People in the music business are paid differently than those of us who work for companies and organizations. Musicians will be paid based on the percentage of the sales of their music and how quickly they can make another hit song. The situation is even worse for those in the background—music editors, sound engineers, etc.
If you are planning to start a music business or want to enter the music industry, there are a few things you have to remember. Attend a good school, know your strengths, and accept your weaknesses.
Attending a Good School
While being admitted to The Juilliard School or studying there where performers, such as Adam Driver, Viola Davis, and Anthony Mackie, among others, came from is not a guarantee to a high-paying job in the music industry, it does help to go to a prestigious music school. In Juilliard, for example, you’ll receive education from top-tier musicians and performers. These are highly regarded personalities in the music and performing arts industry, so you’ll get the best education possible.
Identifying Your Strengths and Weaknesses
It also pays to accept your strengths and weaknesses. You cannot insist on singing if you cannot carry a tune. You can’t force your way into being a virtuoso if you do not have the heart for it. Identifying one’s strengths and weaknesses is one of the first steps you need to take when you want to earn better in the music industry. Some people are better music managers than singers.
Musicians such as Charlie Puth, for example, write songs for others. He doesn’t always sing the music he creates. If the tune isn’t something he thinks he can give justice to, he is okay with letting others perform it.
You can make good money by becoming a manager. Technically, you need to “manage” the artists under you. That means negotiating sometimes on their behalf, fixing their schedules, answering questions about them from the press, and even dealing with scandals and issues that they find themselves in. Depending on the pay structure you agree on, managers get a portion of their artist’s money, though they don’t usually make much unless the musicians make a name for themselves.
As a promoter, you are responsible for marketing a concert or performance. You will talk with advertisers and sponsors to reach more of your market. Promoters get paid from the ticket sales. There are two ways this can happen. The first is that the promoter will take a percentage of the sales after recouping their costs and paying the artists. Meanwhile, the second way is to pay the musicians a fixed rate and then take home the profits after deducting the expenses. Promoters usually need to shell out money to advertise the music event.
How do musicians find events where they can perform? It is through music agents. These people arrange events for musicians so that they can get known in the industry. They get paid by taking a percentage off the shows they arrange for the musicians. For example, a musician will get paid $1,000 for a five-song act. The agent will take somewhere between 10% and 20% of that fee, so that’s around $100 to $200.
You can start a small record label company for independent artists. The idea is for you to sell as many records as you can to recuperate the expenses you incurred producing the records. The artists get paid via either a fixed price or based on the percentage of sales of the records. If you happen to know someone you think will be a big hit in the future, then starting a record label is a step in the right direction.
Similar to their other tasks, public relations specialists will handle campaigns for the artists. They are usually paid based on the campaign they run for their clients. However, some PR companies are kept on a retainer, so they are ready to come to their clients’ aid whenever needed. They work with promoters to bring awareness to a campaign or event. They also usually get a bonus every time they hit a milestone such as reaching the expected number of sales on a specific period.
The music industry is probably one of the toughest industries to infiltrate. You will encounter many challenges along the way; they will sometimes make you think it’s just better to walk away. However, if you are genuinely passionate about music, it is also one of the most rewarding and fulfilling.