This installment of An Insider's Guide to Today's Music Biz is designed for songwriters who want to make great music, and for industry professionals who want to understand the process behind it. Music insider Steve Rennie provides tips on what makes a great song, what a successful writing process looks like, the costs involved in recording, and the role of a producer. Steve's experience, and his honest take on the industry, will help anyone interested in getting their music into the hands of music biz movers and shakers.
Skill Level Beginner
- Well I'm happy to see that you made it to this lesson. And that I failed to talk you out of trying to do something big in this music business. It looks like you took my advice said (bleep) the gate keepers I'm doing this and here you are. And honestly I'm not surprised. You folks are my kind of people. Okay let's get down to business. You're all here because you want to do something great in the music business. So let's start at square one. What is this music business? The music business is all about great songs, great performances and great artists.
This music business exists to bring those songs to life. To make sure that great music is heard. To make sure that great performers are seen and enjoyed. And it all starts with a song. Now clearly, those songs don't write themselves. They're created by artists who have something to say and the talent and burning desire to say it. Those artists are the tip of the sword in the music business. They're the ones that create the music. They're the ones who are judged on the music they make.
I often analogized that being an artists is like having ten toes hanging off a cliff with a stiff wind at your back. If it goes wrong, you'll be the first one over the edge. But, it's also true that those great artists, songs and performances will never be heard or seen without the work of talented and dedicated music professionals who have a passion to help those artists make great music and the skills to make it happen. And those artists music professionals each play a unique role in this process.
For artists writing and performing great songs is typically an act of inspiration. The work of those music professionals on the other hand is by necessity more and act of calculation in inspiration. And whether you are an artist or music professional, if you're looking to build a career in the music business, those songs will need to connect with people in a way that inspires them to take action. In the end, those songs will need to connect with music consumers in a way that inspires them to buy music, to buy tickets to shows and so forth.
But in the beginning, those songs will need to make a connection with music professionals whose help they'll need to turn those songs into money. Managers exist to help artists take those songs and turn them into careers. Music producers, recording studios, engineers and musicians exist to take those songs and the performance of those songs and help artists turn them into great recordings. Record labels exist to take those recordings and make them available to music lovers around the world and all different kinds of formats and configurations.
Those labels exist to find, market and promote those songs and the artists that created them. They're staffed by skilled music professionals who are fueled with a passion to work with those artists and see that their great music is heard. Music publicists exist to add value to those songs by licensing them for recordings, with placements and recordings by other artists. And TV commercials and movies and video games and webcast and more. The concert industry exist to bring those live performances to music fans.
Within that touring business exist a whole ecosystem of skilled technicians, sound engineers, lighting designers, sound companies, lighting companies and venues, all of them there to support those artists and their performances. That's the music business folks. And I'll tell you this whether you're an artist or a music professional, there's no telling where your music business journey will take you. God only knows. But, there's one thing I know for sure, it all starts with a song.