Since being broke is an experience nearly shared by all musicians at some point during their careers, the thought of teaching music on the side to earn extra money is something that appeals to many. But while getting paid to share the gift of music with people might sound like a dream to some, there’s a lot of factors to consider if you’re thinking about becoming a music teacher.
One of the biggest transformations music has undergone over the past two decades is the ability to see songs rack up views, streams, and downloads in real time. Local and national charts still gauge an artist’s radio performance and album sales, but detailed metrics offered by music platforms now let listeners see how much a song is being listened to practically in real time. But public song stats are a small fraction of the detailed analytical information most artists now have access to when it comes to who is listening to their music.
From a music business perspective, having loads of perpetually updating fan analytics at your fingertips is helpful, but I think there’s also a downside to consider. Numbers can’t tell the whole story of worth behind an artist’s music. Since most music is now digitized in some form, it means that the majority of music consumption can be measured. It’s human nature to want to assign value and meaning to the songs that generate the most stats, but there’s a whole bunch of problems to consider if you think that your music is only good if it’s popular.
The subject of giving away music for free is a touchy one for musicians, and rightfully so. Music isn’t something that appears out of nowhere for people to enjoy. It takes money and time and sacrifice to create. Unfortunately, the world’s relationship with music is a complicated one that often leaves hard-working musicians high and dry. It seems that people are more addicted to music than ever before, but are less and less willing to pay for it.
The truth is that there are times when you should absolutely be giving your music away for free. Whether you love or hate the idea of giving away your music, it’s something that can bring you big advantages in today’s complex music industry climate.
Being represented by a label or manager are things thought to signify an artist’s success, so it makes sense why so many musicians spend their valuable time and resources trying to get represented and signed. But the ritual of crafting thoughtful pitches and sending them off into the ether rarely results in bands landing a record deal or enthusiastic manager, even if their music is good.
There’s a few reasons why these pitches usually get ignored, but it mainly comes down to the fact that successful labels and managers want to discover talent themselves, not be sold on it by reading about it through an email. The people in the music industry with the expertise and resources to actually move your music forward want to hear and see your music in action before considering taking a risk on you. Instead of banging your head trying to pitch to labels and managers, here’s what you should be doing:
Networking is an essential part of your music career. The days where you can simply release music, invest no time in promoting this music, and become a well-known artist are gone. The good news is that there are plenty of tools available to you for free to promote your music to a global audience. Below, I have listed three ways that you can network as a music producer.
The concept of genres is fascinating if you look at it closely. Before a song is categorized into a specific genre, it’s just a collection of sounds. But when that same collection of sounds is called rap or rock or EDM, it transforms into something completely different. Musicians are thought of as having an almost unlimited amount of creative freedom at their fingertips every time they set out to create new music, but when songwriters and producers focus too much on genre, they risk losing that creative freedom.
For most bands, putting together a music video is an opportunity to express themselves, provide new content for their fans, and extend the life of a single or album. Yet somehow, the first piece of that—expressing themselves—tends to get lost in the mix. What results tends to be an underproduced, poorly shot, kind of boring music video that probably wasn’t super cheap to make, but also isn’t making much of an impact on anyone. Not really much of a win.
To avoid that disaster and create a music video that will actually make a lasting impact on your fans, we’ve put together a few tips. Even if you’re on an incredibly DIY budget, these tips will still help make your next video a hit.
When you begin playing music out – especially in a new place – it can be intimidating. There’s often gateholders to breaking into a music scene, and they often have their own standards by which they allow people to play the shows they involve themselves with. I come from a big town where I was involved in the music scene for almost a decade, and then moved to a giant city with hardly any idea of what to do next. This one is personal to me.
What I truly believe is that no matter how old you are or what kind of music you play, there are ways to find people to play with and an audience for you. You just have to get out there and find them. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to play shows or have never done it before, let this serve as a guide to booking your first show.