Discover how to get into the music industry with our step-by-step guide and ideas for turning your passion into a successful career.
Achieving the sweet sound of success in the music industry can feel like a distant dream for aspiring musicians. However, with the right blend of passion, commitment, and strategy, it's possible to turn your love for music into a fulfilling and lucrative career.
This step-by-step guide will provide a roadmap that explains how to get into the music industry, including defining your goals, honing your skills, and finding exciting jobs in music.
Embrace the challenge 🎹
As alluring as a career in the music industry sounds, making a name for yourself is no simple feat. The music scene is highly competitive, and it takes more than talent to guarantee a successful path. However, with the right strategies, unwavering passion, and a willingness to learn, a career in music is achievable.
Rise above the competition by defining your goals, developing your skills, and understanding the industry's nuances. Remember, it's not just about chasing stardom; it's about creating a sustainable and rewarding career you truly love.
What to consider before you get started 🥁
Before diving in, take a step back and evaluate the challenges and realities of the sector. This helps you set realistic expectations and equips you with a mind for perseverance.
Here are a few essential factors to keep in mind as you start your journey:
Rejection is part of the process 🚩
Novice musicians are bound to face setbacks and hear "no" quite a few times. Embrace these rejections as learning opportunities to help build resilience. Record companies prioritize making money, which is why you need business skills to meet expectations. Your favorite artists were all rebuffed before figuring it out, and they never stopped trying.
Competition is fierce 🧨
Countless talented individuals compete for attention and success, so you have to work diligently and differentiate yourself from the crowd. Put yourself out there and make connections wherever (and whenever) possible to give you an edge. Always stay positive and be open to learning new aspects of the business.
Creativity isn't enough 🎨
Musical talent is a must, but it doesn’t guarantee success. You’ll need to develop your career with a strategic mindset and market yourself relentlessly. Some pursue a formal education on the subject, whereas others believe you should spend your time and money on creating music — a decision that depends on your long-term goals.
Either way, you don’t have to wait for a record label’s approval to release your music; take matters into your own hands by dropping songs independently (without a record label) on Spotify, Soundcloud, or TikTok.
How to get a job in the music industry 🎼
Breaking into the music industry as an Independent requires hard work, enthusiasm, perseverance, and tactical foresight.
To help you get started, we've outlined some steps to follow to set a strong foundation from which your music career can take off. By meticulously following these guidelines, you'll cultivate your unique sound, establish your presence in the industry, and navigate the challenges of being an independent artist.
1. Determine your goals and identify your skills 🚀
Set clear objectives to chart a path and measure the progress of your journey in the music industry. Ensure they align with your skill set, which should include interpersonal communication, problem-solving, and media skills.
You should also develop other music-related skills — such as stage presence, adaptability, and musical proficiency — to ensure success. Consider your strengths and identify areas that need improvement so you can fill the gaps and boost your career prospects.
2. Learn how the music industry works 🎺
To navigate the complex world of music, you first need to understand it. A music industry course or a music-related university program will teach you about music production software, industry contracts, royalties, and legal issues, helping you protect your future interests and navigate the business landscape with confidence.
3. Choose the type of performer you want to be 🎤
Consider your skills, interests, and passions when choosing the direction of your career in music. Roles include songwriter, producer, mixing engineer, session musician, and live performer, among many others. Each role comes with unique challenges and rewards, so do your research to ensure you'll be satisfied.
4. Join a music community 🤝
Build a network of like-minded individuals and industry professionals to foster growth and collaboration. For a head start, connect with musicians, producers, and other aspiring artists by joining Contra's Slack community. You’ll learn from their experiences, exchange innovative ideas, and have insightful discussions.
You can also participate in online forums, attend music conferences, take on internships, and join local organizations to help you build valuable connections.
5. Create and promote your brand ✅
As an independent musician, you must establish a solid personal brand to stand out in the saturated market. A personal website with professional photos, a compelling bio, and engaging content will showcase your talent and experience. Contra's Portfolio tool is a quick and easy option.
You can also leverage social media platforms — such as Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter — to promote your music and services. These are great places to share updates on your project and engage with your audience. Build a consistent, authentic brand to reach a wider audience and attract potential listeners, clients, and collaborators.
6. Learn how to make money through music 🤑
Monetizing your talent is critical to building a sustainable career in the music industry. Explore various revenue streams, such as live performances, online streaming, licensing, and merchandising. Develop a plan to capitalize on these revenue options and adapt as the industry evolves. Emerging trends and platforms may provide new income sources or exciting opportunities when you least expect it.
7. Look for music industry jobs 👔
Looking for music jobs will help you gain experience and build your reputation. Take advantage of local events, such as open mics and community gatherings, to collaborate with other artists on projects. Or join a band to get yourself out there and light up the stage!
To find opportunities in songwriting, music production, and more, check out hiring platforms like Contra, which match independent artists with their ideal clients. Remain persistent and you'll be on your way to carving out a successful career as a freelancer in the music industry.
How to become a successful music artist: tips and tricks 🎶
A career in the music industry is an exhilarating and rewarding journey. With so much to explore, it's essential to approach your fledgling career with an open mind, a proactive attitude, and a desire to learn.
Here are a few tips to get you started on the right foot:
- Make friends at every opportunity. Attend industry events and connect with whomever you can. Networking is crucial, so attend music events, parties, dinners, and gigs to get your name out there. Don't be shy; introduce yourself, ask questions, and forge meaningful relationships with established professionals and fellow up-and-comers.
- Stay up to date on industry trends and news. Stay informed about major record labels and industry trends by following reputable industry websites and publications. Being in the loop gives you topics to discuss and provides valuable insights into the industry's evolving landscape.
- Look at every opportunity as a "big break." Treat everything — gigs, projects, collaborations, and networking events — as a stepping stone to success. Every experience, no matter how big or how small, can lead to growth, learning, and new opportunities.
The Contra advantage 🎷
Breaking into the music industry may be challenging, but with the right approach, unwavering passion, and strategic planning, it's entirely possible to turn your dreams into reality.
As you embark on this exciting journey, consider promoting your music services on Contra, which offers a commission-free space to showcase your talent and find clients. Contra helps you grow your exposure and boost your career — all while you keep the entirety of your pay.