You're seeing the competition rise above the crowd, and you're starting to wonder why you're not breaking through too.
Does it have something to do with their skill or ability? Their style or their looks? Their sense of humor, or how much money they have to put towards their music career? Their network of connections?
All of those things are important to varying degrees, but you shouldn't just write it off as “luck”. You have to see passed the hype to really understand why someone else is succeeding.
Don't get jealous. Instead, here are seven reasons that other musician is doing better than you, and what to do about it.
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1. They've Been At It For Longer Than You Have & They Have More Experience
There's no way for you to know the amount of work that someone else has put in to their career, what resources and contacts were available to them, and what skills they had to develop to make it into the spotlight.
Musicians often feel that success should be objective, but it simply isn't. Someone doesn't necessarily do better because they have more experience or skill, and another isn't excluded from success simply because they never went to school to earn a degree in music.
Stop comparing immediately. Comparison will not only cause unhappiness, it will also distract you from working on what you should be working on. Put your head down and put the hours in.
2. They Have A Website & You Don't
Are you still using your Facebook page or your ReverbNation profile as your home on the web?
Even if you have your own domain name forwarding over to one of these places, it's not advisable to build and maintain your web presence on rented ground.
It's important to build a central repository of your work on your own website, and then use your presence on social media to drive more interest in your home on the web.
Oftentimes, this is the difference between the pros and the amateurs. A nicely designed website with professional photography will always make you look more professional and cause you to stand out.
3. They've Figured Out How To Communicate With Their Fans On Social Media
A lot of musicians are just yelling on social media. Buy this. Go here. Do that. Vote for us.
Call to actions are only effective when you've already built a relationship with your fan base. They should happen naturally within the flow of conversation, instead of just at random.
Some musicians know how to communicate on social media. They focus on building friendships and adding value to people.
Don't just use social media to promote your concerts, new releases, or new merch items. Focus on socializing first, and then let your followers know what's available.
4. They've Branded Themselves Well
How do musicians gain popularity? By focusing on a niche audience, and proudly excluding those who don't fit the mold. That may go against your better instincts, but it's true in music as it is in business. Once you're recognized, you can start branching out, but beginning with a narrow focus will allow you to get noticed a lot sooner.
Are you still trying to appeal to everybody? It's a futile battle. Not even The Beatles or The Rolling Stones are loved by all music fans, as hard as that may be to believe.
You already know who you are, what you stand for, and what your purpose is. It's time to show the world what you're all about. If they see themselves in you, they'll begin to connect and engage with your music.
Ok, here are 3 more reasons that other musician might be currently doing better than you. Use the next few tips (especially number 6) to get on a level playing field and start making bigger moves in music.
5. Their Stage Presence Is Polished & Professional
Do you have a tendency to “wing it” on stage?
Ironically, improvisation has a way of being less spontaneous than planned stage moves. When your music and your stage presence matches, your music will connect with your audience like never before.
Most musicians tend to think that they don't need to practice and rehearse their stage moves. They don't ask for help, and they don't film and watch themselves to figure out what they're doing wrong.
Once you start paying attention to the pros, you won't be able to stop yourself from noticing how coordinated their live shows are. However, until it's pointed out, most musicians never even notice.
Begin working on your stage moves to derive better results from your performances.
6. They've Built A Large Email List
Social media followers are nice. Website visitors are even better. However, email subscribers are perhaps the most valuable of all.
You have the opportunity to convert visitors, readers, fans and followers into email subscribers using the platforms you've already established. Are you doing that?
Bands that are focused on building their email list over the long haul are going to have a much easier time attracting bigger crowds to their shows, and selling more music and merch too.
How are you building your email list? Do you have a plan in place? Are you executing on it every day? Don't whine about a lack of recognition if your email list is small or non-existent.
7. They've Built A Lot Of Powerful Connections
“So-and-so is just popular because he's connected.”
Right, but why does that exclude you from having to do the hard work of networking and meeting more people?
If building a music career was just about what you know, you'd probably be further along already. Who you know needs to be factored into your plan too.
You certainly don't need to know every single person on planet earth, but if you don't know anybody, you could be in trouble.
If you find yourself coveting what others already have, I would encourage you to stop comparing once and for all. Life is a marathon and not a sprint. Getting to where you want to go will take a lot of effort and time, but that doesn't mean that it's any less worthwhile. If success were easy, everyone would have done it, right?
Focus on what you can control. Work on yourself and your abilities. Do what you can do today to move your career forward.