How to Start a Music Career in 2023
You intend to pursue a career in music, then. My friend, welcome to the club! There is still a long line of people waiting to enter the music industry. But what if I told you that you need to learn a few things before you can skip that step and begin acting in real life? No matter what you do, knowledge is power, so keep reading to learn where to begin if you want to succeed right away.
You will find 16 important considerations in the text that follow, but keep in mind that the caliber of your music is ultimately what will determine your success in the music business. Create incredible music while being aware of everything that can be useful along the way.
1. Figure Out Your Place in the Music Industry
Think about it:
- Would I like to sing?
- Do I prefer performing music?
- Do I want to be a musician that sings original songs?
- Are I more interested in music production than music performance?
Keep in mind that there are no incorrect answers. In the music business, everyone may discover a palace. If you don't like being the center of attention, there are several of music career possibilities to think about. You can choose the ideal path for you to begin a career in music by being honest with yourself about your skill sets and what you enjoy doing.
Creative thinking is essential since there are countless options. You might work as a stage manager, music teacher, composer of film music, or studio engineer.
You can read on to learn more about the challenges that the majority of aspiring artists encounter when they first launch their musical careers:
- composing original songs or performing covers?
- forming a group or going it alone?
- Choosing a record label or going independent?
Making Self-composed Music or Doing Covers?
Many musicians struggle to decide what genre of music they want to play when they first start out. Playing music you love and appreciate will be crucial if you want to establish a connection with your audience. Only then will they be able to relate to you.
Once you've settled into a rhythm, you can decide whether you want to write and play your own music or whether you'd rather work on cover versions of other artists' songs. What really counts are your skills. If you are not yet at ease writing your own music, start with covers. Most musicians will encourage you to consistently practice songs by other artists, even if you only perform your own tunes. You may develop your skills and learn more about songwriting by performing covers. Regardless of whether you are a guitarist, singer, drummer, or producer, it will alter the way you hear music, which will enhance your performance.
Having a Band or Going Solo?
A single artist makes more money and is not compelled to share the attention or the power of creation with anyone. There are certain disadvantages, though. You can experience increased work and loneliness.
Finding individuals you vibe with, playing music—any sort of music—together, and building a level of mutual trust are the goals of joining a band. The chemistry that each member of the band has is the key to their success, but you will inevitably run into situations when there are arguments and confrontations, each of which has advantages and disadvantages.
Take into account your personal comfort level.
Going Independent or Signing With a Record Label?
Again, adopting a DIY strategy ensures complete control over your music, concerts, and everything else. Yet this also suggests that a lot more effort is required. You might find, for instance, that writing or practicing music need more time than replying to emails.
If you have the resources to do so and your task becomes too much for you to handle, assemble a team to help you. If you feel that the administrative work is exhausting you and you aren't spending enough time on your music, look for record labels ready to sign you on as an artist.
There are benefits to signing with a label since it can provide you with resources, relationships, and knowledge that allow you to focus more on the creative aspects. But signing with a label typically implies giving in on many fronts. Many of the decisions affecting your music and public perception won't be your own anymore. A label should be chosen with caution. Instead of hastily signing a record deal, take your time to investigate and get in touch with record labels that share your ideas.
2. Set Specific Goals
By setting goals and objectives, you can prevent time wastage. Focus on achieving short-term objectives, such as recording a song by a given date or performing a certain number of shows. You'll remain attentive and productive as a result.
On the other side, try adopting a more expansive viewpoint. Set long-term objectives. Some desire to tour the world as independent performers. Others may just want to write music in order to secure deals for sync licensing with television shows or motion pictures. Everyone won't have the same aspirations or objectives. Identifying your long-term objective may take some time, and as you acquire experience, it might alter. Setting long-term objectives will make it simpler for you to move forward and make wiser choices.
3. Invest in Your Growth
Starting a career in music requires realizing that you must first invest in yourself. You must be willing to put up the effort to learn and complete projects, whether it takes time or money.
To advance your musical career, you'll need money, whether it's for things like hiring a web designer, paying for studio time, printing CDs, employing a merchandise designer, or leasing a car to get to gigs. You must have confidence in your own ability and be willing to take a financial risk. If you can't invest in yourself to look well and make good music, how can you expect fans or anyone else to spend money or time on you?
Should I Only Focus on Making a Career in Music?
It's probably not a smart idea to drop everything and start trying to support yourself through music right away. This might not apply to you if your financial situation is strong.
Although while some people are fortunate enough to enter the music industry without maintaining a regular employment, each person's circumstances will differ.Just because we all have bills to pay and other adult responsibilities doesn't mean having a day job is terrible. No matter what, you must arrange practice time. Even while it might mean giving up some spare time, the effort will be well worth it. Striking a balance between work and practice may seem difficult at first, but if you are self-disciplined, you'll soon realize that it is possible. The cost of being a musician is also high. Even though your cost of living is minimal, you will frequently need to upgrade and change your equipment. This can be difficult at first without a day job.
