By: Lauren Royer
There’s no bullshit in this read. The industry is a fierce world because there are people who have literally everything on the line. This is their life work, their blood, their heart beat… you better believe they will greet you with the same ferocity that they deal with on the daily. If you’re expecting something cozier you can read my piece about Self-Doubt.
Before jumping into the battlefield, I had to get souped up with some ammo. I really wanted to make music my life career. Knowing my comrade Glen Sears had a successful career in the biz (PR, Demand Generation, & Digital Strategy for MediaNet and Co-Founder & CEO of Dance Music Northwest). I reached out to get some solid advice. He met with me and gave me some bright lights to follow at a time when I was still feeling around in the dark. Fast forward and here I am holding down my little spot the music world. OG Glen knows his stuff, and he was recently published on Inc.com for his advice on ‘Things You Must Do To Survive In The Music Business’. Jumping into it, his 4 keys were:
1. Charge properly for your services, but always offer to throw in something extra; don’t be a pushover, but let people know you want to work for them
2. Ask 3 questions for every 1 you answer; the more you listen and let people tell you their story, the more opportunities you surface
3. Love the part of the industry you’re in
4. Understand your own timeline
I imagine you’re seeking this advice because you’re feeling unprepared, need some motivation, or maybe just looking for a starting point. I got you babe! Those 4 points are solid as hell, but there are other gems sprinkled in the full article and some things I’ve found crucial in my own journey. I mean, why not load up with some grenades on your belt too?
Find a mentor and start learning immediately (like now)
Your mentor is gonna teach you how to hold a sword and throw a few ninja stars. You don’t have to pursue your idol all dreamy eyed, you can make mentors out of blog editors (I emailed a few of my favorite blogs), soundcheck guys, venue owners, whatever. People of all levels in the game are more accessible than ever, like why not just ask them? Do not ever stop learning from mentors in all forms.
Slap fear around a few times and dive in
Not everything will be cozy and easy. In fact, at any level it’s hard work and will (hopefully) challenge you like nothing else. Unless there is a situation where you detect some skizzy activities, the ‘new-experiences pool’ is open! You’ve already gone out onto the diving board, why not just jump? Worst case scenario you belly flop and it stings for a minute. Best case, you do a flip-dive like a champ.
Learn to grow a thick armored coat
Or find yourself a good blacksmith bruhhh cause you’re gonna need a shield. A lot of people in this lane do not have time to bullshit around with anything but real opinion. The demands are high and the expectation of you will be higher. Not trying to make you think everyone’s all extra though! Like I said, these are passionate people with a clear path they’re walking. Once you respect that, you’ll find hella fun, creative, fierce people. The other thing your armor will protect you against are the haters; the higher you go in your career, the more they populate. Don’t let them get to you, let them fuel you.
Pace is everything
Like Glen said, your own timeline is key. Your pace is the only one at the end of the day you should be consistently checking. But the music industry is all about rhythm (big surprise right?). Are you matching the pace and rhythms of the people you’re connecting with? There has to be a little harmony baby! So when you’re collaborating with any person or group, match them at their pace if you can. This will help fine-tune your own internal metronome. Be ready to blow up in the best of ways.