The music business is a notoriously tough one to get into, but it’s also easier now than ever for people to start recording and selling music. The internet has greatly democratized the industry, and there are many success stories of artists who believed in themselves and were able to build a successful career as a result.
However, it’s also easy to get disillusioned and lose a lot of time and money trying to make it. You then have talented artists who, unfortunately, make disastrous mistakes that end up ruining their careers and entire lives before they can even start. Let’s take a look at some of the things you should know before you try making it in the music business.
Where You Are Still Makes a Difference
While virtually anyone anywhere can release a record nowadays, where you’ll be will make a huge difference. Current hubs include New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. Los Angeles, in particular, has always been a great destination for musicians, and there are many reasons why.
The main reason why Los Angeles is such a prized destination is the sheer number of opportunities you could be presented with. There are more ways than one to get into the music business. You could start by doing commercial work, for instance, and build your portfolio that way. Whatever the case, the place is crawling with agents and talent managers, so you’ll have more chances of getting discovered there than pretty much anywhere in the world.
Los Angeles also has some of the best studios in the country, and don’t assume that they’ll cost you an arm and a leg either. Studios like Pirate for instance, often offer free studio sessions and reasonable rates with top of the line results. They have studios all over the world and are just getting prepared to open their first LA location. They’re a great place if you want to hold something like a launch party as well, which is a very important part of the music business. If you want to learn more about Pirate studios and get notified when their Los Angeles recording studio opens, you can find them at pirate.com.
You Don’t Need to be on a Major Label
Not only do you not have to sign with a major label to start your career, but it’s often better that you start independently. Not many major companies will consider signing a brand-new talent who has no audience anyway, so building some sort of following is the best way to get noticed and get a favorable deal if a major label does decide to contact you at some point.
If you feel like you actually have talent, the best way to showcase it is through social media. YouTube is a great option, and doing something as simple as posting a few videos, getting active on other artists’ videos, or kindly asking people to hear your cover of a popular song could get you the initial following. If you are actually good, you can expect word of mouth to spread. It is up to you to constantly get more active across more platforms, and continue releasing quality work.
Understand Streams of Income
One of the biggest misconceptions people have about the music business is how artists make money. If you ask the majority of people, most would assume that they make the most out of record sales, but that wouldn’t necessarily be true. In most cases, artists make most of their money touring, so if you want to really make it, you have to see if you’re ready for the performance aspect as it’s probably going to be your main source of revenue.
Also, while it’s possible to make a lot of money on publishing, you have to make sure that you actually own it. Publishing will allow you to get paid every time your song gets played, and some people end up signing it away to their management or label out of ignorance or greed. This is one of the worst mistakes you can make, and one you might regret for the rest of your life, so make sure that you revise any contract over and over until you’re sure it’s the right deal for you.
Get the Right Legal Team
Speaking of contracts, no one can help you figure them out like a lawyer can. So, before you even think about management, you should make sure that you know a few entertainment lawyers first. We say a few because you want to have contracts reviewed by more than one to make sure you don’t miss anything. If you get a yes from multiple sources, then chances are it’s a great deal. You’ll also be better equipped to negotiate with a savvy team in your corner.
These are just some of the things that you should know before you enter the music industry, but they could save you. Make sure that you know what you’re getting into, and that you have the legal aspect down first and foremost before you rush into anything.