Breaking into the music industry isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world. But failing at it? That’s pretty simple. Here are 10 ways you’re pretty much guaranteed to flop – in other words, if you’re looking to do well, these are the things you should try to steer clear of!
1. Lousy audio quality
Now this might seem like a no-brainer. You’re in the music business. After you take away all the frills and extras, ultimately people want to listen to something good. So what better way to put them off than to bombard them with poorly mixed, unprofessional quality audio? Invest in getting your track properly mastered, mixed and arranged.
2. Even lousier live performances
You may get away with a half-way decent recording, but if your live performances suck, you’ll get marked as an instant flop pretty quick. If you’re really not interested in developing a fan base or audience of any kind at all, then don’t bother honing your performance skills or stage presence.
3.Piggy-back on someone else’s website
If you want people to connect with you and take your music seriously, you need to step up and own your identity. This means taking control and owning your own website. Third party sites are great to dip your toe into the water, but having your own URL, with your own name – give audiences a completely different impression.
4. Think online is everything
Having a website and a bunch of social network accounts is great. If you’re planning to fizzle out before you get started, then stop right here. Online marketing is only one part of the music marketing formula, albeit an important one. But don’t discount offline communication and promotions to complement and support your efforts – a small but well targeted campaign can make a serious impact.
5. Don’t push your boundaries
Staying within your comfort zone is a great shortcut to become stale and dull. But if you’re not planning on boring your audiences to death, try to mix things up and take on new challenges – explore new techniques, develop your technical knowledge and make the extra effort needed to learn new skills.
6. Stay with who you know
The music industry is just as much about who knows you, as it is about who you know. That means not merely ‘networking’ with every random person you come across, but honing quality relationships with people that matter and can push your progress forward. From fellow musicians for collaborative creative projects, to promoters and booking agents who can give you a springboard – always look to expand your horizons.
7. Quantity, not quality
Success might seem like a numbers game, but it’s easy to overlook the quality of the fans you’re acquiring, in favour of the quantity. The number of ‘fans’ you may have is really not as important as the level of devotion they have – having a core group of serious and intense followers will do much more for your success than a huge number of lukewarm acquaintances.
8. Don’t spend time
Success in the music industry is undoubtedly a hard slog, and it means spending a good chunk of time to develop it. That means spending time on creating music, but it also means spending time on other activities to improve and develop your career.
9. Don’t secure any cash flow
A career in music doesn’t come out of thin air. Like it or not, money is an essential ingredient to success, and you’ll need to invest a little to see the pay-off. From paying for equipment and merchandising, to giving you the flexibility to go into the studio and tour, securing a steady income of some kind is absolute necessity if you want to succeed.
10. Give up
If you haven’t failed yet but are still looking for ways to do it, then here’s a sure-fire one. Give up. The music industry is a tough world, full of competition and challenges, and requires immense persistence and patience. Despite the fairytales, success does not happen overnight. Be prepared to dig your nails in – you’ll see the rewards eventually!