“Six-Figure Musician” by David Hooper, Book Review plus Worksheet (download)

In Book Reviews, Featured by Cynthia Lou2 Comments

You are in control. You set the pace. You get the rewards. 

I feel confident in my next steps to grow my business and my empire. On my terms.

Yes, there are lots of checklists, scripts, exercises, “how-to’s”, and exercises in David Hooper’s “Six-Figure Musician” to get you into motion as the best artist you can be, to grow and maintain your fan base, to make money in many different ways as a musician.

But what I love most about this book are mindset shifts to make so I can be a successful artist, building a career to last a lifetime, while staying in control of my career.

I saw the book as organized around 3 main principles: YOU the 6 Figure Musician, FANS, and MAKING MONEY.


YOU, the 6 Figure Musician

Developing the habits, beliefs and mindset of the 6 Figure Musician, including being tenacious, bold, polarizing, with the ability to take risks. Many chapters and sections dedicated to this topic: “Make the Commitment”, “Choose your Path”, “Play Your Game”, “Claim Your Space”, “Rise Above the Noise”, “Find Your Balance”, “Be Flexible and Keep Moving Forward”.

Two of my favorite “how-to’s” in this area are “7 Ways to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Start Taking Risks” and “5 Traits That Help Build Resilience”.



Without fans, we don’t get to do what we do! As a DJ, without people going to clubs and connecting with the music and letting loose, I don’t get to do what I love. And in the era of the DJ/Producer, the more I can bring my own fans to the clubs the more I get to spin.

I loved the idea of breaking the Online/Offline barrier – connect with people in person and ASK them to follow me in social media, and bring as much of the in-person experience to the social media world as possible, in the spirit of “see what you’re missing! come see me spin next time!”

Appendix I of this book has many specific and fun ways to connect with fans, such as using a call-in hotline (throwback 90s, anyone??), poor-man’s text message broadcast (using Twitter), and effectively using behind-the-scenes videos. Knowing that what we are selling is the FEELING of a GOOD TIME, I liked the possibilities of creating that fun “let loose” club vibe and sending it directly to my fans’ and followers’ phones and email inboxes.

Chapters specifically related to fans: “Connect with Your Audience”, “Understand Why People Buy Music”, “Rise Above the Noise”, Appendix I – “It’s Your Job to Connect with Fans”.



You want to do this for a living? Better think like a business person.
This book steers you in the direction of organizing your thoughts, actions, and habits around MAKING MONEY as a musician, shifting your perspective on your to-do list and which gigs you take – Will this bring you money now? Will it bring you money in the near future? Will it bring me fans (the kind that will pay me money)?

My favorite how-tos in this category are “8 Ways to Make Money Giving Your Music Away for Free”, and the “Drip Method”, the concept of releasing your tracks one at a time rather than as a bundle in order to make more money overall, get feedback and fan involvement, and get you into the momentum of releasing content regularly.

Appendix II is all about “How to Make Money Selling Your Music and Merchandise”.
This book takes the idea of selling music and merchandise from being “out there”, “one day I will”, “when I’ve hit it big” to being something that is straightforward and attainable, something that I could put into motion sooner than later.


The worksheet is broken into four sections:

1. YOU (as the Six-Figure Musician)

1. YOU

Cultivate the Qualities of the 6-Figure Musician

(from page 4 of the book)

You must make the decision to commit. This will color all of your actions, give you the guts to ask for money and change the course of your other decisions. Declare your decision below, in writing (i.e. “I hereby declare that from today, I choose to do what it takes to be a six-figure musician!”). Sign and date.

Flip this paper over to the back side.
1) Dream Big – Write down 50 things you want. Don’t censor yourself.
2) Ask Why – Why do you want them? Cross out items for which you don’t have a specific answer.
3) Get Focused – Choose your top 5, and list them below on the left. Write down a single specific action for each goal

Then, on the left side write out your goal. On the right side write specific action steps to achieve your goal.

Things change, times change, people change, goals change.
Use the space below to note any old practices or habits have become stale or outdated. Choose to either eliminate them, or change them.
On the left side of the worksheet, write the Practice or Habit in question. On the Right side write if you choose to Eliminate or Change the habit, and how.
For example: (ex: going out to happy hour 4x/week) (3x/week recording music, 1x/week happy hour)

Real learning happens in the field, and you will never truly feel “ready”. Use the space below to list one thing to start right now, even if it makes you feel scared.
(i.e. Post a video to YouTube, book a show, record something on your computer).


Cultivate Resilience

“When you’re taking the risks you should be taking, you’re going to take a few punches and have to deal with criticism from others.”

Taking risks also means putting yourself in the place to fail. But this is a good thing – you want to fail quickly, and LEARN from your “failures”. This means translating the failure into positive.
In the chart below, list 4 “failures” on the left side, and on the right side note all of the positives in that experiences – what did you learn, what came from it, what will you do differently, how can you apply what you’ve learned specifically to something you’re dealing with now? Taking your experience into the positive and specific means you internalize the change and grow.

Make good decisions quickly and stick with your decisions and you stay in control of your situation; ignore something and the decision will be made for you. In the space below, think of two areas that are “sticky” or that cause you frustration. Make your decision about it now. Then, to help you stick with your decision, list 3 reasons why your decision will work, will stick, or is in your best interest. Refer to your reasons when the going gets tough, or you find yourself pushed and you need to re-commit to your decisions.

Having a strong reason to drive why you do what you do will help to get you through the frustrating aspects of your life. The “5 Why’s” exercise below will help you to dig deep to find your deepest desires behind what you do. The further underneath the surface you can get the more meaningful and specific your Higher Purpose is to you. Refer back to this as your map to keep you motivated.



One of the most effective ways to grow your fan base is to connect with them in-person.
Use this exercise below to help brainstorm ideas to get out and connect with fans. On the left side, write down the WAY/METHOD you could connect with your fans, and on the right side write down some ideas for WHERE you could meet them.


BE VULNERABLE – “Damaging Admission”
In marketing there is a phrase called the “Damaging Admission”. It’s the idea that you beat the audience to the punch by admitting your flaws before they can. While we as humans tend to shy away from the Damaging Admission, it is what can draw people to us the most. Per Six-Figure Musician, “fans…want a voice, they want to be included, and they want a remedy for pain.” (p. 131). If you can admit your own pain, fans will connect to that, your music and what you stand for can help to give them their voice, and your music and performances give them a remedy to their pain.

Though it sounds counter-intuitive, people want to help, they want to participate. Fans especially see this help as participating in the experience of YOU as musician.
Some examples from Six-Figure Musician include: Asking for help picking songs for a set list, Asking for feedback on the color or design of an album, polling which city you should tour next. List a few ideas below.




The Drip Method is a brilliant way to make more money, get more of your music into the world, and break down the mountain of a large task into smaller and more quickly achieved tasks. Instead of releasing music in a full-album block, the Drip Method is to release your music one track at a time. Please read this section of the book for a full description of all of the benefits of the Drip Method. This exercise below is to train you to think about how to break down any larger task into smaller, more manageable tasks and potentially reap greater rewards.


“Just like a ladder makes it easier to climb a wall, a merchandise ladder makes it easier for people to buy things from you.” A merchandise ladder makes it easy both for people with limited budgets to purchase from you, as well as options for people seeking more “prestige”, quality, or exclusivity.
Six-Figure Musician also makes the case for “single-bill transactions” – rather than a $7 CD, either knock the price to $5 or add more value to make it an even $10. Single-bill prices make transactions faster and easier.




Six-Figure Musician addresses head-on many of the top challenges (No Money, Perfectionism, Waiting for the Right Time, Fear of Rejection, etc.) you’ll face as you grow to be the Six-Figure Musician and beyond. However, the MOST IMPORTANT aspect to remember is this piece on Security from the chapter, “Finding Your Balance”:
“The only security you have is within you. It comes when you trust yourself, and your ability to handle things when it’s time to take needed action. As long as you have the ability to take action, you’re secure… What do you need to feel secure? It’s not a job or money or somebody else – it’s something within you.” (p. 174)
That said, what kinds of skills do you need to fine-tune, brush-up on, familiarize yourself with, or master to give you a sense of internal confidence and security? “Whatever skills you need to feel confident with your ability to provide for yourself, do what it takes to attain them.”
In the area below, list skills that would give you that sense of confidence in the space to the left. On the right, list what actions you need to take, if any, to grow, strengthen, maintain, or learn those skills.

Click here to download the worksheet “6 Figure Musician QuickStart”.


  1. Libby

    This is a great review, thanks! Although I’m no a musician, what really resonated with me was the decision to commit, and how that will color everything you do thereafter, and then “as long as you have the ability to take action, you’re secure.” That is a revelation…

  2. Author
    Cynthia Lou

    I agree Libby – those two pieces, especially the piece about “as long as you have the ability to take action, you’re secure” piece were game changers for me! Thanks for your comment 🙂

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