Don’t Give Your Music Away

Don’t Give Your Music Away

by:  Lisa A. Leitlmusic-748125_1920

There is only one person that knows what you are worth and that is you.  One may have an inflated idea of their own worth; however in my experience most people underestimate their worth.  This becomes even more apparent when we move into the world of music.

Some musicians have a difficult time asking for enough monies in order to sustain a decent living.  Why is it that some struggle with money and others thrive?

Let us take a look at the way society typically talks about the creation of art.  There are a number of phrases that we hear throughout our lives such as: starving artist, you can’t make money in the arts, only .0001 percent make it in that industry.  Does anyone really know what the percentage is of those making a successful living with their art?  I doubt it.  Whether music or some other form of art these career choices are usually met with skepticism and raised eyebrows.

Young adults are typically told to go to college and get a degree in a field that will afford them the illusion of security.  They are told to have something to “fall back” on or a “plan B”.  Once someone buys into this way of thinking, it usually puts them on a fast track to another career one that will typically bring little if any real pleasure or satisfaction.

As a society, I feel there is a need to change this way of thinking if we are to continue supporting young artists.  The arts should be treated with the same level of respect and professionalism as any other career choice.  I would hate to see what might happen if we no longer have people producing worthwhile art.

Where to begin?  I think it all starts with each individual or as Michael Jackson said “The Man in the Mirror”.  Every musician working or teaching, I believe,  has a responsibility to ensure that our community understands the value of what it is we do with our life’s work.

I get truly irritated when I hear someone tell me “Doctors” bill their patients high fees because they have spent years in college studying.  Just imagine how much time musicians spend to get to a high level of proficiency.  In comparison, it is undoubtedly much more time invested then most will ever spend in other areas of study.

When an opportunity arises be sure to tell other young musicians about your success and how they too can make a living with their music.  This is where the conversation needs to take a turn.  It starts with musicians sharing their professional experiences with others to encourage them to take their careers seriously.

Next time someone asks about your music, be sure to tell them about your success.  Share with them your level of commitment to music and your passion for helping younger musicians follow their true calling.

Imagine how different this world could be if people did work that truly mattered to them.

Lisa A. Leitl,  Musician, Mentor and Songwriter

Create and Live Life Out Loud!


How Many “Likes” Do You Have?

How Many “Likes” Do You Have?

by:  Lisa A. Leitllike me

I see a lot of talk lately surrounding how many “likes” or “followers” people have on Social Media. Someone will say “I have 10,000 followers, what about you?”  As if the higher the number the greater the reward.  I would ask them, “Do these followers translate into an income that is sustainable?”  I think a better conversation would be about how much interaction or participation one is getting from all of these unknown followers.

I have been running successful online businesses since the late 90’s and have seen rapid changes how people view the internet with Social Media being at the forefront. There are some that frantically race around adding people to their “followers” list as if that will some how magically translate into receiving money. This is a kin to a dog chasing it’s tail.  We live in an age of technology and connecting online is part of our culture.  This however can not replace taking time to build relationships with those that have given us their permission to communicate with them.

There are millions of people online and everyone is talking at everyone that is talking at someone else.  There are few that are taking time to read, listen and truly engage.  Yes, connections are made, but relationships are getting lost.

There are so many great and talented people that have truly amazing things to offer. Rising above all that noise is where the real challenge begins for everyone, including myself, when creating content online.

Have you ever “liked” a page or followed someone who had a lot of “followers” only to post a comment, ask a question and be totally ignored? How does that make you feel?  For myself, I stop following these types of one sided takers. They are all about the “ME” factor.

The only people that can get away with such dismissive online behavior are celebrities because some hold a strange fascination for them that to this day still eludes me.  When you are someone unknown however, and are requesting someone’s time or permission to connect with them they deserve your respect. You deserve the same respect from them.

Next time you connect with someone, take the time to find out more about them, the real person.   These numbers say absolutely nothing about what anyone produces, the quality of the person and or their work.

