After years of experience in the music industry as a music promoter, I’ve seen music artists break into the music industry with the slightest action taken, while some work consistently for a few months and end up giving up.
There’s a popular misconception with upcoming artists trying to break into the music industry. They believe after releasing one or two songs, and posting them on social media, one day, their savior will handpick them from tons of talented artists out there trying to break into the music industry.
After months of trying this, they start to give up on themselves and start losing interest in creating music, eventually sinking into themselves and thinking music isn’t just their way.
The truth is, to break into the music industry, requires more hard work than you presume. It requires a lifetime of dedication and determination!!! This is majorly the bedrock of most successful artists out there.
If you’re determined to ace it and ready to put in the work, then you’ve got your foundation right. Now you can apply the following proven steps to your journey to help you create a road path to break into the music industry.
Hence, the prerequisite to these steps is to be determined and dedicated to this path you’re about to embark on. If you don’t think you’re ready yet, that’s okay. Take your time to make that decision, but remember, time is limited.
Now that you’ve made the decision to embark on this journey, and you’re more determined and dedicated to this path than ever, here is the proven road path to break into the music industry:
Hone Your Talent And Be Consistent
How did most successful artists break into the music industry? Days and nights of improving their skill sets and consistency. If you’ve ever tried to see an old interview of a prominent music artist in your niche, you’ll notice how they emphasize “suffering” but not giving up. They’ll mention how they continued to improve their music daily, sleeping in the studio, etc.
The point here is, you need to continue building your skill set daily. You don’t have to necessarily sleep in the studio for months before you can build your skillset as a musician. Here are simple steps to help you be a better musician in your niche and create your sound:
- Listen to good music within your niche and beyond
- Consistently create sounds and rhythms before writing. You don’t even need to write yet.
- Use your phone’s sound recorder. Listen to your rhythm. Is it catchy?
- Now write to that rhythm.
- Do this over and over again.
These steps are used by the world’s best musicians to get and build on their sound. As an upcoming artist looking to break into the music industry, you should inculcate these steps too. Sadly, not all upcoming artists do this, they’d rather waste their savings on studio sessions and end up creating mid-songs.
Remember quality is important. The quality of your song is what will keep listeners glued to your sound and want to listen to you more often. Your quality is what’s going to create your fanbase for you. So you need to spend time on improving your skillset and being consistent about it.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have studio sessions. Of course, you need studio sessions to record your quality song. But the idea is to create a quality sound and rhythm associated with your person such that whenever a listener listens randomly, they’ll easily know you’re the one.
This step is important to build on if you really do want to break into the music industry. So be consistent with it!
Define Your Goals
While building and aiming to break into the music industry, you need to set your goals, realistic goals. Set a long-term goal. Set several short-term goals that will help you achieve the long-term goal and set a time frame to achieve these goals.
Here’s an example- My long-term goal could be to have one million plays across all music streaming platforms by the end of a year. This may seem huge but with the right short-term goals, it’s achievable. Now my short-term goals will be- 1. To put out more music this year. One song quarterly. 2. To improve my social media content and perform better content marketing. 3. To optimize my music website. 4. To promote my music across all platforms.
You can see how the short-term goals are leading to my long-term goal. You can now see how my short-term goals can help me achieve my long-term goals easily? That’s what you should inculcate.
Build this habit in yourself and within little to no time, you’ll see yourself breaking boundaries that’ll lead to you breaking into the music industry.
Sadly, a lot of upcoming artists do not know what it means to be professional as a music artist yet they wonder why they can’t break into the music industry. They forget that they only get one chance to make a first impression so it’s important to develop a brand that looks professional. Do not make this mistake!!!
See yourself as a brand and not just a music artist. Build that brand across your website, music streaming platforms, and all your social media channels.
Upload professional pictures of yourself, professional cover arts, flyers, short videos, etc. Take your time to develop actual professional content for your brand. This will prompt talent managers to want to work with you because of how you brand yourself leading you to break into the music industry.
In addition, you can’t aspire to be a music artist with a ghost’s social media platform. A lot of upcoming artists make this mistake. They’ll have about 3 cover arts of their music on Instagram, and that’s it.
They don’t leverage the power of social media and put themselves out there for talent managers to see and want to collaborate. Don’t be one of these people.
