Tip #1 - The music industry is a business.
- If you've had little business experience or lack a basic understanding of how the community operates, you should learn. Why? Because you cannot succeed at something without possessing an understanding of what it is.
- Talent, musical proficiency, dedication to your goals & self-confidence are prerequisites, not your ticket to stardom. Think of them in as you would a college degree. The degree guarantees you nothing, other than an opportunity to compete.
- Intangibles like "creative integrity" may be of value to you & your peers, but NOT to most businesses. Typically, they care about 2 things - making money & saving money. When you present yourself to industry representatives, keep that in mind.
- If you're unclear about how someone might "save" a record label money, I'll list a couple examples:
- Think about the huge growth of the pop, rap & hip-hop genres in recent years. The bulk of the music & arrangements for those genres is created via software & sampling. That means fewer session musicians, less studio time and lower overall cost of production.
- If you happen to be an artist with a huge online fanbase/following (Justin Bieber), that's tangible selling point. A ready-made fanbase means lower promotional cost for the label…once again, saving them money.
Tip #2 - Beware of the "Scamortunity"
As you might guess, the term is meant to describe a scam disguised as an opportunity.
What does a scamortunity look like? Not an easy question to answer, since they come in many forms.
Typically, the better it sounds…
- the more skeptical you should be
- the more extensively it should be researched
- the more reluctant you should be to participate
Most cons (scams) are designed to take advantage of existing vulnerabilities.
In the case of songwriter/musicians, those vulnerabilities are well known & numerous. Don't allow belief in yourself, belief in the uniqueness of your creations & your desire for recognition to become liabilities in your quest for success.
Remember....in business, opportunities rarely come looking for you. With very few exceptions, they won't!
Tip #3 - Nothing is owed to you.
Many in this business develop an attitude that the world/industry owes them something. Simply put, that is not a productive mindset & will do nothing to further your career.
- As I mentioned earlier, countless hours of dedication to your craft, skills, talent & creative ability are prerequisites, not entitlements! Most of your competitors (fellow musician/songwriters) have worked just as hard as you have.
- Forget about concepts like fairness. The world of business is based on many rules, but fairness isn’t one of them.
Tip #4 - For God sake, spend a couple dollars & get your finished material properly copyrighted.
We're only too happy to spend hundreds of dollars on a smartphone that'll be obsolete next year. ATM fees, wireless streaming fees, credit card interest, bank overdraft fees, apps....all things we've come to accept as unavoidable expenses.
BUT, when it comes time to spend $55 on legal protection for your artistic creations, we'd rather not.
That's the current online filing fee for the U.S. Library of Congress (multiple works by a single author).
To the best of my knowledge, a Library of Congress registration is the only universally recognized method for proving legal ownership of a work.
There are legitimate legal reasons for choosing this method & I encourage you to verify that for yourselves.
Here are a number of resource links:
United States Copyright Office http://copyright.gov/
Why Should I Register My Work? FAQ page http://copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#automatic
Copyright FAQ - http://copyright.gov/help/faq/index.html
Online Copyright Registration - http://copyright.gov/eco/
Tip #5 – Remember….it's all about the vocals !
It’s common for recording songwriters/bands to underestimate the importance of the primary vocal track. Bottom line, vocals are "Priority #1" & should be treated as such.
Why you ask?
To the ordinary listener, vocals are the most important element of a song.
Sure…everything else matters! Just not as much.
Common Reasons for Substandard Vocals:
· Internal Band Dynamics - every band member wants to feel like their part is essential to the success or failure of a project. But nothing outranks melody & the singer's presentation of it.
· When recording demos or finished material, vocals are one of the last things to be dealt with. If you’re working in a pro studio, you’re probably paying an hourly rate. If that is the case, you should budget your session time carefully.
You can’t afford to blow your budget on preliminary musical tracks.
Take whatever precautions are appropriate. When it’s all said & done, the vocal track will represent your song.
My advice…shoot for the highest quality you can reasonably achieve.
"About Me" Muse Member pg.