It’s the dream of many musicians to be able to live off the income they make from their music. After all, we play music because we love it, and who wouldn’t want to get paid to play? But making it in the music industry is tough – just ask any gigging musicians.
Many artists spend years honing their craft but aren’t sure how to turn their talent into a profession. While there’s no guarantee of success, Music Business Accelerator is here to help. If you want to become a music artist, there are a number of steps you can take to help realize that dream.
Develop as a Musician
While this may seem obvious, if you want to succeed in the music industry, you’ll need to have some chops. There are millions of musicians out there trying to get by on their talent, so if you want to stand out you’ll need to develop musically. Whatever your instrument, find your style or ‘voice.’ Listening to similar musicians perform is a great way to grow your musicality and gauge your own skills.
While many musicians are self-taught, a lot can be gained by finding a great teacher. Even if you’re a seasoned musician, the right teacher can help you grow new skills and develop your music further. Increasing your knowledge in all aspects of your instrument, including theory is also a sure-fire way to develop your talent.
While you never stop learning an instrument, in order to get noticed you’re going to have to leave your practice room and play in front of people. Sure, many artists got their big break by publishing music online, but the majority of them also had plenty of gigs under their belt.
If you’re new to performing live, check out open mic nights in your local area and get on stage. The more time you spend playing live, the more confidence you’ll grow. Plus, open mics are a fantastic way to meet other musicians. Playing with a diverse group of musicians can help build your musical repertoire, so jump at any opportunities to join in.
If you produce electronic music, approach local nightclubs and ask about playing a set. Many clubs would be happy to hand the decks over for an hour at the start of the night, and while you may not get paid, you will gain valuable experience.
Another huge benefit of playing live is the ability to record your session and play it back. Compare different sets and take notes on what works and what doesn’t. Self-assessment is incredibly important in developing as a musician, as it can quickly help you improve and become a better player.
If you want to make it as a music artist, you’re eventually going to need to record some music. With software packages like GarageBand, Ableton, and Fruity Loops, you can easily master any recordings to industry standard and won’t break the bank at the same time.
When recording, always use the best equipment you can for whatever price you can afford. This doesn’t have to mean renting a studio for hundreds an hour. If you don’t have microphones or mixer, chat with musical friends and see what you can borrow. They might even be able to act as the engineer while you record or even help master the tracks.
Once the recording and mixing process is done but before you send your music to the world, have a think about registering the copyright. While copyright attaches automatically to anything you create, registering ensures there’s a legal framework protecting your intellectual property.
Publish Your Music
Depending on your goal, publishing music can be as easy as uploading a clip to YouTube or Soundcloud. Artists across many genres have made it big off the back of an uploaded clip – just ask the Arctic Monkeys (Myspace) or Justin Bieber (YouTube). But if you really want to try to have a career as an artist, you might need to follow a more structured plan.
Get a Record Deal
There are a couple of routes you can take to publish your music. With a demo in hand, many budding artists approach record companies and try to land a deal. This is the dream of many musicians and while it’s not impossible, the odds are not in your favor.
To give you the most opportunity for success, follow the below tips:
Polish your sound
Have the best sounding demo you possibly can.
First impressions last! Ensure your online presence represents who you are as an artist, and if you do get a meeting, come as your artist self.
Think like a label
Record companies are businesses and need to make money. You’ll have greater success if you show dedication, have good marketing and have built up a decent fanbase.
Make sure your music matches the label. There’s no point in sending acoustic rock music to a dubstep label.
Most of all, get to as many suitable publishers as possible and be persistent.
Countless artists approach publishers daily, so don’t be discouraged if you strike out. Instead, focus your energy on publishing your music yourself. While it might sound hard, setting up your own publishing company can be quite easy and you keep the majority of control.
With copyright in place, build your online presence by creating an artist website and social media accounts. Shoot and edit a short video with your music as the backing and upload it to YouTube. Put your music on streaming services like Soundcloud, Pandora, and Spotify.
Work with a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) to take the difficulty out of the business side of your music. They license your songs, pay royalties when due, and can track all revenue streams, including from radio, television, live performances, and online.
Making it in the music industry is rarely an easy journey. The fact is, turning your love for music into a career takes talent, passion, and a whole lot of dedication. Music Business Accelerator can help guide you through some of the pitfalls, but ultimately, it’s up to you to stand out in the crowd.
By developing your musicality, growing your brand, and publishing your music, you will give yourself the best chance possible to succeed.