5 Things Every Producer Needs To Be Successful
5 Things Every Producer Needs To Be Successful
Written By: Eric “Realistic” Michael
Finding success in the music industry can be challenging, but it is not impossible. In fact, with some hard work & networking skills, it is a very achievable feat! To succeed though, you need certain skills & must develop certain habits. With consistency & determination, you will be able to find success & make money in the music industry.
Before we begin with our list, let us define what we mean by being successful. Lots of times when we talk about being a successful producer or musician, people think about Grammy's, platinum plaques, topping the charts, working with the biggest names in the industry, & becoming a millionaire. Now, there is nothing wrong with those goals & those are not impossible, but that does not have to be what defines success in the music industry. Some other things to consider when defining success - especially early on - is are you able to see consistent income from your music, are you able to consistently grow your brand, can you eventually quit your day job & do music full time? Imagine how much happier you would be in life if you were doing what you love everyday - music - and that is how you pay all your bills! For a lot of us, that would be a big steppingstone for success. Do not forget, if you do have those goals of stardom & fame, being able to quit your job & make money off your music is a great starting point to get to that goal. Imagine if you were able to spend your day producing music instead of going to your day job. How much closer would you be to reaching your goal? Probably a lot closer than before! So, let us talk about how to get there & start making money off your music full time!
5) Networking & Networking the Right Way!
This one should not come as much surprise & most of us know this, but it is also about networking the right way. Simply spamming someone’s comment section or DM is not the most effective way & a lot of times it can hurt your chances even more. Be careful about simply reaching out about collabs without offering any value too. Even if it is not a copy & paste spam message. Especially if the person you are reaching out too has a much bigger reach with their audience than you do with yours or has deeper ties to the music industry than you. You may be thinking “what’s wrong with trying to collab with new people?” Collaborating is definitely a powerful tool & it plays a role in success, but when you don’t know someone & the first thing you say to them is “we should collab” often times that sounds like you’re saying “I would like you to do something for free for me that you would normally get paid to do” or “I would like you to give me some free exposure” or “please help me out for little to nothing in return.”
One thing to always keep in mind when networking - especially early on - is what value can you offer someone. Here are some things you can do to offer value:
1. Find a problem they may have & solve the problem for them.
2. Find a way to save them time.
3. Find a way to save them money.
4. Find out something they are not good at, that you could do for them better.
Keep in mind that if you’re reaching out to another producer, the last thing they need is someone to make beats; however, they may need other things like marketing research, organization, data entry, social media content, editing, etc.
Besides reaching out via social media & emailing, you will want to get out into the world & meet with people face-to-face. Going to local shows is a remarkably effective way to network, & you can meet a lot of paying clients there. Just because someone does not have fame & a massive following does not mean they are not good people to work with. If they are willing to pay you for your time, that can be equally valuable to you.
Finding networking events to go to is a big way to meet new people to work with & you can find new ways to make money & find clients. Keep your eyes out for local ones. Sometimes it may be worth getting in your car & driving a few hours to one or booking some cheap tickets through Spirit & flying out to one. The things you will learn & the people you meet will be more than worth the price of admission & your travel costs. When you network at these events, it is important to be humble & avoid coming off as too arrogant or too aggressive. Every moment talking with someone does not have to be the “passionate Kanye interview” about what you do or “I’m going to be the GOAT.” It is good to be confident but being too cocky can turn people away & shut them out.
Every year SoundOracle.net hosts a big networking event for producers. Each event always has chart topping songwriters, Grammy winners, music industry attorneys, social media influencers, & tons of other successful people in the music industry sharing their insight & networking with you. Be sure to stay up to date with our Instagram & email newsletter to get the latest dates & venues.
4) Market Your Brand
Marketing is one of the biggest struggles for a lot of producers, but it is also one of the biggest factors to your success. Where a lot of producers go wrong during their marketing, is they think that just uploading videos of their beats is all that needs to be done, but that only works for a select few & there are usually other variables as to why it’s working. Chances are you have tried this approach & you are not getting the views you were hoping for. What a lot of producers do not realize is they DO have a lot of interesting content people may like. Here are some content you can create that will help big time with your engagement.
