How To Succeed In The Music Business. Part 1
Author: David Wright
So you wanna be a star? Part 1
So, you've made the decision! You've finished recording your
album and it's the "best" - it deserves to be heard by the world
and you're deserving of the adulation afforded to the creation
of such a masterpiece! Of course, you know in your own mind that
it won't be easy to become a star. After all, everyone says that
the music business is difficult'. But hey, you've got what it
takes, you've got talent, and this really is a great album - all
your friends and family agree - so what can possibly stop you?
Few people outside of the Music Business have any idea just how
difficult it is to survive, let alone succeed, in the
ever-changing and unforgiving world of entertainment. Being a
musician is much, much more than simply writing, recording and
And few people have any idea of what is involved in the
recording of a good sounding CD, of the time and effort involved
to get that polished sound that every artist who ever produced a
demo aspires to create.
Don't be fooled by inane rubbish like Pop Idol or X-factor. Not
only do these sort of programs give a totally false impression
of the reality of the music industry, but they totally undermine
the integrity of it! And just for the record, I don't dispute
the obvious talent of some of the participants, but the ends do
not justify the means! It is indicative of just how low we have
sunk as a society that we are happy to watch and laugh at
'hopefuls' who clearly have no talent at all, make embarrassing
fools of themselves because they really think they do have the
Then, when the competition proper really gets going, we can
watch the music business do what it does best, that is, chew up
and spit out varying degrees of talent live on our screens in
the name of TV entertainment!
The programs are designed to maximize TV ratings and to
manufacture a "Pop Star" who'll be long forgotten in 10 years
time. Of course, they'll say that isn't so, but then, they
would, wouldn't they!?
We live in an "Instant Fame" society. Celebs and their
lifestyles are thrust in our faces 24/7 and far too many people,
particularly but not exclusively the young, think fame can be
achieved. They are fed the belief that it's possible to give up
the day job and become a star. In reality, it's virtually
impossible. For a greater insight into the realities of the Pop
world, check out the Simon Cowel book "I don't mean to be rude".
Being a musician, an artist, is a vocation. It's a way of life
in which everything and everyone else, absolutely everything and
everyone else, take second place. Musicians are selfish - they
have to be by definition, and I know because I am one.
It's about "The Journey" (much like life) - the journey of self
discovery that starts when you realize that being a musician is
what you want to do, continues and evolves as you make music and
friends along the road, experiencing the highs and the lows and
culminates in the realization that the journey doesn't have an
end because you're always seeking to do something new, always
forging new ideas - seeking to write 'The perfect song' or 'The
perfect album'. But a word of warning, if you're fortunate
enough to find success, the pressures and the demands will
become greater, they'll not get less!
You can't do it on a "part time" basis and expect to succeed
beyond a bit of fun at amateur level (not that there's anything
at all wrong with that). So, if you really want to 'succeed',
the very thing that you have to accept is... that you probably
wont'! And that isn't as crazy as it sounds!
You see, the most important thing in music is simply that you
love doing it. It's a way of life that's in your blood, in your
soul, and it takes precedence over everything else. And as
mentioned earlier, it's about the journey.
Now, I can hear you saying things like; "That's all right for
you to say, you're in the music business". Or maybe you're
thinking; "Well I have all these attributes, but how do I pay
the bills and still make my way as a musician?"
Yes, I am fortunate enough to be involved in music, enjoying
moderate success and recognition in a specific music genre. But
what I have learned is, that success is relative.
My life and everything in my life revolves around music. But
over the years, and particularly in the early days, my private
life and finances paid a very heavy price.
Being involved in music is about being in it for the long haul,
not the short term - you don't even consider the short term. Ask
most musicians and they'll tell you the process is a painful
one. When I hear young musicians say they've 'given up
everything to be in music', my reply is, that they have no idea
what "everything" is!
Being a musician requires many things, many attributes.
Selfishness we've already mentioned. Stubbornness is a key
factor to - you just have to keep going, then there's
dedication, passion and belief. An acceptance that there will be
a lot of hard times. You must be prepared to give everything and
more, and even then, even with all those things, if you're not
'in the right place at the right time', success can still pass
And thru all this, you keep smiling. You don't question why
you're doing what you're doing or the cost of it in broken
relationships and heavy debt. You just keep going because music
is such a big part of you!
The one remaining prerequisite for a musician is an
understanding and supportive partner - without whom you've no
chance at all. Reminds me of the old joke: What do you call a
musician without a significant and supportive partner? Homeless!
So, finally, what's the difference between a musician and
someone who wants to be a musician? It's simple. A musician is
someone who gets on with it. They step outside of the box of
conventional 9-5 and all that goes with it and live the life and
all it entails. They probably won't make it big, but they define
their own success and whatever happens, they'll never lose sight
of why they're doing what they're doing.
And someone who wants to be a musician, a star? Well, they're
unable to do the above!
So, lets go back to the beginning - If you still want to be a
musician, a recording artist, then I'll give some hints and
advice on demos in part 2.
About the author:
David Wright is a solo keyboard player and recording artist,
composer and producer who founded the electronic music label AD
Music in 1989. Also founder member of the electronic band Code
Indigo and has released 24 solo and band albums over an 18 year
period, with performing and production credits on many more.