Before reading this post, read “5 Steps to track your progress: The Power of Learning-By-Doing”. We’ll be focusing on key performance indicators (or KPI’s) to use for your learning-by-doing tests. It’s really important to figure out what you’re measuring in order to gauge progress.

As musicians, how to we define success?

It’s a tough question. Artists have many different ambitions and visions that may not be calculable. Goals that only can be measured by the artists themselves, something like making meaning of their art. For the most part, almost anything is possible to accomplish if you want progress by making positive changes. Whether it’s convincing your fans of your message and visions, or touring the world.

Let’s look at a few items that can be used to determine how successful you are.

1. Sales Numbers

a. Ticket Sales

How many people are you getting in the door?

b. Merchandise Sales

How much product are you able to sell? Are you making a return?

c. Music Sales

Are you selling physical and/or digital downloads? Are you on streaming services?

d. Licensing/Sync Deals

Is any of your music used in media?

2. Social Media

a. Networking

Are you making valuable relationships with other artists and brands?

b. Press Relations

Are people writing about you, press covering your shows, interviews with media outlets?

c. Are you engaging with your fans?

Do you put energy into making contact with your fans? What’s your response rate? (i.e. how many people do you engage with) Do you incentivize your fans? Contests or special offers?

3. E-blasts

a. Click trough rate

Do people actually click on any links in your emails/newsletters? Are they buying what you’re selling?

b. Opens?

Are they opening/reading your emails/newsletters?

4. Honorable Mentions

a. Special mentions with other bands, venues, labels?

5. Endorsements/Sponsorships

a. Is anyone willing to sponsor you?

Companies willing to support you financially based on your excellence. Is a label working for you? Do you have a manager or an agent?

b. How about endorsements?

Music gear companies who are willing to let you represent support the use of their products based on your musicianship. Are your skills commendable?

6. Personal Networking

a. Are you making an effort on a day-to-day basis to talk to new people or establish relationships? Are you networking?

Chances are if you’re making friends, you’ll have something in common. Always keep in contact with fellow musicians and anyone in the business. You never know when that card will come in handy! Do you best to not flake out on plans. Your reputation is key.

7. Music/Performance Skills

a. Solo skills aren’t as on point as they used to be?

Maybe it’s time to sharpen up and take a dive back into your music education books. Personally, I think that there is always something new to learn (style, theory, improvisation, musicianship etc.). If you’re humble enough, music will inspire you for the rest of your life!