11 Pro Tips for Breaking Into The Music Industry

It's no secret that finding success in the music industry is tough, but with the right attitude, dedication and skills there's nothing to say you can't attain your dream job. And what better place to find inspiration than from the pros that have gone through the same trials and made it to the other side. 

Here at dBs Music we've welcomed some astonishing guests working across the music industry, from sound designers, touring DJs and composers. For both students and staff there's an almost mythical quality to the body of work and success that surrounds them, yet they were once like us; lost in a daydream about their dream job. And whilst there's sadly no secret formula to success, there are a host of things you can do to ensure you're covering all the bases. 

1. Take your time

Philth featured 

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“Be patient, take your time and don’t expect things to happen overnight. The artists you aspire to have been developing their skills for years and the labels you want to release on are normally a year ahead of themselves in terms of their release schedule. Nothing happens overnight, so don’t get disheartened.”

2. Keep busy

Drew Morgan Real World 2 

Drew Morgan
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“In my experience, work brings more work. People want to work with musicians who are doing something, not someone who says they could do it. I’ve received commissions based on some music I did as an unpaid passion project. People don’t care what you got paid to make something, they just know if it sounds good or not.”

3. Give away your music for free

Free Music - 11 pro tips to breaking into the music industry

Chris Hare (Shamanic Technology)
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“Put out free music. Use those free releases to gather a mailing list so you can hit those folks up with your new track, there are lots of tools for doing that like ToneDen or Topspin. Post your stuff in relevant groups on social media, but don't be spammy about it. No one likes spam.”

4. Make music because you love it


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“Always make music for yourself! If you spend your career trying to fit in, you could end up wasting your life while never achieving what you wanted to in the first place.”

5. Assemble a strong team

L.K. McKay
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"For every successful musician out there making your hips shake there are another 50 people doing their work in the background on the business side. So it’s super important to get a great team of managers, booking agents, publicists etc on your side. People you trust.”

6. Get out there and meet people!

Networking - 11 pro tips to breaking into the music industry

Lucian Blompkamp
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“Being personable goes a long way. As a somewhat introverted person, I find the music industry pretty difficult. A lot of what goes on behind the scenes is based on who you know. This can be a big handicap for someone who’d rather stay to themselves. Everything is about reaching out to people and creating relationships. This can be reaching out to your own fans, people you might admire, people you’d like to work with, labels, radio hosts, bloggers, or essentially anyone for that matter. It’s obvious, but if you stay to yourself you’ll never get anywhere.”

7. Don't rush to get your music out

Hone Your Demo - 11 pro tips to breaking into the music industry

Danny Byrd
Watch Danny's masterclass here

"Hone your demo down to three really good tracks and work out which tracks they are with your friends, and only then when you're sure send them out to labels and DJs. Don't just send something you've finished ten minutes ago just because you can, because you're going to make a bad impression if something's not right." 

8. Choose the right label

Record Labels - 11 pro tips to breaking into the music industry 

Bruno Ellingham
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"You can dream all the way through your youth about the idea of getting signed and being a touring artist, but if the wrong label sign you, spend a load of money trying to turn you into something they think is going to sell just because it worked last time and mess it up, they'll probably end up dropping you as you’re now too in debt to make a return.”

9. Put the work into your applications and CV

Bjørn Jacobsen
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"Look up things online like how to actually write a cover letter, how to write a resumé etc. It may seem like common sense, but I know from first-hand experience that just changing a few words in my own applications back in the day took me from no response to a couple of interviews.

"And think about that your application should be answering the questions that a potential employer might have, so that when you get to the interview all they can ask you about is if you like the weather, because if you get rid of all the tricky questions there's no left and no reason to doubt your skills." 

10. Supporting your scene 

Watch Nomine's masterclass here

"A big problem is people want to make it as DJs or producers, but they don't want to spend money on music, they don't want to spend money on going to the clubs. If you don't spend the money on the scene you want to be in, there's going to be no scene. So get your money out, go and support the scene you want to be in and be proactive. Proactive marketing is the main thing that's going to help you, it's either that or pure luck, and you can't rely on pure luck."

11. Don't underestimate design 

Don't underestimate design - 11 pro tips to breaking into the music industry

Tom Glendinning (ELPHNT)
Watch ELPHNT's masterclass here

"I definitely focus quite a lot on the visual aesthetic of ELPHNT, partly because I just enjoy it, but it's quite an important thing when building a business to think more about design, and not just purely from a visual perspective. There's lots of things that go on behind the scenes when I'm building a Rack for example, something as simple as what to name a macro control can have a very big impact on how a user interacts with that. So there's a lot of design thinking that goes into the identity of ELPHNT and people seem to latch onto that."

Check out these 6 pro tips to inject some creative spark into your tracks

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