How to Make it in the Music Business
A detailed description of making it in the Music Biz
How musicians can break into the music industry:
How rising music executives can break into the music industry:
- Master your craft: Whether singing, songwriting, rapping, playing an instrument, or producing music, all musicians need to spend a considerable amount of time perfecting their talent. Hire a talent coach, perform to build up experience with live shows, study those that came before you, experiment, get professional feedback and tons of practice.
- Decide your message: Having talent is great, but every musician needs to focus on their message and what they want to express to the world. Making music is not just about skill, but also about feeling and freedom of expression. In order to build a fanbase and a following, your songs should connect to a specific audience and give a voice to those who don't perform. Talent will make you a good singer, but talent with a message will make you a great artist.
- Record, record, record: As they're perfecting their craft and finding their message, all musicians need to record their music and begin creating full songs. Finding the best producers to help develop your sound and working with songwriters to create captivating songs can make or break your career. Delivering your best material to fully represent your vision and talent.
- Market and promote yourself: After making great songs, musicians must be involved with the marketing and promotion of their content. Technology has made it easier to create and distribute music. However, this also has created an oversaturation of music projects. To combat that, it's extremely important for you to be creative in how you promote yourself. You must be savvy in building your social media presence, take amazing photos that highlight your brand, interact with your followers, and so on.
- Network to build a team: While creating and performing your music, you also need to attend networking events, open mics, music conferences, and go anywhere else where you can make creative and business connections. Network with music producers, find fellow musicians to collaborate with, and connect with a business manager.
- Believe in yourself: Always remember why you want to be an artist and stay motivated. It can be a very rough business, but what's worse is not pursuing your passion and giving up your dreams because of fear.
- Research what you want to do in the industry: There are so many people I've met at LiveThe.Biz events or in classes I teach who want to work in music but haven't decided what they want to do. Spend time researching careers. Look up the job descriptions on the websites of music brands and on LinkedIn. Read articles on music websites about established music executives. Listen to music industry podcasts. This will give an idea of what jobs are out there and what skills are needed.
- Get valuable experience: Whether assistant, college intern, apprentice, or any other entry-level position, find it and take it to gain experience working in the music business. This will help in defining what you're good at and help build up your resume and industry connections. Building up relevant skills in another industry also can be very useful.
- Network, network, network: As you're gaining experience, build up your contact list of peers and executives in the entertainment business. This will help you to learn about career opportunities, get job references, and receive mentorship.
- Go for it: Whether applying for open positions or starting your own company, the best way to break into the industry is to go for it. Focus on positions that are looking for people with your skillset.
- Believe in yourself: Just like musicians, executives need to stay motivated and encouraged. Remember to have fun, learn as much as you can, and stay focused.
Tucker discovered his life purpose at a young age. He says that as a seven-year-old, he became obsessed with reading the credits and liner notes on albums. From there, he learned who produced certain songs, who was the music engineer, what records labels were involved, and so on. As he got older, his passion for the music industry evolved. He learned to play the viola and piano, and began producing and writing music for artists in his community when he was in high school.
In college, Tucker studied business, marketing and the music industry, and won internships with Warner Music Group and Sirius XM. 'I realized then that I wanted to be a music executive, using my passion and knowledge to help other artists and creatives,' he explains. He received a scholarship to attend the Metropolitan College Of New York for an MBA in media management and moved to NYC to start his professional career journey. But he quickly realized that there weren't many networking opportunities for young people eager to break into the entertainment industry. He decided to change all that.
'I made a goal that once I gained more experience and achieved more success in my field, I would create a platform and community to help people like myself get the assistance they needed to win,' Tucker says. 'We've all heard so many discouraging stories and seen biopics of major artists going bankrupt or disappearing due to bad business decisions or major career pitfalls. My purpose is to help translate and educate useful music business knowledge to artists and executives so that they can make the best choices on a business and creative level.'
The greatest reward of Tucker's chosen career path is watching his clients and students achieve success. He says, 'I've been able to witness people get job offers, record label deals, and partnerships to create new brands and businesses.' For instance, at a LiveThe.Biz event in 2016, one of the speakers was the Vice President of music and licensing at Viacom. Trenton Pratt was in the audience. He had recently moved to NYC from St. Louis and was looking for a job in the music industry. After further networking and interviews with the Viacom VP he met that night, Pratt was offered a position at BET in music programming.
The greatest challenge Tucker has faced was first breaking into the music industry when he moved to NYC for grad school. 'I had almost no money, the nation was going through a major recession, and record labels were having mass layoffs. But after seven months of working two unpaid internships while also attending classes, I was offered an entry-level job at one of the biggest music publishing companies in the world. There were so many times I could have given up, but I kept going!' he says.
Tuckers feels that young people looking to tap into their life purpose should be honest about their dreams, unafraid to ask questions about things they don't know, and highly motivated. 'Don't let negative energy steer you off-course,' he advises.