It’s too easy to buy “likes” and fish around for a great number of followers.  Building real relationships with people takes time and energy.  I would rather see someone that has 50 followers that are truly engaged with them then someone who has big numbers and is disengaged and disinterested.

Take time to get to know people.  Find out something about them, their dreams, their passions.  Ask if they need any assistance.  If you really want to build something awesome then start by putting others first.

Wishing you the greatest levels of success!

Lisa A. Leitl,  Musician, Mentor and Songwriter

Create and Live Life Out Loud!



Is Politics Killing Your Music Career?

politicsIs Politics Killing Your Music Career?

by:  Lisa A. Leitl

With the recent unfolding of political events across the globe, a question musicians should consider is, “Should I share my political opinions with my Fans?”

The first thing I would ask if I was a musician building a fan base is, “What am I trying to accomplish by sharing this information?”  Are Politics and social views part of the brand I am building?  Be truthful when answering these questions.

Know that you will unlikely change anyone’s opinion about such deep rooted personal topics. You can rule that out as reason number one. You could easily lose current fans or potential fans that have opposing views.  The majority of music fans I see commenting about music said they listen to music to feel better and escape life’s troubles.  This is one of the gifts you are giving to your listeners – the ability to make them happy and forget their daily concerns.  They aren’t coming to you for political discourse.  There are plenty of other places for people to go and satisfy that need.

Now, if your brand is built on controversial political and social views, then I think it is essential to give your audience what is expected from you and your music.  Many great artists have built careers on expressing their political and social views through their music.  This is a very personal calling and one that requires your full commitment to the mission using music as one way of expressing such views.

If building a large fan base is your primary goal and politics isn’t part of your brand, I would encourage you to use the power of silence. Not everything in life needs to be commented on and your opinion matters only to you and people that agree with your particular political or social leanings.

At the end of the day, you get to choose what is in your best interest.  I hope that some of the ideas above will make it easier for you to decide whether or not to participate in such controversial topics in the future.

Lisa A. Leitl,  Musician, Mentor and Songwriter

Create and Live Life Out Loud!

Working for Exposure

performing 2Working for Exposure

by: Lisa A. Leitl

When you get a request to work for EXPOSURE, that is a nice way of asking “Will you work FREE?”

Professional artists refuse to participate because they understand what they create has value and they should be compensated accordingly.

In all my years as a professional vocalist, I never did a performance for the “exposure.”  I suppose I would have made an exception if I was asked to tour and open for my favorite artist or had been invited to perform on a popular late night talk show.  Like all fairy tales that surprisingly never came true. Unless you are the lucky lottery winner the correct response should be, “Thank you, but it is apparent that I have enough exposure since you found me and contacted me.”

Let’s face it, if you are an artist or entrepreneur you are already doing a lot of work free to promote your services.  Some of us have dedicated our life’s work to our art and the business aspect.  We now have a mountain of information to share, but still have normal life expenses to deal with. In other words, like the 9-5 person, we need to be paid in order to live and pay for food and housing.

The bottom line is this –

I have yet to find an example where this has ever paid off for a professional artist.  Below I have included a couple of recent responses from other professionals who were asked to do work for the “EXPOSURE” or lets just call it what it is “WORK FREE”.


Article by: David Griner in Adweek interviewing Dan Cassaro wrote:

To ask professionals to compete against each other for potential ‘exposure’ is completely different. It’s demeaning, and it lowers the value of everyone’s work.”

An article posted in Deadline Detroit: Bill Schwab, fine arts photographer says:

Sorry, I don’t work for people that don’t pay their contributors.  No one should.  You’re only cutting your own throat and those of your fellow creatives.  I’ve been at this a long time and never once has free exposure lead to a paying job. It only marks you as a sucker.”


At the end of the day it’s your life, your art and your time. Go live it, own it and get paid for it!

Lisa A. Leitl,  Musician, Mentor and Songwriter

Create and Live Life Out Loud!