Beneath its glitz, glamour, pop and dazzle, the music industry has a sordid and seedy underbelly. It is built on the sweat and blood of many musical aspirants who find their dreams burnt out and never manage to rise to the top.
In short, while you are allowed to attend concerts and enjoy music, we must all be cognizant of the problems of the music industry. The challenges and obstacles that musicians have to face, old and new, are nothing to scoff at. Only with realization and admittance of these systemic problems can you move to fix them.
What are these problems you ask? Find out below.
If you have had a friend who has been trying to break into the music industry, you will have noticed them sending demos everywhere. Demos are musical performances that aspiring musicians create as examples of their ability. They are pitched to managers, executives, and people in control of music firms, record labels and media houses.
Due to the sheer number of aspiring musicians, it is very hard that a demo will be accepted or even listened to. It can take many tries before a person gets lucky enough to even get their demo heard.
Publishing delays are a particular difficulty for musicians trying to break out. Materials like reviews, spotlights, focus articles, and the likes give visibility and attention to their efforts.
As the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity, and that is even truer for people in their fledgling stages. Even negative publicity can be turned around and capitalized on. The problem arises when such publicity pieces are ignored and sidelined for other content, which they often are.
You should know that for every big concert you attend, there are probably hundreds of small events or performances by struggling musicians which go unattended.
As musicians try to make their mark, issues of low attendance at shows can be particularly de-motivating. This is exacerbated if they really struggled to secure a spot at a more expensive venue or event only to be greeted by leaving attendees. Views bring attention which brings contracts. Consistently low views kill many fresh musicians’ careers.
You are probably aware of this but part and parcel of trying to make your ground in an industry is facing the possibility of last-minute cancellations.
Musicians or bands can be informed at the last minute that their slot has been canceled or given to someone else. This arises due to reasons like better more established bands having to be accommodated or power dynamics.
Struggling musicians know they can’t get on the bad foot with event organizers so have to bear it all without showing any anger. Your name and self-respect often have to suffer the most when you are trying to climb up in the music industry.
This is one difficulty for musicians which they share with fledgling artists of all shapes, domains, and stripes when trying to carve out their own stakes.
Trying to make a full-time career out of these passions takes time and financial woes about low cash or funding are among the top concerns for all struggling artists. Whether it’s a road trip, tours, venues, or even equipment, anything and everything requires money.
You can only go so far performing in your parent’s garage or operating out of your car while crashing with friends or fellow industry acquaintances.
A struggling musician has to balance the need for both views and finances. That is a crucial balance to maintain since tipping too heavily in one direction or the other can stall your growth.
If some music sharing site agrees to host your catalog and recordings, you should properly work out the financial arrangements with them. A completely free license just so you can get views will not be sustainable in the long run. You will need money too.
Digital platforms and social media technologies have substantially eased barriers to entry for young musical aspirants. Providing opportunities to reach massive audiences without funding or other constraints, they have proven to be godsends.
They have their own shortcomings though, namely the issue of piracy. Piracy is rampant in today’s time and gone are the days when you had sales at the level of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. Even professional and established musicians are victim to this. You might very well get a lot of views through online channels but you will likely see loss of funds too because of piracy. That is just something you will have to bear with.
This goes without being said. High competition is also a significant obstacle for new up and coming musicians.
You are in competition with thousands of similar aspirants. Based on your luck, even if you are the best, you may not necessarily make it to the top. Managing to rise to the top requires much more than just pure musical skill. Others may be savvier than you or have better contacts which will allow them to get ahead.
The final stage of a musical journey is no doubt one filled with much success, fame, glamour and all the world’s offerings to savor. Getting there, however, is another matter entirely and where a majority of aspirants lose their way.
If, by chance, you someday decide to take this journey for yourself then being aware of all these obstacles will go a long way in helping you better prepare for them and navigate them.
The Jam Addict team is a revolving door of writers who care about music, its effects on culture, and giving aspiring artists tools and knowledge to be inspired and keep on creating.
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