<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-TMFBBP" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"> How to Work Backwards to Achieve Your Music Goals for 2019
Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians

How to Work Backwards to Achieve Your Music Goals for 2019

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Now that 2019 is officially underway, odds are you’re either in full-fledged action mode, tackling those goals one by one and just totally on fire or you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, a little unsure, and completely clueless as to how to actually begin work on these goals you’ve set for yourself.

Thankfully, at Sonicbids, goal setting is kind of our thing. We help you plan for festival spots, licensing and networking opportunities, all while giving you a place to house that EPK — and to keep on adding to it as your professional resume grows.

Opportunities are all around you, and we like to think we can alleviate some of the stress when it comes to things like searching for that new bass player or partnering with a booking agent to make your summer 2019 touring goal a reality.

So grab your pencil and paper and get ready to tackle those goals!

1. Get clear on your goal

Notice how I said “goal” and not “goals”? It can be tempting to get amped up about (and then focus on) two or three really gigantic goals like “book a summer tour,” “sign to a label,” and “sell out a 500-cap venue,” but to give yourself the best chance at success, you want to focus on one major goal at a time.

I’m going to suggest having 12-month, six-month, and 90-day goals. Some of these goals may build on one another, others won’t — it just depends on how ambitious the goal is. For instance, if your 12-month goal is to grow your subscriber list by 10,000 new fans, you’ll probably want to set a 90-day goal focused on increasing fan engagement and creating incentives for the next few months to get fans to sign up and stay subscribed.

Be ambitious, but be realistic. If you’re a newer band that’s hovering around 1,000 follows and still working on nailing your brand and fan engagement, signing to a major label or playing a major festival this year isn’t likely. That doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make it happen, it just means you might want to make this year’s goal something more attainable that feeds into the larger goal, like “increase fan engagement” so that by next year, you’re that much closer to your ultimate goal.

For this article’s example, we’re going to go with the goal of releasing your next album in October 2019 and see what planning that looks like.

[How to Set Positive and Realistic Career Goals]

2. Set monthly goals

Once you have that main goal set, you can begin to work backwards to figure out what each month (and eventually week) needs to look like. This is one of the main reasons it’s so important to set specific timelines — it’s a lot easier to figure out what January through September looks like when you know you have an album to release in October.

So, let’s say you’ve settled on a release date of October 18. (Even just “October” is a good start.) Since you already know that you or your publicist will need eight weeks lead time, you can begin to work backwards to create a timeline for getting your bio, promo photos, mastered tracks, and quotes ready to go by mid-August. So let’s start there.

First, you’d mark down:

October 18: Release date

Then, you might write:

August 23: Start PR campaign

Then, maybe you know that since you’ll need all your PR materials by Aug 23 that you really want to have your promo photos in for early August, so maybe June’s goal is to take the promo photos. Perhaps you know your social media needs work so that you have a higher chance at receiving press, so you set that as your goal for February and March so that you have most of the year to build up that engagement. So on and so forth…

So now we have something that looks like:

  • February: Post brand specific material to social media consistently
  • March: Increase fan engagement across social media
  • June: Find photographer/take promo photos
  • July: Write or hire someone to write bio
  • August 23: Start PR campaign
  • September: PR campaign work: pitching/press releases/social media engagement strategy
  • October 18: Release date

Of course, you’ll want to fill in the blanks in the months in between, depending on what you need to do to get to your larger goal, including smaller goals that feed into it — like booking an album release show or increasing your social media.

3. Set weekly goals

Now that you’re clear on your monthly goals, you can go ahead and break them down into weekly ones. This is something you’ll want to do on a monthly basis so at the end of January, figure out what each week in February looks like, but don’t worry about June that early.

In late August, you might plan out September as follows:

  • Week of Sep 2: Premiere “Song Name” on “Blog Name” (this is probably something you’d have set up last month.)
  • Week of Sep 9: Send X number of pitches out about newly released “Song Name”
  • Week of Sep 16: Continue pitches with X more this week/begin planning for second single premiere
  • Week of Sep 23: Approach blog X about second single premiere/continue pitching “Originally Premiered Song Name” to X number more outlets

Again, depending on your exact workload and ambitions this will very likely also include smaller tasks like, “Post X graphic to social media.”

[Here's How to Find a Blog to Premiere Your Next Single]

4. Be flexible

Ultimately, no matter how much you plan, you’re almost guaranteed to run into a surprise or two along the way. And that’s okay! Have a plan, but be flexible and know that it’s okay if your plans change — either because of something outside your control or because you just want to switch directions. As long as you’re able to regroup and re-assess with a new plan, you’re still going to have an incredible year.


Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placement on Alternative Press, Noisey, Substream, and more, as well as the Director of Community and Events for Music Launch Co. She’s also the owner of music blog Infectious Magazine. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.

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