Establish a Clear Music Career Objective
While it looks cool to imagine yourself in the middle of a big screaming crowd performing your hit song with a dramatic play of lights and smoke machine and all, it pays to identify realistic goals and targets that you have for yourself when it comes to your musical career. Every practical musician surely wants to be “successful” in what they do, but first, let’s identify how you define your “success” in music.
Start small and celebrate your small progress. Baby steps are fine if it leads towards your intended direction. If you haven’t performed in front of an audience before, check out the local events scene in your area. Maybe you can join an open mic night or an artist is looking for a collaboration. Maybe a band needs an opening act, too, and that could be you.
You can also start by starting your record label, so you will have more creative freedom. This step requires some paperwork so make sure that you start working on the documents and allot some weeks for the registration process.
It is not important if you are a newbie or you have been in the music scene for a while. The most important thing is to get things going by starting to move. Start with the basics, and make that first step. After that, evaluate your musical direction and prioritize which steps to take.
For example, you are done registering your label—now what? How will you choose the first artist to sign? Will he or she be a new act or someone who is already a pro? It’s all up to you. The only important job is devising a plan for the next 12 months and beyond. Just identify the needed tasks, flesh out the details, and create a checklist to remind you of your progress.
Be There… In Person
Actual people interaction is essential in building a successful musical career. Flourishing in this field involves getting acquainted with industry people or at least people within their circle. Gather your courage and muster the necessary confidence to present yourself. Be confident but be open to any possible rejection, and that’s fine. You can actually get used to it and learn how to be tough because you might encounter a lot of rejections before getting your big break. You will never know the possibilities that await you unless you gamble and try.
You don’t have to live in the big cities to meet the right people. Work on what’s convenient and build connections brick by brick. Call the bar or restaurant manager and explore the possibility of any of their future events or music nights. Introduce yourself to a booker, tell them about your musical background, and ask if he or she can find a gig for you. Check out your local newspaper or community newsletter and get in touch with music reviewers and entertainment writers. Do what you can do today. Although big events can expand your network, you can actually find magic when you explore possible gigs and exposure in your city or community.
Take Advantage of the Many Gifts of the Internet
Although many have succeeded in being Internet sensations for a time, the world wide web is not everything as far as music success is concerned. But—as someone new to the game, spending a bit of time behind the keyboard can also be helpful.
Do not prioritize those music sites that promise you overnight success. One thing is essential though: Social Media accounts. Create an account on one or several social media apps and post consistently so that you can build a following. You don’t need to sign up for every social media app available. Choose the best ones you are most comfortable using and interact with your fans and supporters. The goal is to build a community of listeners.
Now, if you want to go to the business route, then you don’t need social media to gain “fans.” Join groups and communities focused on the music business. Who knows? Your next big break or opportunity might come from your Facebook or Instagram feed.
Frankly, it doesn’t matter which site you choose and if it’s the “in” thing or not. Just choose the ones that you find easy to operate and concentrate on posting interesting updates regularly. Social Media helps, but it’s not everything, too. However, building your website legitimizes your music practice and gives you more room for creativity in terms of content and professional branding.
Form Your Success Squad
You can’t take charge of every aspect of your musical career. Some tasks are better performed by others. For example, sure you can play the acoustic guitar well, but the guitar solo in your carrier single will be played better by a seasoned electric guitarist. Sure you are good in Math, but you need the help of an accountant to save time and focus on other aspects of your music business career like marketing and promotions. You need other people and it is always best to delegate certain tasks to those who can do them expertly.
Delegate, cooperate, and collaborate. Find people. Socialize. Circulate. Entertain volunteers and be open to partnerships. Seek the help of friends and other musicians. As a musician, you can hire someone to find gigs for you. As a music business newbie, hiring a publicist might bring in more mileage and cash to your business. Research on the going rates and evaluate experiences and portfolios. Meet potential candidates and see if your work ethics and creative energies match. Doing these will not only remove burdens. You will also most likely get things accomplished with minimal error.
Gather Yourself and Be Professional
Whether you are a musician or a budding music business professional, you should start by seeing and treating yourself like a true professional. The business may not seem too corporate, but the music business is still BUSINESS. Take it seriously and it will reward you.
Professionalism involves tasks and practices that will help you build your reputation. This is show business and credibility and reliability are its fuel. Make sure to maintain your good image by practicing the following:
• Respect time—yours and other people’s schedules. Show up to meetings and be prompt in your replies.
• Prepare contracts or ask the other party to prepare one for you. This will legitimize the agreement and will provide security for both parties as deliverables, dates, payments, and other details are clearly stated.
• Stick to deadlines.
• Be attentive in dealing with everything that concerns finances.
• Even if you are juggling your music career with your main source of income, it pays to be a pro in everything you do.
Jumpstart your music career journey today by considering the tips above. Good luck!