Build your brand across all platforms you know you can and put yourself out there and I’m sure the right talent manager or record label will reach out to collaborate with you.
It’s important to note this while building yourself as a brand and putting yourself out there, be who you’re meant to be and not what you think you can be!!! While building your brand and being professional about being a music artist, you have to “BE YOU!”. Appreciate who you are, your style of music, and how you preach your music to the world.
This will make potential fans, talent managers, record labels, and so on, perceive you as original and authentic. It also gives you the authority over your content and what you’re putting out as a musician.
Do Something Unexpected
Talent managers, Record labels, Producers, and more are always looking out for the “Next Big Thing”. They’re looking for something new, something unexpected, something unique. They’re looking for something they’ve never heard before.
If you want to break into the music industry, being innovative is vital. Finding your sound is one of the most difficult things to achieve as a musician. But it’s important you find it no matter how long it takes.
While trying to do the unexpected, it’s important to tread carefully because there’s a thin line between being innovative and gimmicky.
You need to create something that captivates the audience. Doing something unexpected doesn’t mean you should cause a drama on social media to chase what Gen Z would call “Clout”. Instead, be innovative.
This process may take a few months or some years, as everyone’s journey is different.
Try not to bury yourself in the “end result” during the experimentation stage. Remember this is a game of probability, it may and may not work out as you expect it to. Keep your expectations low.
Let loose, roll up runout sleeves, and have fun with the music you create. Experiment on ways to get your music out there to the audience too. You’ll want to prove that you bring something unique to the table as this is what attracts talent managers, record labels, and producers that will like to collaborate with you.
Remember, it’s not about fame. It’s about the love of the craft.
Network and collaborate
Building relationships is one of the most important things you can do to break into the music industry. Since it’s a very competitive market, most talent managers, record labels, etc would rather go for someone they know that can offer what they’re looking for. Why do they do this and not go for random talents?
Well, why shouldn’t they? Most talent scouts and managers already know or have someone that they like and would like to give the offer to break into the music industry. That way, it takes off the stress of them scouting and looking for the right person while breaking the hearts of other awesome talents out there.
Here are some effective networking ideas you can consider:
- Attend local gigs/events.
- Create business cards.
- Talk to other performers, musicians, DJs, sound engineers, promoters, A&Rs, agents, etc.
- Create a website and a SoundCloud.
- Be active on social media.
You’ll need to put yourself out there, but this is just half the battle as you’ll make new friends with the same interests.
To break into the music industry, You’ll also need to collaborate with other solo music artists. Most solo musicians tend to work in a bubble, which leaves them vulnerable to stagnation. To prevent this, explore your music genre with other music artists by collaborating with them.
This way you can easily grow your audience by reaching out to the audience of the artist you’re collaborating with.
The beauty of collaborating is that a song can reach heights that you may not have even imagined. A popular example is Wizkid and Tems’ essence. The song went global and blew everyone’s expectations by breaking records and boundaries.
This is the importance of collaboration. Tems was a growing artist when the collaboration with Wizkid happened. Now she’s global with Drake featuring her on his album, certified lover boy.
Collaborating can be quite fun too if you’re looking to grow and network. Collaborating fuels networking because you get to constantly meet and work with new people which is healthy for your career and essential in creating chances for you to break into the music industry.
Use Social Media
In this year and age, we cannot overrule the wonders social media has performed by helping new music artists break into the music industry successfully. A lot of musicians have also been able to get their music to the global audience with social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
As an upcoming artist, you need to leverage the opportunities that come with using social media to promote your music and break into the music industry.
Post on all your social media accounts. Promote yourself and put yourself out there through social media. Create content that revolves around your music and post them on your social media accounts.
Using social media is the only way your fans around the world can connect with you and find your music easily. Social media will help you reach out to your fans with new updates about your journey to break into the music industry. They’ll be updated with new music updates, concert updates, and so much more.
You also need to choose the right platform for your music. You need to understand how the features and tools of each platform can actively support your music and also consider which social media platform can help you locate your music audience easily.
An example of musicians that leveraged the use of social media to break into the music industry is Ckay. Now his song, “love nwantiti” is the most used song on TikTok.
Remember, talent isn’t everything. Leverage on these steps and adhere to them greatly, and you’ll see as you begin to break into the music industry slowly and steadily.