When I first graduated from high school, and decide I wanted to major in music technology, no one warned me of the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of doing it. I went through a trial and error process, and went through a multitude of people who didn’t support me, or didn’t want to be involved with the lifestyle they thought I had. When I got to college, I found a bunch of people just like me, who supported one another and didn’t have time to put down others dreams. While I’m grateful for that, since graduating college, it seems that those things that no one warned me of have come back to haunt me, so I’m writing this in hopes that someone else benefits from these tips!
1.Not Everyone is your ‘Friend’
-This one is a hard pill to swallow. Some of the people I met in the music industry were only superficial, meaning they only spoke to me because of the sole facts that I am a woman, and because they thought I had “connections.” The truth is, these people are toxic and not worth your time, and unfortunately, there is plenty of them within the industry. I’ve learned to treat everyone exactly the same, depending on the field of the industry you are in. And when I say ‘exactly the same’ I mean, if they are a friend, but also a client that uses your studio or promoting business, treat them as you would an ordinary client, meaning charging them for services, no matter how hard it is or how long you know them. The sad reality is, it is a dog-eat-dog world in this industry, and most of the time, these people would turn around and charge you for services in a second. Remember, money is the root of all evil, and it doesn’t matter how long you know someone or how good you treat them! Don’t let your good nature be taken advantage of, and don’t do for those who wouldn’t do for you! 🙂
2.) PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE.
-For the love of God, be that ‘annoying kid’. Use all the shameless promotion you can. Whether you run a studio, a journalism page, a podcast, own/run a venue, or are in a band, ALL ADVERTISING IS A CHANCE TO BROADEN YOUR AUDIENCE. If you want to generate buzz and capture your audience’s attention, you need to be pushy. Who cares if you’re ‘annoying’ or ‘that’s all you talk about’, those people are not paying your rent, if they don’t like the way you advertise or your social media posts, well, there is a delete button for a reason, haha.
3.) You will hear “It’s not a real job, you know” on repeat.
– THIS is the one that grinds my gears the most, when people tell you that you do not have a real job and that you need to get one in order to survive. DO NOT listen to these people. Yes, you do need money to survive, that is totally justifiable, BUT if you are grinding and making money, either by doing what you love, or while doing what you love on the side, then it does not matter. There will be multiple people who have a problem with your career choice, whether you like it or not. Those people can fuck off, unless they are paying YOUR bills, your choices DO NOT affect nor concern them. At the end of the day, you are the one who is pursuing your dream, however that may be, and it’s no one else’s business.
4.) Pay your dues!
-This is another big one, it is very crucial, and sort of builds off of the last topic. I don’t mean literally ‘pay’ your dues, I mean do things that you wouldn’t normally do to get to where you want to be. Establish a fan base by playing small venues, sometimes for free (the obvious one), write reviews for bands/albums, conduct band interviews, spread the word anyway you possibly can! If you are a journalist who is just starting out, offer to do free band interviews or reviews. Doing stuff for free isn’t always a great option, but it is definitely a good way to start off and get yourself out there. This is not for everyone, however, so if doing stuff for free is not feasible for you, make sure you follow what was discussed in #2, and be outgoing- Advertise, go to shows, meet and connect with fans, bands, other journalists, give out stickers/business cards. Do whatever you can to get the word out!
5.) Don’t let your ego get in the way!
-Egotism is an ugly thing, but we all get egotistical at times. DO NOT let this happen. Don’t let yourself think you are too good for a show, or too good to interview a certain band, or too good to record a band that’s just starting out, don’t think you are entitled to certain things or entitled to be treated a certain way just because you have a larger following. I guess you could call it “The Price of Fame”, but I call it being an “asshole!” :). Don’t do this, no one is better than anyone, we are all one in the same, we all share the same dream, and we need to support one another, so don’t be an asshole! 🙂
I hope that these tips helped someone, somewhere, in someway! Thanks for reading, and remember, don’t be an asshole 🙂