When you’re building your team as an artist, or exploring the world of industry career options, you want to make sure you know who is who in this industry. For instance, as a publicist I’m often confused as having the same duties as someone in marketing. A booking agent and promoter are often used interchangeably when in reality, their jobs are very different.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most well-known careers in the industry and a brief run-down of what each entails. The industry and its career options are always growing, so if you don’t see a role that seems like a fit for you just yet, don’t give up. There’s plenty of us in this industry who have created a non-defined role all our own—in the meantime, check out our list.
You might not know it, but some of the most influential institutions in music started with a couple of frustrated musicians taking things into their own hands. This especially applies to the ever-expanding world of independent record labels. But forming your own label is no easy task, and most musicians are probably better off looking to team up with an already established one to help bring their music to listeners. If you’re considering starting your own label, here’s a few pros and cons to consider:
There’s no doubt that today’s music industry is fiercely competitive. Because an insane amount of new music comes out each and every day, it makes sense that musicians often adopt a winner-takes-all mentality when it comes to promoting and advocating for their work. But rather than fighting each other and entertaining jealousy when another artist’s music succeeds, musicians should be working together to create momentum for their work.
If you’re good at waiting for things, music just might be the career for you. Whether it’s the thought of a young band breaking out after playing together for just a few months or the unprecedented access to a constant stream of new music delivered via playlist, patience is a profoundly impactful asset not nearly associated with music as much as it should be.
It isn’t fair for everyone, but most of the world is designed for people who wake up early. Music, however, is a completely different story. Music is rare in the fact that the industry surrounding it is mostly suited for people who stay up late. Besides the service industry, most every other occupation requires its employees to show up at or before 9AM. This means that music can be both a bastion for night owls and a significant challenge for musicians accustomed to sleep schedules that align with more conventional industries.
Having musical talent and intuition is good, but if you really want to succeed in music, you’ll need much more than that. Whether it’s the discipline it takes to spend hours at a time practicing an instrument or the planning and communication skills needed to book shows and pitch new music to press outlets, sheer talent isn’t enough to make it in music––especially in today’s DIY-driven industry. If you want to be successful in music, you might want to try thinking about it like your job.
Part of being an emerging band is learning as you go. When you look at it this way, making mistakes along the way is perfectly natural. But imagine if you could save yourself the trouble of certain obstacles—wouldn’t that be kind of great?
Having been in the industry for nearly a decade as both a writer and a publicist, not to mention my almost 30 years on this earth as a music fan, I tend to see artists make the same mistakes. The good news is, because the mistakes tend to be the same, they’re a bit easier to mass diagnose, meaning once you know what they are, you can work to avoid them. So what are some of the biggest mistakes I see emerging bands make?
Imagine you’re a new, independent artist looking to test the waters of the business they call music. You have a soul-sucking day job, but hey, gotta pay the rent, right? Soon you’d love to quit and make music full time, but first you need to get some momentum going. You bedroom-produced a handful of songs and you’re ready to get streamed. Got $50 to drop on digital distribution for those five songs? “Ayyyyyy, I haven’t even bought a nice microphone yet!”
Do you really want to begin your career hundreds of dollars in the hole?
You can’t catch your dreams if you go broke trying. That’s why we’re dethroning The Old Way with Select Distribution, the smart, budget-friendly way to get your music on the biggest streaming platforms in the world. The Old Way requires you to spend at least $10 per song and $50 per album to get on “hundreds” of streaming sites, apps, and stores. That’s a fine offer for the more established artist with thousands of fans. That guy is confident he’ll make his money back in a few months. But the up-and-comer, well, she needs to be a bit more choosy with her money. Want to do some quick math?