Monthly Archives: May 2017

how to get into the music industry

How to Get Into the Music Industry

You have the passion and the talent. You’re ready to take it to the next level.

Jumping into the music business isn’t a simple thing. The industry is constantly changing and not necessarily friendly to newbies.

But don’t let that alarm you.

There are many ways to learn how to get into the music industry. With careful planning, networking savvy, and dedication, the business of tunes isn’t far off. Scan these steps and you’ll be singin’ right along.

Identify yourself.

Start with the serious questions first when you’re learning how to get into the music industry.

Ask yourself: what type of musician am I? What do I hope to contribute to the industry? What makes me different? Your answers to these questions will help you choose which aspect of the music industry you’d like to join.

They’ll also be helpful when marketing yourself later.

Remember, the more specific and unique you can be in the music field, and the more confident you can be in this, the better! Once you’ve chosen your specific path and destination, stick to it.

Follow someone who’s in it.

One of the best ways to understand the music business and get savvy at navigating it is to shadow another musician.

It can be hard to find a mentor, but ask around at local studios for any existing mentorship programs, internships, or work opportunities. Contact your favorite local musician and see if they would be interested in taking on a shadow. A lot of high schools and universities have endless opportunities for young musicians seeking a mentor.

Even if you are able to work with a mentor for one day, you’ll be likely to learn a lot about the industry, its mechanics, and its doorways.

Keep networking to learn how to get into the music industry.

A lot of people struggle in general with making connections. But these are extremely important in the music industry.

Talent is one thing. Who you know is definitely another. Get comfortable introducing yourself to mentors, instructors, musicians, and anyone in the music industry you encounter. If you don’t meet many individuals in the music business on your own, go out and find them!

Create business cards, a resume, and studio samples. Have these on hand when attending events or workshops. Whenever you make a connection, follow up via phone or email.

Showing initiative and interest will pay off, help you to snag a gig, or enable a future leg up.

Build your presence.

It is important in today’s tech-obsessed age to have a powerful social media presence in any business endeavor. Make sure you have a Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram account. Manage these daily. Craft a cool logo and attach it to all of these.

Set up a snazzy website, complete with news, bio, links to your work, and events. Make sure people know about it!

One last thing: be professional. Keep your personal profiles separate from your business profiles.

Be audacious.

Have an open mind as you learn how to get into the music industry. Remind yourself that it’s a creative industry.

Thus, be as flexible and creative as possible in your networking. If you get discouraged, use it as an opportunity to come up with a new approach to something.

Audacity also gets musicians recognized. It establishes a personality, which attracts fans.

Know the facts.

Be aware of how difficult this industry is. Having a healthy, balanced perspective of its ups and downs is important to maintain confidence. If you have a mentor or are able to get in touch with a local musician, ask them honestly about their experience with the challenges of entering this industry.

Read testimonies of rising musicians. Follow their blogs.

An outside “reality check” will ensure that you pursue all of your goals with the appropriate amount of zeal and caution.

Work your degree. Or get one.

If you have an undergraduate or graduate degree in music, excellent. Emphasize this in your online presence and as you network.

If you have the opportunity to pursue one, do so. This is a fantastic means of making connections, brushing up on technical skills, and educating yourself in all aspects of the industry. Many music programs also provide fantastic ways for students to establish a presence in the community and after graduation.

Some music professors consistently enable their students in some aspect of the industry. Cultivate solid relationships with several key instructors and take advantage of these in the years to come.

Have multiple back-up plans.

You’ve probably heard this before, but make sure you have a solid financial and professional foundation regardless of your musical pursuits. This includes potentially finding a part-time job that can sustain you, for example, as you do that awesome unpaid internship at an urban studio.

Keep your professional future always in mind, but have several options on the table at once.

See it as an opportunity to foster another interest or hobby. It’s possible to be a lawyer and a musician, for example. Entertain multiple possibilities for personal and professional growth.

Start local.

Begin by getting a list of all of the downtown places that host local musicians. Shop yourself. Shop aggressively.

Even if a gig is unpaid, take it. It’s important to get your name and sound out there.

The more solid your local foundation, the fuller your resume and larger your following. This means greater opportunities of expanding your listener base elsewhere.

Head to the streets.

Street corners can be the best starting line for any musician. What’s not to love? Pick up a little cash, entertain passersby, and market yourself. Getting confident in a street presence is likely to serve you later on as you prepare for events and spread your sound.

Not to mention, it will be boost your stamina for playing for large crowds for indefinite amounts of time.

Don’t be afraid of collaboration.

Teamwork is everything in the music industry, and can be the key to making it big. Pair up with your writer friend when compiling lyrics.

Connect with other musicians in town to perform a cover. Don’t be afraid of competition here. Establishing yourself as a musician who’s willing to collaborate and entertain other talent will benefit in the long run.

