3) INFRASTRUCTURE:
Build the Mountain

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Maintenance - Your Daily Process

Of all the music career warning stories that circulate, the ones that motivated the creation of Mountain most are the ones about losses like cancelled sync deals because the musicians didn’t have proper incorporation (LLCs), business banking accounts, or adequate PRO registrations to make the licensee feel comfortable in the transaction. Or, the musician was physically or mentally too ill to simply email the supervisor back quickly enough. Thousands or tens of thousands of dollars lost - not because of the music product, but because the musicians didn’t have the infrastructure to see the opportunity through. 

Step 3 creates this Infrastructure for you - it is 5 distinct pieces of the Mountain that you upkeep through a daily process and long-term maintenance plan. The 5 structures are: 


The 5 parts are created by either (a) setting up and forgetting them, (b) setting up and maintaining them (in your daily process or longer term maintenance checklists) or (c) simply understanding them because they’re going to play roles in later Steps. 

As a reminder, The Mountain is a tool for seeing the big picture strategy, not a step-by-step guide of how to execute each puzzle piece - only our Music Career Diagnostics get into those specific “how-to’s”. We also recommend the books, materials, and courses by Ari Herstand (his blog, book, and Academy), Bree Noble (FEMusician materials, podcast, and programs), Amanda Krieg Thomas (her book on Sync Licensing) and Randy Chertkow/Jason Feehan (Making Money with Music book) for help on these specifics.  

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1) Definition of Success
You can’t get to a destination that you don’t know exists, so define success for yourself and place it at the top of the Mountain. Success has 3 categories of components: Fun, Fulfillment, and Financial. Use those categories, along with your priorities on things like lifestyle, values, location, and work style to create a balanced Definition, not a masochistic one that will lead you to burn out and a botched, lost music career dream. 

Also, your unique Definition of Success should have some measures of immediate, as well as long-term success. Meaning: if you dream of headlining arena tours one day in the future, make a point of also enjoying the interim until then - living a musician’s lifestyle every day. Elaborate further and dream up the mid-term, like playing all the bigger venues in your town. The “I’ll be happy at the end of all the hard work” mentality disappoints - without learning how to find contentment along the way, contentment will stay elusive.

Your Definition of Success will change over time as you change, and as you get to know yourself more.

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Next, you build the Two Pillars that keeps tabs on your baseline needs so you can stay focused on your Events (in Step 4).

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2) Product Development Pillar
The Pillar that holds up the Fans Side of the Mountain, the right side, is your Product Development. Without its support, you cannot execute the Events in Step 4 that allow you to gain momentum on the fans side of the commercial music career equation: f(x) = Music Career (Fans + Money). 

Product Development means developing both your music and yourself. Without you there is no Music World to cultivate and share. Go through this list and set up your own daily process that supports these items in your Product Development - the daily process will evolve over time, but it must support you (your brain and body) to run this marathon of a career. 

As you continue to read these 5 Structures, incorporate any other applicable pieces into your daily process as well. 

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3) Business Basics Pillar
The Pillar that holds up the Money Side of the Mountain, the left side, is your Business Basics. First you’ll set up what isn’t already, and then you’ll create a method for maintenance (daily process or something usually in the form of weekly/monthly/yearly check-lists). Whatever remains is simply for educating yourself in preparation for Step 4. 

Over the years, MIC collected and tested all of the business activities musicians are told they “should” do, and then narrowed down to only the ones you truly need to do. There will be exceptions and expansions you can choose to add on, but consider this baseline list of definite needs as our “Less is More” gift to you. 

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There are two sides of the Mountain (Fans and Money) because a music career is a function of those two things, or:
f(x) = Music Career (Fans + Money)

We’ll break it down more for you from these, in Step 4. 
Fans Side: f(x) = Fans (Music Products x Online Presence)
Money Side: f(x) = Money (Adjacencies + Publishing + Touring)


If the f(x) turns you off, it’s used loosely here to simply show you that music careers are like recipes, combinations of ingredients that add up. These final 2 structures of Step 3 are more about education than set-up, so you can see where things like your recorded music, or social media, fall into the big picture in Step 4.

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4) Fans Side
Fans Side: f(x) = Fans (Music Products x Online Presence)
To repeat: this section is more about education than set-up, so go through this list and set-up to forget, set up for maintenance (daily process or longer term checklists), or simply educate yourself. 

Asterisks * indicate some choice within a necessity: for Social Media and Other Online Platforms you should decide where you want to live. Decide based on a balance of (1) the discipline of accepting the way of the world (social media is today’s most powerful form of personal marketing), with (2) the realistic expectations of if you’d actually enjoy upkeeping it, and therefore would upkeep it. Social Media Tip: Dormant pages work fine as pieces of your marketing funnel to exist where your fans look and to secure handles for safety, but call out the awkwardness of an unkept page in some creative way by redirecting fans to your preferred platforms. That’s how it’s a funnel.

Notice abbreviations we’ll continue to use in future Steps. 

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5) Money Side
Money Side: f(x) = Money (Adjacencies + Publishing + Touring)
To repeat: this section is more about education than set-up, so go through this list and set up to forget, set up for maintenance (daily process or longer term checklists), or simply educate yourself. 

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You may return here and use this Step as a reference tool for future work, so don’t worry about memorizing. Set it up, set up the maintenance (daily process or longer term checklists) and educate yourself, and then continue to Step 4 to begin your climb.