Music is a tough industry to be successful in, much less break in to. If you’re trying to start a music career, you already know how hard it can be to get your career off the ground. You’re constantly trying to find gigs that pay, or you’re looking for ways to get your name out there so you can finally start to get some return on a job that you love.
So how can you jumpstart your music career?
1. Get online
Building your presence online is an essential part of any business in today’s world. Consider uploading some of your music and sharing it on social media. Offering things for free can draw in buyers later who love your stuff.
2. Get out there
Go out in person to gigs and schedule meet-ups. People who received your stuff on social media will more than likely come to meet you in person and see you perform. Consider signing up at local restaurants and bars to perform live and sell CDs or MP3s.
3. Set goals
Just like any business, you need to set goals for yourself. Consider setting up metrics such as marketing and performance metrics that give you purpose and drive in your career. Sell a certain number of MP3s in one day, or improve social media interaction in one week. Goals such as these give you a direction in which you can improve.
4. Get a team
Consider getting friends to help out at first, and once you’ve got a little of money coming in, hire a small number of people to help you build your presence online and in person. While doing it all yourself can be a big money-saver, it can also be a big time waster in that there is always someone who does something better than you do. Consider hiring them to see improvements in your business.
5. Get legal
While this can be a daunting task to some, setting up contracts and copyrights can help protect you and your employees/friends from future issues. Plus, protecting your intellectual property is an important task for any artist, big or small.
Demanding more from yourself and your team isn’t a bad thing; demand time and investment from yourself in order to meet your goals and improve your work. Set a strict schedule and strict goals for yourself and demand that effort.
7. Get a mentor
If you’re having trouble finding a direction or motivation to get stuff done, consider talking to a mentor in the industry. Attending live performances of other musicians can be a great way to meet people and network, which can lead to industry friendships and help when you need it. Most musicians are more than happy to answer questions and help another budding artist out.
8. Get an education
While getting an education in music may not seem like a priority (Taylor Swift may not have a degree in Pop Music), it can really help raise the quality of your work. Though by no means is an education required, learning how to manage yourself as a musician and what to expect in the industry can be good things to know.
9. Build Your Brand
As with any business, you build a personal brand when you start promoting your work. Consider your beliefs, habits, daily life, motivations and aspirations when coming up with your brand, such as your industry name or album names. Often times picking things personal to you can help listeners relate and connect with you.
10. Become a musician
This point may seem counter-intuitive, but the trick to being a successful musician is to be a musician. Don’t focus so much on what you should be doing--instead, hone in on things about you as a person that make you a musician. Worry less about how to do things like selling CDs or getting a world tour, and instead focus on you, mentally, and what you need to become in order to handle these things.
Becoming a successful musician doesn’t happen overnight; in fact, getting the money you put in to your career back through revenue can take months, if not years. Being patient and focusing on who you must become in order to succeed is the most important part of jumpstarting your music career, but the other nine aspects don’t hurt, either.
Image Source: flickr photo by Adam Lerner.