How to Launch a Music Career

Discover some of the essentials you need to follow to kick off your musical journey…

If you’re looking to launch your music career, there are numerous things to consider. Of course, much of this depends on which sector of the industry you want to enter – do you want to work for a record label or publisher? Or are you hoping to launch an artist career? Perhaps you’d like to set up your own studio or work as a producer or engineer?  

Whichever path you want to follow will ultimately define what steps you need to take. But there are also some general rules of thumb which will help you on starting out.  

Check out our essential pieces of wisdom on how to get your career off to a great start…  

Make a plan with an achievable goal

At the outset, there are plenty of decisions you need to make about your music industry career.  

So envision where you want to be, then map how you can get there from where you are today. Break this journey down into bitesize milestones. You don’t want to be daunted by where you aim to reach.  

So for example, if you want to play a gig then work out how you are going to do it – and the steps you need to take to make it happen – so finding and booking a venue, selecting talent, promoting the event and organising it on the day.  

Or if your goal is to write 10 songs in a month, then work out how much time you can dedicate to writing, where you are going to do it, then commit to making this happen. As long as you make your goals achievable, then you should be able to give yourself the motivation and the confidence to make them happen… 

Network

Much of a career in the music industry can be progressed by the connections you make.  

Whether you want to be a musician or establish yourself in the world of music publishing, then make efforts to network and meet as many people as you can.  

You can do this online via your social media profiles or attend industry events or live gigs in person. A great way of forging a strong relationship is to message via Instagram, then follow this up with an in-person meeting.  

However you do this, remember to be as professional or as enthusiastic as you can be. If you’re starting this online, then behave as you would in-person and be polite and respectful where you can. If you’re striking up new relationships with professionals you want advice or support from, then do your best to offer value…  

Familiarise yourself with the business side of the industry

As a musician or artist, you might imagine that your career is all about performing or writing songs. But you also need to remember that the business side of your music is almost, if not more important, than your creativity. By getting a decent understanding of the way industry works, you can ensure you not only get paid for the use of your music but you will hopefully avoid being ripped off or exploited.  

How can you minimise the risks of losing out or not making the most of any opportunities? You can always look to your peers or mentors for advice. There are also plenty of resources out there – from reputable music career sites to organisations such as the Musicians’ Union, PPL and PRS for Music, it is well worth familiarising yourself with what they do and how they can support you.

Think creatively – and use the tools at your disposal

The music industry is at an exciting point in its history. Arguably, there have never been more opportunities for you to get you, your music or business out there. Thanks to the power of technology, the music industry playing field is perhaps more level than ever. The negative side of this, at least for aspiring professionals or artists, is that there’s more competition to ‘make it’ in the industry than ever.  

So this means you need to think creatively. Consider what your business is all about, then where you want to be in five years time. Then consider how you’re going to do it – do your research into the various apps, online tools and resources available. Utilise social media where necessary or anything else you need to get you and your music heard. From creating graphics to producing video content, there are many different tools out there – and thanks to sites like YouTube or blog articles, plenty of instructions on how to use them.

Use contracts – wisely

This might only apply in certain circumstances but make sure you operate legally – and anyone who offers you work does so too. So in some instances, you should always use contracts to ensure everyone is operating in sync and on the right side of the law.  

From a co-writing session or performance commitment, signing a contract can benefit all parties and ensure everyone is protected. Sometimes, there are issues surrounding unpaid contracts or fees. It is much easier to claim this if you have to… 

Work on your resilience

Breaking into the music industry is challenging. No one said it will be easy. But that’s part of the magic of pursuing music as a career. And there is no set career path for anyone wanting a job in the sector. Many industry professionals create their own roles and define their own careers by going it alone and setting up a business. This type of world can be hard to navigate, at least initially, and you are likely to experience some downs as well as ups. It therefore makes sense to hone your resilience to ensure your confidence isn’t knocked by any rejections or negative things you might go through. Instead see every bump in your musical journey as an opportunity to grow and develop.