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10 Ways to 'Make' This Your Best Music Year Ever

by Bob Baker

It doesn't have to be New Year's Day to make resolutions and set goals for your music career. Any time of the year offers a great opportunity for a fresh start. To make the most of the next 12 months, consider these 10 ways to "make" it a year to remember.

1. Make up your mind. A successful music career takes more than talent and tactics. It also requires knowing what you want combined with a positive mental attitude. Take time now to determine what you plan to accomplish over the coming year, and then vow to keep your expectations upbeat and your optimism riding high.

2. Make it easy. One of my favorite quotes is "Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple." Don't overburden yourself with a complex plan. Pick a couple of key marketing areas and focus relentlessly on them. Keep things simple. Also, make it easy for other people: to figure out who you are and what you play ... to place an order ... to get in touch with you. There is beauty in clarity.

3. Make a list. To promote your music, you must connect with people ... and follow up with them repeatedly. Having a system helps. It doesn't matter if you use contact management software, a Palm Pilot, index cards or a 59 cent spiral notebook from Walgreen's. What's most important is that you have some way of recording names, addresses, phone numbers, etc., and a plan for connecting with the people on your lists.

4. Make an offer. It's one thing to have CDs and T-shirts for sale and live shows to promote; it's quite another to inspire people to buy and attend. Don't just list your merchandise and gig dates -- make offers: Buy one, get one free. Order within five days and get a 20% discount. Arrive by 9 pm and we'll buy your first drink. Get the picture? For a good example of making an offer, check out my new web site at

5. Make love (not war). Stop giggling. It's not what you think (although that would certainly make the year a lot better). The message here: Stop fighting unnecessary battles. Don't always look for what's wrong with your career ... because you'll just get more of it. Zero in on what you want, keep things positive and operate from a position of warmth and passion.

6. Make lemonade. As a followup to the previous tip, when you do encounter a negative outcome, look for the hidden opportunity. Failure is a normal part of life. What separates the winners is their ability to overcame obstacles and learn from adversity. As the saying goes, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

7. Make up. Everyone has regrets, poor decisions they made and bridges that were apparently burned. If you still ponder these events, they can eat you up and turn you bitter. This year, consider taking steps to heal old wounds. Contact people you've had a falling out with or apologize to someone who really needs to hear that from you. Clear the air and make space for your success to bloom.

8. Make it or break it. While having a positive attitude is key, being objective and realistic is important too. Always view your marketing activities with a fresh eye. If something's not panning out, change it or try something new -- no matter how well you think the idea should be working. Your audience will tell you pretty quick if something is effective. It's your job to keep your eyes open for the clues -- and act accordingly.

9. Make great music. This should go without saying. No amount of money or great marketing ideas can effectively promote music that doesn't connect with anyone. What's considered "great" music is subjective -- but you should always strive to write, record and perform music that is highly satisfying to you and a growing number of fans. Resolve to do this regularly over the coming year!

10. Make haste. Don't make the mistake of waiting too long for the time to be right, for all your ducks to be in a row, for the situation to be perfect. That time may never come. Do it now! Another good quote: "Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly." Get off your butt, get busy, learn from mistakes and keep plowing forward.

May these tips give you the head start you need to make the next 12 months your best music year yet!

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Bob Baker is the author of "Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook," "Unleash the Artist Within" and "Branding Yourself Online." He also publishes, a web site and e-zine that deliver marketing tips, self-promotion ideas and other empowering messages to music people of all kinds. Get your FREE subscription to Bob's e-zine by visiting today.

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