The 10 things you wished you knew before going into the music industry
Updated: Apr 13, 2019
You thought this would be easy. Ah ha!
So playing an instrument would be "heaven" especially if you also paid for the privilege.
Unfortunately this is NOT the case for 99% of Musicians. Read On..........
Here is what you should remember:
1. Music is an art form and many people do not respect it fully or the complexity involved; but they are your audience so respect them and relax!
2. Learning your instrument to an advanced level takes a lot of work. Running your business and developing your career takes JUST AS MUCH WORK, rest assured.
3. Being unique is difficult as your brain is full of what you "remember", not to mention the pressures of maintaining an income; so finding inspiration in these times can be difficult but there are ways in which you can do it!
4. Earning money requires diversity. Yes you could be lucky but most musicians develop a multitude of methods to earn money from their profession. Think support acts, fronting bands, teaching, dep work, group sessions, leaflets, networking, free stuff.
5. So you are good! Oh yes and you compare yourself to the 4 chord wonders that make a fortune. Yes you are technically far better than them but remember this is a business and you have to have appeal. Most famous musicians are actually FAR better than their most successful material. Don't be down about this, get real instead. Look at the musicians you know that don't need the money and end up making a Jazz album in their 40's or 50's! I mean play Jazz, Classical, Pop or anything you like but choose your battles wisely when it comes to material. You don't have to sell out completely, just keep things simple if possible.
6. It's not just what you know but who you know. NEVER miss an opportunity. Try to remain positive. Yes a lot of your efforts will be in vain but one or two may make a huge difference to your life. You have to sell yourself and do some serious networking. No-one else is going to do this for you. Find local musicians, groups, facebook, other social media interests. Get involved and ask questions.
7. Never sell out. Retain your personality and ensure you do things that ensure you continue your own personal musical path regardless of money. Make sure you engage and develop your own musicality even if this is sometimes a separate path from what makes you money. Think first album great, second album rubbish....mmmmmm.
8. Have fun and be confident. I'll say no more. You live it and you are it regardless. You will encounter periods where you feel that it's all a waste of time. Remember it is actually all a waste of time. Get over it. Everyone dies regardless of money, status, plastic surgery and botox. You will probably not be remembered for your efforts but what is important is making the most of the journey. Have fun, what else matters, as a musician you love to please.
9. Plan, plan and plan. You are responsible for your website, media, turning up on time, being a reliable service. Your accounts, self assessment, transport costs, equipment. Then there is hopefully enough money left to live on. Yes that is at the start so suck it up. It will get better I promise. No point in being a great musician who can't afford to eat, pay the bills or change the guitar strings?
10. Learn to think outside the box. Yes you don't need to be the best musician in the world to make money from the industry. Aim for consistency and always be open and think of ways you can better yourself, increase your income, further your marketing, website and so on. Its a juggling act that is not just about playing your instrument.