Create something your audience will love. To truly have a lucrative career, you must create music an audience wants to hear. “To be successful in the industry today, a band must act as its own CEO and create a strong and unique brand." It’s vital to channel your passion to find the right sound, genre, topics, image, and target audience for the music you create. Aside from having your songs on the radio, you should also aim to get some air time doing interviews and playing live sets. Interviews will help your audience relate to you as a person and show them that you are more than just another name. Nothing happens overnight, and that goes for making it in the music industry. There’s an old saying that goes, “Want an artist to complain? True artists strive for change. If your songs are popular it means they are inevitably making an impact, and that impact you make could change people's lives; so try to create every piece of music with the aim of bettering the world.
Breaking into the music industry has always been a challenge for artists from all genres. There are tens of thousands of artists vying for attention and gigs, and that’s on top of the artistic challenge of getting the inspiration for new songs, finding the right melody or beat, and dealing with band member personalities. The whole process can be overwhelming, especially considering the constant flux the music industry presents.
But, explains composer and producer Rodney Alejandro, “No band ever became successful by accident. It took passion, planning and persistence.” Despite the thousands of tips on joining the music industry readily available online, knowing where to start is something completely different. To help you, I’m going to share essential tips on how to make a long-term career in the music industry that you can start implementing right now.
1. Create something your audience will love.
To truly have a lucrative career, you must create music an audience wants to hear. “Gone are the days of record labels creating rock stars,” says producer Julie Pyle of Jayde Monroe Productions. “To be successful in the industry today, a band must act as its own CEO and create a strong and unique brand.” It’s vital to channel your passion to find the right sound, genre, topics, image, and target audience for the music you create. Your music brand is no different than any other, so it’s vital that you do adequate market research to know:
- Where is your audience?
- How old is your audience?
- What music do they currently listen to?
- What do they want to hear more of?
- What do they hate?
- Where do they listen to music?
- Where do they buy their music?
2. Help them relate to your brand.
Despite your creative flare, your desire to be unique, and perhaps your lack of care for pleasing the masses, you are no different to any other brand — meaning you have to be likable. For your audience to take an interest in you, you need to first create good music, and second, portray yourself in a way that your audience can relate to. Be personable, show personality, and portray yourself as an authority figure in the industry by leading the curve.
Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records says this about creating your own personal style: “There is always a curve in each genre of music and you have to be careful not to jump on an existing bandwagon that is phasing out. You take the chance of falling behind the curve, as other bands who are more cutting edge shape the industry. Hopefully, you can see the curve and naturally create music which will be perceived as fresh and not a rehash of what has been popular in the previous years.”
3. Promote your music on the right online channels.
You need to promote yourself online, of course, but it’s more important that you choose the right channels to do so. Having a website and maintaining an active presence on social media are both essential, but you also need to make sure you appear on Spotify specifically. Spotify is dominating the online music industry and if you can get yourself into one person’s playlist, others will follow.
4. Promote your music offline, too.
Online is where you will reach your largest audience and following, but the radio still plays a very important role in the music industry.
Once you are established in your city, and you’ve played a lot of gigs and gotten to know people, ask local…