If you’re the kind of musician that just wants to make music and do nothing else, it’s a sign your heart is in the right place. You’re going to need a huge amount of passion and grit if you want to connect with an audience in an industry as brutal and competitive as music. Unfortunately, passion alone isn’t going to be enough if you want an actual shot at making this your career or even simply creating music long enough to find an audience. Creating goals big and small, short and long-term, is something every serious musician needs to do to succeed.
No, scratch that. We got into music because we couldn’t not get into it. Because there’s something in us that just feels right at home when we pick up our instrument, or walk into the studio, when our creativity gets to soar and we get to be ourselves in that very unique way that only happens when it’s us and our music.
Musicians know the feeling. Industry professionals know the feeling. You know that feeling. That’s why you’re here. We all chase it. But sometimes we have to put it on the back burner because of work or life or whatever else—and that feels awful, doesn’t it?
But when you’re working full time and trying to manage all the other little pieces of life, it can feel exhausting to try to fit in your passion. It starts to feel more like a chore and less like the thing that truly lights you up, until it becomes more and more difficult to make it a daily part of your life again.
First, you’re not alone. We all feel this at one point or another and everyone struggles to prioritize the things they love. It doesn’t mean you don’t love it, it just means you might need a little help finding time for it. And you’re also not alone in juggling your day job with music. Most musicians are in this stage right now.
There is a whole community of musicians hustling to make this their reality, but if you’re not careful, it can start to feel overwhelming. So, how do you break the cycle and balance your music career with your day job?
The chances are high that if you’re reading this, you’ve released some music at some point. The world is accustomed to hearing stories about artists who make music for the first time and somehow find a massive audience, but this is probably not what happened with your first single, EP, or album. It’s not the way things go for the overwhelmingly vast majority of people who create music. Regardless of what you think of your last release, you can always make better and better music, and a willingness to acknowledge and learn from your past shortcomings will help you improve the next music you write in huge ways.
If you’re starting out, it makes sense to look for every performance opportunity available. Every chance to play in front of people brims with the promise of experience – whether it’s the open mic night at your local coffee shop or opening for another band. However, there will come a time when developing artists have racked up the experience required to put on great shows. At this stage, saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way could hurt your career instead.
It can be a massive letdown to pour everything into your music and find out that hardly anyone is listening. High streaming numbers of your song may show that it’s good and people like it. However, does a low amount of streams mean a song or album isn’t very good? Well, no, actually. This overly simplistic way of judging music’s value is inaccurate and damaging because many music-makers and fans believe it.
Touring can be really exciting. You get to see the world, meet new fans, and hang out with your bandmates for weeks or months on end. While it comes with the occasional struggle, it’s an integral part of building your fan base and growing your career as a serious musician.
If you’re a performing artist, how can you leverage this opportunity to earn money while on tour? Here are some ways to generate extra income while on the road:
Many songwriters find writing music easy but feel a deep sense of panic when it comes time to match their ideas with lyrics. Lyric writing is a skill that can be developed with time, practice, and experimentation. Try these three tips to hone your lyrical skills in songwriting:
If you’re new to making music, chances are you feel overwhelmed every time you think about how to move your career forward. Great music is a given to get to where you want in music. But it’s not always clear what it takes to write your best music or how to get people to care once you do.
Goals are essential to succeeding as a musician, whether you are trying to write your first couple of songs or carving out your identity as an artist. Here are four reachable goals that will help you to thrive as a new artist: