Indie Labels – Why Most Indie Music Groups and Labels Fail (Part 1)

bt Glenn MacRae

SFHH Logo 250X250This is part 1 of a 2 part article I wrote strictly based on my professional experience producing and engineering and managing artists.  Since 2006, I’ve been involved as a key member in several music groups, labels, and production teams that despite all their potential to achieve greatness, fail and fall apart, often at critical moments.
So without further ado…
1) Unchecked Egos
We all have them, but some people do not know how to keep them in check or simply to check them at the door.  Unchecked Egos will tear apart even the closest allies and cause individuals to think they can do better on their own than with the group.  Though this is sometimes the case, a great deal of wasted time and energy can be avoided. Recognize the people with potential Ego issues and eliminate them from the group/organization/team/label.  Attempt to help them with their Ego issue is not recommended as it can backfire.  Death to overinflated egos!
2) Lack of leadership
No organization can succeed without strong leadership – independent music groups and labels are no different.  Without a leader, they will undoubtedly fail. Usually, there is one person (or sometimes in the case of larger groups 2 or even 3 people) that are the natural leaders of the group.  These individuals are the most reluctant to except their positions as the leader of the group.  Oftentimes, this reluctancy comes from their notions about what a leader is – they imagine them dominating the group as a king or controlling every single aspect of the group.  This is not what a leader is or does.  The very reluctancy to lead can sometimes even be an indication that this very person is the right one to lead.  Humbleness and dedication to the rise of the team/company are essential and necessary qualities.
3) Fear, Anxiety or Worry
Hesitant, would-be leaders are sometimes afraid on stepping on their allies/teammates toes.  If you are unwilling to step on a few toes – If you fear losing a few customers/clients in order to grow/evolve and further the vision- If you are afraid to kick people off of the ‘bus’ in order to figure out where to drive it – the team, and you as a leader, will not succeed.
4) Lack of direction/ No clear Goals
This is unfortunately very common.  Many assumptions about success are made, but clear goals and a vision for what success is are a must.  In other words, unless each individual defines success for themselves personally and how the group should define success on a bigger scale, then no progress will be made.  No goals, no success.  Set goals and your success will not only be defined, but the steps you need to take to achieve them will also be crystal clear.
Procrastination is like mental masturbation because you are only f***ing yourself!  Ideas and concepts are great, but unless they are turned into objectives, completed – they will not be reality and might as well be called wishes, hopes and dreams.  You must take a sense of urgency with everything you do – even the smallest things like following up with key allies can go by undone for weeks and then a key relationship is lost/destroyed possibly forever.  Don’t let this happen!  Make a habit to take action and you will live out your dreams and achieve everything you want and more!
(part 2 coming soon)

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