The music industry is filled with talented artists, whether they play, sing, or write music. Many believe that talent is just a “gift” that people are born with and they can easily make a career from it. Some people do seem to require less practicing to play or sing with ease, know the right chords or notes to hit and play complex progressions as if they have always known how.
However, some, if not many of these people may have worked extremely hard to master their craft. Some people may not have worked as hard for their talent, while others may have worked countless hours and performed millions of times to perfect it.
Music is a powerful tool, providing a common ground for all people to connect and appreciate. Though a significant factor in demonstrating skill, talent may not be the most important aspect of “making it” within the music industry.
Talent is Everywhere, and it is Subjective
Have you ever disagreed with someone on the degree of a singer or musician’s talent? Musical talent is subjective. A lot of what we believe is talent is what we have been told or shaped to accept by multiple outside influences. It could be that we developed our opinion on talent from our parents, or our friends, or the media.
But what, exactly, deems true talent?
Talent is not the only aspect of gaining visibility across the music industry. The world we live in contains many talented people, many of which are “in the dark.” The music industry doesn’t consistently demonstrate the pool of talent that is around. There are probably millions of gifted artists and singers who have never had the opportunity to display their talents for the world to see and hear.
Hard Work is More Significant
The most talented people are not the ones who “make it” within the music industry, or any industry, for that matter. Sometimes, the hardest working individuals are the ones who see the payoff. Some people work multiple jobs to save up to record their music in studios or those that partner with other talented online gurus to help them create a stellar website with SEO to gain traction.
There are musicians who understand how landing an interview with Indie Post Magazine will give them visibility within the music industry. So, they will work to establish themselves and network with others to earn their spot on that specific podcast, interview, or television segment.
Decision-making becomes a crucial aspect of developing or breaking into the music industry. If you want to be discovered, say, via YouTube, you must put in the work to build your channel, create videos and edit them expertly so that you can grow your following. The same goes for any social media platform.
Anything that you can learn more about to help you increase the likelihood of being discovered will help you take that one step further. Being in the music industry takes a lot of hard work and understanding of the business because talent scouts and managers don’t want to work with someone who has talent but doesn’t want to put in the effort to stay relevant in the industry. Their career is set on the idea that you will still be working for years to come as a musician or a performer.
Networking and Marketing
Another aspect that goes along with working hard is that you have to know how to network. Money can be of some service here because having money does tend to provide people with more opportunities or options. But there are also plenty of tactics you can use to be heard by a record label, such as good networking and marketing.
If you are not researching and updating the latest music industry trends and people you need to be familiar with, you are also missing out. You must have a working knowledge across the business because it demonstrates how serious you are about being in the music industry and that you are passionate about keeping your business afloat.
You may have to consult with various agencies, other artists, engineers, and lawyers when agreeing on contract terms. Having a solid business plan or foundation for a business model that you can market and find a team to work with you is another essential tool for developing a solid career in the music industry.
Marketing is another piece of the music puzzle. Posting on your social media platforms or creating a website can help with your marketing, as well as reaching out through your subscribed email list. Consistent postings, solid value, advice, or entertainment that you can provide within those posts will help you grow a massive fan base.
Versatility is Key
There is no set way to create a substantial career within the music industry one year and not have it crumble in the next year. Salaries are not guaranteed, and there is no saying that people will continue to enjoy your music years down the road. However, your own commitment, hard work, networking abilities, and knowledge of the music business will give you the potential to continue to make an impact and stay connected to your fanbase.
Agility is essential so that you can shift yourself to be open to new opportunities and options. For instance, maybe your music career didn’t entirely take off as you had hoped, but there is a position for you to license your music professionally, where it can be used by creatives in advertisements or films. While this may not have initially been the career you wanted for yourself, you will gain visibility and reach people with your music.
There are plenty of extraordinary musicians and artists who live more “behind the scenes” and have not signed with a label. They have developed their careers as musicians by other means, such as educating others as music instructors or creating music for licensing.
While talent can give you an advantage in the music industry, it is by far not the most essential aspect of making it. If you had to put a stamp on it, talent accounts for a small portion of the whole picture to develop your musicianship and create a long-term profession.
Talent alone might get you a foot in the door, which is a good start. But the actual musicians and artists have put in many hours of work, perfecting their craft, dedicating themselves to learning the business, and creating a solid plan of action to propel them into their music careers.