How successful are you as a musician? These days, that’s not such an easy question to answer. I know many songwriters whose idea of success is being offered their first songwriting deal. Sometimes I receive puzzled looks from these folks when I ask them why they define success in those terms. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to diminish the significance of being offered a songwriting deal -- by a legitimate publisher, of course (which, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t necessarily mean a big publisher). Other musicians I know claim to have the seemingly simple goal of “just having my music heard.” Here too, I do not want to diminish the noble aspiration of contributing to the creative fabric of the world. However, most artists and songwriters I have known are at least equally interested in achieving commercial success (i.e., making a living through live performances and/or commercially released recordings as a writer, artist, or both).
What is the point of this post? Simply that you should take time to periodically evaluate and adjust your goals as a creative professional. Part of this involves defining what you consider success, a task for which only you are qualified. After all, if you don’t take the time to define success, how will you know when you achieve it? You may already be more successful that you thought.
L. Kevin Levine is the founder of L. Kevin Levine, PLLC (go figure), a boutique entertainment, copyright, trademark, and business law firm in Nashville, Tennessee. A lifelong musician who grew up in his family's music store, it was inevitable that Kevin would build his legal career in entertainment and business.