Musicians, it’s 2022. Have you ever sat down and identified what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are? Have you thought about delegating out work that you don’t enjoy doing or don’t know how to do?
“I don’t know where to start” may be a common phrase you’ve told yourself, but that’s why you’re here right now. You’re ready to make a change.
If you’re like me, you have pursued various endeavors throughout your career with no real goals set. You may have achieved a lot and gotten to where you are now by doing that, but exponential growth will be far more difficult (or impossible) without a clear and strong understanding of your SWOT.
That’s where the SWOT Analysis comes in. It stands for:
Completing a SWOT Analysis will provide you with the clarity and insight you need to take your next steps strategically.
Let’s walk through a SWOT Analysis for a musician.
How to create a SWOT Analysis worksheet for free
To create a SWOT Analysis for free, grab a sheet of paper. The standard 8×11 printer paper will work just fine.
Draw a line horizontally and vertically in the middle to create four sections: Top left, top right, bottom left, and bottom right
At the top of each quadrant, write each word in the SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
Once you’ve completed this step, write the numbers 1-5 in each section.
You can also download HubSpot’s free SWOT analysis template to get started.
Identify your strengths
The first step in an effective SWOT Analysis is identifying what your strengths are. Be very specific, as it’s only going to benefit you in the long-term. Remember, this is your career you’re analyzing.
My strengths are:
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Innovative ability to think outside the box
- Strong reputation
The reason I chose these three as my strengths are because I’ve developed strong written and verbal communication skills over the years. This has positioned me to communicate exactly what I want and connect with the people I need to.
I’m also thinking outside the box on how I can advance my career. The music industry is becoming heavily reliant on a list of tools, products, and services, and I always find ways to leverage these pieces of tech to expand.
Recognize your weaknesses
The second step in your analysis is recognizing your weaknesses. This section is hard because we don’t always want to see our weaknesses, but it’s perhaps one of the most important in the entire analysis.
Identifying your weaknesses will provide you the insight on what you aren’t good at (or simply don’t enjoy doing) so you can find someone who is good at it.
My weaknesses are:
- Doing everything myself
- Scheduling my time
I frequently find myself picking up work and doing small things that I could pass off to someone else. This time would be better spent on writing music.
I’m the first to admit that I get distracted…because I do a lot of things myself. I overload myself with small tasks that add distractions.
Finally, I’m not great at scheduling time for my work and music production. I often work when I want, which causes delays in numerous areas of my professional life. I believe that having a schedule for working and another schedule for writing music would help in keeping myself organized and getting things done.
Optimize your opportunities
The third step in the SWOT analysis is to optimize your opportunities. Allow your mind to roam and hone in on those dream opportunities. It’s okay to dream big here (but be specific)!
My opportunities are:
- Expand knowledge and imprint within metaverse and Web3
- Increase output of music
- Create different genre of music under different alias
The metaverse and Web3 are not going anywhere, so instead of avoiding its continuous expansion it’s time to dive in head first. Expanding my knowledge and imprint within the space means that I’ll need to read books and blog posts, watch videos, tutorials, and more on these topics.
My second opportunity is for increasing the output of my own music. Previously, I mentioned that I needed to work on segmenting my time for business and creation. More time for music most likely means more released music (and I can use Jamvana’s music distribution service to get my music onto all streaming platforms).
Lastly, it’s been on my docket to create an alias for the different styles of music I produce. I don’t feel that every song I write and produce fits under my name or my current alias. Having another alias for another specific genre/style will allow me to create music without boundaries.
Determine your threats
The last step in your SWOT analysis is to write down your threats. If you’re like me and worry about every possible scenario, then you may already have a list of things that are threatening you. But this is your opportunity to analyze which ones are actual threats and which ones you may be overthinking.
A threat does not have to be something that can ruin your career or reputation. It can be something like a Discord server or YouTube channel that is sharing similar information or building an identical community.
- Difficult industry to compete in
- Copyright issues/lawsuits
- Hardware and software issues
The music industry is very competitive. The sync licensing sector is even more competitive, and music supervisors are always looking for the perfect song. Understanding what music is needed and being able to write music for that project is a challenge for me; therefore, I feel makes it more difficult to compete in.
Copyright issues run rampant in the music industry. So many people are sampling old music and not getting clearance for them, which makes it difficult to identify who the particular song or sample is 100% owned by. Lil Nas X and “Old Town Road” producer YoungKio found themselves in a situation just a few years ago. The chart-topping hit used a banjo sample from Nine Inch Nails’ “34 Ghosts IV.” Nine Inch Nails’ management notified frontman Trent Reznor of a song that had used their sample. Fortunately, Reznor was “fine with it” and “didn’t want to be a roadblock” for the song’s innovativeness and success.
However, these predicaments aren’t always as easy. Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and T.I.’s global hit “Blurred Lines” ripped off Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” In return, they had to pay Gaye’s estate $7.3 million in damages, down from the original $25 million they sought. Copyright infringement lawsuits aren’t fun or cheap.
Hardware and software issues have always reared themselves in at the worst times. For example, Apple releases their newest version of their operating system and breaks a few plugins. This renders certain plugins or softwares unusable because they haven’t been updated to work properly yet.
Software is the same way: it gets an update and adds a bug or two or ten, which interferes with the digital audio workstation and potentially other plugins. These small issues can cause big ramifications, especially when working on a time sensitive project.
Completing a SWOT analysis for your brand is a game-changing activity. Once completed, you’ll have a very clear understanding of what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are. You’ll waste no time moving forward with your career in music because you’ll know exactly what you need to do, who to hire, and how steps you can take to avoid and conquer your threats.
Complete one of these every six months to one year. Keep record of them. How is it changing every time? Do you feel like you’re moving forward? Get more specific with each one.
Share your SWOT analysis in the comments below so we can keep each other on track.