, we want success, we just don’t want to work for it.
The great thing about goals
Goals that have meaning to us, give our life a sense of purpose and direction. Setting goals can be a powerful motivator to start taking action and taking the steps we need to take to move forward. More than just a specific outcome, goals are a powerful vehicle through which we can grow and improve ourselves.
For example, without my adolescent goal of becoming a rock star, I never would have learned to play the guitar, learned the craft of songwriting, learned the art of performing, learned how to market myself and book gigs and so on. I needed a goal in order to embark on a path of learning and growth. Without goals, it’s all too easy to just sort of wander through life aimlessly, never really moving forward.
The Problem With Goals
Even though having goals and a sense of purpose can be motivating and is certainly more healthy than destructive, sometimes having goals can backfire. If we’re not careful, the very goals we set for ourselves, can become expectations of a future not yet here that enslave us. I must be a successful musician, we think to ourselves, and I won’t rest or be satisfied until I am. I am going to “make it” come hell or high water, we think, as we fail to enjoy our day to day lives. We become so fixated on our goals and what we’re trying to accomplish that we neglect the process of becoming who it is we’re trying to become. We end up feeling miserable when we fail to achieve success quickly enough to satisfy our egos
In other words, we desire the end result of “making it” so badly that we look at the process of making it as a burden. We rush through the things we need to do to try to expedite our path to success. We look at practicing our instruments as a pain in the ass. We look at recording our music as work that we have to do. We look at marketing ourselves as a completely uncreative task that we shouldn’t have to waste our precious creative time with. We fail to see the art of business and as a result we fail at the business of art.
It reminds me of single people who are so fixated on trying to find a partner that they end up coming across as needy and repel the very people they’re trying to attract. Like the old zen proverb says. “the hungry don’t get fed”. When you fail to embrace the journey towards whatever you’re trying to accomplish in life, you miss out on the true point of life.
Love The Process
The last couple years or so I’ve really adopted an attitude and philosophy of simply loving the process of whatever it is I’m trying to achieve. I’ve reached a point where, although I still have lots of goals, I don’t feel burdened or weighed down by them. My goals are simply an arrow pointing me in the direction of my desires. They give me a direction to walk in. I love the process because I know it’s the work I need to do to get there. I also realize the process and end result are intricately connected. I can’t reach my destination without walking the path. The path is a part of the goal!
What Happens When You Achieve Success
If you think about it, achieving any goal in the music business is simply going to require that you do more of what allowed you to achieve success in the first place. For example, if your goal is to license your music in a major tv show, if and when you reach this goal, you’re most likely going to keep going, which will require you keep doing the things that led to your success in the first place.
Sure, certain things will become easier the more successful you become. But it’s not like you’re going to reach some sort of magical place where you have “arrived” and you can just kick back and do nothing. You’ll have to keep doing the work that brought you success to achieve more success.
Again, using the analogy of single people looking for a relationship. When you enter into a relationship, if you want it to work, you have to keep working on yourself and the relationship. Most relationships don’t just run on auto pilot. You have to keep doing the things that attracted your partner to you in the first place and you have to work on growing together as a couple. In the same way, if you do achieve success in the music business, you’re going to have to keep doing the things that led to your success in order to maintain your success.
Think of it this way, if you don’t love the process of being a musician then why are you trying to become a professional musician? If you don’t love the work, why are you pursuing it? If it’s money you’re after, there are certainly easier ways to make money. If it’s fame you’re after, there are probably more sensible ways of trying to become famous.
The good news is, when you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. When you love the process and the day to day reality of what you do, reaching your goals becomes inevitable.
Point yourself in the direction of your goals, walk in that direction and enjoy the journey!
Speaking of enjoying the journey and having fun, I’ve been practicing improvising on the guitar a lot lately and working on my chops!
Before I was a songwriter, I was simply a guitar player.
Check out this clip I made recently for my Facebook page.
The blog of musician and thinker of deep thoughts, Aaron Davison.