From Awkward Moments to Valuable Lessons: How to be a decent person in the music industry.


As musicians, sometimes we can all get a little off-key with our etiquette.

In Episode #341 of the DIY Musician Podcast, Chris and Cristina discuss some of the most outrageous and cringe-worthy behaviors they’ve ever encountered in the music biz, and a few embarrassing moments of their own.

From sympathy seekers to entitled divas and everything in between, we’ll learn why it’s essential to keep our egos in check, be kind to fellow artists, and embrace a little thing called humility. 

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression!” – Chris Robley

The Sympathy Play: “Why isn’t anybody listening to my music?!”

Sometimes, we feel down about our music and seek validation from others. This can come off as a guilt-trip tactic, or just plain insecure. Instead of saying negative things about ourselves, let’s ask for honest feedback from the right people in the right setting. Constructive criticism helps us improve, while seeking sympathy doesn’t lead to growth.


Confidence vs. Condescension: Respecting Everyone On and Off Stage

Confidence comes with a responsibility to treat others with respect, whether it’s the audience, band members, or the production staff. Never belittle anyone, even if you think they’re not as good as you. Remember, other bands help promote you by being part of the show. Be supportive, stand with the audience, and create positive energy. Life’s too short to be a jerk.


The Ego Exploder: Dealing with Insecurities 

The irony about insecurity is that the louder you try to hide it, the more obvious it appears. To avoid this embarrassing act of ego-tripping, it’s important not to make our insecurities other people’s problems. One way to keep our ego in check, is to accept difficult experiences as opportunities to grow and improve, and to put those discomforts into music rather than unleashing them onto our community.


The Entitled Diva: “I’m kinda a big deal…”

While it’s great to have had achievements in the past, what matters most is what we’re doing now. Your fans today might not know about singers from decades ago, so it’s important to focus on staying relevant in the present. 


The Out-of-Context Calling Card Giver: Reading the Room 

Sometimes, we want to share our music or give out business cards, demos, etc, but it’s important to read the room first. Not everyone might be in the headspace to be marketed to, or have the time to listen. Instead, gauge the situation and approach people at the right time and place. Being mindful of others’ preferences helps create positive interactions.


The Lurker: Overcoming Shyness and Awkwardness

Feeling shy or awkward is okay, but it’s important not to let those feelings drain the energy out of the room. When you’re in a social setting meant for networking or collaboration, it is ok to push yourself out of your comfort zone and engage with others. Remember, music is a way to connect with people, and embracing opportunities for interaction can lead to amazing experiences.


The Know-It-All: Embracing Humility and Openness 

We should always be open to learning from others. Instead of insisting that we know everything, we can ask questions, listen, and respect others’ expertise. It’s okay to receive advice and guidance. Embracing humility and openness helps us grow as musicians.


The Needy Predator: Respecting Others’ Time and Space 

It’s important to respect others’ boundaries and not monopolize their time. Understand that people have their own needs and priorities. Don’t corner them or demand constant attention. Show consideration for their time and energy.


The Fragile Persnickety Flower: Rolling with the Punches 

Life can be unpredictable, and things rarely go as planned. Sometimes we show up to the venue without the right gear, or the bass player gets sick on the day of our big show! Rather than complaining or demanding perfection, we should adapt and make the best of every situation. When faced with challenges, embrace a flexible mindset and find creative solutions. Rolling with the punches helps us become resilient musicians, and better performers.


The Line Cutter: Embracing Hard Work and Growth 

No matter how glam it may look to be a “nepo-baby” in today’s music scene, the truth is that money can’t buy success without hard work and dedication. By outsourcing important aspects of our music career, we miss out on valuable learning opportunities. Embrace the process, put in the effort, and grow as a musician. Learning and growing are key to long-term success. 


In a community-based industry, it is important to not only focus on our music but also on our behavior and interactions with others. By practicing good etiquette, we can build positive relationships, create memorable experiences, and grow both personally and professionally. Remember, music is not just about the notes you play; it’s also about how you make people feel.