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Tips on Becoming a Successful Music Artist

Coran Capshaw, manager of The Dave Matthew’s Band, Lady Antebellum, Phish, and Chris Stapleton, founded the well-known music management company Red Light Management in 1991. Since then, the former bar owner has had a successful career in the music industry. If you’re interested in breaking into the music business, but you don’t know where to start, this guide will help you and answer your questions.

Breaking into the Industry 

This may be hard to believe, but it’s true: 95% of musicians with record deals fail. So, don’t get hung up on getting signed. Instead, be prepared to work hard and break into the music business on your own. The best advice to follow is to always be optimistic and gather as much knowledge as possible. Then, study under teachers who are well-versed in music theory and music appreciation. 


Build, Build, Build 

You can’t build an empire without first building a support system. Your friends and family love you no matter what, so get objective advice about your music from professionals. This is the time to network. If you are not interested in learning business and marketing, hire or enlist the help of someone who can handle the business aspect while you focus on the music. In fact, it’s best to build an entire team; you’ll need a manager, booking agent, and social media guru. Find people whom you trust. 





Free Stuff 

The biggest mistake new musicians make is playing free shows and giving away their music for free. If you give away your most important resource (your music), what else do you have? Other than the music itself, the most important things are touring, publishing, and branding. Touring – If you promote a tour on social media, you are more likely to get followers and have high attendance at your shows. Promoting yourself on social media is an excellent way to get you and your music out there. Publishing – If you spend the time and money writing and recording original music, make sure you have the rights for all work you do. Branding – Your image can be just as important as your music. This includes your logo, look, beliefs, etc. Think of it as the business plan and yourself as the business. 


Follow the Money (but Watch Your Own) 

This goes back to not playing for free unless it’s for a charity event or cause you believe in, or example. (You can’t survive on “thank you”). Also, check out the site Legal Zoom and invest $500 to structure your music career as a business and have all your legal paperwork in order.

DIY

Learn to produce your own music. Sure, it will take some trial and error, but you’ll be able to make the music more authentic to you. Plus, you’ll save money in the long run. Buying your own music recording equipment is now more affordable than ever. 


Get Credit (Where Credit is Due) 

There is nothing worse than buying all your equipment, playing shows, writing and recording songs, and putting out your own album only to discover you aren’t getting credit for your work. To protect yourself and your intellectual property, register your music. You can do this by Signing up for ASCAP, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, or BMI, Broadcast Music, Inc. The programs keep track of each time your song is played on the radio or on TV and the royalties you should receive. That way, you’ll receive the profits you’re entitled to. Also, don’t forget the copyright your music so you do not become a victim of intellectual theft. 


Distribution 

While there’s nothing wrong with giving away your music for free, you don’t want to make a habit of it. There are many companies within the music industry that will help with distribution of your music online to sites, such as Spotify, Amazon, and iTunes, since streaming is how people listen to music.


Routine Maintenance

Once you find success, it won’t hurt to maintain it. Also, consider mentoring a fledgling musician and don’t forget to let your team know how much you appreciate them and their hard work. Without them, you wouldn’t be where you are. 
A long, profitable music career is about more than just picking up a guitar. Each element we discussed is like a cog in a machine – each piece must be just right for the whole thing to be successful. By following these tips and putting in the long hours and hard work, you’ll be on your way to achieving your dreams just like Capshaw.


**Compensation was received for posting. 

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