Making it big or being successful in the music industry is almost every artist's dream but most artists have no idea on how to do it. It might seem very easy when you see all these big artists flexing like they not working, but the truth is, making it in the music industry takes more than just talent, you need a lot of moving parts to work together. Some of these moving parts include areas such as the creation of music, networking, marketing your work, finances, operations, and more. The only thing stopping most talented South African artists from succeeding is the lack of understanding, not knowing how all of this work. It’s very easy for you to get fooled into thinking it’s all easy and that one knows how to succeed, but it’s not easy and the paths are not obvious. So, in this post, We are going to give you just a few tips that we think will help you on your journey to becoming successful or making it big in the music industry.
1. Be Connected
By 'Connected' we are talking about the internet --- as an upcoming artists you should always find yourself connected to the internet. Make sure you always have data or connected to Wi-Fi, because the internet is like that one place full of opportunities. The Internet allows people to connect with each other all around the world, there's tons of opportunities you can get.
2. Do some research
As an artists, you should know that music is also a business, so you need to learn and understand how to make your music work for your business. Read books, articles, blogs, and watch videos --- anything related to your career field, click it and gain knowledge. There is so much information on the internet, make use of it, get to know all about cotracts, copyright and what goes on behind the scenes.
3. Promote your craft
This one is very important, "You sleep on yourself, they'll sleep on you too...You wake up, and they'll all wake up." You can be the most talented artist in the world, but if you're not willing to push your work as hard as you should, then what good is it?
It's time you start hyping yourself, hype your music, even if it means getting out of your comfort zone, promote your music till it reaches every street. The same way you put in the long hours working on your craft, you must also put in hours for distributing and promoting your music, announcing your live performances and engaging with your fans online and offline.
4. Be professional
Just like any profession, there are expected rules of conduct in the music industry — but most of the times it’s the artist that sets the standards by which they want to be treated. It starts by taking yourself seriously, step by step and people will start taking you serious. Developing into a professional artist takes talent, discipline, effort, and willingness to sacrifice. Without discipline you are lost, nobody wants to work with someone who's always late, unreliable or misses deadlines and meetings. In order to be paid as a professional, you have to present yourself as as professional. We always get messages like "Yo, Dawg, I'm a rapper i need help", "Wassup bro promote my music", OR "Here is my song, fuxx with it" --- This is why most of you have not gotten a response from the team. Professionalism is important.
5. Register your songs
This is the most important step of professionalism, your work should be protected by copyright. As soon as the song is done and it's ready for distribution, go and register it to be protected under the law. If you register the song before it's finished, then another copyright application will need to be filed when the song is finished in order to cover the additional changes made to the song. Without a copyright registration, your work will not receive the additional benefits of registration, such as the ability to sue for copyright infringement. Go visit SAMRO or any other copyright registration office, register your music and start generating some revenue.
Volunteering is best understood as an exchange of skills in the form of an unpaid job. Volunteering is a personal choice and you are not obligated to divulge that reason, but most of the times doing so helps. Volunteering is more like a marketing opportunity that provides you with a place to talk about what you do when people ask. It is a place for you to reimagine the world that you want to live in. As a volunteer artist you get access to resources and opportunities to boost your career, and as well as access to a network of world professionals in your field. When you become an Artist Volunteer, not only are you provided with opportunities, you are also given new inspirations.
One of the most important things you can do is to prepare for years ahead, by creating a budget for your musical activities. Budgeting is the process of determining how and where your finances will be directed to in order to achieve your goal. Having a budget gives you a much clearer look at where you want to go financially and how you’ll get there. To succeed in the music industry, you need to invest on yourself and have a solid plan. Every musician needs a plan, you won't survive without one. It's time you write down your problems, brainstorm your solutions, put them into plan and budget very wisely.
8. Build a team
Every successful independent artist has a strong team built around them. You can never do it alone, If you have been thinking you need to go the whole career solo, think again!
Being independent doesn't mean you don't need to look for help. In this game, you need all the help you can get
you can't do it alone, build a team. Working together goes far beyond simply collaborating, most artists remain ignorant to the fact that they really benefit more from working together than alone. It's time you surround yourself with legitimate people --- Build a team, even if it means hiring people, depending on what you’re missing at the moment, consider hiring a manager, marketing director, tour manager, designer & a lawyer. It doesn’t have to be right away, but you should definitely have a plan to slowly build up your team as you hit new levels in your music career.
9. Don't be blinded by fame
Just like the music veteran Zakes Bantwini says "local musicians have lost their drive to push their work forward both in South Africa and abroad because they are blinded by the trappings of fame."
Most artists start loosing it when they focus more on fame than perfecting their craft. That’s why we see new artists come and go, most of the times it's caused by the crazy things they do just to get famous.
10. Networking / Making connections
Most of you might have already heard this saying, "It is not about what you know, but who you know," which is true in all fields. The bigger your network, the more opportunities will become available to you. Having a good network is like having the answers to all your problems. With just one call, your network can help you solve any problems you may have. If there is something that they can’t help you with, they’ll probably have somebody in their network that can. Yes, networking and connecting on social media is something you should be doing constantly, but if you want to take the relationships you create to the next level you need to meet people in person. In fact, talking face-to-face is probably the best way to connect with people.
Thank you for reading the whole post, it shows how passionate and serious you are about your career. Follow up everything we mentioned above, keep reading more and more, feed your brain with some knowledge. You need all the help and resources you can get and networking is the key. You should always be in the networking frame of mind wherever you go – you never know who you might bump into that will help take your career to the next level. Please share this post to your circle of friends to help them understand more about music.