What Does Success Mean To You?

On my Facebook recently, a musician I know seemed down.

A friend had told him he’d never make it, and he took it to heart and started to believe it.

Now I have to point out that this particular musician is extremely talented. I’ve booked him many times at events I’ve run, and I’ve always loved his performances.

He’s a better musician than I am for sure.

I told him this of course, but I was also struck by the term “make it.”

After all, it doesn’t mean the same thing to everybody.

To some it means being the next Robbie Williams where everybody knows who you are and you’re in the papers everyday. To me, that would be hell.

So I was interested in this article from a cracking web site that I’ve just found via Twitter. It’s called Indie Connect Magazine, and the article begs that very question – how do you measure your success?

If you’re a musician why not check it out and highlight every sentence that relates to you – or even do as I did and chuck the odd extra sentence in.

Then comment below and tell me what success means to you. It may well be that when you get down about not “making it” you’ll find that in fact, you already are!!

So here’s mine:


I’d like a comfortable income but I don’t necessarily need it to come from music. I need enough to supplement another income.


I’d like a core of real fans who love my music, but I don’t want fame. No siree!!


I’d like to be regarded as an honest, caring, decent human being.


I’d only want niche recognition eg by fans in my genre.
Really though, its the songs that I want to be recognised. For me, it’s mainly about the songs.


I want to use my music where I can to support political change and others doing good things in the world.


Having people focus on me is fine, but I need my privacy. So no to fame.

Respect – how others think about me

I need to respect myself primarily.


I like performing but hate rehearsing. It’s lonely.
I have fun especially when the audience is having fun.
I need to enjoy what I do or I will do something else.
I would love to pay someone to do the things that aren’t fun for me (but are fun for them).


I am content to do what I do well. I basically just want to tell stories through music. I’m not a “musician’s musician” and don’t see that as my role or purpose.


I need freedom.
I need to be the boss of myself.
I want ultimate control over my career.
I want to have control over my music.
I’m happy to receive advice and constructive criticism and help.

Social Status

I am content where I am on the social ladder. Status isn’t my bag.


Ultimately, it’s nice if people think nice things about me, but I really just want to be okay with myself.
I’d hope that people realise that I’m authentic, which is really all I want to be.


I want other sources of income to provide my financial security. Music is about fun and passion not money chasing. Payment is nice but to be dependent on music money would distort everything for me.

Summing up

It’s useful because it reminds you what success means.

For me it’s about being able to continue passing on my stories, either myself or by others singing my songs.

And it’s about having fun too with others, and sharing an experience.

As long as that’s happening, and nobody is my boss telling me what to do or say, and I can also use my music to help those trying to make a difference in the world, then I’m successful in my own eyes.

I’d love to hear what it is for others. Try the exercise and let’s know below.

#alun parry#indie connect magazine#making it#measure success#success


  1. unsignedbandpromotion.com">Unsigned Band Promotion - November 28, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

    This is a question I’ve asked many a band, Plus: What Does Online Success/Fame Mean To You? The most common answer, “When the Media starts to recognize/mention us.”

    BTW., I really like your: http://indieconnectmagazine.com/measuring-success/ I’ll be linking to it in my next blog post :)


  2. alunparry - November 28, 2010 @ 6:05 pm

    Indie connect magazine isn’t mine ian. But it does look really useful doesn’t it

  3. unsignedbandpromotion.com">Unsigned Band Promotion - November 29, 2010 @ 11:01 am

    Oops sorry Alun, I see now! Twit I am :(

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