Sarah Records quietly and unassumingly started a revolution. Make that two, actually. The music they released launched a new sound that defined a generation of musicians and labels, especially in the UK. The way they did business also opened doors for a new generation of music business folks who are miles from the flashy major-label types but still very much the masters of their empires. If you're feeling discouraged that your music dreams won't ever come to fruition, then Sarah's story is a reminder that anything is possible. Tap into more than a little bit of inspiration in this interview with Sarah Records' founders.
If you write music, understanding publishing is as important as understanding record deals and show contracts. In fact, maybe more so. As a songwriter, publishing may be your central - and longest lasting - revenue stream. Too often, however, songwriters, especially those who perform their own music, don't take the time to understand this aspect of their music careers. Don't make that costly mistake. This guide to music publishing will help you understand the basics and decide which direction is the right one for you.
One of the most exciting - and scary - transitions for a musician to make is moving from day job land to being a full-time musician. How do you know that it is time to make that leap? If you've recently won the lottery, by all means, please proceed to giving yourself a full-time job as a musician. Everyone else is going to need to weigh up a few factors, from being sure you actually have enough music, fans, gigs, and such to keep you busy to being sure you're actually going to be able to make yourself stay busy when things like TV and drinking coffee are so tempting. Are you ready to play music full-time? Here are some things to consider before you become a career musician.
Refresh...nothing. Refresh...nothing. Refresh....nothing.
Sound familiar? That is the sound of the musician repeatedly checking his or her email account to see if the show is booked or the review is set or the music got listened to. Frustratingly, the silence can stretch for days...weeks...even months. In some cases, the response just never comes.
Well, it could be that it has nothing to do with you at all. Anyone with any power to make something happen in the music biz is in high demand. Or, it could be that your approach could use a little fine tuning. Are you tired of hearing crickets in your inbox? Here are five reasons no one is responding to your music industry emails.
Wait...pay? Aren't careers supposed to pay you?
Well, yes, in theory, but as with many creative endeavors, actually getting to the point where your music/music-related business is paying you can take a fair bit of upfront cash on your part. This fact is becoming more and more true every day, when being a musician means having to be out on the road all the time, playing shows for less than it really costs to do them. Yes, yes, you're building an audience, and the idea is that this hard work will increase that audience to the point where they shows actually pay for themselves...and then pay you...but the reality is that more musicians than ever are facing a scary gap between the financial demands of music and their earning potential.
In other words, you're going to need a way to foot the bill for investing in your own music career. For starters, try to avoid relying on credit cards. That debt will only come back to haunt you. Also, don't be afraid to take a non-music job if you have to. Look for one that can accommodate your touring schedule, or cut back on shows for awhile as you stack your cash. Believe it or not, you're better off doing that than trying to grind out it out playing covers nightly at locals bars to make a few bucks - people will begin to see you as that instead of an original musician and won't want to pay for a ticket to your show if you're playing for free every other night.
There are many things you can do to pay for your music career. Visit Money and Your Music Career 101 for much more information.
Getting new music you've recorded out into the world is always an exciting prospect, but if it you want it to actually reach the ears of listeners, you're going to need a plan. A good plan will help you make smart decisions about everything from how much money to spend on promotion to who you should actually promote said music to. Don't just throw something out there and then try to chase it with a little bit of promo here and there when the mood strikes. You'll lose all the momentum and will turn into old news - and a non-story - fast. Instead, before you release your album, check these four things off your to-do list.
If you love music enough to share the joy it brings you with someone else, then becoming a music teacher could be the music industry career for you. Teaching music can take a lot of different shapes and forms. You might offer private lessons as a way to fund your other music industry goals, or you may work full-time in a school setting. The training required - and the amount you can make - varies greatly, depending on the avenue you choose within the field and the demand for music instruction where you live. Could you have a future teaching music? Learn more about becoming a music teacher in this career profile.
After self-promoting shows, landing a gig with a real, live concert promoter is a big deal. You can forget about making all of those follow-up calls and trying to get all of the details about the gig in line and instead focus on getting ready to deliver an amazing performance. However, that doesn't mean you're totally off the hook for spreading the word about the show. In fact, if you aren't working with your concert promoter, you're working against them.
How? Consider, for instance, if your promoter asks you to send some posters. And then you say OK and don't do it. And then it's a few days before the show and no posters are up. Not a good look. You're gambling with your show and the cash the promoter threw down on your behalf - and that doesn't bode well for a return visit.
Don't let it happen to you. Instead, follow these tips for working with your promoter and help ensure a great night is had all around.
Your song is as long as it is, and radio should just get over it and play it, right? Ah, if only that were the case. In reality, at commercial radio stations in particular, your song has to get in and get out fast for it to have a shot at real airplay. That means that when you select songs to promote to radio, you have to either choose songs that fall into the right parameters or songs that you don't mind giving a little nip and tuck to.
Breaking into music is hard, right? But do some genres have it easier than others? Some would say yes, but what makes a genre hard to break into? For instance, the barrier to entry for pop music is high, simply because it usually requires a major label team, but once you're in, is the road easier than an indie bluegrass bang slogging it out for 310 days a year on the road? What makes a genre hard to break into, and what are some ways to overcome the hurdles? Join the discussion here!