It starts with a dream. You listen to your favorite songs and artist. Try to play guitar and write songs. Form a band, then do local gigs. You try to cover as many songs as possible. You then try to go to studios, do some rough recording. And when the band are on the way home, you then talk to each other that someday, the band will be famous. You then planning to give demos to every key person in the music industry. The band then dreams of having a million dollar beach house, filled with parties and chicks. And finally dream of having an enormous bank account consisting of band royalties.And you think you are most likely to succeed.
The truth is, no you are not. Frankly speaking, music business is so HARD. The reason why it is hard because in the first place:
1. You do not study about music business:This means you do not know the protocol in the industry. Even how good you are, you end up being nothing. A great general will never win a battle without knowing carefully the battle territory.
2. You do not write songs seriously: Hit song statistics in a song catalog consist only of small percentage. Let say realistically 20% are hits (following the famous 80-20 rule, 20% of your songs will give 80% of the songwriter income). So this means the band needs to write at least 10 songs SERIOUSLY to have 2 hit songs. Do not fall into illusions of writing 100% hit songs, it is simply illusional and impossible.
3. No originally or creativity: If I were an A&R, I will try to sign an artist that sounds original. This means all songs, lyrics and image should be unique at the same time can be classified into a genre. The problem with indie artist is that they know cover songs more than their original songs. It is a sign of weakness. It is because, original songs is a bread and butter for every recording artist and it should mastered with heart.
4. Do not have enough live experience: Frankly speaking, do not fall into illusions that you will land a deal without doing a live concerts, do some but do not overdo. Remember you are a recording artist. Artist that are marketed through recording, this means you will to spend time working in studio. But without doing a live concerts in your career, is again a sign of failure.
5. Too much live concerts and without studio work : Let the music industry know you are serious in your recording by spending some time to record songs with a producer or yourself. Spending too much live concerts will not make the music industry very interested because, after all when you get famous, they will not earned so much from your live concerts. But if you spend some time doing recordings, they will be interested as long the quality is good and marketable. After all you are a recording artist.
6. No business sense: This is worse, because if every thing you do, do not have a target consumers( consumers that will buy your CD for example, or a specific marketable genre of high demand like pop, rock and country) you are just wasting your time and big sign of future artist failure. Make sure every songs you make have impact and has target consumers. Make sure the image is marketable. Make it consistent with the trend.
7. Lack of extra-ordinary musical talent: To tell you, I believe music industry needs extra-ordinary talent, not so much of skills. Those signed artist are legendary singers,songwriters, entertainers and instrumentalists, being discovered doing very well at a young age. And make sure, your talent is extra-ordinary, if talent is not enough; it is highly suggested to select another career that are you are really good at. Or else, you end with disappointments later.
8. Lack of professionalism– Music industry are professionals. But do not get mislead of thinking that you mean of professionals are people well dressed and socialites. No it is not. Professionals means great attitude towards work. It is not a professional that is well dressed, well connected but poor attitude. Also the way you market yourself reflects professionalism. Overall, the way you treat music business as a serious business or how you approach and deal with relationships are being professional.
9. Lack of marketing strategies – Music business like any other business and being independent needs a solid marketing strategy. Most indie recording artist fails because they think it is someone else job. NO it is not. You have to start marketing yourself. Build some presence, connections and showing of talents. It is the time when you get noticed and music marketing professionals will join your team that will make you even more popular.
10. Failed to treat music as a career – Being decided to become an indie recording artist is a career choice. Yes it is. Sadly, I think 99% of the artist think of it as a hobby or just fun. This results to less commitment, professionalism and time devoted to master the art of singing, songwriting and stage performance. Those very few who sacrifice other lucrative career opportunities for the sake of music are signs of success. It is because they are determined enough to take all odds to make their music business career, a challenging and a very satisfying career. And based on actual experiences, a fear of rejection or failure as an indie artist is already a sign of failure. It is because, the root cause is to fail to treat music as a career, again by failing to plan.