Beginners Guide How to Make it in the Music Industry

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Make it work for you! Your recorded music is your calling card to your artistry, so start producing now. If you are writing and recording your own music then you need to have a clear understanding of what Performing Rights Societies are and how they collect money for you!

These societies monitor performances of your works ie. They collect performance royalties that are based on the master recording, not the underlying composition, and they pay those royalties to artists, session players, and labels. So make sure you register as both a writer and a publisher! Registering is easy; it will seriously take you less then ten minutes.

Copyrighting is a process used to protect your works from theft. The United States Copyright Office offers a verified method that is used universally to acknowledge protected works. Contrary to popular belief, deliberate music copyright infringement is quite rare. It often mistakenly occurs as we all emulate what we have heard over our lifetimes. Also, choosing to flagrantly rip off music does nothing to benefit your career in the face of your peers. It used to be that having your music distributed was reserved for signed artists to large record labels.

That is no longer the case! Some are harder to establish relationships with. However companies such as CD Baby are now at your fingertips and offer emerging artists a way to get their music in stores such as iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and many others. Music streaming platforms are now an integral part of how people listen to your music, so be sure you are well represented at sites such as Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora for streaming services.

This is a topic that rarely needs significant discussion, as everyone today is a social media pro.


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Make sure you are talking about related topics to the music industry, your favorite artists and things you love as an artist too! Social media is a lot of work and can consume hours per day for most professional musicians. Try using tools that blast all social platforms at the same time or buffer posts throughout the day. Labels, managers, booking agents, publicists and social media all go into making a well oiled team. Recognize talent in others and hold them close to your chest.

Granted, getting the attention of the right team players is a difficult task. However, Rome was not built in one day and staying the course is part of what makes you attractive to influential team players. Use these tips to continue developing your career in music. This basically means that you must stay the course, not deviate, and have faith that eventually your hard work will pay off.

LET’S GET OUR HEADS ON STRAIGHT FIRST!

This is the same for artists that have already received success. Sooner or later, every artist must redefine their path moving forward. Music artists, including myself when I was younger, can have a slightly egotistical view of their music and persona after they receive some success. There is no positive outcome here. Being a diva never results in long term success, it simply results in having a bad reputation. The generation behind you needs your support and wisdom. Reach out, donate money to arts and education, teach, mentor! There is nothing more gratifying to the soul than watching a young person flourish from what you have shown them.

If you are experiencing success, donate to a cause that provides opportunity to underprivileged kids so they can experience something larger than themselves — the gift of music! Well, there you have it. I hope you soaked some of this in and can use it on your musical journey. Good luck and keep on rocking! Do you have any more music industry tips, or questions about how to make it in the music industry? Let us know in the comments below! Nick is a multi-platinum selling composer and producer. Learn more about Nick here! By Guest Blogger.


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  • February 11, Trust me, this will be tested! Still feeling optimistic? Have you noticed that certain photos of artists get used over and over again: online, on posters, in magazines etc? An agreement is made with the photographer that these photos can be used freely by the label and artist for promotional purposes.

    These images are sent out with press releases and provided to journalists to include in interviews and other articles about the act. However, if the label or artist want to use the photos for profit-making purposes, such as printed on merchandise, they will need to do a buyout. This means the photographer gets an extra fee in return for giving away the right to use the images in this way. Any activity that an act does to promote their music without being paid is a promo activity. This includes radio and TV appearances and press interviews. These costs are not recoupable see below but instead paid from the marketing budget.

    An artist who writes their own songs will usually look for a publishing deal, either before or after they sign a record deal. By signing a publishing deal, you sign over the copyrights of the songs you write to a publishing company.

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    In return for an agreed percentage of royalties, the publisher helps the artist to make more money from the songs they write, for example through sync deals, arranging co-writing sessions, and placing songs with other artists. Songwriters who only write for other artists, not for themselves, can also sign publishing deals. Record labels must report their earnings at the end of each quarter, so they strive to ensure they have big releases scheduled throughout the year.

