New musicians and plenty of veterans tend to have one common hiccup: the recording is done, the single is ready to be released and the EP or LP sounds awesome throughout… Now what?
Here’s where the overall strategy of creating successful careers in music turn from art to business with marketing and sales, record labels, distribution companies, venues, radio and other platforms… the steps seem endless! So, we’ve decided to bring you some pointers to make your musical journey easier, and avoid making mistakes many musicians and bands have before.
Budgeting for your music career
A common misconception by musicians is thinking the recording, mixing, and mastering is their only major expense. In reality, you still have to account for pressing (CDs, vinyl, cassettes), marketing and press services (aka. getting your music out to relevant people and potential fan base), photoshoots and visual components such as music videos. This is just the tip of the iceberg, so budget, budget, budget!
Hire the right production team
In the music industry, you want to surround yourself and work with the right people, professionals that take pride in guiding you correctly. This applies to record labels. Keep in mind a large, popular label might not be
willing to invest the time or money you’re looking for and can keep significant rights over your music such as
ownership of the masters. Sometimes smaller is better if
that means that the label will love your music as much as
you do but they might not have as significant a reach or resources. Check out these 3 New York based independent labels.
This also applies to marketing services. We recommend
shopping around, finding the marketing/press service that fits your music and budget.
Network, Social Media and Promotion
Who you know helps a lot! Everything from getting a good record deal to being paid properly for live gigs depends on your ability to be in contact with the right people. No one will go out of their way for a recluse. Being open and social is not everyone’s thing, but in the day of social media, it is as important as knowing how to play your instrument. Learn to do promotion by getting those business cards, phone numbers and media contacts. Most importantly, get them smiling when they see or hear from you. Who’s “them?” Everyone.
Being proactive is key
No matter how good your music and team is, you’re the centerpiece!
Collaborations, guesting on other people’s performances, playing live, promoting your music in person and online; all these things are necessary. Your marketing crew will have a tough time talking about your music if the audience can’t experience it live or see it in the near future. Interviews, DJ sets, and even charity appearances can get your latest release a lot of positive press.
There are so many other things to consider in this industry, it might be easy to get overwhelmed, overjoyed or scared at the same time. What is amazing in today’s music world is the liberty and choices you have to develop successful careers in music. Above all, stay true to yourself and your music. Remember, like a snowball rolling downhill, it can start small, develop momentum, then grow bigger than you could imagine!
Here are some inexpensive resources that can help you on your way. Taking some of these online classes would be a positive step towards an investment in your future!