You can do anything, right?  You can be more creative than you are now.  You can play out more than you are now.  You can work harder than you are now.  The only thing holding you back is probably you.  But there’s one question hanging out there…  

Do My Songs Have To Be Hits?

I’ve read other pundits, like myself, add to the above character traits that your music has to be awesome too.  I agree. But what I think is unstated in that “awesome” quote is that the pundits are thinking pretty tunes that we can sing along to when we’re driving in the car, singing in the shower, or sitting in class (which a student wearing headphones hidden with his hat was doing the other day before I told him, “You can’t do that.”  Oh, the shock on his face!).  My point: Your songs have to be great, yes, but great in your genre.  

I was speaking with Ben Weinman the other day.  He’s the lead guitarist for a very successful band called Dillinger’s Escape Plan.  These guys are not pop tunesmiths.  Their music is not Top 40.  It’s not Classic Rock.  But, for its genre, their music is exceedingly amazing.  The band makes money.  He does this for a living.  They tour.  When we spoke, he told me the group was just about to do some dates opening up for Soundgarden.  

Read THIS to understand the picture below and following paragraph.

Ben knows that you’re not going to hear DEP songs in the next animated Disney mega smash.  But that’s not his audience.  He’s got his circle.  And its a large circle inside another circle.  They haven’t reached everybody they want to reach.  They probably never will.  But they keep trying.  And as they try, they succeed and get to live their lives playing music.  You can do this too.  

Make your circle grow.  And understand that most of the people who will ever hear your music haven’t done so yet.  Isn’t that exciting?

Written while listening to Dillinger’s Escape Plan on YouTube.


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Professor David Philp is Assistant Professor Music Management & Popular Music Studies at William Paterson University. He is the co-host of the only FREE advice college radio-based music & entertainment industry talk show in America, Music Biz 101 & More, which airs live most Wednesday nights and is available as a podcast HERE every night (days too).  Your favorite professor is also co-author (with Dr. Steve Marcone) of Managing Your Band – 6th Edition.  Reach him at or find him on LinkedIn HERE.

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