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The truth about success in the music industry

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Written by: Matt Lillywhite

Ease of access into the music industry is now a lot easier than it used to be. Decades ago, people used to have to be signed to major record labels in order to have any shot of becoming extremely successful. However, the internet has allowed more and more people over the years to begin chasing their dreams and ultimately making a full-time income from their music career. But due to this ease of access from anywhere in the world, a higher percentage of producers are facing mental struggles on a daily basis. During this article, we’re going to discuss what it really takes to become successful as a music producer in the modern age, and the sacrifices that come with chasing your dream.

Many people initially become enticed by the thought of “making six figures in a month” during their first month in the music industry due to the fact some people on social media are constantly fronting with their private jets etc. But as the majority of people know, the opposite is true. To become successful as a music producer within EDM, it is days, weeks, months (and often years) of hard work grinding every single waking hour of the day. For example, you could be working on new music, establishing new connections within the industry, or simply learning new marketing tips. Essentially, there are (often) no shortcuts or magic formulas to become successful overnight within EDM. Anybody who has been successful will be able to vouch for that fact. It takes a lot of hard work.

When starting out in the music industry, understanding that failure is possible is fundamental to the success of your career. However, it shouldn’t hold you back. There is a high probability of some tracks not performing well, people rejecting you for collaborations, and occasionally feeling isolated and lonely due to the sheer work ethic that is required. If you’re not working hard to become successful, somebody else is. But as the famous saying goes, “without risk there is no reward”. Get out of your comfort zone by meeting as many people as possible, and reversing engineering your ambitions to achieve your goals.

As well as understanding the possibility of failure, having a strong work ethic is crucial to being successful in the music industry. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of courses out there telling you that you don’t need to work hard. Of course, there are some exceptions. But in the majority of cases, a strong and consistent work ethic will be one of the keys to your success as a music producer within EDM. Scooter Braun, Moe Shalizi, and you, all have the same amount of hours in a day. The question is what are you doing with them? If you sleep for 7 hours, work 7 hours at a day job, and spend 2 hours relaxing, that still gives you 8 hours every single day to work towards your dream as a music producer.

Also, constant hunger for learning will significantly increase your chances of success in the music industry. There are thousands of YouTube production tutorials, marketing videos, and even a plethora of articles here in the Moon Jelly library. Even if you have minimal time within your schedule, reading some articles, listening to a podcast, or watching a video during your daily commute or eating meals can be a great way to multi-task, and ultimately learn something new every single day.

Whether your aim is to be a producer, record label manager, or any other profession within the music industry, dealing with stress is something that literally everybody faces on a constant basis. In order to combat this, having lifestyle habits such as working out, eating healthily etc can have an extremely incredible effect on the mind when it comes to remaining calm in tough situations. The rest is ultimately up to how well you are able to deal with whatever situation may arise within your music career.

Due to the financial instability of the music career (if you’re not a big artist), many people prefer to have a day job so that they can pursue their passion in the morning and evenings of every single day. That said, there are multiple ways of achieving an income from your music. Unless you’re able to sustain a full-time income from Spotify streams, you’ll need to have multiple flows of revenue. A rising trend is leasing beats to rappers & singers in exchange for a flat fee. If you’re able to find 3 artists a week that will pay $300 per beat (probably by sending a lot of emails), that converts to $3600 per month in income.

Finally, realizing that you will have a lack of time when in the music industry is a necessity to becoming successful. Instead of having the opportunity to relax, you have the opportunity to chase your dreams on a daily basis. Therefore, it’s essential that you love what you do in order to have the stomach to cope with the hard work, stress, and patience required to achieve whatever ambitions you may have. As well as this, you’ll need to be able to figure out an effective schedule, time management, amongst a lot of other things so that you can utilize every single resource in an effective manner.

The truth about success within the music industry is that it’s difficult. Only those who have the mental capability to work hard, have patience, deal with stress, and a variety of other factors, are the ones who will ultimately become successful.



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