Being a musician can be a very draining experience for a wide range of reasons. It can take years to make it ‘big’ in any respect, and the money is pitiful right up until that moment. The industry is also extremely competitive, to the point that it can sometimes feel a little cutthroat. Not to mention, being a musician can often get a little lonely – especially if you are a solo artist and not someone who performs as part of a band or group. It also means that you can sometimes feel as though you don’t have anyone else on your side; that you and you alone are responsible for your success as an artist. This, however, could not be further from the truth. Pretty much every successful musician in the history of the industry has had a plethora of experts surrounding them, helping them source the best gigs and working them up the ladder. It is naive to think you can do absolutely everything on your own – so take a look at this list of people you need on your side in the music biz.
Thanks to the rise of music streaming and illegal downloading, very few artists make any money from genuine record sales anymore – even some of the biggest bands in the world struggle to profit from these sales. The vast majority of artists make their income from two facets: merchandise, and touring. You will need to be a good live act to incur any bookings, so make sure you sound as good in person as you do on record. Then, it’s time to find a good promoter to put you on at their venue, or at a string of venues they operate. Look for someone with a good track record and who other musicians speak highly of, and this will give you an indication of whether this person is worth your time.
You might not like to think of it this way, but your career as a musician is a business, and it needs someone with a business mind to be able to deal with it. If this isn’t you, you may want to consider hiring a manager to deal with the internal workings of the industry. Managers are often responsible for the making of a band, like Coran Capshaw who worked his magic with the Dave Matthews Band, among others. Find someone with plenty of industry experience and also make sure they are someone you get along with – after all, you could be spending a lot of time together.
Most venues you play at will have their in-house sound and stage engineers, but it never hurts to have your team who know your equipment and needs inside out. Plus, it can get notoriously lonely out on the road when you are touring, so having a trusted team around you can really help. ‘Making it big’ as a musician does require a lot of time and energy, but if you invest said time in the right people, you could fast-track your way to a successful career.