Assumption vs. validation

After last week’s email, I was blown away by the number of things that are holding result-oriented musicians back. 

The interesting fact was that most of these beliefs were pure assumptions. They weren’t based on any facts—besides the obvious ones deep down in their own mind.

So I was asked to drill down on the topic of assumption and validation. 

Basically, when you have a new idea, you assume how it will get received, how it can potentially help people, and the list goes on. But what you’re missing out here is that you didn’t ask the people that could potentially benefit from your idea. As long as you don’t validate their needs, you just had another idea. 

Validating ideas means work. But it’s worth it. NOT validating ideas, on the other hand, means work, too. But it’s a waste of your precious time (and money).

Of course, you can have ideas that aren’t perceived well by the public because people don’t understand it yet (like the invention of the car when everyone was riding horses, or electronic music when everyone was playing and listening to “real” instruments and musicians). However, these ideas are rather rare. What I’m talking about here is getting realistic and measurable validations for your “ordinary” ideas. 

For example, I’m helping a very talented artist currently who wants to grow their fanbase in a very specific niche. He told me his vision, goals, and what he’d done before. I quickly noticed that he was assuming many things. Like when he spent 500 bucks on Youtube ads and only got 20 subscribers, concluding advertising your music through Google Ads or Facebook Ads is a bad idea. What an assumption! 

It’s like going to 500 random people on the street and trying to sell them your CD, and assuming nobody’s interested in buying it. 

First of all, you should know who’s your ideal fan. Next, you should know where to find them. Finally, you should ask questions. If this artist I’m working with had asked these questions before his campaign, he would’ve quickly found out that people aren’t really interested in random ads. 

So instead of wasting 500 bucks on Youtube, he could’ve invested them by first speaking with people to validate the idea. I see more and more artists using ads on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc. Though most of them forget to do their research first. 

This idea of validating your assumptions applies to every area of your life. Be it your music production, your marketing, your branding, or any other part of your life. 

So let’s not only talk about it. Let’s do something.

1) Pick one thing in your music career that you think is true, this can be the quality of your music (songwriting/lyrics, arrangement, production, mix/master, …), your next tour (dates, locations, prices, …), your other content (social media, blog, etc.), or whatever comes to your mind. 

2) Now think about a way to validate it. For example, to get feedback on your music, ask people who don’t know you about an honest opinion. Or check your analytics on Spotify, sold orders (merch or other products), etc. to see where your listeners are. Or ask your followers how they like your content and what they would want to have more. Also check your analytics on your posts, pictures, and videos. 

3) Do something about it. If your music gets great feedback but the sound of the mixed recordings is off, solve it. If people are thrilled about the fact that you will be touring soon, but they can’t get to your shows because you’re touring in London, Paris, and Berlin while the majority of your fans live in Liverpool, Marseille, and Cologne (yes, these cities don’t fit together, haha), you should try to reschedule it. Or you could find another solution to get new fans in these cities ASAP. And if you get a lot of likes for all of your posts but when you ask your true fans about it they say they’d rather enjoy listening to stories of your life or watch you jam, then you might want to rethink this content marketing strategy, too.

Here you have it. A few ideas to get the assumptions out of your life and turn your ideas into a real music career based on facts.

I’d love to hear back from you about what you gonna change this week.

I read and reply to every message.

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