Why “You Have to Sell Out” is a Lie
You’ve heard, “you have to sell out to make it in music.”
It’s a lie.
And I should know:
I Was a Sellout
- I said yes to all the gigs that came my way. I needed the money and thought playing was better than sitting home.
- I told people I, “was happy making a living playing music” because that’s what everyone said.
- I did whatever it took to keep the cycle of getting calls for gigs, being “happy” and make a living in music going as long as I could.
In the end this strategy was a failure because:
Selling Out Made Me Boring and Frustrated
Over time, I became:
- Just another Nashville drummer that could play any kind of music well.
- Just another drummer that said yes to any gig at any price.
- Mad about not being noticed as the exceptional rock and pop drummer I was.
I’ve since realized this cycle also frustrated people that needed an exceptional rock and pop drummer because they didn’t know about a drummer that was perfect for their needs: me.
The problem with selling out is it makes you someone you’re not so you can get the wrong work while missing out on the right work with people who need what you do best.
What a mess!
Don’t Sell Out, Sell To
Here’s what I recommend:
- Know your value: what makes you and what you do unique and therefore valuable to people?
- Know those people: who else values your value?
Of the two, #2 is the most important.
It is also the most overlooked by musicians.
How ’bout you, do you know who values your value? Tell us in the comments.