    The most profitable time of year is Q4, as more people buy music at Christmas, and big artists schedule their new releases for this time of year. This is surprisingly common, even with popular acts, especially when the label spent a huge amount of money which they could never reasonably expect to recoup. At the end of a songwriting process, when the song is complete and all parties are happy with the result, the co-writers will agree the percentage of royalties they should each receive.


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    Controversially, some artists demand a certain percentage of royalties on their songs, regardless of how much they contributed. A splitter van is a long vehicle which carries the equipment and instruments to a gig, along with the crew and musicians. The splitter is usually driven by the backline tech, who may or may not play Shaggy songs when he picks you up at 5am to drive to a festival.

    If the response is positive, they will add it to the playlist. If your artist gets a spot play, you must obviously text the radio station pretending to be a dedicated fan. When a song is licensed for use on the soundtrack of a TV show, advert, film or video game, this is called a sync short for synchronisation deal. Some artists, particularly those whose music is very sync-friendly, also have external companies pitching their songs for sync opportunities.

    The decision on which songs are used is down to a music supervisor, who chooses the music that best matches the visuals. The artist behind the music is also considered, for example using a song by a popular artist to soundtrack an advert can help to promote the brand. The topline is the combined name for the melody and lyrics of a song i. Often when an instrumental dance track becomes popular in the clubs, it is then sent out to songwriters who are asked to submit a topline.

    The aim is to create a vocal version of the track, which has more commercial chart potential than an instrumental.

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    The best topline submitted is recorded and released. When an artist first starts performing live, they are rarely paid a large enough fee to cover the costs of performing. Therefore, if they are signed to a record label, the label will often cover the costs to ensure the act can perform and build up a fanbase through live shows. The costs have to be approved by the label, and they are recoupable. The label set KPIs key performance indicators , which are targets for measures of success such as pre-orders and video views, and they have expectations for each KPI depending on how many weeks upfront they are.

    Closely related to weeks upfront, windowing is a strategy which has become controversial in recent years. The window is the time between when a song premieres and when it is available to buy. Traditionally this was a month or six weeks, but now for some artists, it has decreased to just one or two weeks, or even zero, as the on-air on-sale approach becomes more popular. Many big labels have smaller labels within them, which typically release less mainstream music, such as dance or indie records. Sometimes the small label was set up by the bigger label as a way to release certain records under a different name, and other times the small label was bought by the bigger label.

    If an act or song released through one of those smaller labels becomes popular, it is often upstreamed to the larger label. Posted by Jessica in Beginner's Guide. July 20, at pm. My name is Jessica and I work in the music industry in London discovering, developing and promoting new talent as part of Eye of the Storm. For general enquiries, email jessica thismustbepop.

    I'm always interested to hear from people who want to talk pop! This Must Be Pop. Advance When an artist signs a record deal or publishing deal, they are given an advance, which is an amount of money that they can live on until their music career becomes profitable.

    Backline In a live performance, the backline is the equipment typically found at the back of the stage, including amps and drums. BVs BVs is short for backing vocals. Front of house There are two types of sound engineer that artists usually take with them to a gig: the monitor engineer see below and the front of house FOH engineer.

    Impact date When a new single is released on-air on-sale, or is already available to fans as part of an album, the label will select an impact date to work towards. Mechanical licence If you are granted a mechanical licence for a particular song, that means you can reproduce it, for example you can cover the song, recreating the melody, lyrics and music. Monitors Monitors allow performers to hear the sounds they and the others on stage are making, even when the crowd is loud. On-air on-sale If a song is released to download stores on the same day as it is premiered on the radio, this is described as on-air on-sale.

    Points Songwriting royalties are divided into percentages known as splits explained below , but for the producer, there is a different system. Press shoot Have you noticed that certain photos of artists get used over and over again: online, on posters, in magazines etc?

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