How To Start A Music Career From Nothing (2020)
Today’s article is going to explain the most important decision you’ll need to make when you want to learn how to start a music career from nothing.
Before we get into the exact stipulations, let’s give you a little overview of why this choice is so crucial.
One of things that’s confused me over the last five years of coaching is seeing how many rappers talk about two specific things:
- Fear of Failure
- The Dream of “Getting On”
Fear of failure usually manifests itself as thinking that if you don’t have a charting Billboard song or some kind of record deal…
Some kind of music “industry” validation…
…Or that music industry validation even gets more intense when coupled with the dream of “getting on”.
For most rappers, “getting on” means some version of either tons of sales, millions of adoring fans…
May or may not include nice whips like Maybachs…
But basically a bunch of flashy stuff to make them feel like they are officially “lit” or popping.
This thirst for validation usually puts rappers in a tough place emotionally because on a day-to-day basis they are battling their mind for if they’re officially “where they want to be” in relation to other rappers
Common questions that come up during this phase of a rapper’s development:
- When am I going to get more fans? (in other words, I don’t have enough fans)
- When will I get the respect I deserve? (in other words, nobody likes my music)
- When will I be able to do music full-time? (in other words, when will my music become an actual business I can run)
At this point, the artist may or may not realize that they have hit a wall.
How To Start A Music Career From Nothing: The Wall
This wall has two main parts:
Unless they have some kind of industry “validation” (co-sign), “respect” (acclaim from peers), or “attention” (fans), they will forever feel like their “career”… is a failure
Unless they have some sort of working knowing of how to run their “career” like a business…
They will never be able to do it full-time, or if they do get a windfall of cash… it will be fleeting at best.
Once I began to see these patterns, I quickly realized that I needed to explain the difference to artists between:
- 1) The Record Industry
- 2) The Entertainment Business
- 3) A Music Career
Industry vs. Business vs. Career
1) The Record Industry is a series of multinational corporate conglomerates that contain different money-making enterprises related to music including record labels, streaming companies, etc.
2) The Entertainment Business is a catch-all term for any profitable transactions that occur from promoting and marketing media meant to entertain the public… that can include music, film, TV, video games, and even sports.
3) A Music Career is a sustained, profitable form of employment where the vast majority of your personal income is derived from your expertise in music.
Once you understand this, you can begin to devise a PLAN for how you want to deal with each one of these entities
The Record Industry Explained
Regarding the Record Industry, you need to decide whether you are willing to “play the game”.
Play the game means you will be expected to give up a large portion of your ownership rights to your music, show up to events when labels tell you to, and a bunch of other things.
This is not to completely discredit the Record Industry though…
What it does well is allow an unknown artist to come to global notoriety QUICKLY…
And handle a lot of the upfront capital that they simply don’t have…
And don’t have the business acumen to accrue.
The Entertainment Business Explained
Which brings us to the Entertainment Business…
You should take some serious time to think about if you are willing to educate yourself on the Entertainment Business portion…
Or if you are just a artist through and through.
The reason I say this is a lot of artists waste years of their life chasing the dream of being “independent” or just shout “independent” ’cause it sounds good when they don’t shoulder the responsibility of learning the entertainment business.
Again, if you are not going to educate yourself on this, then you may have to accept that you either are going to fail in getting a “career” or you may have to allow the industry to run your business for you, which while dangerous…
…may still increase your chances of having a career since you’re not doing the work for yourself.
A Music Career Explained
A music career is any sustained employment that derives from your expertise in music.
So, a lot of people in the comments who are hating on me seem to say things like “Why have I never heard of you?” as if that discredits my expertise.
The truth of the matter is, humbly speaking, I have had a much more enjoyable music “career” than many of their favorite rappers.
I’ve traveled around the world multiple times from music. I’ve recorded full albums in the same studios as Rihanna, Kanye, Stormzy, Wiz Khalifa, and many others.
I’ve been able to do it without taking orders from others.
Again I say this not to brag but to essentially explain that a music CAREER may be a lane that is more enjoyable than an “industry co-sign” or spending years learning the Entertainment Business.
So, at this point, you have a decision to make:
- Are you willing give up a little bit of your short-term ownership in order to play the “industry’s” game and get into the mass’s awareness so that you can transition into the entertainment business?
- Are you willing to educate yourself on the money-making opportunities in the entertainment business?
- Are you willing to take some of the validation and ego out of things to gain a career and then you can come back and decide if you want to play the industry game?
These are all questions you have to ask yourself before proceeding.
If you’d like our personal take on how to start, check out our free book by clicking HERE.
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