The music business is a highly competitive (okay, cutthroat) industry comprising a lot of demanding professions besides performer -- meaning singer, songwriter, musician, producer, or whatever combination of those you are. There are also engineers, managers, distributors, agents, concert promoters, and many other professionals in the mix, and you need a lot of determination, persistence, energy, and smarts to advance in any one of those careers. But making it as a band or a solo performer, becoming nationally or internationally known, is about, oh, a million times harder, and requires you to work in any number of those other capacities along the way. Youâ€˜ll wear a lot of musical hats.
Check the top ten tunes today, and youâ€˜ll see (hear) that sometimes thereâ€˜s even talent in certain how-to-make-it formulas, though itâ€˜s not absolutely required. Performers find many ways to counterfeit talent anyway, while technical positions have live, open-access reality checks daily. (You can successfully fake singing a song, but the sound guy canâ€˜t pretend to have the right backing tracks cued up, as Ashlee Simpson can attest.) Be that as it may, as a performer itâ€˜s just as important (or more) to have good selling points as good material, which means youâ€˜ll need to learn how to speak fluent marcomm (marketing communications) as soon as possible.
Okay, letâ€˜s say youâ€˜re a singer/songwriter fronting a four-piece band whatever else you might think of (or call) yourselves, you are not just artists, but craftsmen (craftspeople?) too. The sights and sounds, the motions and colors, the scenarios and soundtracks playing in your heart, mind, and soul -- thatâ€˜s the art that you are; painting it, sculpting it, composing it, dancing it, singing it, marketing it too -- thatâ€˜s the craft that you do. Itâ€˜s the craft that brings your art to life and gives it a home in other peopleâ€˜s lives.
Frankly, itâ€˜s about your life, isnâ€˜t it? It comes down to the life you chose, and choose again every morning -- to be an artist, a rocker, a jazzer, a crooner, a folkie, a blueshound, whatever it is you are. And, being art and craft, itâ€˜s not only who you are, but what you do, too.
Whatever the genre and wherever you live, your music -- your new enterprise -- will face the same start-up woes as any other small business. And that means you and your extended family, however large or small, will have to cover as many of those bases and wear as many of those hats as possible. You have to do the promoting, get the gigs, keep the books, get the copyrights, write the letters and e-mails, make the demos, play the shows, build the buzz, tell the media that you are building a buzz, all of it.
So, you press on. There are a million things to do, but first things first. Take one step at a time. You can come back to the demos and the internet distribution and all that later -- and anyway, that lets me stretch what I have to say into a series.
JAY UNOS We provide marketing and promotional services to clients seeking exposure in the music business. We provide Independent Artist and labels with the means to service their records to industry insiders and potential new fans.
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