10 Tips for Making it in The Music Industry
Written by Jason Euler | July 7, 2020
Artists, managers, and people in any position (even just starting out) in the music Industry: We’re living in some weird times. Nonetheless, there are some universal concepts that can help a lot of you achieve and thrive. Thus, here goes a little segment on my top 10 tools and strategy points that I’ve personally used to advance in the music industry.
This first point may seem a bit bland. But, I’m going somewhere with this. Stay with me. That hunger that makes you wake up in the morning SO excited to be doing what you’re doing; It eats away at everything and consumes you. You’re absolutely thrilled with your prospects and where you’re going and don’t need caffeine to feel a rush… Channel that same energy into learning. Be THAT hungry to LEARN and educate yourself continually. I’ve seen people in positions of tremendous influence crash and burn all because they thought they knew it all. I still learn every single day. A passion for the pursuit of knowledge has been key for my own success and will inevitably play a major role in yours if you adopt this mindset.
Networking v.s. Creating Relationships
There’s a difference between meeting people and getting to know them. Let that sink in. You can go to any and all networking events, sit on panels, work with peers, etc. Yet, you may not even know the first thing about the people you call your colleagues. I implore you all to consider building a contact sheet as only the VERY INITIAL step to “who you know” in your contacts. Beyond that, creating lasting relationships can mean a lot of things. In a dog eat dog sphere, it’s hard to envision anyone as your friend. I get it. I’m not asking everyone to be besties here. Humor me for a second. Being amicable can go a long way… This leads right into the next point.
Before spinning off on a tangent regarding your own projects; think a bit differently. What can you bring to the table OF VALUE to the other party? What is it that you can do for them that can be useful or beneficial to their cause? There are instances where you don’t need to even go very far out of your comfort zone to give a lending hand. For example, when speaking to someone you need to work with for whatever reason: Instead of going right into the conversation of working together, defer to asking them about what they’re working on. Show interest. Add value if you can be useful. THEN find space to gauge their interest in what you need.
Announce Less and Do More
I see announcements on social media all the time. I’m not talking about people who brag about their accomplishments or milestones. I don’t have any bones to pick with people who celebrate the wins. Right on dude! I do however hold issues with announcements of future announcements. Until someone pointed this out to me, I can admit to having done this several times myself. From the front seat it may look like you’re building anticipation or even awareness. However, from a sideline, you look like a CCO; Chief Clown Officer. The point here is, don’t make a fool of yourself gloating about what you’re going to do. Go and do it. Let your work speak for itself, and if the accomplishment is substantial enough, then brag away.
Don’t Be An Open Book
There are several analogies for this one. Don’t play with your cards open; so on, and so forth. Lest we forget that the music industry is a very competitive landscape. The elements of mystery or surprise can work in your favor. Disclose just enough information to get the job done. If you find yourself “bleeding” information, you may not hold positioning for long.
This one is clear as daylight. Be true to yourself, young grasshopper. People can read between the lines. Nobody likes being deceived, especially if your intentions prove to be untrue. Trust in the process, and never pretend to be someone you’re not.
Quality Control and Building Reputation
Develop a stamp of approval; metaphorically of course. Or not. Whatever you fancy. Essentially, don’t let quality become an inferior concept. Anything you do, make sure you’re conscious of your name being attached to the outcome. Consistently delivering on quality will help you build a positive reputation. If people can rely on you and what you put forth, you’re in an advantageous position.
Strategy and Execution
Think it through. Plan it out. Strategize and anticipate with contingencies. Being elastic to what may come can provide for a stronger foundation. Only push the green button when you’re really ready. So many of you are innovative, and tend to live “outside the box” in general. That said, executing and really driving it home can seem outlandish. With proper planning and strategy, execution can be a step by step process.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Knowing the right people is already half the battle, so what’s missing? Making sure you pay those people to get the job done. Needless to say, nobody works for free. In my experience, shaking hands only goes so far. Money talks, and bullshit walks. No real players are going to work for free. But, keep in mind that compensation does not always need to come in the form of cash. Some key players are happy to expand their portfolios on “sweat equity” and a stake in something greater.
Perseverance. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Right? Sometimes knocking on a door enough times will knock it down. I personally also like creating consistency in terms of schedule. I know that I handle my emails in the morning and meetings later in the day. When you put yourself in a habit of formulating a routine, following a regime becomes more intentional. Don’t underestimate the importance of organization and workflow efficiency.
Disclaimer: This is not a bible as to how to get ahead, nor a code to strictly abide by. There are of course nuances unmentioned here. I’d love to hear from some of you as to what’s been helping you move forward in today’s music industry. Feel free to comment below, share with friends, and copy as you’d like. As a final note to anyone reading: Let’s all try to be cognizant of humanity. As the world turns and our lives endlessly shift, we can still be a beacon of hope for what’s to come.