If you’ve decided you’re interested in pursuing a music career, congratulations! You’ve just taken the first step in the transition from someone who makes music for fun, to someone who actively works at building a fanbase and making a living from their talent.
When making music for fun, pretty much anything goes. You can play as much or as little as you want, not deal with business or marketing if you don’t want to, and you can make any kind of songs you want. That said, it’ll be a lot harder to move forward in terms of the amount of recognition and money you see.
If you decide to pursue music seriously however, you need to make sure you’ve got a few things in place. These things will give you a much better chance of getting where you want to be in your music career, and as I want you to achieve that, I’m going to share them with you here today.
So here’s an overview of things you need to work on when pursuing a career in music. Bookmark this guide for future use and continue to work on them. But before we continue…
Important: Download Your Free Checklist
I’ve created a two page check list which you can download and use to ensure your music career has a good base to work from. No matter how long you’ve been doing music, you should check this out and make sure you haven’t missed anything. Simply click a share button below to unlock this free check list:
> Pursuing a music career check list, click here to download <
(‘right click’ then ‘save as’ to save to your computer).
Talent Comes Before Anything Else
When making music your profession, there’s one important thing you need to remember:
If you haven’t got a good product to sell, your music career won’t get very far – Tweet This
And by product, I mean you.
I’m not just talking about packaging together a CD, although you could do that. I’m talking about you as a talented musician, the vocals, your performance, your productions if you produce; whatever it is you do. You need to be on point with it.
Fans of music won’t just buy into you for no reason. If you’re not as good as hundreds or thousands of other musicians in your genre, why would they listen to you? Even if you market your music and get in front of thousands of new music fans a day, all you’ll face is rejection. Because you’re not as good as what’s already out there.
Many of the best musicians spend years practicing their craft before they’re released to the public. Talent doesn’t just come overnight; even naturally talented singers need to take singing lessons to smooth out the rough edges and take their vocals to the next level.
So what areas of your talent do you need to practice? Well, that depends on what it is you do. If you’re a vocalist, you of course need to practice on your vocals. On top of that, you should probably work on your lyric writing, your onstage performances, and your interview skills. Yes, all of these are important if you want to stand out in your music career, along with good branding. Other acts will fall short in at least one or two of these areas, so if you’re good at all of them, you’ve giving yourself a very good head start.
If you’re a producer you should work on different song styles and speeding up how long it takes you to make your tracks. If you play instruments, work on that as well as your stage presence.
In short, before you apply any of the below things, make sure you’ve something real to offer any potential fans. Once you’ve got a good base level of talent, you can start with the other things needed to move your music career forward.
Learn Business And Get Organized When Pursuing A Career In Music
When pursuing a music career, there’s one very important thing you need to remember:
Without learning the business and marketing side of music, you won’t get far – Tweet This
That’s fact; there’s no two ways about it. Whether you handle this side of things or someone else does, it needs to be done. I’ll break it down so you can see why.
Marketing is all about raising awareness. In simple English, it’s telling people about your music. If you don’t tell people about your music, no one will know you make music. If they don’t know that, you won’t gain a fanbase.
So marketing your music effectively is essential when pursuing a music career. Don’t market yourself, and you might as well make music for fun in your bedroom.
Learning and practicing the business side of music is also essential. All things money related and contract related fall into this section, as does marketing. You need to know how to make money to sustain your career, when to market yourself so people know about you, the best way to market yourself in your situation, how to deal with other people around you on a professional level, and how to generally make sure things run smoothly.
Now I know many people see business and marketing as something they simply don’t want to do. Something that a record label will do for them. Something that’s either too hard or too boring.
I can tell you now that none of the above is true.
First of all, if you’re just starting out (or if you haven’t yet made a name for yourself), chances are a record label won’t help you out. These days, they don’t generally sign anyone unless they’ve a proven fanbase and they’ve done some of the ground work in terms of market validation (you’ve proven people want what you’re offering). While you can always pay someone to do this side of things for you, that’ll get very expensive very fast.
Which leads to one option; you doing it by yourself. At least initially.
This isn’t an issue though, as it doesn’t need to be difficult. Neither does it need to be boring. There are plenty of guides all around this website which show you how to market your music and manage business things effectively What’s more, they’re all spelled out in an easy to understand way which you can implement by yourself.
So have a look around, you’ll need a Full Access membership to get the most out of these 200+ guides. This membership is only $5 at the time of writing this, that’s literally two and a half cents per guide.
So if you’re going to seriously pursue a music career, this small investment in your education is going to pay you back in future many times over. Now, onto more important things you need to put into place when going after a successful music career.
Capture Your Fanbase And Build A Relationship With Them
Another essential thing you need to do is capture your fanbase. What do I mean by this? Simple, get their contact details so you can contact them again in future when you’ve something interesting to share.
I can’t stress how important this is. Too many musicians have no real way of contacting their fans when they need to.
If someone has ever expressed an interest in your music, you want to be able to tell them when you’re gigging in their city. When you’ve a new album out. When you’ve a freebie to give them. When something new and exciting happens with you which they’ll find interesting.
Now the thing is, you’ll often get people who stumble upon your music, think it sounds good and bookmark your website. Then they visit other websites and bookmark them too. What happens here is your bookmark will get buried under all the others, and you’ll be forgotten about. That’s a potential fan who could’ve made you money who you’ll never see again.
If however you get someone’s email address when they visit your website, you can now email this person when something new is happening. You’ve direct access to their email inbox.
While websites like Facebook and Twitter should also be used for this purpose (different fans will like to connect with you in different ways) your primary focus should be on collecting fan’s email addresses.
Emailing people directly is often the most effective ways to instantly reach fans. Furthermore, if other websites like Facebook or Twitter ever go down like Myspace did, at least you won’t have to build up your fanbase again from scratch.
I’ve spoken about how you can build a email mailing list before, so have a look at that guide and get your list up and running asap.
Get Your Music / Life Balance Right
One final thing I want to touch on is your music to life balance. If you’re a teenager reading this, you’re lucky. While your income may be lower if you’re not working and your parents don’t have much money to give you, you’ve got another advantage:
The thing is, when you’re older with a full time job and / or kids, it becomes much harder to find time to work on your music career. It can be done, but you have other priorities too.
Regardless of how old you are or what other things you need to spend your money and time on, you need to do one thing:
Find a healthy balance between music and everything else.
You may want to spend all your time making music and trying to forward your music career, but how is that affecting you in other areas of your life? Are the people around you getting the attention they deserve? Is your rent going to get paid? Are you going to burn yourself out by doing too much?
All of these things need to be taken into account.
That said, you do also need to think about your music career. At times that will mean taking time away from spending it with your friends. It could also mean taking a pay cut so you can work less hours and pursue your music career in that time.
The truth is, I can’t tell you how much time you should dedicate to music. Everyone’s situation is different, so this is something you need to figure out by yourself.
What I will say though, is it’s trial and error. You probably won’t get the balance right the first time, but keep working at it. Put in place set times to work on music around your life, or work your life around your music time. The choice is yours.
So there are four things you need to think about and put into place if you want to pursue a successful music career. While this isn’t a detailed guide of everything you need to do, it does look at four of the key areas you’ll need to get in place to set a good foundation for yourself.
If you want to learn more about the business, marketing and fan capture side of things, enroll in the IMA Music Business Academy. In here you’ll get a much more detailed account on how to get these things running smoothly for you.
So what other areas do you feel are important when pursuing a music career? How has yours been going so far? Do you feel like it’s on the right track?
Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your view on this guide and how you’re personally doing.