Enter contests and competitions.

Local competitions are an excellent way to hone your craft and promote your skill.

Besides providing prizes, many contests are supported by panels of local musicians and artists or are associated with local arts and music organizations. Learning how to get into the music industry is tough, but always worth it in the end!

Use these competitions as a means of cultivating possible connections and learning more about the music industry in your specific community.

how to promote your music online

How to Promote Your Music Online

The process of writing a song is a highly rewarding experience.

However, the most rewarding aspect of making music is sharing it with other people.

The good news is that the internet allows independent musicians to find an audience that truly connects with their music. Learning how to promote your music online enables you to build a loyal fanbase that wants to hear more from you.

In today’s world, the process of marketing your music leaves a lot of room for creativity.

We put together an article that provides a road map to help independent musicians build awareness for their art.

Keep reading to learn how to promote your music online!

Social Media Platforms

When it comes to thinking about how to promote your music online, social media is the first thing that pops into your head—and for good reason.

Social media is the easiest way to engage listeners and build a community around your music. It enables your fanbase to share your music with other people who may soon become a part of your audience as a result.

However, there are many social media platforms, and they’re not all created equal.

Facebook should serve as your information hub. Use it to post major news and announcements.

Twitter is the best platform to crack some jokes or share silly opinions. Don’t be afraid to use it for personal rants as well—as long as you don’t go overboard.

Instagram provides a great way to connect with music fans through photos and videos. In fact, research shows that Instagram users spend 42% more money on music than the average person.

Snapchat is the ideal platform to preview snippets of new music. Additionally, you can use it to encourage fans to create snaps of themselves wearing some of your merchandise.

You don’t have to use every major social media platform. But, pick your platforms wisely and set aside time every day to interact with fans on social media.

Email

If you’re trying to learn how to promote your music online, make sure you don’t skip over email.

Email is one of the most personal forms of digital communication. Your emails can potentially end up next to emails from family members and coworkers.

However, it also happens to be one of the most effective channels of promotion.

Give people a reason to subscribe to your email newsletter in the first place. Use newsletters to offer special discounts and exclusive content to subscribers.

Fan contests are a great way to build a sizable mailing list. Encourage fans to sign up in order to enter their names in a contest to win some merchandise.

But once you gain a subscriber, don’t let them down. If they unsubscribe, you’re probably never going to get them back.

Companies bombard the average person with a lot of much junk mail, and this makes the average person’s patience run thin when it comes to email. This means you want to send regular updates, but not too many.

When used properly, email can help you forge long-term relationships with the consumers of your music.

Blogging

Even though tweets are a good way to share personal opinions and experiences, they’re brief.

The truth is that 140 characters are not enough for the more serious matters. If you want to dive into deeper topics, don’t forget to do some blogging.

Blogging is a great way to attract traffic to your website. Plus, it keeps people coming back to your site for more content.

You can use blog posts to share detailed stories about your career, or how you came up with a concept for a new song. You can also use your blog as sort of a diary or journal where you share your everyday experiences with your fans.

But you don’t have to focus only on yourself. You can also produce some blog content that focuses on your music genre in general.

Just make sure that your blog connects to your main website, and keep your music store only a click away.

Networking

A lot of people view other artists as competition. In reality, other artists can often serve as assets.

Network with other bands online. As a result, you may gain access to some of their fanbase.

Also, feel free to send messages to indie music blogs related to your genre. This can help you target people who are likely interested in hearing your music.

These blogs are always looking for good sources of content. Offer them some compelling stories about your experiences as a musician, or focus on an aspect of you that is unique.

Personalize the emails you send to these blogs, and reach out to as many as you can. The results may shock you.

Live Video Streaming

Live video streaming has really taken off over the recent years.

Periscope popularized the medium in 2015. As a result, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter now offer mobile live video streaming as well.

Facebook research shows that people spend 3 times as much time on live videos than those that are no longer live.

There is something about live events that captivates viewers and listeners. It’s about sharing the experience with others, and being there when the event occurred.

So what are the best ways to use live video to promote your music?

Surprise people with live performances. Live chats or Q&A sessions provide great ways to promote your music without coming off as a salesman.

Even something as simple as a live personal update is an effective way to engage your audience.

The more your audience gets to know you, the more they resonate with your music. Building a fanbase is akin to building a personal relationship with a person you trust. Be accessible and make your audience feel like they’re with you along your journey.

Just remember that if you’re struggling to figure out how to promote your music online, live video streaming is just a few taps away.

Final Thoughts on How to Promote Your Music Online

Promoting your music should be a fun, creative process.

Remember to stay as active as possible. Engage your audience on social media, and continue to churn out new music.

Your job is not to convince people that your music is good. Let your music do the convincing for you.

Instead, your promotion needs to focus on being genuine with people.

