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By, Tom Heu

Ever wonder why we have one hit wonders? You know the bands and artists (from local to national acts) that build some momentum and interest in their music, and then do not capitalize on it. Timing is everything in any business (especially the music business) and being able to strike when it’s hot is more than just a cliché, it’s a skill set that is often elusive and difficult to execute.

Webster’s dictionary defines momentum as…”a mass moving forward,” or “a property of a moving body which determines the length of time required to bring it to rest when under the action of a constant force.” Or the related word, momentous, meaning “a great moment.” In other words, momentum is often used to describe something good that usually requires much time to pass before it slows down and eventually comes to a halt completely.

What exactly does it take to build momentum, garner respect, and achieve some level of success as musician in a local or regional area? The answer is hard work combined with smart marketing among other things. Bands have to bust their humps writing new material, rehearsing, and trying not to kill each other every week and month they are together. At the same time, musicians have to continually come up with new and interesting ways to keep their name “out there” and steadily increase their draw. It’s a lot of hard work with small odds for success. Too often unfortunately, just as bands or artists begin to peak in popularity, they seemingly self-destruct temporarily or fall off the radar all together.

Why do some bands blow what they’ve worked so hard to achieve? Maybe its because they don’t feel they deserve it in the first place? The best bands with the most consistent followings and longevity have that certain level of class that is difficult to quantify. These are the people who consistently treat other bands and fans with respect, regardless of personal opinions, preferences, or taste. They rarely exude bad attitudes and at least attempt to always take time to listen to and learn from others.

Now pay attention, here’s where it gets tricky. When a band does achieve some success and notoriety, how do they keep it going? For starters, don’t believe your own hype. Becoming bigger than life only serves to destroy what a lot of people have worked very hard to build. Congratulate yourselves on your success, but remember that it’s a lot harder to stay at the top than it is to get there. Keep in mind that your current and future audience is more than just your immediate following and your long-time, stalwart supporters. Wherever you are, whenever you are; you are in a position to either win or lose new fans and thus momentum. The old saying goes that you’ll see the same people on the way down as you did on the way up. Believe it or not, there will come a day when you won’t be all the rage and your proverbial ship has sailed back out to sea.

The Bottom Line: Take inventory on where you and your band or group falls within the spectrum of strategy, timing, and respect in relationship to your music’s longevity. If you have gone to all the trouble and are fortunate enough to have built some momentum, carefully assess and plan on how you are going to keep it and also take it to the next level. Multi-millionaires are often quoted as saying that “making the first million is the hardest, the rest come a lot easier.” Respect and invest what you earn from the start so you can decide when you are finished.

2006 is the year of Intelligence!