The music industry is notorious for its many myths. You’ve probably heard that “It’s impossible to get into”, “I don’t stand a chance because of my age” or “Once I make a hit I won’t have to work as hard”. These myths, ranging from the importance of being signed to that it’s next to impossible to break onto the scene are what make people needlessly reluctant to get into the music industry. It’s worth discovering more and reading up on these myths before making any professional decisions or forming opinions about the music industry.
You would be forgiven for having a completely false opinion of the music industry, after all, even those who’ve basked in it can still be left stumped or blindsided by it from time to time. Not only is it an industry shrouded in myths, steeped in rumor and bright lights, but it is also a completely dynamic industry. Constantly evolving, the music industry is almost impossible to pin down and that’s what keeps us hooked. We simply can’t get enough of it and maybe that’s the reason why you’re here. Perhaps you clicked because you want to get to know the industry better before attempting to wade in its waters. Either way, it’s worth garnering a clearer view and better understanding of the music industry – one of the biggest, most powerful, and lucrative industries on a global scale. So, buckle up and keep an open mind!
It’s impossible to get into.
Many people are taken by the misconception that the music industry is completely elite. That you must already have distinguished connections in the industry or just a copious amount of luck to even get your foot in the door. The truth is that no one is ever going to ask you for ID or some sort of music industry degree before you gain access to the music industry. It is this perception of exclusivity and air of VIP that puts many people off ever trying to work or thrive in the industry. Truth be told, the majority of people in the music industry simply but in the necessary hard work and had the right kind of dedication to help them go the distance. What’s more, is that there are many underestimated access points to the music industry such as getting your start as a music tutor or street performer. Ridding the music industry of this mythical air of intimidation would allow more musicians to reach their full potential and ensure a steady stream of talent.
I don’t stand a chance because of my age.
The music industry seems like a young person’s game. It seems like if you’re not in your 20s then you don’t exist or at the very least you’re pushed off to the sidelines. Perhaps this is true among the upper echelons of the music industry, the ones that are most visible to the public. But scratch the surface and you see many professional musicians/singers making a living in the music industry. We simply don’t see them as much but they are equally important and tend to be of all ages. You’ll find people who’ve succeeded in the music industry for decades, solidifying their place in the ambient and influencing those who come after them. So, don’t be fooled by the image of the music industry, there is so much more happening behind the scenes and age certainly isn’t as big as an issue as you might think. After all, talent scouts and managers are looking for someone who promises success, not just someone young.
Once I make a hit, I won’t have to work as hard.
It’s easy to fall into the attractive idea of eventually being able to take a break or slow down once you’ve made a successful song, however, this doesn’t always go to plan. Unfortunately, hitting it big once won’t be enough. The attention you receive will soon peter out if you do not have substance to back it up. Essentially, you’ll need to keep working. You always need to have another song up your sleeve and you most certainly should attempt to take advantage of the attention to the best of your abilities. It’s your time to shine and show them what you got, if anything, it’s then that you should be working harder. You’ve got the attention, now it’s up to you to keep it. There’s plenty of stories within the music industries of one-hit-wonders who simply didn’t keep up the momentum. In fact, some of the most famous songs have come from one-hit-wonder singers that are rarely heard from again. It’s a frightening curse that befalls some, but never underestimate the result of hard work and its ability to keep you firmly placed within the music industry.
All I need is to be signed!
You’d be excused for thinking signing a record deal works as a sort of comfort blanket for most musicians. We see success stories time and time again of a singer falling into the right record deal and starting their incredible trajectory of success. It’s true that this happens but it’s not at all common. We seldom hear of the failed record deals, they simply don’t make for as good a news story. What’s more is that very few artists will even make money from a record deal these days, with only around 10% able to make a living thanks to their deal. So, don’t underestimate the power of being indie or simply not signing a deal. This is getting more common nowadays and the trend is set to continue.
I can do it all on my own.
It’s easy to be fooled by those fantasy scenarios that we so often see on the big screen or hear about from times of yore but that simply doesn’t happen anymore, and quite frankly, it was never entirely feasible. To remain in the music industry you’re going to need to forge strong connections with those that you meet along the way. Networking is simply a principle of the music industry, without it, you rarely stand a chance. Even artists with the most supportive and fervent fans still need the support of others in the music industry. There’s simply too much administration, managing, and organization to do it all by yourself. Though it’s not noticeable on the surface, if you look deeply into the beginnings of any successful artist’s career, you’ll see that they branched out and took any helping hand they could find.
Sending out demos will be enough to get signed.
As success stories of the music industry have been repeated since time immemorial, you would swear that sending out demos to the top dogs of the industry will eventually get you signed. Perhaps this was true at one time but record label companies won’t foot the groundwork for you anymore. A singer/musician has to build their own foundations nowadays and prove that they can make a substantial amount of money for the record label before they get signed. Sure, sending out demos can get your name out there which is always a bonus but it’s not enough to get you signed, no matter how talented you are.
I just need to go viral!
Going viral online seems like such a big achievement nowadays and it certainly is, however, just like making that one perfect hit, going viral is only temporary. Raking in the views online all of a sudden is fantastic if you already have an established place in the industry. If you’re just starting out and manage to go viral, you’ll need plenty of hard work and good luck to keep up the sudden wave of success going. As you know, people go viral every day and they don’t make it big. People might nonchalantly like your page as they pass by, they might listen to your music because it’s trending. But if you can’t make them stick around, then you won’t grow in the music industry. So, whatever you do to go viral, keep that up! Otherwise, it’s all about the grind and working to do what you love.
And there you have it. The music industry likely seems quite a bit more realistic to you now. It’s not all made up of the glitz and glam that we see on tv or in the magazines. There’s more grit to it than that, more respect, connection, and talent.