Notes to Self... (from a DIY singer / songwriter)

#1 Music Biz Snip: GENEROSITY

In DIY Musician, Getting Gigs, Lessons Learned, Marketing/Publicity, Social Networking on January 26, 2011 at 2:30 pm

The biggest theme resonating in my life and career the past few months has been generosity. I always considered myself to be rather kind and compassionate, but lately I’ve been realizing how much I’ve let this important virtue get buried under piles of stress and self-absorption. For a while now I’ve felt I didn’t have time anymore to devote towards helping others selflessly, I was just trying to survive! Or, I was just trying to get my music recorded and heard! Or I was just etc. etc.

The value of taking time to sometimes put others first has been rekindling in multiple areas of my life, but since we’re talking “Music Biz,” I’ll use that as my example here. All I can say is at some point a few months ago, I decided to put a portion of my energy that was going towards STRESS (“How can I get this album done, how can I get more people to hear about my music, how can I get other people to want to tell their friends about my music, MY career, MY dreams, me me me me ME…”) towards helping others. Things like taking some time to meet with a fellow musician and share some advice, or selflessly affirming/promoting another musician or musician’s resource I like. Obviously, you can’t (and shouldn’t) spend ALL of your time doing for others and NOTHING for yourself, but I just had this theory that if I starting blessing others as I could, with little things…good things might start falling into place for me as well. And it was definitely true!

This isn’t a new idea, I know. We’ve all heard the golden rule, “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you,” and its sprinkled *generously* (haha) in books and blogs–music biz books and blogs being no exception.

My most recent reminder/confirmation was a quote by Bob Baker in the book Guerrilla Music Marketing: Encore Edition:

Guerrilla Music Marketing, Encore Edition: 201 More Self-promotion Ideas, Tips and Tactics for Do-it-yourself Artists“Make generosity your standard operating procedure. Get in the habit of giving, whether you want something out of the transaction or not.”



MicControl’s 100 New Years Resolutions for the Proactive Musician blog suggests several selfless activities, such as promoting one other artist in your genre each week, and following the Quarter Rule: for every self-promotional tweet or blog post, post 3 non-promotional ones.

Ariel Hyatt’s (of Ariel Publicity) “Food Pyramid” for Social Networking suggests only ONE out of TEN self-promoting posts! She even goes so far as to spell out suggestions for what to do for the other 9 posts…(yippee!)

I’m not gonna lie, this can seem overwhelming, just for time’s sake! I don’t think I’m there yet, but I’ve been making simple changes such as mentioning other artists and resources I like, and just being generally helpful, thankful, encouraging to EVERYONE as much as possible. By everyone, I mean not just the people that you think can help you. The thing I’ve been realizing is that most of the time the people that I help aren’t the ones that really end up helping me, but somehow because I have an attitude that is not so self-serving, other people want to help me too. Imagine that? 😉 There is SOOO much I could say on this subject, but perhaps I will have to come back to it with some more detailed experiences.

QUESTION: Is there anything you do to make generosity a “standard operating procedure,” in your life, or anything you SHOULD do? Any specific stories of how generosity came back around to you? Even better if it can relate to your DIY musician ventures and the music biz:) Please share!

  1. Thanks so much for using my article and MicControl! I believe you are 100% correct, that generosity is an incredibly important trait for musicians to have – same with music bloggers – and is a very important part of networking. It helps you to seem less spammy and self-involved and more genuinely interested in meeting people and growing your own network of friends, fans and supports.

    Thanks again!

    Jon Ostrow

    • Thanks for stopping by Jon, and no problem it was my pleasure mentioning you and your article. The list of 50 (so far) ideas was great! Really got me thinking…

  2. Im glad to hear that! You should check back when you get a chance! The community has added 62 MORE ideas so far, putting us up to a total of 112 ideas! And of course, if you have any of your own, please feel free to add them in 🙂

    Take care

    • I will definitely check it out again to see all the updates, and I want to add something but I’ll have to keep thinking of something that hasn’t already been said! 😉

  3. Thanks so much for including my Musician’s Social Media Pyramid in your article! YES I know that Social Media can be vastly overwhelming to artists but it’s just like eating an elephant: 1 BITE at a time… eventually you will get up to the comfort level that works for you. And you are DEAD on about the sharing and helping thing – it’s not I help you, you help me back: it’s more of a karmic, universal thing. People who help others get help. 100% The artists who ask How can I help YOU first and not me me me are the ones who are succeeding Ive seen it so many times…. Great article!

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