As most amateur musicians know, certain paths tend to result in more successful careers. Moving to big music cities, playing live gigs, and investing in management are typical building blocks to musical success.
However, it’s not just about doing all the right things. It’s also about not doing the wrong things. There are certain actions that musicians should avoid if they want to reach a level of notoriety. Mistakes like these can hold a musician back and keep them from reaching their goals without them even realizing it.
For your best shot at musical success, we’re outlining five of the biggest mistakes musicians make when first starting—and how you can avoid them.
1 – Investing in the Wrong Places
Investing in yourself as a musician is a big part of pursuing a career in music. If you’re not doing it for yourself, why would anyone else want to invest in you?
However, a big mistake that newcomers make is investing their time, money, and energy in the wrong places.
Blowing your savings on that “cool-looking” Les Paul guitar isn’t going to inch you any closer to your goals.
Telling yourself that going out to the elite bars and clubs on the weekends is a “networking cost”? Not quite the best way to go about it.
Instead, focus your investments on marketing yourself, renting a high-quality recording studio, and finding an experienced manager to support your journey.
2 – Creating to Sell
Creating music to sell it and get loads of fame is not the route to take. If you’re playing with this mindset, you’re not true to yourself or the music.
No artist wants to feel pigeonholed into one genre or style of music, even if it is going to sell the best. Artists want the freedom to create what they want as they see fit.
While aiming for the charts at first might seem like your best track to #1, after a while, it will become draining. Don’t produce music you don’t love.
3 – Playing in Private
Many artists become protective over their work, fearing bad reviews or trying to ‘perfect’ a piece before releasing it. While creating in private is an excellent method of discovery, it won’t generate any hype around your music.
Get your music in front of people. See how they feel about it and create some buzz around your name. Even small gigs at local bars or a few hours playing on the street can create decent exposure and train you for your big stadium concerts one day.
4 – Assuming Legal Protection
Assuming that you and your music have legal protection can be a fatal flaw for musicians just starting. Without the proper use of copyright and trademarks, people can steal your music and your identity for illicit purposes.
Additionally, if you ever decide to join a record label, you should never assume that they have your best interests at heart. Do your due diligence. Too many artists have been victims of predatory labels.
If you want to avoid this, hire an experienced third party entertainment lawyer. Agencies such as RecordLabelAgreements.com will draw up contracts and protect your interests.
5 – Sacrificing Creativity for a Record Deal
For many artists, the ultimate goal is a record deal with a huge label. In the desire for fame and notoriety, though, many artists sacrifice their creative liberty.
These artists almost always regret these kinds of tradeoffs, but finding a way out of the complex contracts can prove challenging. It’s better to start on the right foot and refuse to sacrifice your creative freedom for the sake of a deal.
Learning from the Past for a Brighter Future
Gaining a footing in the music industry is an uphill climb for unsigned musicians. Rather than make the same errors of the artists that have gone before you, learn from them. You can avoid their biggest mistakes and become much better off for it.