4. Continue to Develop Your Skills
Develop your abilities and skills further. Keep honing your skills, whether you're producing, rapping, or singing. Never cease refining yourself as an artist!
I'm not kidding when I suggest that you must make time to practice no matter what. Even if it sounds cliche, everything becomes better with practice. Even if you are gifted, you won't get very far if you don't put the time and effort into developing your skills. Bands need to routinely jam and practice if they want to improve both their live performances and their collective songwriting. You should keep honing and practicing your transitions even if you are a DJ. Instrumental musicians can only get better if they practice their core techniques frequently.
It could get boring to keep playing the same thing over and over. Yet, if you put in more effort at the beginning of your music career—or even before you begin it will be simpler. Your capacity for performance ought to be virtually innate. Remember that no one likes to witness an artist fumble while performing on stage.
What to Keep in Mind While Practicing
It's one thing to play your instrument well on your own, but it's quite another to play it consistently in a recording studio or on stage. As a result, you must continue your practice and preparation to perform effectively in such formal settings. You should specifically develop your ability to play consistently well in a variety of high-pressure circumstances if you want to launch a successful music career.
Hence, instead of striving to play something faster or learn something new the next time you practice, focus on playing whatever you already do consistently well.
To be able to play well under pressure, you must train in many situations. For instance:
- Play the instrument while moving around and standing still.
- Close your eyes and have fun.
- To build confidence, perform in front of as many people as you can.
- Practice at a pace that is a little faster than you will need to perform.
- Pay attention to the areas where you frequently make mistakes. Don't dismiss them in the hopes that you won't repeat your error.
You should be aware that nobody plays at 100% all the time while we are discussing those memorable errors. There will inevitably be a few small mistakes, and that is quite acceptable. The important thing is that the performance as a whole is not hampered by those minor mishaps. Play on and carry on as if nothing happened.
Another thing that can be practiced is that! You can do this by introducing small errors on purpose in your musical portions (but never to the point where they disrupt your proficient playing).
This not only teaches you how to accept responsibility for your mistakes but also how to remain cool under pressure.
5. Create an Outstanding Online Presence
Social networking is a big part of our life these days. An artist needs to have a well maintained online presence that is relatable to their followers in addition to being a brilliant live performer. Establish accounts on all social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and TikTok. Upload engaging videos that are relevant to your music and your sources of inspiration. To understand how to make your music become viral on TikTok, for instance, follow this guide. Learn how social media may help you and go where your target audience is.
Also, you ought to have a polished website. On a website, you can promote and sell your CDs, list the dates of your events, interact with your followers, or simply tell your story. An online resume is similar to a website. Can you just work with social media, you may be wondering. Is this not enough? Whatever you intend to achieve, having a website is a significant bonus in my opinion. It raises your likelihood of being noticed and enables your audience to access all of your news in one location. Hence, assist both your viewers and yourself.
Pro tip: A professional photographer may assist you in getting high-quality pictures of you or your band to use for your website, social media accounts, and bio. For those just starting out, this is excellent counsel. People may subconsciously link you with poorer quality and someone who is not worthy of their attention if you come across as unprofessional. High-quality visual components, such as images, graphics, and videos, are therefore crucial for a successful online presence.
6. Networking Is the Key
To succeed in the music business, you must network. Because you never know what opportunities they might provide to you, you should get to know other musicians, event coordinators, tour managers, and other professionals.
Making contacts, getting to know other musicians you might work with, and finding possible team members like a manager, booking agent, or photographer are all goals of networking. You'll need a crew, but it's likely that you won't have enough cash on hand to hire them right away. As a result, you'll need to work with people who are on an equal footing with you and appreciate what you have to offer.
One of your top priorities should be making contacts within the local music and community scenes. You can network in your neighborhood, community, or academic institution by becoming familiar with the many music venues and establishing relationships with other regional musicians and artists. You'll be able to navigate this path more smoothly if you establish a local support network.
Of course, you ought to carry out this both offline and online. Fans can be found online, but that's not the only benefit. You only need to know how to take advantage of the networking possibilities that are out there. Find appropriate online communities where you may contribute and assist other artists who are like you. You can meet other artists with whom you can work together in the future and establish contacts in the industry by doing this.
- Be cordial with everyone you come into contact with, including the stage technician and sound engineer for the location.
- Remember that it takes a team to do a successful gig.
- Make sure that what you do has a good effect on other people.
Your appearance will frequently impact whether or not you are given consideration for a job.
7. Make Your Team Early On
With high-quality equipment and personal laptops in the right acoustic environment, it's now simple to record music; nevertheless, if you lack experience in some areas, make sure to delegate the remainder to someone who does.
Yet, even if you are one of the few artists that enjoys and excels at running the complete business, it is fine at first. But, it would be difficult to progress in this way once your music career takes off. Find competent people you can rely on if you want your music profession to prosper in the future. In the end, you want partners who are motivated to progress and work hard with you rather than just looking to profit from your triumphs.
Who Do You Need on the Team?
Producers of music: If you are not talented at writing and arranging music, you will need to find a producer to assist you. You'll also need mix and master engineers to give your album a professional sound. Working with a producer that comprehends both your music and your vision is essential. Instead of working with someone just because they have an interesting background, find someone who will interpret your ideas and weave enchantment into your music.
You can complete the task yourself if you have the relevant abilities. Remember, though, that gaining feedback from other producers is crucial since their objective observations frequently pick up on things that you would have overlooked when recording or mixing.
Managers: When your career takes off, your music manager will serve as a conduit for communication between you and the rest of the music business. Make sure they comprehend your goals. Sometimes managers also act as booking agents.
Along with the music crew, you'll also need to connect with the booking agencies and event promoters. They are in charge of securing the concerts you require and promoting your music.
With time, your team will expand. The busier your calendar gets, the more help you'll need from others. You'll soon start to think of your team as a second family. As your career progresses, you should consider bringing the following people onto your team:
- professionals in marketing Assistants
- Photojournalists and visual artists
- Entertainment attorneys
8. Understand How to Distribute Your Music on the Internet
You can start developing a fan base for your music career by posting your music on Soundcloud and Youtube. Yet, if you want to be taken seriously, you'll eventually need greater distribution. To get your music into big stores like Apple Music, Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Music, and many others, you need a music aggregator (music distributor).
Several well-known internet vendors include:
- Ditto Music
Bypassing record companies, these aggregators deliver your music directly to the top streaming and digital sales platforms. Not only do these services help you get your music onto platforms where others can buy and listen to it, but they also offer administrative publishing services that make it easier to earn royalties. Before selecting one, do your research because their costs, fees, and equipment availability will differ.
If you are successful in getting your music added to an editorial playlist on Spotify or Apple Music, you may notice incredibly high song streaming numbers. This can give you a lot of exposure as an artist. You might therefore consider utilizing services like EM Network. By putting musicians in touch with playlist curators, we help musicians have their music played on Spotify playlists.
Naturally, you won't be able to generate a lot of income from your music right now. In spite of this, it's excellent to be aware that, as a recording artist, music producer, songwriter, and/or composer, you may be able to create a number of revenue streams from your music when it's played or applied in different scenarios. Of sure, if you hold the song's copyright. You are entitled to payment or royalties from those companies when your music is streamed on websites like Spotify, Pandora, or Youtube, for example.
9. Know How Music Copyright Laws Work
One thing that is simple to neglect is protecting your music. You must hold copyright over your song and the relevant licenses before you can release anything. Having publishing rights is essential because they guard you against plagiarism. Also, if your music is being used commercially, this will ensure that you get paid your royalties.
Artists who register with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers are paid royalties by this organization. Musicians that need help getting music licensing might turn to Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). Performance Rights Organizations include ASCAP and BMI. Several entities are in charge of royalties in the US. If you wish to license your music globally, SongTrust is a better option.
Be mindful of:
- If you're a beat producer who uses samples to create a derivative work, be sure to know what you can and cannot do to avoid any legal action.
- You must determine how ownership of the music you create together will be distributed if you play in a band or other group.
- Even though it can be challenging, it's important to start talking about money and ownership right away. Every member of your band, management, or agency needs to be on the same page when it comes to rights and investments.
10. Develop Business Mindsets
Despite the fact that music is your passion, remember that it is a business. Keep in mind that you are running a business rather than just doing something as a pastime. When making choices, maintain objectivity.
It may be argued that advertising your music is equally as important as making it. Making excellent music is obviously your main goal; promoting it via multiple platforms comes in second.
To produce high-quality music, you may find it challenging to reconcile the business and artistic sides, but you must learn to do so. To read more about selecting a marketing strategy that will be effective in 2023, visit our blog post! Read How to Build a Music Marketing Strategy that Works in 2023 for more information.
You will eventually need to take the following actions:
- Create a marketing strategy.
- Put together a business plan.
- Determine who your target market is.
- understanding branding
- Create a budget for advertising and other costs.
- Get an accountant to handle your finances and tax preparation.
- Get legal guidance to help you with contracts.
- It is imperative that you keep learning about these topics and know what to anticipate from them if you wish to recruit others to manage various facets of your organization and marketing. The greatest decisions for your career require knowledge and education, even if you don't like the commercial side of music.
