Turns out the music biz includes a lot of biz. In fact it feels like there’s more biz than there is music… It all starts pure, with years of learning your craft, which is where the seed is first sewn.
Those that create their own music understand the work that goes into writing, composing, re-writing and refining before a song is complete and ready to share. And I can see why so many musos just stop there. What happens once you’ve recorded a track? and EP? an LP?
Depending on which process you’re using, that can involve many more stages than just hitting the record button. For me, I have a producer and together we work to further evolve each track. Then prepare the music for the team we’ve decided we need for each track. They in turn learn, and together we rehearse and record. There’s a sound engineer that sets up all the gear and controls the sound that’s being recorded. After all is done, those sounds are then mixed – sculpting and moulding each track from the individual sounds captured. Then that mix is mastered – further fine tuning the refined sound until the final product is complete. And finally I’m handed the finished files that sound AMAZING. Hooray!!
But what do I do with them now?
How does it reach you?…??
You may see where I’m heading with this. No one just begins under a record label, and if any muso wants to make their passion a success they need to do all of this themselves. And by that, I mean…
- Social media accounts (setting up and management)
- Website (setting up and management)
- Album art
- CD production (where applicable)
- Distribution (who, how and where)
- Marketing (plans, artwork, music clips and management)
- Promotion (who, how and where)
- Royalty collection (many collection agents)
- Gigs (sourcing, booking, lighting, sound, agreements, equipment, accommodation, travel etc)
All to get each track to the ears of the listener. (How much do you pay for one song these days?)
Now I don’t know about you but I was not born knowing how to do all this stuff. Luckily for me I do happen to be a trained web & graphic designer with over 16 years of running my own business so there’s a chunk on that list that I’ve got under by belt. But the rest… man… contracts make me sleepy, my bum aches from sitting so long reading and learning how to maximise my online exposure, then doing it all… comparing who best to distribute my work through… who are they and what do they collect?… and I just want to get out to my studio and work on the stuff I’ve got half finished, so I can start the process all over again.
And who pays for
all this stuff? The humble singer songwriter with the big passion
driving this creative snowball. Sorry – how much did you say the
consumer pays for one song these days? And what about an album…? How
many of those need to be sold to break even…? Or what about a profit so
we can pay for the next one… Clearly maths was not my strong point 😉
So you see that no one is an overnight success. You see that those who’ve made it big bloody-well earned it! You can see that the singer-songwriter (or band) is a highly motivated and passionate soul. To be able to create songs and get them to your play-list takes an exceptional amount of energy, which would not be sustainable without a deep love for music in the first place. If these folk are not writing music, they’re probably working on something off that list, or working to pay for it (or taking a breather!).
Hopefully some of you know by now that I’m building up to release my debut single in a few weeks, and my debut album early next year. It’s been a massive year of learning all of this additional stuff and I’m only half way through it. I do hope that my audience enjoy the results as much as I do, because that’s what all this is for.
So take the time to appreciate your favourite artists. Drop them a line or a comment on their social media to let them know how much you appreciate them. Get to their gigs, buy their tracks and support the work that goes into creating beautiful music.