Everyone wants to know how to be successful in the music business and I always say the same thing. “First, you need to define what success is for yourself”. We all set out with a dream, hope, or goal. In music, it’s usually to be as big as some superstar we admire. I ask the question because I know people that make anywhere from a modest to a downright impressive living in the music business, and none of them are what they originally set out to be.
All of them started out trying to do something else: In a band, with a studio, making beats, etc. They are all doing something drastically different than their original goal; music licensing, copyright administration, A & R, etc. The thing that separates them is their adaptability to new circumstances. They are all perpetual students of life, of people, & of the music industry. Because of this they were prepared to welcome unexpected opportunity with open arms.
I have done okay for myself in this business, but the thing that I love about the successful people around me is that even the cocky ones are humble in their own way. I’m not talking about the pursuit with the bottom-line only attitude, but that’s another perception that doesn’t hold its weight in reality. The perception is that the executives in this industry are only out for themselves, but in the real world, those personalities are far outnumbered by the genuinely good people that make up the music business.
In the music industry, much as it is in life, you need to be open. Open to change, to learning, & to the idea that nothing will turn out exactly as you predict or expect. I’ve heard amazing songwriters that wouldn’t share any percentages or revenue, & as a result, their songs will go widely unheard. I’ve seen producers that were otherworldly dope but always kept their best stuff for themselves because they were convinced that’s how they would get on.
Lest we forget, music is about collaboration.