10 Myths about a Music Career
Over the years so many artists have been scared off the music industry by some entirely destructive myths. We love helping an independent artist find success and watching them prove all the horrible myths wrong!
Here, we explore 10 of the most prevailing myths that you will hear. It’s time to free yourself from those shackles. These myths are simply holding you back!
1. Contacts: You won’t make it in music unless you know someone.
An oldie, but a goodie. Contacts are not essential to create music career opportunities. If your friend’s dad was the CEO of Sony Records, that wouldn’t guarantee you a career. You would have to be phenomenally good, and absolutely stun him with talent to do so.
Similarly, knowing a superstar like Taylor Swift wouldn’t shine the spotlight on you either. Taylor Swift has loads of friends (we think?) who aren’t music superstars.
You are able to build a career within the music industry and pick up contacts as you go. Establishing useful connections within the industry will help you as your career progresses. But you need the “right” contact. Most musicians simply don’t know who the right contact is. The truth is, any contact that you create a meaningful relationship with could be useful. What is right, is that they are not just a contact, they are a connection.
2. Location: You need to live in a big city.
Wrong! Living in a city does not determine your success. Only you can do that.
With the internet, you can create opportunities for yourself literally anywhere. You can work with musicians who live on the other side of the world, send your music to a label 50 miles away or work with someone who lives next door. The point is, you can create success no matter where you live.
Anyone who tells you that you need to live in New York or London to make a career is pulling you down. Moving to New York won’t guarantee stardom. The concrete jungle is full of dreamers looking to make it, just like you.
3. Age: “You’re too old to make it as a musician”
Your age simply doesn’t matter to an organisation who is worth partnering with.
There are thousands of musicians in their 30s, their 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond. Why? Because “talent doesn’t age sweetheart”. If you are talented, a number shouldn’t stand in the way of sharing your talents. People around the world still want to hear your craft.
The music business is no different than any other industry in the world. What brings value, income and success is it’s assets. You are a valuable asset to the industry no matter what number you’re rocking!
If you have a value to bring to the table, drive and determination, you could become successful at any age. The idea that you need to be a 20-something to make it in the industry is simply misguided.
4. Money: “You can’t make a living as a musician”
Now this one has been debunked time and time again.
If you rely on one single source of income as an independent artist, chances are you’re going to struggle. There are a number of ways you can create and sustain an income as a musician, but you won’t just land a huge pay-out straight away.
Turning your passion into payment requires hard work and dedication. You need to establish plenty of income sources rather than relying on one, and be prepared to have patience while you invest time into building them up. Remember that being a musician is a lot like running a business. You need to establish the business in order for it to be successful. Having more sources of revenue while also make you more stable.
5. Study- “You need to study music at University to make it”
Actually, no. When you study music at college or university, you can develop some more refined skills, yes. But, often, the people you are learning from are not successful professional in the music business, they are professors. Now, there is certainly nothing wrong with that, a music professor knows a lot about the music industry.
But here’s the thing. While you are learning about tour promotion, publishing deals and record contacts, you don’t gain any knowledge on how you, as an artist, would be able to gain them. You achieve this by going out and doing it.
So whilst studying music or music business at high levels could in fact help you understand your craft on a deeper level, it is unlikely that it would directly improve your chances at creating a successful career.
6. Present- “It’s too difficult now, it used to be easy to be a musician”
In actuality, a number of industry experts have said that you should be thankful you’re not trying to make it decades ago! Before services like Identity Music, you would’ve struggled to get your music out to the world, relying solely on large record labels. Now, you can eliminate the need for large industry leaders and get your music out there, at a low cost and great speed.
More than that, with the shift towards consumption and away from ownership, it relieves the pressure on musicians to be sales-people. Now, the job of the musician is to inspire potential listeners to play their music. There is no financial cost to fans, only time.
By looking to the past, you miss all of the opportunities that are right in front of you. Your next success could be lying right in front of you… It will never be in the past!
7. Unfair- “The music industry isn’t fair, it will never help you.”
The music industry has drastically changed in the last two decades. Now, the way music is consumed and delivered is entirely different.
Now, the gatekeepers of the music industry are losing their grip! After years of holding the keys to the kingdom, new doors have sprung up everywhere!
Streaming services like Spotify have set their sights on bringing accessibility, and now, it seems they are making good on their promises. Spotify recently revealed that in 2020 Q2 the number of artists making up it’s top tier was over 43,000. In reality, that represents an increase of 43% on 2019’s 30,000, and almost triples the 16,000 of 2015
If top level streaming continues to be distributed among a wider number of artists, revenue is going to be split in a much broader way. As a result, up and coming musicians will see more royalties landing in their pay packet…
8. Reading- “You need to know how to read sheet music”
Not really. Sure, it can be convenient! Sheet music provides an easy way of reading, understanding and creating a piece of music the way it was intended. But, music is a language.
Like all other languages, you have reading, writing, speaking and listening aspects. If you can’t read and write sheet music, you’ve got two other strategies you can use to understand music.
9. Streaming- “There is no money in streaming”
There is money to be made in streaming. Some acts earn hundreds of thousands from streaming in a year, others use it alongside other strategies to create a reliable income.
If you were in a major label, you’d be making peanuts from streaming. After the cuts of all the songwriters, producers and the label itself, you’d be splitting the royalties, 5, 10, 20 or even more ways.
When you distribute with a digital distributor like Identity Music, you retain 100% of your publish and sound recording rights. This means that all of your streaming revenue is sent to you minus a small percentage that goes to your distributor. So if you are lucky enough to get a placement in a popular playlist, or strike gold with being discovered, your year will change for good. One single successful song drives interests through your catalogue and creates more revenue.
10. Excuses- “You’re too insert word here to make it”
Of course, everyone has their own struggles. Our culture is obsessed with beauty, youth, wealth and image, but in this situation you create your own obstacles.
Old, Ugly, Poor, Fat, Awkward, Unpopular, Tall. Look, you can input whichever term you want here. And we get it, if you are self-conscious about something, then it will always play on your mind. But, despite who obsessed with fame and beauty our culture is, you can still build a successful career if you don’t fit the typical mould.
There are tools all over the internet that enable you to bypass some audiences and focus on discovering your fanbase. Whilst you may be too *something* to be another Britney Spears or Justin Timberlake, as long as you connect with your audience and they connect with you song, you can create a music career no matter what.
If you’re interested in pushing your career forward, check out our services to see what we can do for you. With Identity Music you can get your music all over the globe in order to gain the maximum exposure. By using our distribution and music promotion services, you’ll be able to take control while watching your music reach new heights.
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