Artist Insight: Bad Advice - "Focus on making a hit."

I recently attended a symposium for singers/songwriters centered around how to make money as a songwriter.  The panel included an A&R, a representative from a publishing royalty company (PRO) and a YouTube aggregation service professional.  In the room were a few dozen hopefuls seeking to learn something from these industry professionals that could unlock the magic of a career as a songwriter.  As the moderator made her closing statements she asked the panel to share any final advice on making money as a songwriter.  The A&R's response: "Focus on making a hit."

Hearing him make that comment was devastating and revealed to me that he has no concept of artistry.  To tell a songwriter to "make a hit" is like telling a couple to "make the most photogenic baby;" that is not the way it works.  Artistry is expression.  Artists have something within them that causes them to have an undying desire to express what is within them.  In some cases these expressions become "hits" however, in many cases they do not.  What is more important than "making a hit" is presenting artistry in the most authentic, honest and organic way.  Trust me, your favorite artist does not focus on "making hits."  They focus on sharing with the world what they have inside.  

My advice: Never compromise your vision and be confident in your artistry.  This is when you experience true artistic freedom, which, in most cases, will indeed result in a "hit."