Success in the Music Industry

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Jillian Rotsky
MUSC 244-01
Midterm Essay
October 11, 2009

"Modern music is people who can't think signing artists who can't write songs to make records for people who can't hear." Frank Zappa

Starting a career in the music industry is a difficult task. There are many important steps that you need to take along the way, and the path is often long and confusing. The people that you meet along the way will guide you along this path, and hopefully help you become a music industry success story. The goal is to not let your message get jumbled and distorted beyond your control and lead you to disaster. The number one person in your path to success is yourself. You need to start the work required to become successful on your own. The first step for yourself is to decide that this is what you want to have as a career. There are many bumps and stumbling points along the way, and you have to be willing to take them in stride. Once you decide that this is indeed the path that you want to follow, you have to decide what success means to you. Are you happy playing in local venues to crowds of dozens of people, or do you want to play to arenas of thousands of people? You also have to be disciplined. You are responsible for knowing your instrument. Whether you are a vocalist or a guitarist, you have to know what you are doing. You should take music lessons, and if you already know your instrument, you need to practice, practice, practice! Often people become advanced and forget to review the basics and start to slack on structure and form. It is also important to do your research and learn from other artists. What did they do to become successful? You don’t want to make the same missteps that artists have made before you. (Rudsenske, 2004) You need to do research and learn about the business aspect of the industry. You want to know the fundamentals of contracting for gigs, negotiating record deals, etc. You don’t need to know everything, but you should know enough to spot potential problems and save yourself. You also need to start doing some of your own promotional work and creating your image. Online networking is one of the most important aspects of today’s recording artists’ careers. Keep track of the activity on your WebPages. Other things you want to keep track of are how many recordings you sell, you want to get your fans in on it and help you create a street team, sell your t-shirts. You also want to look the part of what you are trying to communicate. Do you wear jeans and a T-shirt? How do you wear your hair? You need to develop a look or else you will melt into a nothingness band and disappear, you won’t be memorable. The more you do for yourself, and the more success you generate by yourself, the easier the future steps will be. It is impossible to have a successful career as and artist in the music industry without assistance. This business is complicate, and it is difficult for an artist to focus on his creative development and keep up with the business aspects as well. One of the first people you are going to want to involve in your career is a manager. In a nutshell, managers are in charge of running the business side of an artist or band's career, so that the band is free to focus on creating the music. You may start out with a friend or a family member as your manager. Since your friend won’t have all of the knowledge you’ll need, you will eventually want to hire a professional. Record labels expect a professional presentation, and that is something that your manager will be responsible for. A manager for an unsigned band, or a band signed to a small label, may wear many different hats: promoter, agent, accountant, and any role that needs filling for the band. A manager for an artist signed to a larger label may act more as a supervisor of the other people working for the band. They will make sure the label is on their toes,...
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