Why Being and Musician, Audio Engineer or Music Producer May not be the Best Career for the Faint of <3
Selling your Dreams and Talents: A revision on the American Dream
The American dream is a story of a hard-worker gets paid well for their talents, expertise. Creatives hope others appreciate their abilities professionally. Many artists, producers, music recorders and audio engineers try to go out, help people, and showcase their skills hoping they’ll be ripely compensated.
The truth is, it’s ruthless, and when it comes to spending hard-earned money, you can’t underestimate how hard people hold on to their profits. If you’re in the creative service business of making people money, you better be providing them with something at a cost they can make money off of later or recoup their investment.
Whether your doing shows at a local place, or selling your music online, there will always be someone willing to do it cheaper than you.
No matter who you are, there will always be some kid somewhere whos learning faster than you, and willing to do it for free or next to nothing just to get into making music.
While experience and practice counts for a lot, time and willingness to learn, be open-minded and be personable enough to work with a variety of people is key. If you don’t listen to other people’s perspectives you’ll never make it in this industry.
When time is money and you’re doing what you love, you might spend a ton of time on something, and charge very little or the bare minimum on something that you worked really hard on. When the person writing the check says to make changes on your hard work, you better be able to make it happen or don’t expect to last in the music business.
With technology, making art or music can come across as easy. It’s consistent selling and building a foundation to make a profit overtime that’s more tricky. These are harsh truths, but the American dream (at least my understanding of it…whether or not it’s a lie is up for debate) is that if you work hard, do the best you can, people will appreciate what you do and your business will be successful. White picket fence or not, some strive to have a big house, lots of nice things and the freedom to do what they want when they want.
You start looking around, and it’s a lot of Hollywood luster. You look at the stars, they have everything. It’s a lot of glitter and money at the top, and maintaining the image of being high status and having it all is a full time job. The luster is uncovering the truth behind a lot rolls down to fake rolexes, leased luxuries and dissatisfaction.
The music industry constantly intertwines society with a mirror up to your biggest fears. It places them on the edge. Forces you to get better, remain true to yourself and not become too “Hollywood”. The best music is the antithesis of a trend.
Health Insurance and other Benefits of Working a Regular Job
When you have what most Americans think of as a regular job, You get benefits like health insurance, paid time off, child-care, etc. When your a musician, producer, or creative professional, you usually have to pay for all that yourself. Healthcare alone can cost half as much as housing, and if you have a bad accident or need advanced care you can go into debt for the rest of your life if you don’t have insurance.
Long hours on a single project (or multiple at a time) also is different than those who work a typical 9-5p It’s not uncommon to start a recording session at midnight and go home when many rise to go their office job.
Additionally, it’s a “what have you done for me lately” business instead of the dedicated, guaranteed salary another job may offer. To outsiders, you’re only as good as your last project. To you, you have to be two steps ahead and maintain creative outlets, energy and pieces of work.
Lots of Work Low Pay
Why does everyone always want everything for free? Is that a stupid question? If you’re a musician, artist, or creative talent, get ready for a ton of people wanting you to do stuff for free exposure. Sometimes it maybe a good idea depending on your lifestyle or brand – however, make sure you know the difference between a professional and a hobbyist. Professionals make money, hobbyist spend money. Decide which you want to be to meet your next goal.
Pay to Play Scams
Also, get ready for the opposite too, people paying for exposure. For the right amount of money, you can get premium paid exposure for your content. Beware of scammers or individuals who promise a large amount of exposure just by sending them an mp3 of your song. Many professionals will not accept unsolicited music. Learn to know the legitimate industry leaders, movers and shakers to get the most out of your art. This is best done word-of-mouth or by building a good repertoire with your recording studio.
Tips for Staying Afloat in the Shark Tank
People are uploading content as we speak that is probably way better than this, but everyone has got to keep going. Content is King. You have to produce quality stuff, and as much as possible. Practice makes profit and experience is everything. Your first version of the song isn’t going to be your best. Rewrite until it feels just write.
Save for Sad Days.
Don’t get too much into debt, or get stuck in a bad place with no way out. Try to have some money saved up for a rainy day even if everyone else is spending theirs.
Trust Your Gut.
Don’t believe everything everyone says. Some people will sell you the world for a dime. You are the most powerful player on your own team, and you need to make moves forward. Every second you waste is a second someone else is making progress.
Know When To Push It To The Limit.
The sad fact is that you have to pretty much expect people to try to push the limits. A good way to decide if an artist is serious or not is say “you need payment upfront in a deposit or full” Keep at least half until the work is done and the artists approves.
Avoid giving the final mix of the song prior to the final payment of the song.
Stay Grounded On Top.
If you don’t have the strength to stand up for yourself, nobody’s going to take you seriously. Nobody wants to be on the team of the person who is lazy or unmotivated to work. Treat yourself right, and fight to keep at the top of your game.
James Kananen is an Audio Engineer from Bad Racket Recording Studio in Cleveland