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How to Start Up Your Own Business in Music

Working in the music industry isn’t always about just getting a job in a studio or at a desk: a lot of music industry pros are in business for themselves. If you want to start up your own business in music, here are a few common-sense tips to help you get started.

DECIDE ON YOUR AREA OF EXPERTISE

There are lots of different types of businesses in music, and it’s important to decide what you want to focus on. If you’re taking the music production or audio engineering course here at the Recording Connection, chances are good that you’ve already decided to be in business for yourself as a music producer or audio engineer—perhaps as an independent freelancer or by building your own studio. If you’re a band or solo recording artist, you should also set up a business entity for tax purposes. Other music business possibilities include record labels, music publishing/licensing, live music venues, rehearsal studios, post-production houses etc. You can be self-employed as a film composer, post-production engineer, sound designer, music producer—the list goes on and on. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Decide on a niche.

GET YOUR PAPERWORK AND FINANCES IN ORDER

This is the part of starting up a business in music that few people like to deal with, but it’s a critical step to ensure your business doesn’t fail, or that you don’t get into trouble. Register a company name with the county or state. Talk with an accountant about the best way to structure your business tax-wise. You might take an accounting or business class or two (sometimes these are free of charge at community centers) just to make sure you keep track of your money. Write a business plan and strategy.

GET THE WORD OUT, and NETWORK

These days, a website and social networking form a huge part of spreading the word about your new company. But even more than that, get to know people. Go to industry events, not just to meet your competitors, but to meet potential clients. You already know by now that EVERYTHING in this industry hinges on connections. So make them. Lots of them.

WORK HARD, AND DO GOOD WORK

The best advertising is still word-of-mouth. The better work you do for your clients, the more clients you’ll get. It’s really that simple, whether you’re a publisher, an agent, a band manager or a music producer. Be consistently good at what you do, and be consistently good to the people you work with and for, and the word will spread about you. This is perhaps one the most important principles to remember when starting your own music business.