The internet is full of tips on how to start a music career. Get a co-sign. Work with the best producer. But what if you don’t have access to all these people? Here are realistic tips and steps you need to do to start a music career.
#1 Decide what “music career” is for you
Would you like to make enough money for living? Be heard by many people? Start a label? Play many live shows?
Identify what your goal for the next twelve months is, break it into small goals, set deadlines and go for it. Very important: Make the small steps realistic, achievable and very concrete. And most important: Do what is needed to achieve these goals.
So first of all, ask yourself the What questions – What kind of music career do you want? The How will be easier to answer then.
#2 Be stable musically
- Work on your music skills – especially to play great in the professional environment of a studio, in an audition etc. and also to have a good ear (here are some ear training exercises).
- Write your own songs and record them regularly – while it doesn’t have to have a radio-ready sound it has to be super tight!
- Work on your live playing – the better your live shows are, the better your music will sell. So make sure to improve your live performance.
- Create music videos of your songs – visual material just works well!
- Be really passionate about making music. It will give you the strength to master all challenges of a music career.
#3 Work on your promotion & connections
A great deal about the start of a music career is the promotion. Learn here what you need to know about Music Marketing.
- Have a website and join some Social Network sites to build a community. Soundcloud is awesome to make people listen to your music at no cost.
- Use the newest social media channels like Vine: Create videos which only last 6 seconds. That’s apparently how long people need to hear of a song to know if they like it or not. So make sure to choose the most catchy 6 seconds.
- Reach out to a talented DJ to remix one of your tracks (says this website) – danceable versions will surely help you to get more famous.
- Connect with people who can help you – network! Don’t be afraid to hear a no. If you get out there and reach out to important people in the music industry, you can only get better and eventually get what you want. “Out there” is also a local booker, so start small rather than not starting at all.
- Use Social Media also to connect with music influencers and people in the business. As Tom Hess suggests, focus rather on local level first – with fans and important people.
#4 Deal with public pressure
- Be stable mentally. Work on your personality to become the person you need to be to succeed and start a music career. It may all sound like bla bla talk – but it will really help you in the long run.
- Don’t announce label signs or an amazing new album. It will only create some expectations of something big – and let’s be honest, you’ll never know if you newest tracks will be. Stay mysterious. This will take the pressure off you and let you concentrate on your music
#5 Be organized
- Be professional in the way you treat your partners and clients. So be on time, keep appointments and control your moods if somethings hits your nerve – just like in every other job, too.
- Control your expenses carefully. Check your monthly incomes and outcomes. Think twice before spending anything.
- An advantage of the digital era is that you can manage most of your stuff alone. You can create own visuals, videos, do your own promotion and marketing, record your songs by yourself. You naturally won’t be perfect in that all. But it will cut your costs and make you authentic to the early fans.
- Beware, there are also beginning designers, photographers, bookers and managers out there, who’d love to start a career in their field, too. So collaborate with other creatives, too.
- Make contracts if you’ve got any kind of collaboration going. It will secure your rights and protect the relationship with partners. Seek out professional advice, if you’ve never created or signed a contract before.
Of course, there always will be more and more tips and steps. But those seemed to me like the most realistic and important ones to start with. Leave us a comment if you have something particular to add or share on the topic. Cheers!
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