As you advance in the music industry you are going to be offered invitations into a lot of different programs that are going to claim to be able to make you money. Now – how many of these actually do is up to two factors. The first is if the resource is legitimate. There are a ton of illegitimate resources out there on the internet and they are only going to limit your career and take away your rights, but you already knew that. The second is if you are willing to actually put in the time and effort to make the tools presented work for you. There are a lot of really powerful tools that can be obtained for free, or almost free out there, especially if you join artist programs. Unfortunately, far too many people just let them languish without exploiting them to their fullest potential.
Here’s the thing – a lot of these people genuinely want to help you and they genuinely get results, you just need to jump through hoops for them. Now you might ask ‘Well if I’m making both of us money then why shouldn’t they be jumping through hoops for me?’ Well – asides from that being a kind of narcissistic, unrealistic view of the modern music industry, it simply isn’t possible. They can expect you to put in an hour of work for one of your artists because you’re probably only handling a relatively small pool of talent. Meanwhile – many of these organizations are trying to handle ten thousand or more artists alongside . I think you see why an issue might rise up. They only want to have to work with serious people who will help make their projects flow smoothly for everyone involved. If you can’t show the modicum of respect that comes with properly setting up an account, then all of these badass services, from sync programs to distribution companies aren’t going to do anything for you.
In the music industry, in the twenty first century, the focus is increasingly on time spent rather than money. You don’t need a lot of money to go far these days, but you do need a lot of time to make any of this work. That’s why there are people like me who can make decent amounts of money essentially by whoring out our time to provide a myriad of services. I’m good at the meetings and wining and dining side of things but most of my time is spent reading contracts, filling out forms and making sure the back end is taken care of. That’s why god gave us interns (Except you probably don’t want an intern pouring over your contracts.) but now, as unpaid internships are getting some much deserved stigma we have to go back to the way things used to be – people have to spend their own time if they want to get stuff done and make sure it is done well.
The tools that you find online, from Sonic Bids to Audio Rokit can be very powerful and helpful. That doesn’t mean all of them are, and some of them you can dump hours into before you get any sort of results (Or end up with no results at all) That’s the thing about the music industry – it’s a pain pretty much all the time. That’s why so many people end up dropping out of it – there is almost nothing harder than driving your head against a wall to only have that wall get harder and more impenetrable. The point I’m trying to make is that these tools are exactly that – tools. So if you use one without really knowing how, well then of course you aren’t going to get far. But if you invest time and energy into understanding them then you will probably end up with a fair bit more success.
The music industry is complicated thing and from what I understand the more tendrils you can reach out the better off you are going to be – guaranteed. The problem is that nowadays to properly reach out these tendrils you need to dedicate a lot of time. Or maybe you don’t. I wasn’t around in the 70s and 80s when you had to mail a bunch of stuff physically and hope desperately that you got a reply. Who am I to judge? What matters though is that a large part of the industry is getting your ducks in a row and if you aren’t willing to do that to engage in the products that you have been offered then you have no right to complain that said products aren’t helping you out.
This might seem like a rant but it really isn’t. It’s more of an exhortation to go out and develop a brighter future for everything you happen to be involved in. It’s better to fully exploit a handful of services than to be registered but not doing anything with a hundred. I know as well as anyone that this requires a ton of research and can be exceptionally stressful – but that’s what you signed up for isn’t it? It’s easy to overlook very powerful tools or simply miss out on their potential because you were focused on other things that could have made you money more immediately. You need to be willing to think long term in order to establish a lasting career.
At the end of the day what do I know? All that really matters is that the music industry has fundamentally shifted and as we all know the individual has far more power than ever before. Yet this power requires a huge investment of energy an if you’re not ready to dive into that then you need to reevaluate things. Every label that wants to really be something needs a staff these days. You need to be constantly checking these programs and offers. Yes there’s email to centralize it but honestly things are getting so spread out these days that it’s going to take increasingly more time until you can properly figure out what the best income streams are for your particular case. So go out – read articles, make friends, and for God’s sake exploit all your resources to the max. That’s the only way to really do it anymore.