The Perfectionist Musician Myth


You are going to make mistakes in your marketing. There are going to be times when you get it really wrong, whether it’s in the execution of a marketing idea or a weakness with the idea itself. But here’s the rub…

Perfection in marketing is pretty much impossible. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t develop the craft of marketing your music just as you develop your skills as a musician or as a songwriter. The problem is too many musicians hold off taking action because they want to wait until it’s perfect. They call themselves ‘perfectionists’ but too often they are really just scared. They are scared that the new Facebook or promoter outreach campaign won’t work and so they put it off.


“But you don’t understand James, I’m a perfectionist and I want to do it 100% right”. Good luck with that because your commitment to your perfectionism means that a whole slew of other less perfectionist musicians are eating your lunch and shipping their new album, song or promotional campaign ahead of you.

When I worked in Silicon Valley the software engineers had an expression called “good enough”. It’s based on the idea that consumers will use products that are good enough for their requirements, despite the availability of more advanced technology.

In Silicon Valley we also speak about ‘betas’ or MVP (minimum viable products) a lot. An MVP has only the core features that at least allows you to get your product out into the world and get feedback. You can then create version 2.0, 3.0 and so on. You iterate and improve and hopefully get as close to perfection in the process.

Many musicians can benefit from thinking of their marketing in the same way. They should be looking to do some MVM (minimum viable marketing). It could be creating that blog or podcast you’ve been talking about as a way of building your audience or starting work on a marketing plan for your new tour. The main point is that you don’t let ‘perfection’ hold you back. You recognize that your first attempts at marketing will be terrible, awful even. But here’s the good news…

Just by doing something on your marketing every day will put you in the top 10% of musicians out there.

So today’s task is to reflect on whether your perfectionism is holding your music career back. Is your perfectionism really just procrastination by another name?