Though the music industry has recently transformed in ways that give independent musicians a lot more agency and opportunity than it used to, many artists still rank signing with a label at or near the top of their list of career goals. Working with a reputable label can deliver massive benefits that can be elusive for musicians who go it alone. However, things are slowly changing in a big way when it comes to the musician-label relationship, and there are big advantages for going the independent route you should consider.
Right now, live streams are kind of all we’ve got. And I’m actually loving them. Sure I miss the live concert experience, just like everyone else. There’s magic in being able to see your favorite band perform live, to feel the energy of the room, to be surrounded by others who know, love, and just get the band the same way you do. That’s irreplaceable.
If you’re like me circa 10 years ago, you’re kinda freaked out about networking. In fact, you’d do almost anything to avoid it. After all, talking to strangers, trying to “sell” yourself, and investing all that time and energy into something that doesn’t produce immediate results? Exhausting, right?!
If you’re serious about pursuing music, there’s no way to go about it without failing––spectacularly and publicly in many cases. As songwriters and performers, we open ourselves up to failure every time we get on stage, put out new music, or share work with blogs, playlists, and radio stations. There’s no denying that experiencing failure in music can leave you feeling frustrated, discouraged, and potentially even devastated. But how you respond when things don’t go your way could mean the difference of whether you’ll be able to keep pursuing music or not. Doing the work of viewing failures as valuable opportunities is one of the best ways to survive and thrive creatively and professionally as a musician.
Every new song you release is a shot in the dark, even if you’re an established musician. The difference between how you feel about the music you put out into the world and what listeners think about it can create discouraging situations. If you’ve ever released music you were passionate about only to be met with bad reviews or no one listening, then you’ve experienced this firsthand. Music never achieves conventional success for lots of reasons––fierce competition, forgettable songs, bad recordings. No matter the reason, how you respond is what’s most important.
Pursuing music in a serious way gives musicians proficiency on their instruments and specialized musical knowledge that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives. But while we’re intimately familiar with the musical skills we develop as musicians because we rely on them so much, there are other important non-musical benefits we pick up along the way as well. Here’s a list of five of them: