Success in the music business is something of a mystery, there are lots of myths and false doctrines. You’ll need these music business tips to ensure your career as an artist is stable and under your control!
1. Use Available Berklee Services
There are extraordinary benefits that come with being a Berklee student. There are of course the contacts, the education, the facilities and the large amount of social networking related to Berklee. Totally use it, there are thousands of people who would kill just to have access to the information you were given.
2. Get Involved With A Community
The music industry is an industry that relies on talent but has many other parts to it. Lots of artists require the assistance of charities, political organizations, sports teams, unions, restaurants, clothing stores, and religious organizations to project their ‘image’ and ‘philosophy’ . There are contacts in all of these organizations that are just as important to know as having a team of musicians and producers, so look there. You don’t know what kinds of bones these organizations can throw you.
3. Practice Various Non-Star Skills
A very important music business tip. Being able to write a few songs, perform, or make sick beats is not enough. Unless you’ve got a boatload of cash, you’re going to need to understand the fundamentals of writing, performing, marketing, imaging, copyrighting, and communicating. There are great musicians out there who are terrible at all these skills, if you’re good enough at them, you make some extra money in these areas as you’re developing your own brand.
You may even find that you like this kind of work more than being the center of attention. A good deal of the music business is made up of people who in a sense do artists’ and management’s paperwork for them. Often times there’s a good percentage in it for those who are willing to do the boring work, and what’s better is that it can be a lot less stressful than constantly worrying if you’re good enough as a musician or an artist.
4. Build Your Team
An interesting trick in the entertainment industry is convincing the public that you did everything yourself. It might feel good, but it’s never as true as we wish it to be. You may need a team to record your instrument, come up with the music for your songs, and finalize your recording. In the much the same way you will need a team to design your “brand.” This could include lawyers, managers, artistic collaborators, producers, publicists, communicators, organizers, and so on. It’s good to work with people who share your values and are willing to campaign, fight for your cause, and have some great music business tips.
5. Practice How You Perform
One could easily spend hours and hours practicing every lick under the sun to be the fastest gun in the west. There is, however, a mountain of evidence that if you do not practice in the same manner you’ll be performing it’s all for naught. 30 minutes of good and effective practice that’s concise and accurate is far more important than 30 hours practicing slouched in a chair not maintaining the subtleties of a performance. Music is not something performed in a vacuum, so why practice that way?
6. Register Your Music
Of all the music business tips, this one is by far the most important. You might feel a real need to get your music out there, and not really care about setting a good foundation for yourself financially, you might get ripped off, or worse people will love your music and you won’t make a cent. That, in a sense, makes you a scab, undermining all the hard work of people who will do their due diligence to make sure they’re compensated for their work. A dual writing/publishing license with ASCAP or BMI is at most $100 and will last the rest of your career, pretty cheap compared to how much you could be ripped off for later.
7. Budget Luxury Goods
With that in mind, there comes a point where recognizing your professional expenses is a total must for being a musician. It costs $35 to copyright an album– a measly $35. The further you get along, the more consumptive habits you realize get in the way of you spending your money on your artistry. The less money you spend on the movies, going out for drinks, cigarettes and the like, the closer you’ll be to accomplishing your financial goals to make your dreams come true.
8. Utilize Social Media And All The Expertise That Goes With It
As artists, we are compelled to use the latest technologies that are available to us. We are in a sense, propagandists for our artistry and all options must be on the table when it comes to spreading the word. In the same way that the phonograph for recording sound was thought to be mostly a tool for recording speeches, conversations and so on, and not music; so too must social media be used for marketing music and art. In the same way that music in former ages was to decorate media platforms such as the church and the salon, so too must music fit the formats of Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Spotify.
9. Keep Up And Follow Through With Professional Contacts
A music business tip that is always better said than done, keeping up with contacts sometimes will not yield the desired results. However, in this case, persistence will prove otherwise, thank goodness.
10. Always Seek Quality, Not Quantity
You can try to make 100 mediocre albums or 1 album that hits all the charts and has a multigenerational impact that is associated with a period in history. It’s totally possible you can achieve both, but it’s obvious quality reigns supreme.
Are there any other music business tips that should have been included? Post your advice in the comments section?
Featured Image Source: pinterest.com/pin/90916486214347742/
John D. Short is a Bassist, and Songwriter/Composer from Tyler, Texas. He is the administrator of Philtrum Publishing Federation, a great lover of conspiracy theories, history and irony. He's a graduate of Berklee College of Music's Jazz Composition Program.