How to Make it in the Music Industry Today?

Recording Connection graduate Ramy Morales aka Ramiro Morales 5 time platinum beat producer and rising hip hop heavyweight
Recording Connection graduate Ramy Morales aka Ramiro Morales 5 time platinum beat producer and rising hip hop heavyweight.

How to Get into the Music Industry?

We’ve all thought of it at least a few times during our lives: How great would it be to be a rockstar? A music mogul that travels the world, performing in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans, and making a hefty amount of money during decades of a successful career.

Of course, we may also dream of being movie stars, all-star athletes, or other performers that earn the admiration of millions. It takes a lot of hard work – and a few breaks along the way – to attain those lofty aspirations. And, in many cases, it takes more than talent to finally break through.

In the music industry, so much of “making it” is about exposure. As they say, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. In the past, getting your music in front of the decision-makers was arduous at best. Sending demos, tapes, and even thumb drives was a crapshoot, running a gauntlet of assistants and other executives.

Career Path to the Music Industry has Changed

With the technology of today, a singer, songwriter, beatmaker, or other act can take their music directly to the people. With social media, self-publishing sites, and other apps, selling music and creating other ancillary revenue streams (like merch) has never been easier. But get this—that means it’s easier for everyone.

The proliferation of digital audio workstations (DAWs) in the 90s mimicked the home computer explosion a couple of decades earlier. As those home computers became more powerful, faster, and able to store more files, DAWs made it possible for almost anyone to become a DIY musician.

The rise of electronic dance music and its many subgenres around the world gave listeners an incredible amount of new, exciting music. But DAWs aren’t used solely for experimentation. With an ever-growing list of plug-ins and instruments for the software, “mainstream” music is beginning to embrace the software.

It doesn’t hurt that beats, loops, samples, and other hip-hop staples are beginning to bleed into rock, pop, and other established styles. In many cases, music is being made without actual instruments, save for a drum machine or midi keyboard. This access to music production continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

So what does that mean? If you’re trying to make your way into the music industry, you’re entering a crowded landscape. Decades ago you needed to have the money to get into the studio to record your music and find a label to help you distribute your sound. Today all you need is a laptop, a reliable internet connection, and the know-how and expertise it takes to create music that’s a cut above the glut of mediocre music to be found on today’s streaming platforms.

Use all available tools

To navigate the increasingly complex yet advantageous landscape, you’re still going to have to work pretty hard. On the plus side, you don’t need to be based in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, or other industry hubs. And even though the internet makes the modern music industry an increasingly small place, you’re going to have to cast a wide net to create a music career.

Social Media: Tik Tok, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms make it easy for indie artists to build a brand, release music, and build a loyal audience. Having a prominent social media presence makes it easy for you to interact with your fans base.

These apps also let you reach out to artists you’re interested in working with. Many music producers find collaborating with others makes it easier for them to concentrate on their strengths. Although sharing credit on a song that it’s used in films, tv shows, or commercials will cut into your profit, you’ll be able to create music more efficiently.

Music publishing sites: SoundCloud, CDbaby, DistroKid, Landr, and TuneCore allow you to upload your music and sell to those looking for beats, hooks, samples, and more. Although posting your music to social media is a great way to get your sound out there, these sites will let you get paid.

Self-publishing means you get to keep 100 percent of the sales. You can establish what rights buyers have (exclusive, non-exclusive, royalty-free, etc.), how long or how often they can use your music, and so on. You’ll also have access to analytics to see what tracks have been most successful.

Other online sources: This could include reaching out to music blogs and mags to review your music, compiling email lists to send updates, schedules, or tell your audience where your music is featured. Consider selling your music via Google or Facebook ads as well. And while sync licensing might not be on your To Do List right now, definitely look into it.

Not only can you monetize your catalog, jingles, and film scores, you can extend your reach into various demographics. Such was the case with British singer-songwriter and producer, Michael Kiwanuka, whose song “Cold Little Heart” won over American audiences when it ran to the opening credits of HBO’s Big Little Lies.

Making it as a music mogul means you’ll have to work just as hard on marketing as you do with creating your music, at least when you’re first getting started. Schedule time during the week to update sites say hello to your audience and reach out to others. The more shares, likes, and interactions you have with other acts amplifies your brand and get your music heard by listeners wanting to find their next favorite anthem.

Learn from Music Industry professionals

The Recording Connection Music Business Program will show you how those in the music business create, market, and sell their music, products, and services. You’ll receive one-on-one training with an industry insider, learn how to maximize and streamline your marketing efforts as well as how to protect your music and yourself.

Our programs are designed to give you a fully immersive experience. From learning how to become an audio engineer or music producer, to working with a DAW, to running a studio, our mentors have decades of experience, and many work with the biggest names in the music industry. Ready to amplify your life? Get started today.

Want to learn what a music producer does? Read how music producers help create magic in the recording studio.

Get your music production certification and build your music production and audio engineering skills by learning with an industry professional near you.