Music Industry Reality Check: The Stars and You

Silhouette of Rock?n roll singer
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So, musician, you've got some new music. You're ready for the public to hear it. You just have to decide how to release it...but, wait, is that even a concern anymore? Doesn't releasing music mean that you set it free on the Internet in your chosen form? You can make it available for streaming, sell downloads, and you'll be just like (insert popular musician's name here).

I get it. It's kind of awesome that a small insider's club of gatekeepers isn't deciding what the public hears and doesn't anymore.

It's pretty amazing that your music can be sitting on the digital shelves besides social media page is not an effective strategy.

If you've made music worth hearing, then do yourself the great service of promoting it so that people find out about it. Yes, you should use your social media sites, but don't stop there. Send it out to music blogs. Approach your local paper and the radio station that is local artist friendly in your area. Have a release party that you promote your little heart out for. It doesn't matter if you only get one review this time around and everyone else ignores you.

PR is both a strategy to sell whatever you're moving now and investment in your future projects. You're getting your name out there, where it needs to be. Otherwise, your digital album or stream is just a needle in a depressingly large haystack.

You're Going to Need to Make Some Money

Is your goal to make a living at music, or is it a hobby.

Although there is nothing wrong about doing music as a hobby, if you hope to make a living - well, you have to make a living. How are you going to do that? Wrong, you're not going to do it by going on tour. Sorry, but it's true. Barring some very lucky circumstances, you're a good way off from the point at which touring becomes profitable - let alone living wage-able.

You CAN get there, but at first, touring takes a bigger bite out of your budget that you can imagine. The truth is that you can't afford to give all of your creativity away for free. You're going to have to find a way to sell some of your music, regardless what your favorite already-paid musician is doing with their music. Don't shy away from putting a value on yourself - it's what will allow you to make a living as a creative.

The Moral of the Story

When you're an entry level musician, you've got to operate within those realities. Look to other musicians in your position and those who are breaking through for your roadmap instead of the buzz stories of celebrities. The tools may be different, but every musician still has to fight to build an audience and get the credit they deserve.