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How do you make a living in the music business?

by Dj-Sticha
26 Sep 2016 at 10:42hrs | Views
Am sure by now you've heard the song "There's no money emculweni" more than 1000 times from different people, are they hitting the nail on the head or bakhuluma ngesituation ababhekane nayo and then assume wonke umuntu emculweni udla kanzima?. Whatever the case I think we can all agree that we use different ways to do things therefore we can't get the same results it's only a matter of ukuthi lendlela yakho iyakusebenzela noma cha. I'll try to break it down nami ngendlela engibona ngayo you'll then decide on your own if one can really make a living in the music business.

1) Stay in the loop
I know It's hard to stay updated with the latest and greatest applications, mixing methods, or music trends, but do the best you can. If there's a software application or update that will improve your work flow, GET IT.

If there's a hot music trend emerging, you need to be all over it. If mixing is something you struggle with, take a class on it. Get on a PR lists, find out when new shows, albums, and company events are arising - these are all possible placement opportunities. Learn the business of music, it'll help a lot. People like speaking with others who have some idea of what they're talking about. Go to workshops, there's so much to learn, and they're FUN.

2) Build Strong Relationships
Ask any successful person in any field how they got to where they are and how they maintain their success and they'll tell you, "I have friends in high places," or something along those lines. Having good connections in the music industry makes a huge difference if you want to make a living in the music business. Every month I find opportunities in my in box from people I've worked with over the years. They pass projects my way because they've worked with me and know I deliver in a timely fashion once contracted. These type of relationships keep food and opportunities on the table for a lifetime, and it takes patience and time to really build up a pool of these quality connections.

3) Build a fan base
A fan base is a must have, especially for bands and indie artists. You have to have someone to sell your products to. No fan base means no sales, no sales means you go broke. That doesn't sound like fun in Sticha's book.

Building a fan base takes time, but a lot easier than it used to be. Some artist don't even perform, they just build a social following or email list (of fans) and direct the traffic back to their singles, albums, and videos. Some are even clever enough to build their following online and then launch a script on their site that allows fans to suggest where they play next. From there the band can map out a mini tour based on the interest and location of their fans. Very effective if done correctly.

4) Analyze markets and their competition
People always say "don't worry about what the next man is doing." I disagree. You should pay close attention to what your competition is doing. Why struggle when you don't have to? People have already made the mistakes and done the trial and error for you, learn from them!

If company X is seeing great results by doing ABC, then you need to do the same, or a variation of it. If you notice companies using a specific sub-genre of music, then you might want to tap into that genre. Can you create it? Is there an element that you can take from it and apply to your own music? If yes, then do so and make yourself more marketable.

If you notice a trend in the media, you might want to reach out to companies who stand to make a profit from it. While people were ragging on Babes Wodumo, I was contacting the music veterans to see if I could get their blessings in recreating their old works into a new house sub-genre (45 House Slow Jam) creating something different and laid back sound. I did the same during the provincial elections. Talk about easy money ngoba am getting bookings because of that very sound now.

5) Give up a percentage of your publishing - be worth someone's time
Yes, I'm telling you to go out there and give up a percentage of your rights. You do want people to help you make money right? Make it interesting for them. Sometimes 20% from profits isn't enough. 30% ownership? That's another story. Give a clerk 3% from every transaction that went through their register and they'd take their job more seriously.

People are more willing to help when they have a vested interest in your material. I'm not saying just give these rights up to anyone, but give them to individuals who can give your music career a boost. Managers, agents, publishers, etc. I know that probably goes against everything you believe in, but this is the real world iqiniso yikuthi kuyavukwa la.

6) Be flexible - keep your options open
Be willing to accept contract jobs. Not everyone can make it as a top record producer, musician, or performing artist. Don't let this frustrate and stop you from earning good money in other areas of the industry. There are talented singers who make a killing doing voice overs. I know a lot of audio engineers who make good money editing sound for videos, games, audio books, and all sorts of random things. Yes, this might not be where they wanted to be initially, but it's still audio related, and it has opened doors to other paying gigs allowing them to use their craft to make a living in the music business.

7) You should always be creating music!
The more music you create, the more material you have to shop around. The music industry is a numbers game. If someone likes a song of yours, chances are they're going to ask for more, and if all you have is five tracks, that could be a missed opportunity.

Why do they ask for more? Because they want to hear your range, your consistency, and if you're someone who has enough music to submit on a regular basis. If you have to create everything from scratch, that could be a problem, depending on how long it takes you to create. Some opportunities only have two-, maybe four-hour windows. If it takes you five hours to write, record, and mix a track, and the agent needs it in two, you're SOL. A lot of opportunities have short deadlines, so get use to the time crunch.

A good percentage of placements and opportunities come to those who have the ability to deliver with consistency. Be one of those people.

8) Keep moving forward
You're going to hear the word "no" a lot. Deals will fall through, people are going to tell you "you're not good enough," family may doubt you — heck, you may even doubt yourself. Push all that nonsense aside, and just keep moving forward. Good things happen to those who are consistent and persistent with their goals. Sounds like a cliché, but good things come to people never give up

Get a listen how the new house sub-genre sounds. This is a remake I did of a Maskandi hit track that was released in 2005 by Shwii no Mtekhala titled Ngafa.

Shwii no Mtekhala-Ngafa 45 House Stimix

Masicobelane ngolwazi, masikhulisane emculweni

Facebook: Dj-Sticha-Mixking

Twitter: @DeejaySticha

Source - Dj-Sticha