The Music Industry’s Formula for Success – Does It Exist?
By Charlene Little Submitted On June 27, 2016
Artists often want to know if there is an exact formula they can follow to guarantee success in the music industry. Does a formula like this exist? What can artists to do to help ensure a successful outcome? Is it possible to follow an exact business plan to become a successful artist or is the outcome in the industry determined by pure luck?
Timing is Important
When it comes to getting it right in the music industry, timing is everything. It does not matter what other talents an artist has on their side, or what strategies they have put in place, timing is the main factor. Watch the market to see when an exact type of talent or unsigned artist is needed. This way, you’ll know when your perfect time might be.
Supply and Demand
Just like with any other product, the music industry has supply and demand chain. Some genres have more demand than others. Also, local demand and national demand for unsigned musicians are very different. Just because you have a breakthrough in your local area, does not mean you are going to have a national breakthrough. There are artists that thrive locally, but don’t generate enough publicity to get international or even national attention.
Talent Isn’t Black & White
Talent is a lot more than an artist’s voice or instrumental skills. It includes skills such as dancing, presence, songwriting, and musical composition. It also has a lot to do with how you present yourself to the public. Above all of this, the most important talent to have as an artist is the ability to connect with your public.
You must be able to connect with an audience and make them feel the message you are trying to convey. After all, music is about sharing a story and generating emotions. When record labels are evaluating talent and promoting musicians, they look at an artist as a package. If an artist has strong skills in one area, it can make up for lacking others.
Using Your Image to Maximize Success
Your image should be yours alone. While familiarity can help your cause, there should also be something completely unique about your personal style and image. Fans don’t want to see the exact same thing over and over and they definitely do not want to see an artist who is exactly like another.
Show Your Stuff
Experience as an artist can mean a lot of things when it comes to song promotion. It includes how many shows you’ve done and how well you prepare at rehearsals. But most importantly, it’s about how you deal with failure and overcome it. It’s how you overcome rejection or make positive things out of negative feedback. Experience is a good thing, and so is professionalism. When you’re an unsigned artist, the more experience and professionalism you have, the better chance you’ll have of being signed by a major label. Use what you know to let people you’re serious about your music.
Everything Comes at A Price
Real life isn’t like the movies. Most likely, you are not going to be magically successful overnight just because you have amazing talent. Plenty of people with amazing talent never see the light of day when it comes to the music industry. It takes effort, time, and many times, even money to get where you want. The music industry does not offer a free rise to success. Work with other artists, stay in the studio, network within the industry, play gigs, and more.
These things often take more money and time than some realize. Even the best of artists can fall flat on their face quickly without careful planning.
Learn from the Best
Learning from the best is both a blessing and a curse. Those who have had success can see things that you never would on your own. But it’s also possible for a mentor to focus too much on things that don’t work for you, too. Mentors and advisors are important. Just be sure that you choose the right ones and make sure to evaluate each piece of advice you are given to see if it will work for you.
Know What They Want and Use Your Bests & Worsts to Provide It
Connecting with your fan base is perhaps the best way to grow as an artist. Not only is it an important part of song promotion, but you get to know what your fans really want. Artists and fans can now communicate freely in ways that artists from past generations could only dream about. You can’t just give in to every demand that comes along, but take the good ideas as they come. While there are always going to be fan events set up by agents and promoters, social media is an artist’s direct lifeline to fans and can’t be underestimated. Know your personal bests and worsts and use those to decide what you can and cannot give to your fan base. Anything else that’s workable can be delegated to a team.
Music promotion can be a tricky thing. Sometimes the road to record sales and radio play can be longer and rockier than an artist originally thought it would be. It can also be a vicious circle, as it can take radio play to get record sales and vice versa. It also may take a lot of shows being booked and played to get either. Getting all three helps ensure success. However, it can be difficult to get play in any of those arenas without showing experience and a fan base from at least one. Yet and still, even artists that do get to that point still may not sell enough records to keep it going. This is why it’s important to constantly be doing things to ensure success in all areas.
Adapting to Change
Be patient. Even if you do everything right, success is not always an instant guarantee. You have to learn to be flexible. Sometimes that means just relaxing and not overdoing it. But more than anything, it means you need to get used to things not going as planned. Changes that occur in the industry, accepting gigs you might not usually do, breaking your fixed routines, and things that throw you off schedule are the only thing certain in the music industry. The artists that go above, and beyond and have the ability to go with the flow, will usually rise up quicker than those who can’t.
Learn the Industry Inside and Out
This is the only way you’ll ever succeed in the music industry. You must know every nook and cranny of the music scene, and exactly how each moving part works to make a whole when promoting musicians. This means you need to study exactly what to do in the studio, learn about royalties and other revenue, publishing deals, bookings, and so much more. Music may be the main focus, but it’s far from the only thing you need to know. You must also be a master at research and business. This knowledge will not only help you advance quickly, but it can help prevent people from taking advantage of you and causing you to start over from scratch.
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