Breaking into the music industry is hard – you only have to read our interviews with AHI and Ever to discover that this scene can be brutal and unforgiving. However, one of the best things about this industry is that musicians and industry professionals are always happy to rally round to help newbies.
If you consider yourself a brand new musician and need some guidance, then check out what these fellow musicians and industry professionals have to say about breaking into the scene!
Christina Rotondo (@christinartnd), vocalist:
Choose who you want to be and don’t let anyone else decide that for you. If you want to be your own personality, be that. There’s no point fronting a persona online because once you start that, you can’t just go back to ‘you’ half way down the line. Some people may not agree with the person I am and the way that I portray my online presence, but I’ve always said I’m not here to please anyone else. I can’t pretend to be someone I’m not. I do what I do because I enjoy it and I love what I do, and if it makes other people happy too, then that’s the best thing I could possibly get out of it.
Danny Bowley (@DanCBowley), drummer of Standing Tall:
Get to know your local promoters – they need bands for shows and you need shows. Don’t wait for them to maybe hear of you, send them an email and go to the shows they are putting on. For bands that have maybe just signed a deal with an independent label, don’t get lazy and assume everything is going to come to you. You now need to work harder. Someone taken the risk and invested their time and money into you, so don’t make them regret it.
James Hingle (@Jingle1991), freelance journalist for Kerrang!:
Be careful who you slag off because you don’t know who might be listening. Make sure you keep true to your musical identity, don’t change your sound to fit in – we’re going through a phase in music where there really isn’t that many bands redefining their genre. And when playing live, no matter how big or small you are, make sure you give it absolutely everything. Most bands make money from touring these days so make sure you put on a show that will keep people coming back.
Ali Cooper (@alizombie_) freelance journalist for Metal Hammer:
Give it everything you’ve got. It may sound easier said than done, but it’s all too obvious when a band’s only producing a certain type of music to make themselves marketable. When you love what you’re doing, it shows.
Jake Owens (@JakeOwensPhoto), freelance photographer:
Having a strong image is important, as it will help people to remember you among the thousands of other local bands. Hire a good photographer, and just go for it.
Michelle Duffy (@__intheattic), publicist at Halestorm PR:
Work hard and be consistent always be putting on gigs and get your music heard. Talk to everyone and anyone, and keep contact as you just never know who you’re going to meet.
Joe Brady (@joebradyphoto), freelance photographer:
Keep working hard, do the best job you can and don’t be an asshole. If you work hard to a good standard consistently, people will start to notice you and doors will begin to open. In most cases, it’s not what you know, but who you know.
Matt Benton (@mattdebenton), publicist at Hold Tight! PR:
Know what you’re about. Whoever you’re approaching to get ‘up the ladder’, be it management, PR, etc, know your strengths and pitch yourself professionally and succinctly. What’s your sound? What’s your selling point musically / past history / future plans, etc.? There are so many bands and so many emails that even little things such as writing a thorough email without the need for me to have to search for your music/name/online profile will help make you stand out.
Toby Campen (@tobycampen), freelance sound engineer at Toby Campen Audio:
Look at what separates you from other bands and develop that unique point. It’s easy for bands to emulate what is cool in a scene at the time, but that will just add to the noise and quickly disappear. Don’t be afraid to be original and take a risk with your sound/look etc. Also, keep on top of new technology and how your fans are consuming music. The industry is moving very fast, and if you want to make what you do sustainable you need to keep on top of that.
Chris Robinson (@gingerboyo), Social Media Co-Ordinator for Marshall Amplification, Natal Drums and Eden Electronics:
Stay humble, work hard, be nice. I think it would surprise people how much you can get and the opportunities that can be presented to you just through good manners.