Music Business

The Music Business Rules – How to Get Ahead in the Music Industry

by Wes on April 4, 2011 · 1 comment

Be Professional :

Being professional is at the top of the list, and not without good reason. You may get involved in the music industry because you love music, and music loves you back. But many people try to get into the industry because they imagine it as one big party. Indeed there are millions of opportunities to have fun while working in the music business, but the main word here is WORKING. Hard work and commitment are indispensable before you really get to have fun. When you have a job to do, be there on schedule, or maybe a little earlier, and do your job well. Create the impression that you can be counted on to work hard, and live up to that impression. Show that you properly know the difference between work and play, and you’ll find opportunities rushing in.

Be Polite:

Here’s the rub: Working in the music business involves lots of cold calling and emailing, whether you are just starting out or you are already in there. Some people will ignore you completely, as if you don’t exist. Some will take a long time to respond. Some might reply with a single word after they get  the ten e-mail messages you sent. Yes, it’s mighty frustrating. But what can you do about it?

Simple: nothing. Be polite and professional at all times and at all instances. If someone provokes your ire, intentionally or not, do not get back and do not resort to rough behavior. Say “thank you” to those who went out of their way to help. The industry is smaller than most people think, and as they say it, first impressions last.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make Some Money:

The right reason for getting involved in the music business is because you eat, sleep and breath music. The wrong one is to make monetary gains. In fact, there are discussions that making good quality music is being sacrificed for making lots of money, and this is highlighted in big record labels. But don’t you ever think that it is absolutely wrong to make money in the music business. You still have to pay the bills for your music job, and after all, who wouldn’t want to enjoy the fruits of all his labors? Getting paid does not mean you’re turning evil, rather it keeps your hopes and spirits up and allows you to continue doing what you want.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask:

There is this simple rule to remember: ask and you shall receive. The people who can give you what you want, say an internship, a slot in your favorite band or time to work with your favorite producer, cannot read minds. They usually are not the first ones to give offers. You will do better by asking them. Sometimes, you will get “no” for an answer but don’t worry, because sometimes, some people will say “yes.” Just ask, and be ready for surprises that will come your way.

Get it in Writing:

Never underestimate the power of a contract. This applies even when you’re working with friends you think you know, even when there is no money involved. A contract is a always a good way to clarify things like working relationships, expectations and responsibilities. People will be able to get things done a lot more effectively if everyone clearly knows what they should do and what is expected of them.

Say “I Don’t Know” :

If you don’t have a clue on what everyone is talking about, like when you are in a band and meeting with your producer, or when you are discussing things with the manager of the record label, say so. People often want to create an impression of being cool in the music business, and so they fall into the mistake of pretending to know a lot of things they really don’t. Be brave enough to say “you don’t know” is absolutely a lot better than making a fool of yourself while in a conversation. People who really know are bound to notice. Besides, if you’re really serious about learning, someone’s got to teach you, anyway. Speak up.

Above All Else – LISTEN:

You really can’t expect yourself to be the first in the music industry who will do what you want to do, whatever it is. Most people who enter the industry really know music. It’s in their bones, and that gives them some superior level of knowledge. Don’t you ever assume that because you have a lot of records and a collection of music magazines, you know how things work. That is a foolish mistake to make. Listen to people’s advice, especially those people who have been around in the industry for quite some time now. The people who really make it big in the business are the people who know how to listen and never stop learning from the “old hands”.

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