Also, if you want to take part in The Indie International Songwriting Contest, which recognizes emerging talent, sign up today!

write lyrics

Should You Write Lyrics or Music First?

Writing a song is an intensely personal act. Each songwriter may favor their own unique process. Fortunately, there is no right or wrong way to write a song.

Sometimes the hardest part is just choosing which journey to take on the way to your musical destination.

Here’s a field guide to finding what style works best for you:

A Way With Words

Many songwriters who write lyrics first draw inspiration from reading and writing poetry. Writing poetry can be an excellent starting place when beginning the writing process. Drawing a seed from other lyricists is also another great way to break through creative blocks.

Another great way to get excited about words is to explore alternative rhyme schemes.

Exploring and experimenting with different rhyme forms, such as End rhymes, Internal rhymes, Slant rhymes, Eye rhymes & Identical rhymes can give your lyrics an interesting and fresh relationship.

I Can Hear Music

Got a melody stuck in your head? You may find that it’s far easier to explore writing the music first. Writing music, as opposed to writing only lyrics, can prove to require more previous knowledge and training than the lyrical process. It seems that a musician is limited only by his or her own creativity, knowledge of an instrument, and level of musical training.

Sure, a basic knowledge of a few chords will get you far enough to record the basics of your ideas, but without years of musical training it can be difficult to capture the complexities of the music you hear in your head.

If you’ve got limited training, but you’re hell-bent on becoming the next Miles Davis, you’re going to have to invest some time and effort before expecting to create your masterpiece.

Don’t have time to go back to school to major in classical guitar or jazz studies? That’s ok too. Seek out collaborative partners to help you better convey your ideas. You just might learn more about yourself and your instrument in the process!

Working with a Writing Partner

Sometimes, you just don’t have the years of musical experience to delve as deep as you’d like into writing the music. Other times, the words just don’t seem to come out right. There’s nothing wrong with that. You just need a songwriting partner.

Fortunately, whatever your greatest weakness is, there’s someone out there that considers that very thing their biggest strength…. and if you’re lucky, they’ve got wifi.

With the advent of the internet connecting musicians all over the world, finding the musical yin to your yang has never been easier.

Elton John and Bernie Taupin may be the most famous of songwriting duos with over fifty years of collaboration. Famously, lyricist Taupin has said “I’m dealing with a guy that’s got more hooks than a tackle box” of Elton. This statement only further proves that Taupin’s way with words has met its match in a man so full of music.

Steal From the Greats

Disclaimer: Don’t ACTUALLY Steal. (Just steal some inspiration.)

In “Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative” author Austin Kleon elaborates on the idea that there are very few truly original pieces of art.

Viewing, listening, and consuming art (even art we hate) has such a strong impact on the patron, that it will likely influence your voice forever.

When we are moved to create our own art, it is nearly impossible to make without including a highly nuanced history of our personal experiences and the art that has most inspired us.

Try on a New Hat

If all else fails and you find yourself stuck and musically stranded, just pretend to be someone else.

Yup, we said it. Music is a lot like theater and creating a larger than life persona can be your ticket to inspiration and the big time.

In a world where everyone is always telling you to be yourself, it can be exceedingly difficult to define yourself in such succinct terms. One way out is to imagine yourself as someone else and try to write a song as you feel they would.

This isn’t to say that you’ve got to go against your instincts here, finding your voice should feel natural to you and shouldn’t go against any of your natural inclinations.

If your greatest inspirations are Biggie and TuPac, don’t force yourself to write an Alanis Morrisette inspired tune. (Unless you really want to challenge yourself to step out of your musical comfort zone.)

It could be a simple as trying on the persona of a favorite artist. Challenge yourself to write a tune that sounds like it could’ve been the missing bonus track on your favorite album.

Try on an alternative experience. What sort of song would you write about a lover you’d lost to a friend? What tone would resonate best for a song written by someone on top of the world? When all else fails, you can always ask yourself ‘What would the Beatles do?’

Set a Quota

Don’t get stuck in the mud. When in doubt, just churn it out.

Set a goal to write a set amount of songs in a set amount of time. Rather you want to write a song for every day of a year, or just enough songs to fill your debut album, just keep the ideas flowing. Don’t be afraid to put one idea down and pick up a new one, if you need a break.

Just whatever you do, don’t trust your brain to remember what you’ve written so far. Using the voice memo recorder on your phone is a great way to save those melodies that come at you when you least expect them.

Roadblocks in the Rearview

Still stuck? Don’t get discouraged or let a feeling of writer’s block hold you back from creating your masterpiece!

Join an online songwriting community to get your juices flowing or take some time to call up an old friend and take a walk down memory lane.

Old feelings and distant memories can always suddenly reappear to help us find a new source of inspiration.

Oh, and once you’ve finished writing that hit song? Don’t forget to protect yourself by copyrighting it.

Happy writing.