The Top 5 Myths About Making It In The Music Business

Are you searching for ways to make it in the music industry? In order to break into the music business and develop a long-lasting, successful career, it is important to (first) eliminate all of the misinformation you have heard about becoming a pro musician. Truth is, believing in music industry 'myths' will cause you to waste time, energy and money while never getting any closer to your music career goals.

People in the music industry are sent tons of mail each day containing recordings and other materials from talented musicians. Most of these musicians have spent their whole life working on their musical skills in order to get signed to a recording contract. Unfortunately, 99% of these musicians will not get signed, nor will they even hear back from the companies they send their music to. In many cases, music companies throw away a lot of the materials they receive from random musicians. This results in a lot of frustration for most musicians and leaves them wondering why they work hard on their musical skills but can't seem to break into the music industry.

On the other hand, there are plenty of musicians who DO become successful in the music industry. Building a fulfilling and profitable music career is actually not as difficult as it may seem. However, the majority of musicians do not succeed because they believe in false 'conventional wisdom' about the music industry that ruins their chances of achieving their musical dreams. To break into the music industry and become successful, you must avoid the following music career building approaches that most people consider 'common sense':

1. Pursuing A Music Degree In Order To Become Successful In The Music Business

One of the most common music career myths is thinking that a music degree is the key to becoming a successful professional musician. It's true that you can learn a lot about 'music' by going to university to get a music degree. However

In reality, very few professional musicians have music degrees because they simply never needed them. They made it in the music business by working together with a mentor who trained them in all the skills they needed to build value for others and earn a great living in music.

2. Taking Music Career Advice From Others Who Have Never Succeeded In The Music Industry

Chances are, you have already received a lot of advice from the people in your life about what you should do to become successful in your music career. Most people will be happy to give out 'expert' tips or conventional wisdom even when they really have no authority to do so. Generally speaking, these people are sincere in wanting to help you, but since they have never achieved anything significant in the music industry, their advice is more likely to send you down the wrong path than to lead you toward success.

Consider this: Asking people for music career advice (when they have never actually succeeded in the music business) is like training for a marathon with a trainer who hasn't run a mile in his life or asking your dentist for legal advice. Additionally, asking advice from musicians who attempted to succeed in music (and failed) is equally as dangerous for your music career. Although these people are perfectly willing to tell you how you should build your music career, they do not really have the authority to do so - they will only lead you down the same path they took (which ended in failure).

Truly successful musicians do not build their careers from the 'conventional wisdom' of people they know or amateur musicians who never made it. They work together with a mentor who has already achieved great success and can use his experience to help them effectively reach their music career goals.

3. 'Playing It Safe' By Working A Full Time Job And Doing Music On The Side

Most musicians think that the only way to break into the music industry is to work at a safe and secure job while pursuing music on the side. In many cases, they are lead to believe that they can only attempt to get into the music industry once they have saved up enough money (many years down the road). Unfortunately, when people use this approach they end up getting stuck working 40 hours per week and never find the time to work on music. After training many musicians around the world to succeed in the music industry, I have seen this happen countless times. The reality is, you only have a finite amount of energy to spend during your day. When you spend it primarily working at a job that is unrelated to music, you will not have any left to go toward making progress to become a successful professional musician. The worst part is, musicians who take this approach fail to become successful in music and feel a lot of regret and resentment later on in life. There is nothing worse than this.

To build a successful long-term career in the music industry, you make your music career your #1 focus and plan for it accordingly. If you work a lot of hours at your job and have little time to pursue your musical goals, there is a problem. In fact, many musicians have been in this same situation and gone on to become professional musicians. You too, can overcome this. The best way to break into the music industry while working a full time job is to create a backup plan centered around your main music career goals. This plan should gradually help you transition away from your job in a safe and secure manner while giving you more time to work on music AND keeping you financially stable along the way.

4. Trying To Make It In Music On Your Own

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to make it in the music industry is attempting to build your music career by yourself. This is the approach that leads countless musicians to failure. Why? Because when you try to build your music career alone you are forced to either 'guess' about which actions you should take next or copy what someone else is doing (and 'hope' that it works). Without the expert guidance of a mentor who has already gained many years of experience as a highly successful musician, it is nearly impossible to 'guess' the correct course of action you must take to further your music career.

