10 keys to success

When it comes to the connection between art and cash, there are two very different opinions. On one hand there is the believe that as an artist, you just have to get to the top and then you will become rich, filthy rich, just like all the famous musicians and athletes. On the other hand though, when it comes to career planning, most people will tell you to get a ‘decent’ job, because with art you can’t make a living, […]

What you can learn from keynote speeches 1

The season of the music conferences has started again. Right now it’s Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, Germany, next month Womex, Amsterdam Dance Event and many more will follow. Most of them have several keynote speakers, highly successful and established people from within the music business to share their story and hopefully their secrets. Often you can hear really entertaining stories about the life of those successful people. Still, when talking about business, many of them try to convince you that […]

Why musicians don’t need mental support 3

Athletes use mental coaches to enhance their performances, entrepreneurs go to coaches to enhance their business, bankers visit shrinks, but musicians don’t need mental support. Here’s why. Many musicians had to face hard times during childhood. They used music as an escape. Listening to music and later playing music was their way to deal with life. Music itself can lift you up when you are down. Being able to create beauty at any time, makes you feel powerful. It allows […]

Survival or the pressure of success

39 years ago, on the first day of summer holiday, I bought a holiday-pass. It was the first time that my small German village had such a holiday pass. One of the offered activities was a trip to an attraction park in the Netherlands. Oh, how much was I looking forward too this, it would have been my first time abroad! With the holiday pass in my bag I was on my way home, by bicycle, when a car hit […]

Success by developing your strengths

At school I’ve learned that I have to put extra attention to the subjects I’m not that good at. In my case it was French, Latin and sports. All the good grades in history, religion and music were taken for granted. The focus was on getting better in the stuff that I wasn’t that good at. It took me quite some time to find out that there are alternatives to that approach. Waldorf schools, Montessori schools and other alternative schools […]


Today I saw that the book of a friend is sold out, and that she will start to re-write it this summer for the second edition. When I asked her if she would celebrate it, she told me that she would wait for the second edition to be published. Grown up on a small farm I learned, that every reason is a good one to celebrate! We celebrated both, birthdays and (catholic) name-days, Saint Nicolas and Christmas, anniversaries, holidays, the […]

Creative or commercial success – a paradox? 4

Traditionally, many artists think that you can’t have both, creative success and commercial success. You can only be really creative, if you don’t give a damn about commerce. And if you do want to become rich, you make so many compromises that you can’t call yourself creative anymore. A thought that is doing quite well recently in business theories, is that if you show your true self¬† and if you discover your unique talents, that commercial success will come to […]

The paradox of success: caged omnipotence

Admiration It starts with others to admire you. The other side of that admiration is influence. They look up to you and it’s easy for you to influence them. People will not only admire you for your art, talents or knowledge. The media will start to ask you questions about all and everything, even if it’s something you have no idea about. Your influence is becoming bigger. Omnipotence Often the result is a feeling of omnipotence. It starts as soon […]

Power and fame 1

In the reports of Lance Armstrong’s confessions to Oprah Winfrey it stroke me when he said, that he was convinced to be able to do whatever he wants whenever he wants to do it. It’s this kind of power that you get when you are famous. Others will bring you not only your slippers, but will try to read every wish from your eyes even before you formulated it in your brain. Yes, you feel very powerful! You rule the […]

4 stages of fame – dealing with success 5

Music business and fame What do Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse have in common? Yes, they all died at 27. They also probably committed suicide, and they all struggled with dealing with their success and fame. They all had a team of dedicated people around them: at their management, agency, record label and more. But the music business doesn’t really know how to help artists in dealing with their success and fame. And as artist it is not […]


Everyone wants to be happy, right? It’s so important, that they even put it in the constitution of the United States, just as the freedom to speak. Too often I register with¬† myself, that I have some very romantic images of happiness. These images often prevent me to really enjoy the moment, for I compare the moment with the images, and often the images are better than the moment. The same is true for success and fame. Most of us […]

Mirror yourself

Last night I was at a very inspiring meeting. One of the present women told her story of success, failure and getting up again. She had a company with dozens of employee’s, a yearly turnover of millions of Euros, and never shortage of new assignments. Everything was perfect, no reason to change anything, or even to think about it. That is how it feels to be successful. She took everything for granted, and than the crisis of 2008 hit her […]


The word ‘sabotage’ has a great history. It comes from the French word ‘sabot’, which means ‘wooden shoe’. During the industrial revolution workers in France put their wooden shoes in the machines, to bring them to a grinding hold, as protest against the work conditions. This act therefore was called sabotage. Success often generates envy, and we use to think that this might be the biggest enemy when successful. Though I think that we have the biggest enemy within us! […]

Interview with Brian Hetherman 1

Brian Hetherman is Manager and President of Cerberus Management and Consulting. He is also the current Co-Chair of the IMMF (International Music Managers Forum, co-chairing with Volker May from Germany). You can find more info about him at As manager you want your artists to become successful, and your own success is often measured on the fame of your artists. What does success mean to you? How do you measure the success of your artists? That is absolutely true, […]

Success and fame from a managers view

In the last couple of weeks I’ve told more and more people in the music business about my blog. I’m getting great reactions, thanks to all of you! It encouraged me to start interviewing managers and artists for this blog. At Tallinn Music Week in March this year I had a personal conversation with Ed Bicknell, manager of Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler, Bryan Ferry and many more. It was a great pleasure to listen to all the great stories he […]