When you are a musician, no matter what you do, play, sing, produce, write, anything, it’s a constant grind to progress so you have to manage your time in the best way you can. There are a lot of things you can do to get forward and a lot of things that you probably shouldn’t do so we just want to talk about a few of them and see what you guys can relate to.
Don’t be outworked:
There are a million things that are out of your control when you are trying to make it in the music industry, you have no way to tell how people will react to your music, you might upload a new track to YouTube and it might go viral like a cat playing piano or might be less viewed than a William Baldwin movie, William is the “actor” brother of super talented actor Alec Baldwin, we are joking of course, William is a hugely talented actor in his own right (no lawsuit here) and if you read this William please say hi to Alec for us. Anyway, we got a little off topic but the point is the saying is true, nothing is ever promised tomorrow today (perhaps the most sensible thing Kanye ever said?), meaning we don’t know what’s around the corner for us so with that being said you need to make sure you stay on top of the things you can control.
One of the main areas you have control over is how hard you work, if you don’t make it never let it be because you didn’t work hard enough, never let the next guy/girl outwork you. If you are passionate about music then that should be enough to fuel you when you are exhausted and want to call it a night, if you aren’t that passionate then quit now because it will never come. It’s normal for aspiring musicians to have other jobs, because while you try to make it in the industry you have to pay bills right? It’s important that you have a way to support yourself through your journey as a musician, everything costs money, bills, equipment, software etc, if you are lucky enough that you can already make an income from music through session gigs, functions, studio work, beat making etc then that’s awesome but if you don’t and you need to have a “regular” job it’s understandable that the more you work to support your passion the more tired you get and the more difficult it gets to come home and start writing, recording or putting beats together but the one thing we can promise is that if you are working a job and saying you are too tired to focus on your music there is a million others working two jobs and finding time to put new stuff out and if it’s between you and them, all things being equal talent wise, no one is going to come knocking on your door with a record deal. So to sum up what we are saying, if you love music but not hard work then have it as a hobby, if you want to make it a career then roll up your sleeves because this is hard work.
Make the most of what you have to work with:
These days the home studio is king (almost), but more so than ever you can do almost everything at home so whatever is available to you make the most of it. Everything comes at a cost so we know it’s not simple for everyone to go and set up a home studio but if you but you can get some awesome entry level products from brands like M-audio, Akai Professional and Alesis that are more than enough to do what you need. Many of the songs you hear on the radio these days begin with little more than a computer, audio interface and midi controller, as a fairly recent example you can read stories about how Skrillex made his Cinema remix while illegally living in a warehouse (which he was eventually kicked out of) with a busted up speaker and look where he is now just a few years later. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking if I had this or that I could do so much more or it’s easy for all these stars to make hits etc but the reality is most of them started with very little too and the only thing that will happen is time will pass and a year down the line you’ll be no further on and wishing you had just got it done, so use what you have available to you and make it work.
Find the people that do the bits you don’t:
It’s highly unlikely that you can do everything by yourself, I mean sing, play, produce, master tracks etc, some can so if that’s you then congratulations but for most of us that’s not the case. Whatever it is you do you need to find a way to add the missing pieces, if you are the hottest producer out there it’s probably safe to assume you aren’t going to top the charts selling instrumentals so you have to find singers, rappers etc that are going to take your work from hot production to a hit record. As obvious as it sounds making connections is maybe the most key part of the industry and some people still get stuck in a rut trying to do everything themselves either because they are too closed minded to accept others creativity in their work or maybe they lack confidence in putting their material in front of others to pass judgement but this is what it is, this is the game, you need to find other musicians who need what you do and can do the bits that you can’t do. If you can’t travel much or can’t accommodate other musicians then find a way around it, work online, send material back and forward adding your own pieces, maybe not ideal but it’s an option that works and the internet is filled with millions of people trying to get a break in the music industry so surely there’s nothing to stop you finding the right person. This is an area where we come in, sign up with us at superflyaudio.com, post an ad, start sharing up, upload music, take that first step because once you start you will wonder why you never did it before, music is a beautiful thing when you start to work with others.
If you get any free time between everything else you have going on then it’s a good idea to get to gigs, shows, events etc when you can because even if you go to a gig where the act you went to see didn’t live up to expectation chances are there are others at the same gig who are trying to hook up with other musicians just like you. Same thing with industry events, unless you are trying to promote a service or product some events can seem a little boring in between live performances but it really does you no harm to stay on top of what’s going on in the business so if there are any industry events close enough to you then try to get to them. There is a bit of a misconception with some aspiring musicians that networking is all about being seen in the right place, well if you can get into all the “right place’s” then that’s great but if you are reading magazines and seeing images of pop stars stumbling out of nightclubs the reason people are taking their picture is because they have sold “X” amount of records and now look at them in a drunken mess, if you focus too much on the going out and being seen part you will likely spend more time and money on getting ready for nights out, alcohol and you’d just be a drunken mess more plausible as a reality tv contestant than a serious musician so by all means network but make sure it’s for the right reasons.
You can’t go a day anymore without either hearing about social networking or being a part of it so take advantage, there are a lot of ways to get your sound and your message out there so use them, it can be tedious at times but people don’t pay attention to someone who posts something every six months, be active and be engaging, start to build a following and use them to get feedback (We will be publishing some social media tips soon). If a record label executive hears your track and hates it then it will get binned pretty quickly but if that same executive hates your track but sees that thousands of people are talking about it and playing then we can promise you the reaction will be different. So although it’s tedious keep grinding away every day with your social media, make sure you put out content that appeals to your target audience and make sure you get them to engage.
NO SHORTCUTS!!!! You can find a load of services now offering things like “buy 5000 fb fans for $50”, so first think about it, how can someone offer a specific number of fans like that if they are real people with real accounts? they can’t! Some of these services will even tell you straight up that the likes/fans/followers are fake but the idea is that it increases your numbers and makes your page more legit looking, WRONG! you don’t gain a single thing from having 50,000 fans showing but no one engaging with your content because there isn’t actually anyone there to listen to or purchase your tracks and as for looking legit, if anyone in the industry sees a band on Facebook who have 50,000 fans but no comments, no likes, no interaction at all then alarm bells start to ring, not to mention it can result in your account being banned so stay away from these shortcuts at all costs.
These are all basic things that you can and should pay attention to everyday and despite the fact they may seem obvious they do get overlooked and while there is no assurance that you will make it to the heights you aspire to it will sure as hell get you a lot closer if you live it everyday, it’s a grind, it’s a hustle but embrace it, nothing’s ever promised tomorrow today, thank you again Mr West. Kanye still may run for President in the United States someday but there’s more chance of a William Baldwin movie being a box office highest earner, again we would like to say that superflyaudio.com are big William Baldwin fans and see him as one of the most talented people in Hollywood (still no lawsuit here).
What’s your daily hustle? We’d love to hear what you are doing to get to where you need to be, please share on Facebook and give us a like if you can relate.