Between you and me…
I’ve procrastinated about making this darned page for literally months. I couldn’t figure out why until it hit me:
This is not about me.
Who cares what I’ve done, who I know and where I’ve been? (In case you do, you’ll find some “cliff notes” below.)
What matters is YOU.
Can I help you take your music career and business to the next level? The rest of that “About Me” crap is a load of blah blah blah – right?
So here it is, my “Not About Me” page:
I help musicians, producers and composers just like you in 3 areas: Music, Money and Mindset.
From the moment I pressed my first piano key at 7, I was hooked…
I’d have a particular experience (quite often) of practising piano and completely losing “myself”. Those days my Mum always said it sounded great. But then, there were many days when I found playing anything difficult and frustrating. No matter how hard I tried! Mum kept quiet on these occasions, bless her.
Discovering the reasons behind these wildly contrasting experiences became an obsession.
Whether I was playing bassoon in orchestras, saxophone in bands, singing in choirs, composing at a piano, producing in DAWs or DJing in clubs…I had to know how this “Mike” – the same person – could be on fire one day and in the toilet the next!
Sometimes it’s simple, flowing like you’re not there. The music comes THROUGH you…
And others, you’re stuck. As if YOU are the obstacle blocking any progress.
After this 43-year obsession, I’ve finally discovered WHY.
Even better, I’ve figured out how to increase those peak flow experiences we all crave, while reducing “getting in your own way” to a minimum.
There’s not enough space for everything, but here’s what I’ll do now:
Embedded within this system are four decades of my musical experience and experiments, twenty-five years making music and 10 years coaching.
Using the Music Machine:
- A-list US house producer Claude VonStroke took 3 months to make his last album in an insane touring schedule…
- Uk pop artist Jax Jones followed up his 1st mega-smash single with a succession of worldwide hits…
- 1,000s of aspiring musicians now make much better music in a lot less time.
After 17 years making music and performing full-time, I took an 8-year break to build my coaching business, “Make Music Your Life”. So I’ve seen the music industry from the inside and observed it from the outside. Here’s what I’ve noticed:
Very few musicians, producers, composers or artists are taking the opportunities they could with their audience!
There are some exceptions. My longest-running client Claude VonStroke built Dirtybird Records and clothing, as well as a successful events business over the 10 years I’ve coached him. But if you look at the strategy (or lack of) that the vast majority of artists take – it’s clear:
There’s a vast empty opportunity space begging to be filled.
(An example: when I returned to making music after my 8-year break, I made an electronic album.
I released it without any traditional music industry PR, press, mailouts or social media.
Yet through a simple, targeted, low-cost strategy, I got it to the top of ALL Beatport. This was with no underhand funny business. Simply by taking a different, above board, ethical approach!)
So why does the music industry have this enormous blind spot?
Here’s the weird reason why...
Music is universally powerful and compelling to humans. There isn’t a product which touches it for raw pulling power. The sheer force of the product has meant that you CAN be successful with a terrible strategy. All you need is a massive hit.
Because a hit record can move millions.
Hits are intoxicating, addictive and FUN! So musicians and the industry supporting them have made an understandable mistake. They believe the ONLY way to succeed is through hits. The music industry has developed a dependency on “the next hit”.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for making hit records, and I love to help my clients make them!
But not every release can be a hit. And there’s a bigger systemic problem…
- With an ever more crowded market…
- With attention being pulled to games, social, tv, films and whatever the new thing is…
- With the looming threat of AI-generated art…
Music is fast becoming a commodity.
It’s getting harder and harder to stay relevant, keep up, and even get heard…let alone have a hit! So what’s the solution?
Tour yourself into the ground?
Flood the market with endless substandard releases?
Copy the latest hit and sell your soul in the process?
Focus on creating a genuine connection with your audience. Create this connection through compelling experiences which are authentically and uniquely YOU.
An “experience” could be a track, song, ep, album or gig. It could also be a website, an email, a video, a piece of art or even your merch funnel.
Your entire business is a series of experiences, from massive life-changing moments like a sell-out festival to tiny touch-points like a t-shirt checkout.
When you view each of these experiences as a golden opportunity to create a genuine connection…
- Every part of your music business becomes an extension of your art…
- You’ll differentiate yourself from everyone else…
- You’ll attract those golden lifetime fans…
And you’ll fast realise that you can do WAY LESS for way more impact.
Every release will deepen, grow and strengthen your connection with your audience…and you won’t have to rely on hits alone. But your deep connection and engagement with your core audience will make those hits more likely!
Imagine you KNEW you had a direct connection with a core rabid fanbase that would buy, attend and shout about EVERYTHING you do. This kind of fanbase is the greatest asset it’s possible for any business to own. It protects you from the vagaries of fashion, the economy and crisis. So you can ride any storm and come out the other end stronger.
- My “Make Music Your Life” coaching business has a core audience like this.
- My client Claude VonStroke’s Dirtybird label has one.
- There’s nothing stopping you build one too.
It simply takes a different approach.
We’ll jump on a Zoom to figure out a starting strategy that works for you, your team and your situation. But most crucially – a strategy you WANT to do!
It’s so easy to forget…
Every business decision, artistic choice, musical direction, and lyrical idea – is made by YOUR MIND.
So if you have a process or approach that works against your own psychology, you will struggle. The funny thing is we ALL work against ourselves.
(This is why it feels like we’re our own worst enemy in the studio!)
Making music, building your career, running your team, marketing your businesses and growing your audience must be based on the fundamentals of human psychology.
This “mind-first” approach is at the centre of everything I do.
For an example of this approach in the creative process – listen to this episode of my PodWalk podcast, where I explode a myth that lies behind many artist’s struggles:
Finally the promised “About Me” cliff notes…
- Piano from age 7, bassoon from 9, sax and voice from 13
- Choral scholar at The Queen’s College where I got a degree in music
- First vinyl release in 1994 with Andy Cato (from Groove Armada) with Beat Foundation
- Over 300 releases and remixes including 4 albums
- Beatport number 1 album after 8 years off making music and zero traditional PR, press etc.
- Long term coach of artists like Claude VonStroke and Jax Jones
- Created Music Machine system to help musicians stay creative in high pressure situations
- Built successful “Make Music Your Life” coaching business over 10 years
- Dad of 4 beautiful boys who we homeschool (with 1 beautiful wife)