Chances are, you have undermined your potential for success in the music industry because you believed in one or more music career myths. How do I know? I am constantly emailed by many musicians (all looking for answers to the WRONG questions). This is a question that may seem like a good one at the top level, but is actually a very destructive question that takes them far from their musical dreams.
To structure a successful career in music as soon as possible, you need to know the questions you DO NOT need to answer, and understand how to ask higher-quality questions that will put you on the right track to achieving your music industry goals.
Here are the 4 worst music career questions you should avoid to build a successful career as a professional musician:
Bad Music Career Question #1: Should I Be a ‘Hungry Artist’?
Many people believe that making a living as a professional musician means one of two things: Either you ‘make it’ and travel the world and sell millions of albums or you ‘become a starving artist’ and have to play in ugly bars and street corners. just to pass. . This music business myth leads people to sabotage careers early on, either by making them believe they need to get a full-time job unrelated to music and ‘trying to do music on the side’, or by being afraid of trying to enter the music business. .
In fact, the music business comprises a large middle class and there are many ways to make a living. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to make a living in the music industry than to be successful outside. However, before you make a lot of money, you need to stop asking low-quality questions. Stop worrying about being a starving artist and start imagining all the different ways to make money as a musician.
When you work in the music business, you are not forced to live from one paycheck to the next like in a regular job. On the other hand, it is always possible to get multiple sources of income at the same time. This makes becoming a professional musician a much more stable career choice because you don’t have to depend on just ONE source of income. Besides the obvious ways for musicians to make money off of music (selling albums/downloads, playing live shows, or recording as a session musician), there’s one thing you can do right now that will quickly increase your music-related income:
Start developing a music teaching business. This will quickly generate multiple sources of income (your students) for you while you work far less than full time each week.
When you build multiple sources of music income as discussed above, it’s very possible (and not as difficult as you might think) to make over $100k in your music career each year (I know this, because I’ve helped many musicians to do.) .
Bad Music Career Question #2: How Do I Get a Recording Contract?
To understand why this isn’t a good question to ask, answer this: “Why should someone give YOU a record contract?” If you think it’s because you write good music…try again. This is not a good enough reason for someone to sign a record deal with you. No one is going to invest thousands of dollars into you just because you can write good music. This would be a FAR too risky investment (so much so that it doesn’t even make sense).
Imagine you save $200,000, then would you go to a casino and risk it all for one round of roulette? OR would you invest it in someone who has proven that they can help you earn more (at least at a lower rate)? No doubt, you will make a wise choice and invest it in someone who will help you make more money.
This is how record labels think. So stop wondering about how you got to sign a record deal and start turning yourself into a ‘wise investment’ that any label would appreciate right away. It takes more than just writing good music, playing your instrument well, or having a Facebook page.
Here are the actions you should take to make yourself a worthwhile investment for a record company:
1. Understand what the music industry is looking for in musicians before they start working with them.
2. Work every day to build your music career. Record companies want to see that you have a good track record before they start working with you. The more things you do as an independent musician, the more likely you are to gain interest from record companies.
3. Get music industry training from a successful mentor who has accomplished great things in the music industry and helped others sign record contracts.
Once you start developing your own music career, you will become like a beacon of light and record companies will come looking for YOU!
Bad Music Career Question #3: How Can I Get My Music ‘Heared’ By More People?
The majority of musicians want their music to be heard by as many people as possible, believing that this will help them earn money and become successful professional musicians. However, the number of people who listen to your music is not very significant. What really matters is the number of people you can turn into dedicated fans who will do anything to support you and your music.
Stop asking yourself how to get more people to listen to your music and start turning anyone who is already a fan of you into a true FANATIC. Only Once you have a strategy for turning ‘regular fans’ into ‘hardcore fanatics’ will the total number of people listening to your music matter.
Bad Music Career Question #4: Best Music City To Move To?
Many musicians think they are much more likely to succeed in the music industry by moving to a ‘music city’. Then with this belief in mind, they packed up their things and moved on, believing that opportunities would ‘fall into their lap’ once they arrived. After they’ve been in their new location for a while and nothing has changed, they blame the city and find a new location to move to (while completely unaware of the TRUE reasons why they didn’t make it).
Here’s the truth about the ‘location’ that leads to success in the music industry: Your location has nothing to do with your ability to become a successful professional musician. This is especially true today when it’s easier than ever for someone to get a record deal, put out music, organize a world tour or work as a session musician wherever they live.
Highly successful musicians don’t become like that because they live in one area more than another. If that were true, there would be no successful musicians living in cities that are not known for the big music world. The principles that lead to the development of a successful music career apply exactly the same no matter where you live.
Instead of making a massive (futile) effort to try to research and find the world’s best music, go through the following process that has PROVEN working for musicians:
- Define your specific musical goals.
- Start working with a music business mentor to devise an effective strategy for achieving your music goals.
- Work every day to get closer to achieving your goals until you reach them.
When you focus on what matters most (using the process above), you will achieve success in your music career more quickly.
Now that you’ve learned why so many common questions about a music career are actually leading your music career down the wrong path, here’s what you need to do to get back on track:
Step 1. Think more deeply about your music career goals. Use the resources in this article to gain clarity on how the music industry works.
Step 2. Start asking yourself consistently high-quality questions when trying to figure out what you need to do to achieve your music career goals.
Step 3. Don’t build your music career alone. Get music business training to achieve big things fast in the music industry.