91% of musicians are undiscovered. If you are one of these 91%, this doesn’t mean that you are not good enough or that your band doesn’t have potential. It is simply an indication that the music industry is oversaturated.
91% of musicians are undiscovered
Bands are required to take the lead in getting quality recordings, booking their own shows and tours, and promoting their band. Even after they’re signed and gain recognition, musicians have to continue treating their band as if it’s a business. And here’s why exactly musicians need to become an entrepreneur in music and recognize the importance of improving the professionals aspect of their respective careers:
Why musicians become entrepreneurs
Surprisingly, the “musician as an entrepreneur” set up is nothing new. In order for a band to get paid, pay taxes, and qualify for tax cuts, they set their band up as a business. This occurs from the beginning stages until the band gains success and recognition. The business set-up depends on the country the band is based in. What usually occurs is one member, typically the founding or main member, establishes themselves as the business owner. From here, managing the band is similar to managing a business. The main band member hires or outsources musicians and pays them a wage that they get from live show guarantees and, if applicable, royalties from album, stream, and merch sales. This entrepreneurial mindset doesn’t only apply to a band leader. Let’s say you’re a gigging or studio musician. You are likely to have clients or bands that you record or tour with. You’re not an official member of the band, so you balance the different bands you work with and use the wages they pay to make your living.
The million dollar question is — why do musicians have to develop an entrepreneurial mindset? The answer is simple:
1. To make a living
2. To gain success
The drive and energy of an entrepreneur with the skill of a musician is integral to “make it” in the music industry and it’s a concept that every participant in this industry should be striving to comply with in order to achieve and establish a truly successful career.
Similarities between musicians and entrepreneurs
If you have read the previous section and can relate, then you have an entrepreneurial mindset toward your band and the music industry. Here are the two main similarities:
They both have a drive to be successful
While there are many entrepreneurs who start businesses, because they love the thrill of business ownership, many entrepreneurs start their endeavors because they have a passion for their industry, skill and so on. These entrepreneurs realized they can’t gain success by waiting for the right moment or to meet the right person. They realized that they have to make their success happen. This situation is similar for musicians. While it’s still possible to meet A&R reps at shows and gain label attention online, most musicians need to work toward their success. This includes investing in high-quality recordings, booking shows and tours, printing merch, reaching out to press, and other duties.
There’s a chance you’ll fail
However, no musician should work to the brim and expect to headline major festivals. There’s a chance you’ll fail and you are likely to experience small failures along the way. Every business experiences some sort of a failure. Maybe they don’t earn much revenue in one quarter or maybe they lose a major client. Musicians experience the same struggle. Common examples include releasing an unsuccessful album or not getting paid for a show.
What’s the worst that can happen?
A band breakup is the worst case scenario for most bands. While this is devastating, it’s not the ultimate failure. Many entrepreneurs have an unsuccessful business under their belt. If your band fails, form a new one or try sticking to gigging or recording with other bands. As long as the music industry is alive, you can keep playing music and earn from it, if you have the talent and the right discipline.
The grind doesn’t stop when you’re signed
Quite the opposite, actually. Many bands believe that their work is over when they’re signed. Not only do bands need to grind after they’re signed, but they need to work even harder than before. Labels don’t have a lot of money to spend on bands, especially new artists. They will only work as hard as you’re willing to work.
Business owners work hard in the beginning. After their business starts gaining a steady revenue stream and devoted clients, their workload only increases. Same applies to music bands. After you have a few albums under your belt and start regularly touring, you have even more responsibilities, such as paying attention to album sales, counting your merch inventory, and promoting your band on all social media channels.
Become an entrepreneur in music, not just a musician
To achieve success as a musician, you have to be an entrepreneur in music.