Music career or "making it big'?

Is music career the same as “making it in music business”?

We discussed about the brand in the previous blog. So, how that connects with music career or making it in music business, and are these the same? The short answer is no, they’re not. This is something you have to think about, and decide what you want to do. The idea of branding is paramount, but do not assume that branding involves the idea of a very large audience. That is the target, but creating a brand and increase the audience are two different things.

So, before you start to build a brand, you have to really understand the difference between “music career” and “making it in music business”.

I have a lot of friends, and had many clients, and they are making a very good living having a career in music. You didn’t hear of them, but they are doing just fine. For them music is a career, either if they play, teach, produce, manage acts. They are what I call professionals, they prepare themselves all their life, they know what they’re doing, they do not dream the glitter, they are very serious and dedicate their whole professional time to music. They are like doctors, engineers, technicians, lawyers, pharmacists… they went to music schools, they studied many hours every day, they played with many other musicians, they created their network, they worked every minute to build a career and they did not think for a minute in terms of “making it big!”

They are looking very careful when they associate with somebody; if they are in a band they are looking not only for musicians that they can play with, but they analyze their human qualities, they are studying the market and decide which way is better to sell their music or to get gigs, they understand what it means to go into a real partnership, they know success doesn’t come overnight, it comes slowly, the same way you build a house, brick by brick, and the next brick is always the most important one. And, before I forget: they do not complain about everything around them as the cause of their failures!

They also know money is important, and money keeps things going around, and making music is work and work has to be paid! Money is not evil, poverty is evil. They also know well that luck and opportunities are not coming by accident, you need to work to get there!

Interesting enough, you don’t hear about these people in the media; media needs to sell, and the existence of a middle class guy that makes a comfortable living through music has nothing spectacular. Media feeds on stories about the big stars, to satisfy the crowd desire of sensational stories… Even more, there is no interest from the musicians to let others know all the intricacies of what they do… and why would they do otherwise? Just to get more competition?

These people are all around you:  playing in clubs, at events, teaching music, playing in different orchestras in theatres, session musicians… Very few people know that the list A of session musicians are making the most money after the few big stars. You know some of them: Dominic Miller, Nathan East, Andy Ferwheather, Joe Satriani (actualy the only studio musician that went to stardom actually)…

Of course, on the way to the top, for those who are extremely talented and determined, experience will built up steady, so, once the top is reached, you already are a professional musician. Van Halen played for 8 years before they became known, and so many others; nothing came out of thin air…

So, now, that we understand all these, we can start the discussion about some of the ways to fulfill the dreams… Please shoot your questions and arguments, I’ll try to answer, or publish your answer, I am sure many of you know more than I do…


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