Two posts from Bob Lefsetz, but I’ll also link to an article that he refers to.

The point of the first article is that greatness is within your grasp if you can be bothered to work hard enough.

I’m sure many people who read this post will have heard about Malcolm Gladwell’s theory of ‘10,000’ hours that he sets out in his book ‘Outliers’. If not, get to Amazon and buy a copy since it’s a phenomenal book that will inspire.

In short, the argument, backed up by lots of evidence, is that experts, geniuses, superstars are all made and not born, and it’s the effort, application and practice that makes them so – and generally to get to the standard that marks you out as different, takes 10,000 hours.

Just because you have a hard life, just because you’re willing to forgo the spoils of the middle class, that does not mean you’re good.

You’re only good if you work at your craft.  And that does not mean learning how to play “Stairway To Heaven”…that’s just the beginning.  How do you get to the point where you know all the notes, have practiced the scales and can come up with something innovative and new that will make our heads turn?

By spending a lot of time picking.

Your move.

Read that piece from Bob here.

And the old NYT piece that sets out the theory that Gladwell developed is here.

But, go on from there and read Bob’s piece about why making singles rather than Albums is the way to develop and then get your self noticed.

It follows on from the need for practice.

It’s called ‘focus’!

And by making singles and trying to make them amazing you’ll also be putting in the hours.

Bob makes other points about why the Single is better than the Album in the modern music business – all of which are valid.

Concentrate on making music.  Focus on making the best music you can.  And release it when it’s ready, don’t hold it back as a result of some sales scheme.   Once again, that’s major label thinking for dead bands.  That’s how they sell the Stones or the Beatles or…  All that hype about the “Exile On Main Street” anniversary set…  Have you heard anybody talk about it recently? It’s set in amber.  Whereas the music of a working band must be in the ears of listeners on a regular basis.

Read that here.

In short – practice forever, become great at what you do, learn to innovate and then make great music regularly and feed it to the world to build a long term rabid fanbase.

Simple, but not easy!