4 Risks of Pursuing a Music Career and How to Overcome Them


Some say the music industry is a tough business to get started in. But navigating your way into the music industry shouldn’t be like searching the Amazon for a lost city of gold. It doesn’t need to be that complicated. 

Yes, there are risks involved in pursuing a career in music. But, with the right compass, you can make sure that you’re avoiding these risks. I don’t like to think of myself as a compass, but I would like to guide you in the right direction by explaining the main risks you need to watch out for.

1. Rejected Demos

As a musician starting out, one of the first things I tried to do was send my demo recording to every record label I could find, a complete waste of time. Record labels usually don’t listen to demos sent to them as they’re considered “unsolicited.” 

Listening to unsolicited demos can put them in a legal liability situation. For this reason, you can expect many rejected demos and returned envelopes if you choose to go this route.

2. Marketing Issues

I see way too many musicians trying to advertise their music all over the internet to people who have no interest in what they’re trying to pitch. This is a risk and creates marketing issues because it wastes time and resources that could be better spent in a more targeted way. 

Remember, you’re not just marketing yourself to fans but also to record executives and talent scouts as well. Your image as an artist is also on the line when others see you doing this.

3. Saturation

When a particular style or genre of music has become saturated, there are too many musicians who all sound the same. It’s incredibly difficult to become successful in this type of environment. It can sometimes even lead to a decline in a genre’s overall popularity. 

Remember 80’s glam metal or 90’s grunge? I rest my case.

4. Revenue Problems

As we both know, the internet and streaming music companies completely changed the industry and created revenue problems for many. As artists, we’d have to be insane to rely on CD sales now. 

Simply uploading music to streaming sites isn’t viable unless you already have many fans. Ad revenue earned on video sites is meager for those in the music niche.

Taming the Risks

1. Make Your Demos Solicited

Talent scouts are people too, and they often use the internet to find undiscovered artists. Many will search for phrases such as “up-and-coming artists” or “unsigned artists.” You should leverage this and use it to your advantage. 

Find online ad services that allow you to advertise your demos by targeting these keywords and phrases, so your music shows up at the top of the search results.

2. Marketing Successfully

You should use surgical precision when marketing. I mainly play Indie rock, so it’s the Indie crowd I specifically target. To do this in today’s world, you can make a list of all the popular music blogs and websites that specialize in whatever type of music you play. 

Then, contact each one and offer to write a guest post for their site about your experiences with making music and what you’ve learned along the way. This exposes you to their readers, and many of them will then search for your music online.

3. Avoiding Saturation

To avoid the issue of saturation, you need to separate yourself from the pack. Know who the newly trending artists are and track how their styles are changing. Be forward-thinking so you can stay ahead of others. 

Just about every successful artist has had to be somewhat flexible and adapt when needed, and acknowledging the reality of that will help you in the long run.

4. Overcoming Revenue Problems

To generate revenue, playing gigs and touring is still the most tried-and-true method that just simply works. I’ve been able to secure gigs at venues by merely mapping out the areas I intend to travel, compiling a list of the venues, and then contact them directly by emailing or calling them. It’s old-school, but it works.

You can also find similar bands that are touring and ask them if they have vacancies for an opening band.

Final Words of Advice

As a final note, I’d recommend you learn some basics about copyright law and protect your music by registering it with your country’s government copyright office. If you follow my advice and become a big success, you don’t want your next risk to be someone else trying to steal your music.

A guitarist and a content writer with the goal of helping others find their melody. Hannah Rivers believes that music is a universal language that can express our thoughts better than ordinary words.

4 Risks of Pursuing a Music Career and How to Overcome Them

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