How Can I Make Music My Career?

Latest posts by Liya Swift (see all)

Ashley Calhoun, Rahki’s manager & co-author of Recording Connection for Music Business Curriculum

You’re passionate about music. You spend hours listening to music and creating your own playlists. You know you’d love to work in the music industry but realistically you know that you suck at making music of your own. Does that mean you can’t make music a career? Absolutely not. Behind every song there’s usually an army of people who were involved in getting it out there. Here’s a few ideas on career paths in music that don’t require you to be a music performer.

1 – Music Producer.

 
While some music producers are intimately involved in the creative aspects of a song, many music producers deal more with the logistics end of things. The music producer is responsible for securing recording or mastering time at a studio, hiring the audio engineer or mix master, guest artists, etc. The music producer is responsible for keeping everything on budget and making sure that everyone involved has signed a contract for their contributions. The music industry is a litigious one, so it’s important that the necessary contracts are in place as soon as possible. Being a music producer requires negotiating skills, an ear for music, the ability to relate and communicate with both creative and technical minded people, and a personality that does not get easily rattled when decisions need to be made.

2 – Audio Engineer.

 
While not all of today’s music is recorded in a studio, audio engineering is still a viable career choice. The audio engineer is the one who records the artists music and mixes it down into a final mix, ready to be mastered. This requires an understanding of signal flow, microphone placement, studio consoles, DAWS and other software. Being an audio engineer requires an ability to deal with creative minds, a calm, never-rattled presence and a complete understanding of everything technical when it comes to recording music tracks.  An audio engineer must be able to give and receive direction.

3 – Music Entrepreneur.

 
It’s often been said that creative people make terrible businessmen. There’s definitely some truth to this. Once a song is finished it needs to be “discovered.” This is where the music entrepreneur comes in. They may own their own record label, or have relationships with existing record labels. They should have relationships with digital distribution networks, licensors, radio stations and music supervisors. Their responsibility is to monetize an artist’s music. Being a music entrepreneur requires a good mind for business, negotiating skills, an outgoing “people-person” personality and relentless drive. Check out the Recording Connection Music Business program.

4 – Music Video Director.

 
Maybe you’re a visual person who puts pictures to a song when you hear it. While not all songs require a music video, enough do to where this can become a full-time career. It is also an approach that can pay dividends down the road as many feature film directors started by making music videos. Being a music video director requires visual creativity, an ability to make on-the-spot decisions, and a personality that can relate to the creative mindsets of musical artists and sell their concepts for what they see as the music video.

So, how do you become a music producer, audio engineer, music entrepreneur or music video director? First, understand that for any of these careers, you will need to have relationships with music artists. A music producer needs an artist’s song to produce. An audio engineer needs an artist’s song to record. A music entrepreneur needs an artist’s song to promote and distribute. A music video director needs an artist’s song to shoot.

Thus, all of these career paths require the ability to scout for new talent. This means you’ll likely be spending a lot of your time in clubs looking for up and coming talent. You’ll devote hours to listening to new drops on SoundCloud, Spotify, and other digital platforms. Once you’ve found an artist you like and think you can help, you’ll need to convince the artist that they need your services.

One shortcut you should consider as well, that can easily fast-track your development in any of these careers is attending Recording Connection. Offering no-nonsense, 6-9 month long programs in music producing, audio engineering, and the music business. If you’ve got a thing for film or shooting music videos, checkout Film Connection to learn how to direct, produce, edit, and more. All of these classes are taught using the mentor/extern model of education. This means you will be learning from a professional music producer or audio engineer or music entrepreneur of film director in their facility. They can offer you a lot of advice, teach you the techniques and skills required and provide industry connections. While you are attending, you can also be starting your own career and scouting for artists you want to work with. (Imagine how much easier it would be to sell a music artist on hiring you if you could pitch to them at recording facility, record label, or film production company where you’re learning as an extern?) It’s like having instant street cred.

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