Some musicians really like taking care of the business side of their careers, and they really have a knack for it. Others simply want to be able to focus on the creative part. That's where a record label can help. Labels also bring a wealth of knowledge of the business, contacts it takes years to build up and a budget you may not be able to swing by yourself. The DIY route is perfect for some musicians. The idea that it is for everyone is ludicrous. You need to filter out the background noise and decide which route is the one for you. These articles may help you weigh up some of your options:
The Basics Still Matter
These days, there is so much attention placed on this app and that app or this social networking tool or the other for musicians. These things may have a place, but they are secondary to the basics. Writing good songs and playing shows still form the foundation of any good music career. You can make it in music without the special software or this, that and the other, but you can't make it without the music and the shows. At least not for long.
Further, no one has ever said, "I'm not that into the music, but wow, I really love this group's thoughts on social networking and music promo. When are they playing?" Now, that is not to say that you shouldn't educate yourself about the issues facing the industry or that you shouldn't actively be involved in shaping the direction your chosen industry should take. It IS to say, however, that a good song is more powerful that a blog, a blog comment, a headline, a new software program or new social networking website. If you're a musician, your priority should be your music, every time. To that end....
Social Networking is Not Going to Save Your Musical Life
Social networking CAN be handy tool in connecting with your fans and keeping them on board and interested. It can also be a huge distraction if you don't give it the right place on your list of priorities. Now, I know you can think of a lot of musicians who have gotten something going on a social networking site. Go ahead, see how many you can list....ok, now what percentage of the total number of musicians who are on the net does your list represents? Exactly.
Don't neglect the other parts of your music career in favor of being active on social networking sites. Ever. Also, don't ever pay anyone to "teach" you how to use social networking sites effectively. There is no magic formula. None. The best way to be successful on these sites is to be yourself and figure out what feels right to you. You don't need to pay someone to tell you how that's done, no matter how much some people may tell you that you do. It's not rocket science. Just jump in. You'll get it. If you need some advice about what works and what doesn't, there are more free resources dedicated to offering advice on this kind of stuff than you could hope to read in a lifetime. See, I even have a few myself:
Making a Living in Music is Possible
Let's finish off on a positive note. Not everyone working in music will be looking at a life of swimming pools and movie stars, but making a living in music isn't as crazy as your mom might tell you it is. From labels to distribution to promotion to booking to manufacturing and more - there are lots of music related jobs that allow you to pay the bills. Patience and hard work are a must, but you can get there. Some info about making money in the music industry follows: