Many people go into the music business with no idea of what it means to be a musical artist. All they see is the glitz and glamor and assume that there's no work involved. Others think that an artist can't crash and burn after they've had a hit or signed a record deal. If you are thinking of starting a career in the music business, you need more than talent. You need to sit down and do your homework so that your talent doesn’t get exploited. You should also have realistic expectations about the music business so you can make better decisions and know what to do to increase your chances of being successful. Let’s take a look at some of the harsh truths of starting a career in the music business.
Signing a Record Deal Means Nothing
Signing a record deal doesn’t automatically make you rich. Record companies will usually give you some money to cover your expenses, but you are expected to pay them back once you eventually make money for them. And this is not guaranteed. As a matter of fact, you may end up never even releasing a piece of work for them.
In reality, signing with a record company is more like getting a loan. This means that there will be some pressure on your shoulders. Know, however, that if a record label trusts you enough to give you a contract, you have potential, and you should be able to earn enough to repay them. But there have been cases where artists had to pay back their advances even if they never released anything with a label or were unsuccessful. So, that's something you'll always have to keep in mind.
You May Need to Build a Following
Social media has a major influence on the music industry and some record execs will refuse to look at an artist that has no following unless they’re incredibly special. This is why you may need to start building up some sort of following if you want to get the attention of music labels. It all starts with releasing quality work and working on your live performance. It’s also about being consistent and getting in front of as many crowds as you can, even if you have to use unusual methods.
If you're good with visuals or social media or have people in your team who are, Instagram can also be a very powerful tool to build your brand. Your social media can be a great tool to help bring people to your music. You can use platforms like Bandcamp and Soundcloud to release your work and post links wherever you can.
To do all of this, however, you will need to find a good studio that won’t cost you much. If you’re looking for a great recording studio in Liverpool, you should check out Pirate Studios. Their Liverpool music studios are fully equipped and can be accessed 24/7. Their studios have a great atmosphere and are perfect for indie acts trying to perfect their sounds or those trying to work on new pieces.
You’ll Need Thick Skin
Being a musical artist means that you'll be in the public eye and this comes with challenges. If you have trouble dealing with criticism, the music business will be very difficult for you. While artists only had to worry about a few music critics a few years ago, they now have to deal with millions of people on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube scrutinizing their work.
You will have to deal with mean or downright false comments. Or you might have to deal with people criticizing the last song you put out on YouTube. These are all things that could be tough for someone who's not used to getting negative attention. Some artists can get used to it, but if you're very sensitive, you may have trouble in this industry.
It’s Not About Talent
The music industry is a business and the goal is to sell as much music as possible. Talent is only one part of the equation. Image and everything you have going on outside of music will also make a difference. Some people get discovered because they have a nice story, for instance, but are not necessarily the most talented. Others get signed because they were able to cause a stir on social media.
This is why you will need to be very real about yourself and determine whether you truly have the package record companies are looking for. If you don’t, it doesn't mean that you have to give up. There are tons of different ways that you can get in the music industry and they don’t all involve performing or getting in front of the camera.
If you’re a great singer, then music companies routinely hire vocalists. They might need someone to be a backup singer during recording sessions or on stage. You could also get regular jobs on TV shows, do commercial work, or work in various venues.
If you're a great writer, then you could write for other artists. Some of the most successful artists in the music business don't release records. They work behind the scenes and are solicited by artists to write work for them. So, don't be hellbent on being a star and look at the broader picture.
Most of Your Money Won’t Come from Records
Most artists make less than 15 cents on every dollar their records make. That means that you could end up with way under $150,000 if your record grosses 1 million after the IRS, your lawyer, and agent get their cut. Most artists make their money from shows principally, so don't assume you’ll be rich just because one of your records got popular.
Now that you know a bit more about the music industry, you’ll have a better idea of what you need to do to be successful. Read as much as you can about the business and find someone reputable to represent you before you start thinking about contracts.