5. Hoping To 'Get Discovered' By Uploading Your Music Online

When it comes to breaking into the music industry, most musicians immediately wonder how they can put themselves out there to new fans, record labels and music companies. In an effort to do this, they upload their music to as many websites as possible thinking that this is what you are supposed to do to get noticed. The truth is, this approach will rarely get you even a handful of listeners, will not help you earn a good living as a musician and will 'never' get you heard by the right people in the music industry (who can help you move your career forward). Here are the reasons why most people who take this approach will fail:

  • They do not understand how to effectively promote themselves and their music.
  • They don't have thousands of enthusiastic fans waiting for the release of their new album.
  • They have no strategy for attracting new fans while simultaneously transforming their current fans into true FANATICS.
  • They do not have a strategy to help them earn a living through multiple sources of income at once.

Musicians who achieve the greatest success in their music careers do NOT merely upload their music online and wait around to get discovered. They create a strategy for working toward their musical goals while raising their personal value in the eyes of other in the music industry (by expanding their fan base and building other important music business skills). After doing this, they simply approach the companies they want to do business with and negotiate a partnership that will bring the most benefit to both sides of the deal.

If you are serious about breaking into the music industry and becoming a successful professional musician, it is imperative that you work together with a mentor as soon as possible. By doing this, you will reach your musical goals in much less time and finally be able to make a good living as a musician.

Working with Royalty Free Music

When creating Multi-Media Content, Flash or Video Clips for a client's web site or CD Rom Project, the last thing you want is to get him in trouble with the law. If there's a need for music in a project, using royalty free music is essential.

Here are some general music tips that you may find useful:

1) Finding the right kind of music
There are hundreds of choices when it comes to royalty free music and making the right decision can be hard. After all, most TV production companies have music supervisors on staff whose only job it is to select appropriate music for projects. Selecting music is an art in itself. In general, you will find that your clients would prefer to use something they heard on the radio, something from their favorite album etc. Unfortunately, that's copyrighted stuff and licensing an N Sync song for your next 'how to' video or CD-Rom may cost you a fortune. What you want to do is find buyout music that sounds similar to today's popular music. It's a little harder to find than your typical 'canned' music. A lot royalty free music may sound like music from a 70's sitcom or worse, a cheap porno flick.

A good place to check out is All their tracks are created by established record producers with grammy and gold record credits so you get music that sounds as up-to-date as what you may hear on the radio.

Our tip: Always use music that sounds just a little more energetic than you think you may need. You may listen to the music over and over while you're putting together your project while the end user may only hear it a few times.

2) Less is not more in production music
When you are looking for background music for a project, choose music with some impact. I know it is supposed to be background music but if you choose high energy tracks, your whole project will leave more of an impression. Listen to a sampling of today's TV commercials and you'll find that most of them use very powerful music. You want your work to create an impact and keep viewer's attention and a strong, powerful soundtrack can do that.

3) When 'legal' music is not legal
The usage license on your buyout music CD may be very liberal but it is not a license to steal. You can use royalty free music on all of your projects and as you have the legal right to use the music, your customers can be assured not to get into legal troubles.

However, that license is only extended to you, the purchaser. You cannot transfer that license by copying your CD and giving it to somebody else or by selling the CD. This may be news to you but there's no such thing as a 'used buyout music CD' If you don't purchase the music from the producers of the music, it won't be legal still. So, next time you browse eBay for royalty free music, make sure you are buying a new CD, not a used one or it will be useless to you.

4) You get what you pay for
While we're on the topic of Ebay: You may find offers for entire 4 or 6 CD libraries for $75 or other ridiculously low prices on Ebay. The truth is, these CDs may not even be worth that low price.

5) CD or Download?
With the event of high speed internet, you don't really have to wait anymore to receive your Royalty Free Music CD in the mail. If you need tracks fast, you can now download buyout music from the net. You can choose only the tracks you need and get to use them within minutes. Single downloadable tracks usually cost a little more money per track than buying a whole CD. On the other hand, you don't have to buy a whole CD if you only need one or two tracks.

My advice, if you are buying music to 'keep on the shelf' for future projects and for your customers to choose from, buy physical CDs. If you need just one or two 'perfect' tracks or if you are on a deadline, downloadable purchases may be perfect for you. I don't know if I have to mention it, but purchasing a Mariah Carey track from Itunes or Napster for a buck does not entitle you to use the music. You have to download your music from a buyout music company so the track is licensed to you.

6) Make your own
You may think, 'are you crazy? I'm not a musician' You don't have to be a music genius anymore these days. Programs like Acid and Apple's Garageband allow you to create original music by using 'loops' Loops are pre-made musical chunks of drums, bass, guitar, strings, whatever, that you can put together like a mosaic to create your own music soundtrack.