Songwriters don’t have it easy. We’re writing songs during the most competitive time in music industry history. If you’re a professional songwriter, income sources that used to be reliable, like licensing, have become much less so in recent years. And with today’s playlist-centric listening culture, it’s a feast or famine situation for many professional songwriters. But even if you’re not writing songs for your main source of income, there are plenty of challenges you will likely face as a songwriter. If you love making music and want to do it seriously for the rest of your life, it’s helpful to know why so many songwriters call it quits.
When you’re involved in two sides of the industry like I am–being both a publicist and a writer, sometimes it feels like all you’re ever reading is artist bios.
Trust me, I’ve seen it all, and a lot of those bios I’ve read are not pretty.
A bio is a major reflection of the band or artist it’s about. This may seem like a big duh, but you’d be surprised at how many bios out there are poorly written or make the band look bad because they are poorly written.
And honestly, I think the truth is most of us don’t realize how important a bio really is, and we don’t know what to look out for when it comes to writing them.
Take a look at some of these don’ts to get a head start on what not to do in your next bio revision.
Openness and curiosity are important positive traits for serious musicians to have. However, saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way is a bad idea. Whether you make music full-time for your job or during every spare moment you can, you have a limited amount of resources and time as a musician. Committing your time and attention to the wrong things in music means missing out on the things that will actually make a difference in your career. Here are five examples of things you should probably say no to in music:
Sometimes (okay, a lot of times) being an introvert is exhausting. Everything going on in the world around us drains us, and when we can’t get that alone time to regroup and recharge, it can cause us to shut down, making it impossible to be productive. And that’s kind of the last thing you want when you’re trying to create your next masterpiece, am I right?
Rejection and disappointment are inevitable for those who seriously pursue music, so why not put these experiences to work and get some good out of them? You can think of life like a song recording. We can try, and fail, to ignore or edit out unwanted noise and mistakes, or we can seamlessly weave them into the production and let them add character and nuance into the music. Setbacks and pain are going to meet you at many points in your musical pursuits, and a lot of what you’ll experience will be out of your control. However, the way you respond to challenges is something that’s completely in your hands.
Here’s a funny thing to wrap your head around: in almost every interview I’ve done with a nationally known label-signed artist, when I ask them what they miss most about their pre-label or fame days, the answer is always some form of the same: they miss being an indie artist.
I was too– at first. But then we started to dig deeper into what it was they missed and the things that being a major doesn’t allow for in the same way that being indie does. The more we talked, and the more interviews I did around this, the more evident it became that for all the things we might want to change about being an indie artist, there is a special something about being in this stage of your career. One that, all too often, artists don’t appreciate until it’s long gone and replaced with new and arduous tasks that they can’t escape.
Curious about what it is about being an indie artist that major label bands miss most?
Lack of inspiration is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to creatives with excuses for why they can’t seem to get anything done. Maybe you have plans to write the best album of your career, something ambitious and exciting that you hope audiences will connect with. You set aside time to write songs but never get around to it. You figure you’re just not feeling inspired right now, so you put your plans on hold in the hopes that inspiration will fall into your lap and bless you with the motivation you need to get started. Months and then years pass and you still can’t get around to working on the album.