I was recently asked how an indie musician can embark upon a career in the music business. Obviously there is not just one path. However, whatever path you take, your journey should involve two things: 1) networking, and 2) education.
As someone who is relatively new to this industry, I have learned that there are a lot of resources in the music busineses—you just have to know where to start looking. I can understand the feeling of overwhelm as I have tried to learn and understand the music business. Therefore, I was happy to share a few suggested resources with this aspiring indie artist. It occurred to me that you might appreciate the list of resources as well, so here it goes…
As with any industry, networking is an important component of the music business. Networking gifts you with learning from other musicians, meeting people and companies with whom you want to work, and improving your overall songwriting. Following are some organizations that offer networking opportunities:
- Durango Songwriters Expo (DSE) – Hosts two conferences annually where singer/songwriters have the opportunity to have their music heard and critiqued by industry insiders, meet music-related vendors, and network with singer/songwriters and others in the music industry.
- Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) – Membership organization that provides on-line educational opportunities, conferences, song critiques, and many other benefits.
- Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) – In the United States, you should research the three PROs and decide which one best meets your needs as a musician and join. Each one has its own set of member benefits. Typical benefits include: monitoring music performances and paying royalties to songwriters and publishers; providing education opportunities; and hosting networking events.
In addition to the education provided by the organizations listed above, an indie musician can learn a lot by reading music-related blogs. Following are some I recommend.
- Shameless Plug. Read this blog—the “Eclectic Blog“—weekly. We share information about our band business and other music-related topics each Tuesday.
- CDBaby podcast and DIY blog
- Music Think Tank
- Promote Your Music
- …and there are many others
As I’ve said before, being a musician is as much business as it is music. These resources will get you started down that path. Although there are a vast number of other resources, in an effort not to overwhelm you with information, I’ll stop with these two key components today.