There is no shortage of myths in the music industry. People seem to love to spread rumors and half-truths about the industry. While some of these myths may be harmless, others can actually do serious damage to your career.
In this blog post, we will debunk some of the most common myths in the music industry, to set the record straight!
MYTH #1: You Must Live In A Big City
One of the most persistent myths is that you need to move to a big city like Los Angeles or New York to make it in the music business.
While these cities do have a lot to offer (including great networking events), they are not necessary to have a successful music career. In fact, many music industry professionals work remotely, (and especially during the Covid pandemic) and you can too!
The best thing you can do is to embrace your location and its opportunities (even if they are small). Become the face of music locally, and put yourself "out there," on social media. You never know who is watching, and content is key.
MYTH #2: You Must Sign A Record Deal For Success
Another myth is that you need to be signed to a major label (or any label for that matter) to have a successful music career.
That may have been true back in the day when the only two places to get your music heard were on radio or television, but now, it's a complete myth!
With the advent of digital distribution, streaming services and social media, it is easier than ever for independent artists to get their music out there and build a fan base.
While it's true that being signed to a major label can give you some "perks," you may not be able to receive on your own (or not easily) they can actually be detrimental to your success. We have a full blog on that too, but as a hint, labels act more like banks nowadays...
Labels do still have some great perks however, so if you would like to learn more about that, check out this video in which a record label owner will share some insight with you.
MYTH #3: Talent Is All You Need For Success
Another myth is that talent is all it takes for success in the music business. While talent is certainly important, it takes more than that to make it in this industry.
Let's look at it this way, music is a business (for those that want to do it professionally and make a living off of it), and what business has succeeded with a great product, but no marketing, no pr, and no online presence? Not one we can think of.
Relating back to music, you need to be able to not only create great music (like really great music), but also build a following, grow and establish a unique image, stand for something, be able to create hype, and of course, be able to market, distribute, network and pitch yourself.
So talent is important, but it takes much more than just being a great musician to make it big in the music industry. Traits that many successful musicians share include:
1) Continuously building connections
2) Remaining true to themselves and their sound
3) Always hungry to learn more
4) Practicing everyday
5) Determined and persistent
And when we asked musicians what the best advice they have ever received was, they said:
1) Listen to your customers (fans), not your gut
2) Treat your music like a business if you want to make it your career
3) Take voice lessons if you want to go pro
4) Learn the music business, inside and out
5) Hire/work with people more experienced than yourself (and with a track record)
6) You have to "give" to "get"
What's the commonality between the traits and advice, listed above? A willingness to learn the business, an openness to analyze data to see what works, and determination to always improve!
It does not matter how talented you are, you also need to be dedicated, passionate and willing to work hard to achieve your goals.
There are no shortcuts to success and if you want to "make it" in the music business, (however that looks to you), you need to be prepared to put in the hard work beyond focusing on talent.
MYTH #4: You Need To Be A Great Musician To Make It In The Music Industry
This is simply not true! There are many different aspects to the music industry and you do not need to be a great musician to succeed.
For example, you could be a really bad singer, like really bad, but a fantastic songwriter, producer, manager, agent, or promoter.
There are endless opportunities in the music industry and you should not limit yourself by thinking that you need to be a great musician to make it.
There are people in the music business, wildly successful ones too that cannot write a song, cannot sing in pitch, cannot produce, mix or master, etc, but because the business allows for so many areas, there will be a path for nearly everyone.
MYTH #5: You Need A Degree To Succeed In The Music Industry
This is another myth. You do not need a degree to succeed in the music industry, although it may help you get your foot in the door.
There are countless people who have made it big in the music industry without a degree, including some of the biggest names in the business, such as Jay-Z, and Bruce Springsteen.
Education is super important, don't get us wrong, but in the music industry, that education can be learned through practical experience in the field, rather than in a classroom.
For example, if you want to be a great producer, put in 10,000 hours producing. What you will learn from that will be second to none.
Or if you want to be an amazing songwriting, spend 10,000 hours writing songs, and connecting with mentors to guide you.
In essence, for being a singer, songwriter, producer, musician, etc there is no barrier to entry. If you want to be great at it, put in the time doing it!
MYTH 6: You Need To Spend A Lot Of Money To Succeed In The Music Industry
The truth is (contrary to what others may want you to think), you can succeed in the music industry without spending a lot of money.
You just need to be creative and resourceful. There are many ways to promote your music without spending a lot of money. You can use social media, word of mouth, and even street teaming to promote your music.
Moreover, we understand you want the best equipment, who wouldn't? But having the best equipment is not necessary at the beginning of your career. As you progress, and make money from your craft, you can then invest in better quality equipment.
So, don’t let the myth that you need to spend a lot of money to succeed in the music industry stop you from pursuing your dreams.
You can succeed without spending a lot of money. Just be creative and resourceful.
The music industry is constantly changing, so it's important to stay up to date with the latest trends. There are plenty of resources out there, (including this blog!) that can help you do just that. So don't believe the myths, and go out and create your own success story!