Learn how to find your place in the music industry by following your interests, making your own opportunities, and more.
Finding your place in the music industry is simple, but people often complicate the process. There are many more jobs available than what seems to be the holy grail of music careers; touring as an artist. By matching your existing skill set and personality type to a suitable music industry position, you’re more likely to love what you do and lead a fulfilling life.
We’ll be taking a look at how you can find your place in the music industry by following your interests, making your own opportunities, being flexible with your goals, and persevering through tough times.
1. Follow Your Interests
“What do you want to become?” People have been asking you this question since you were a little kid, but the only options anyone ever talks about seem to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher, or accountant. None of these jobs seem too fun in my opinion, and if you’re trying to break into the music industry, they probably don’t seem so great to you either.
There’s no way of knowing what you want to become unless you learn about the different types of music industry jobs available to you. CareersInMusic.com has a Music Career Finder tool that asks you some questions about your interests and matches you with an appropriate music industry job. There are over 100 music industry positions that they match you with, so it’s definitely worth checking it out.
In general, it’s a great idea to pursue your interests. By doing this, you build a skill set revolving around what you like. Eventually, these skills will become valuable enough that you become employable based on things you love.
2. Make Your Own Opportunities
Getting hired is a numbers game. The more places you apply, the more likely you are to get hired. I applied to over 200 music production blogs before one of them finally gave me a shot.
I now work as a content writer for Waves Audio, SonicScoop, and Icon Collective. If you keep swinging your axe at the same tree trunk, you’ll eventually chop down the tree; it’s just a matter of time.
Living in a city like Los Angeles, New York, or Portland means lots of competition, but it also means lots of music-related job opportunities. Applying for jobs may be as simple as Googling all the music studios near you and dropping off your resume.
Finding music-related work in a smaller city can be difficult, and in some cases, the job you’re looking for may not exist. You’ll either have to move to a bigger city, or turn to the Internet.
There were only two music studios in my hometown, neither of which were hiring when I was getting started. In revolt, I started Black Ghost Audio and moved to Los Angeles. If you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way to carve out a place for yourself in the music industry.
3. Be Flexible With Your Goals
You may have entered into the music industry dead-set on a single position. Perhaps you want to be a session drummer, or vocalist. Maybe you have your eyes locked on becoming an A&R coordinator, or music business lawyer. Whatever it may be, there’s a tendency to hang onto this initial goal.
It’s not very often that you marry the first person you fall in love with. Sure, it happens and sometimes things work out great, but most people date around to see what they like and don’t like in a partner. Finding a music career suited to you is very much like dating throughout your early 20s; the more you date, the better the chances are that you’ll find a good match.
Being flexible with your goals doesn’t mean giving up on your dreams. It just means that you should remain open to opportunities when they present themselves to you, even if they aren’t quite what you had in mind.
For example, I initially got started producing music 8+ years ago and thought I wanted to be the next Skrillex. Over time, I came to realize that I hated being on stage, hated socializing with people in clubs, and wanted nothing to do with tour life.
I love producing and engineering music, so working as an audio engineer became the clear choice for me. It wasn’t easy laying the touring producer thing to rest, and in some sense, it felt like giving up. Ultimately, I knew I’d be much happier working one-on-one with artists in a studio environment than I would be touring 365 days of the year.
4. Don’t Give Up
Pursuing a long-term goal when the going gets tough is important. You shouldn’t give up on whatever career you’re in pursuit just to find an easier one. The music industry is one of the most cutthroat industries to break into, so you should expect it to be challenging.
It takes many artists 5-10+ years to make a living creating music. This may seem like a long time, but getting a college degree takes 3-4+ years, so working toward a desk job isn’t necessarily a get-rich-quick solution.
During this cultivation stage, in which you’re trying to achieve your goal, look for any music-related work that you can find. If nobody will hire you, tell them you’ll volunteer. Do whatever you can to build up the right type of work experience that you’re looking for; it will pay off at some point.