The Lowest Common Denominator

Hi folks, music biz advisor and pro musician Mike Fitzsimons here. From time to time I’ll be dropping some new ideas your way to help you with your music careers. Of course The Fan Formula is the best way to move your career on but here’s another thought provoking formula to add to your collection and it may help you get what you want – SUCCESS  and avoid what you don’t want – WASTED TIME.

All you maths heads out there will know what a lowest common denominator is: the smallest whole number that divides into a set of other numbers in a series. So what’s this got to do with a band? For bands it is worth knowing right from the get go who is the lowest common denominator or as I refer to them the LCD. What this means for you is this: who in your band has the least ambition?  and probably does not want the same future as you (even though they may say they do).

What happens if you don’t know? Your band will achieve what the LCD wants – much less than you want – i.e. the lowest outcome. The consequences are frustration and in many cases destructive resentment.

What do you experience?  Some band members don’t pull their weight, don’t want to play the harder gigs, don’t want to improve their playing,  wont rehearse, wont dress in the band style, prefer the comfort of a day job, like to ‘be in a band’ but avoid the real work of creating a lasting long term future. Where will you and your band end up? Probably nowhere.

It happened to a good friend of mine. I shall use a ‘nom de plume’ for him: Raul ‘Mad as Hell’. He joined a local band in 2006 who claimed they wanted to ‘make it’. They said they wanted a record deal, and wanted success. Three years later and after much hard work on the part of Raul generating a following, showcasing at international festivals and being seriously courted by record producers, managers and labels, they split up. At that point it became clear that two members of the band had never had any intention of giving up their daytime careers for music. Sure they loved the music, they loved being in the band but they did not want to do the work, and when the biggest opportunity of their music career came knocking they were gone.

Another musician friend had a similar experience: Frank recruited four new members to his band. Five years later, after three albums the band were getting nowhere. He asked them to work harder and improve their playing ability – they refused – they had other priorities. He left! 

I’m sure you’ll recognise this type of story. The saddest thing is that those who really want to have a serious career are often so pissed at the outcome that they give up too.

Don’t let this happen to you. Get the direction, the ambition and the commitment sorted out right at the beginning. Make sure you are working with the right people and you all want the same thing. Once that’s all agreed then set off. That’s what the fan formula does for you. Even if you have to lose some people at the beginning that’s better than wasting your time pretending you all wanted the same thing when you didn’t. And if you’re already up and running and this formula has set off a light bulb in your head – then challenge the LCD.  If you’re uncomfortable with that and can’t do it right away, then set them a test. If they don’t deliver then time is up for them.

Get the book, download the worksheets, plan the success you want!