How Do I Break into the Music Business?
- Have passion. Have a strong desire and passion for what you want to do. It’s not going to be easy, and remember, there are others that want to go into the business too.
- Be creative. All music businesses are looking for the next big thing to sell, and they want fresh new sounds, ideas and lyrics.
- Have basic business knowledge. This is to ensure that no one takes advantage of you or your ideas. You have to be your own advocate, and you have to know how to convey your talents intelligently and enthusiastically to those already in the business. Also, hook up with an entertainment attorney who can help you navigate the finer points of any contract that you may come across.
- Patience is key. Don’t expect to become an overnight sensation. For a lot of artists, it may take five years or more before they are even noticed.
- Find a mentor. Learn to listen to criticism and find someone who you trust in the business that will tell you the truth about your talent. Your family may think that you are an excellent singer, but the industry may not share that view.
- Network! Networking with others is how most people get their big breaks. Find out where the parties are or where music insiders hang out and sell yourself. Be prepared to “wow” them in one minute or less.
- Listen to music. It may sound obvious, but knowing what’s out there in the world of music, what is popular and what trends are happening in music will be key as you attempt to make it in the industry. So, charge up your iPod, listen to the radio and read music-industry magazines like Spin, Q, Rolling Stone, Billboard and Vibe. If you don’t want a subscription, you can browse these magazines at most Chicago Public Library locations.
Chicago Public Library Resources
YOUmedia at Harold Washington Library Center
Did you know you can sign up for time in a recording studio and be mentored by local musicians at the Chicago Public Library? Visit YOUmedia, the downtown space at Harold Washington Library Center (for teens in high school only) or the spaces for teens in middle school at Daley, Richard M.-W Humboldt, Lozano and Thurgood Marshall, to learn about using the recording studio, sign up for studio time and get your questions answered by mentors.
Hip-Hop, Inc.: Success Strategies of the Rap Moguls
By Richard Oliver
Music Business Handbook and Career Guide
By David Baskerville
Music Law: How to Run Your Band’s Business
By Richard Stim
Networking Strategies for the New Music Business
By Dan Kimpel
Applause will show you, step by step, how to get your band’s career into high gear. For the beginning performer, they’ll show you how to construct your debut, develop a fan base and make a strong impact on the scene.
Creative Musicians Coalition »
CMC is an international organization dedicated to the advancement of new music and the success of the independent musician.
Festival Finder »
Guide to more than 1,300 music festivals in North America, in all genres of music. Changes daily.
Getsigned Magazine »
A how-to guide on the ins and outs of the music business; how to survive and ultimately succeed.
Find out where your favorite bands are playing and post your gigs too.
The Muse’s Muse »
Articles, hints and advice for songwriters plus a wealth of links to other sites, including songwriter and industry associations.
United States Copyright Office »
Everything you wanted to know about copyrighting your tunes, plus downloadable copyright forms.