11. Develop Your Release Strategies
Regardless of the type of content you have—a single, an album, or a music video—you must plan out its release schedule. If you just publish your music to the internet at random, it won't instantly become popular. Thus, release preparations are crucial. Set deadlines and be sure to adhere to them. Artists or their public relations teams schedule releases weeks or even months in advance.
Give your audience plenty of advance notice of impending events. You can achieve this by announcing the release date on your social media profiles by uploading audio samples or video previews. This will keep your audience intrigued and pique their curiosity. This will hold the interest of and raise the curiosity of your viewers.
Don't forget to arrange your uploads and licensing. Waiting till the last minute is not a good idea because a lot could go wrong.
Top tip: In today's music creation, speed has become essential. How soon you can constantly create new music to stay in the public eye and pique fans' curiosity is what I mean when I say "speed."
12. Make Captivating Music Videos
Visual components pique people's interest. A successful music video can advance your career. The truth is that good music doesn't necessarily have to be expensive. Cheaply produced videos frequently become popular online. How intriguing and captivating they are is all that matters.
Locate creative people with whom you may collaborate and express your true artistic self. Completely develop your ideas, and always seek input.
13. Make Your Live Show Better
Your audiences won't pay to see your acts if they're not entertained. Every live performance should be fun, so be sure. Even if there are only 5 people there, you should leave them feeling entirely satisfied. Perform different gigs. You'll learn a ton and help yourself step outside of your comfort zone.
Decide whether you are a performer who performs the entire setlist without giving the audience a chance to relax or a storyteller who can keep the audience engaged with a dialogue in between songs. With more concerts under your belt, you can evaluate this more precisely.
It's a good idea to record as many of your early performances as you can. This will help you not only create material for upcoming releases, but it will also show you where you need to improve. After every performance, give yourself an evaluation because it can be difficult to be objective about your work.
Keep in mind that your fans didn't have to travel to see you perform live; they could have listened to your music from home. Since they made an effort, you need to as well. Visual elements such as lighting, backdrops, and even equipment greatly improve performances. While constructing your visual presentation, adhere to a certain aesthetic; avoid being haphazard.
14. Discovering Your Most True Self
Make a list of your principles and ideals before you set out on your quest. Be true to yourself at all times. Be unique because an artist's honesty is what drives their music. It embodies all the thoughts and experiences that went into its production. You must preserve your authenticity, even at the pinnacle of your profession.
A listener can feel a connection to music that originates from the heart. Even though it is straightforward to solely make music for money, this is a rather constrained viewpoint. It's not a smart idea to do something just because it will sell.
Establish Your Artistic or Brand Identity
You must create your brand identification in order to make it easier for people to identify you and tell you apart from other artists. To call yourself a "male singer" or "a producer from New Jersey" would be too vague. Making it obvious to your audience what they can expect to hear from you is the goal. What other scenes, subcultures, pastimes, lifestyles, or interests besides music do you enjoy?
Potential fans can determine whether your music resonates to them by learning about your brand and identity. Don't forget that not everyone will like your music, but you also need to locate listeners who will appreciate and actually get it.
15. Always maintain your mental health
Your mental health has a significant impact on your general wellbeing. You could have self-doubt from time to time, but it's critical to keep these negative thoughts from taking control of your thoughts.
One of the easiest ways to deal with depressive and anxious symptoms is through regular exercise or involvement in a physical sport. Yoga and meditation are popular among artists as ways to keep their mental health in check. Fatigue itself can contribute to stress. Try finding a new pastime to keep yourself busy. Be honest about any issues you may be having and do whatever brings you joy and happiness. Never be afraid to seek for assistance!
16. Prepare your mind for a long journey.
It's possible that you'll have thousands of listeners in the future despite the fact that only 20 of your friends and family listened to your debut song on YouTube. To establish a name for yourself and gain traction, it truly takes time and work. You must therefore psychologically get ready for the long haul and make an effort to never stray from the course you have selected.
You'll encounter rejection, silence, oblivion, and possibly even mockery. It's all a part of the journey toward the final objective in the music business. Be unconcerned with what other people are or have done. Follow your comfortable pace while you move.
Yet, you are not required to do it alone. You most likely have at least one musician friend or relative you may consult for help!
Beginning a career in music is a difficult and involved process. As you can see, there are lots of things to think about before entering the music business. I suggest that you take your time and not rush. It's time to start when you've made a thorough plan. During time, you will meet a variety of situations, but the important is to remain confident in your abilities and persevere in the face of challenges. The most crucial thing is to produce excellent music that will appeal to a wide audience.Identify your audience and maintain their interest. Avoid comparing yourself to others since you are special in your own way. Value your individuality because it will be rewarded.