The music industry is often heavily romanticized, but the truth is it takes a strong individual with talent, vision, business acumen and a decent network to succeed. Musicians, music producers, DJs, and vocalists all need a foundation of skills and a box of tricks to make a living from their music.
Depending on which branch of the music industry you fit, starting out might seem like an impossible task. These days there’s a lot of competition online and it’s getting more difficult to sell your physical music. Getting into the music industry requires branding, networking, improving your talent and making sound investments.
Setting yourself apart from the crowd is one of your first hurtles. While the internet can be a powerful tool to share and promote your music or service, there’s a lot of competition and they all seem to have a head start.
Determine what makes you unique, and set a style or brand for yourself that’s congruent across all your social networks. Create accounts for all your favorite apps just for your music. In addition, consider starting a blog.
Blog writing doesn’t require very much technical knowledge anymore; without knowing a drop of code there are services which provide templates and fonts that make it easy to create professional-looking blogs. Remember your brand when adding content, only posting things which represent your image. Also remember blogs are an excellent opportunity to communicate with fans or potential clients so be available to your subscribers!
You hear it all the time but it’s one of the most important aspects of breaking into the music industry. Opportunities come from people who are already established, so the broader your network of working musicians and the people who hire them, the greater your chances of getting a gig.
The obvious first step is to extend yourself on social media. You’ll want multiple accounts to reach all your existing friends and contacts. Post your upcoming events and share new pieces or projects whenever you’re able, taking advantage of free word-of-mouth marketing and sharing.
You should also go to events around your area to meet others in person. Be open to playing gigs with other people, joining jam sessions or even working for free. Working for free hurts but not every event has a million dollar budget and musicians can get a lot of exposure and instant networking by working for little money or free in the beginning of their career.
Don’t forget to share your music online with other musicians in the spirit of collaboration. You can find anything from free rap beats to orchestral samples online available to share and use.
Improving Your Skills
Improving your skills is a personal exploration of your strengths and weaknesses but there are a few general tips to get you started. The first is to always be working, even if you’re not getting paid or on a specific project. Like we mentioned earlier, sharing small pieces of work or side projects are great opportunities to network and build your brand. They also provide you with invaluable experience with your instrument or software.
Going to school is another option. You can go for traditional colleges which focus on the arts, or you can take courses online to teach you to master your instrument or software. Learning a bit about money management, general business practice and marketing would help anyone getting into the music industry.
Make Sound Investments
It’s easy to get carried away with music equipment and accessories but when you’re just starting out it’s important to make great investments. When choosing your equipment, consider practical things like how long it will take to return the investment. Choose just the basics and upgrade as you become more successful.
Remember it’s not all about the equipment either- hosting a unique website that’s easy to build, for instance, costs a little money but is well worth the investment.
With the right mix of talent and determination, you can become successful in the music industry. There are plenty of opportunities, so don’t feel discouraged by the competition. Instead, get out there and take your own piece of the pie.