Being successful in the music industry is a dream for many people, so naturally there are hurtful myths surrounding the topic. Some myths project a career in music to be easier than it really is, while others are discouraging. Whatever the misinformation, you should be well informed before you attempt to start a music career so you’re prepared for the reality of the business. Here’s the truth about what it takes (and doesn’t take) to become successful in your music career.
Myth #1: Getting on TV will boost my career!
Some musicians think their big break will come from a reality show, while some others will focus on getting their music on a television show or in a movie. While these moves are not insignificant, they don’t help as much as you might think.
Consider the reality TV shows for a moment. We’re betting you can’t remember even half of the winners over the last seasons, let alone the people who came in 2nd, 3rd or 12th. And even if you manage to sign a deal with these shows, the contracts are largely undesirable. Instead of wasting time trying to get on television, these musicians could have been promoting themselves elsewhere and making real money!
Don’t focus on a single "break" to send your career off; instead diversify your approach as much as possible and focus on promoting yourself, not a TV show.
Myth #2: My technique is perfect so I will be successful!
Much like getting on television, there’s no denying that being a great technical musician is a help to your music career. You’re not going to get very far without basic technique and a working knowledge of trade tools. Just being a technically proficient musician won’t cut it though, you need to be creative too.
The best way to get the creative juices flowing and discover your style is to practice. Get acquainted with Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) which will let you compose, edit and master your own music. That means you can depend less on outside help from producers and others. Reason is an excellent DAW that lets you professionally record and produce your own music in the comfort of your own studio, and all that control really inspires creativity. Taking reason tutorials can help you master the program which will further assist you in your music career.
Myth #3: Once I get a record deal, I’ll have it made!
Sadly, getting a record deal and releasing a successful record are two completely different things. In most cases, once you’re signed to a label it’s up to you to continue promoting and creating your music, except now it’s to someone else’s standards. The majority of musicians who sign record deals get no benefit to their careers for having done so alone.
Remember, publishing all the music in the world won’t get your heard (or make you any money) unless you are dedicated to promotion and accessibility. You have to put in the work to make your brand, and no label can do that for you. Remember too that record labels will often reserve the right to drop you at any time.
Myth #4: Being a professional musician is all about the music.
Some people call it "selling out," but the truth is if you want to make a living selling your musicianship then you have to treat it like a business. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise the quality of your craft, but it does mean you have to be well developed in other areas.
For instance, it’s important to develop personal relationships with people, to network and grow your group of acquaintances. You should also be money-savvy, and knowledgeable about what your services are worth, and how much to pay managers and producers and sound technicians. Understand that making money with your music usually requires multiple sources of revenue, so always be thinking of new ways to make yourself heard.
Myth #5 Having a music career means financial feast or famine.
There is a misconception that musicians either have to struggle or else will live in luxury. The truth is, with a focused approach to the business of music as well as attention to skill and creativity, musicians can find many ways to make their dreams a reality. Musicians can make an honest living selling their music without being mega stars.
There’s only one real way to decipher fact from fiction in the music business, though- you have to see for yourself. If you’ve got the skills and the focus to pursue a career in music, you can experience first-hand what it takes to become a successful musician.