1. Create posts giving production tips.
2. Make videos giving tutorials about production or reviewing VST instruments.
3. Make or find funny memes to post that producers & artists can relate to.
4. Make videos for YouTube & IG TV & talk about your journey as a producer.
5. Add captions around your video with intriguing questions or bold statements.
There are tons that go into marketing & it is constantly evolving, so be prepared to adapt to change on the regular. One thing that I’ve always done with my marketing that has been very effective & will stand the test of time, is I don’t focus on selling a product to people, but rather I focus on selling myself as a person to people. Part of promoting a brand is bringing excitement & passion to people. If you can get people to buy into you as a person, you will gain their loyalty & support. You still want to deliver a quality product, but people are much more likely to work with you if they like you as a person. It is easy to do too! Just work hard, be humble, keep your word, be reliable, smile, & take interest in what your clients are into & what they are doing with their careers.
One of the key factors to any successful business & career is being organized. This applies to every facet of your business. Make sure your sessions are organized, your hard drive, all your folders, your sample selection, all your income invoices, receipts for your business, taxes, contracts, literally just anything. Being organized will save you tons of time & will make you more efficient. If you are planning on working with clients or networking with other successful people, having delays due to being unorganized can be a big deal breaker & lead to lots of frustration. Start building the habits today for being organized & set time aside at least once - if not multiple times a week - to organize things. It usually takes less than an hour at a time for most things & can save you tons of time in the future & just makes life overall easier!
Lots of professional producers organize their beats in a session a day or two before they know they are going to be in a session with an artist. They will have them sectioned by moods, tempos, & genres. They will make sure all the beats are available to sell. Some producers even edit the beats a little bit, so the most ear catching sections play right away.
Having an organized system will always come off as much more professional to your clients & peers. You would be surprised the impression it can put on the people you work with. When you are organized, people know you do this seriously & it can make people feel more comfortable they made the right choice working with you!
Scheduling is key as well! Keep an updated calendar, daily to-do list, & set tasks reminders. This will be a big game changer in your productivity!
2) Using The Right Sounds
Finally, we get to talk about making some music! Hopefully by now you can tell that making music is only part of the process, but it is still important, nonetheless. One thing you want to do as a producer is choose the right sounds. If you can, it is always best to start out with the highest quality sounds you can. It is like cooking for instance. If you start out with bad or damaged ingredients, you will have a much harder time making something that tastes good versus using fresh ingredients. The same goes with making music. If you start out with high quality sounds that sound good, you have a much better chance at creating something great! Brands like Output, Spectrasonics, & of course loops & drum kits from SoundOracle.net are some notable sources to get the highest quality & best sounding stuff.
We are not saying you must drop a fortune on sounds just to compete, but over time you will want to build up your library & collect great sounding instruments & samples to use. Do not forget that creating your own sounds is also important! You can do this by recording sounds around the house or outside with a field recorded or your smartphone & also by manipulating the settings inside of your VST instruments.
1) Building A Team
We saved this one for last because there is a lot of things that need to be set in place beforehand & also because it is one of the most important things! You have probably heard people like Jay Z & Warren Buffett say something along the lines of “no one becomes successful all by themselves.” These are big facts! It can be hard to balance everything yourself & there are things that you may not be as good as & someone else would be much better for that role than you are. The tips in this blog are great ways to build a team. Networking, brand building, & being organized are all remarkably effective ways that can lead to building a powerful team.
Networking & building strong relationships are the most effective ways to build teams. You can find people in your area that have the same interest & drive and you can start something together. Joining online communities & chat groups are great ways to find people as well!
One possibility that lots of producers & artists overlook is joining someone else's team that is already established. In today's market, it seems most people are focused on their own thing & do not want to be a part of someone else’s brand that is already established. Most people are looking for their own glory & legacy. Something you may want to consider though - & can really set you apart - is working for someone that is successful at what you want to do or something very similar to what you want to do. Working for them for a few years before you really start to build your own team & brand will be extremely valuable to you & worth your time. This is such an effective but overlooked approach to being successful. Imagine working for a producer, a studio, an engineer, a manager, or an audio company that does a lot of similar things that are lined up with your long-term goals. You get an incredible opportunity to learn all the things that work & the things that do not work. You will get real life experience & useful behind the scenes insight on how things work in the industry. Sure, you may not get the fame & glory right away that you were hoping for, but it is a foot in the door & an unmatched experience. You will see first-hand how someone leads a business in the music industry, you’ll learn how to be an effective team player, & just think of all of the people you will be able to meet & network with!
I know this to be true because several years ago I was hired on by Oracle to do lots of behind the scenes work. I was out of the spotlight, but it was an opportunity that led to me being able to quit my day job & make a full time living doing music. It eventually put me in a position to set my own hours, work with real people in the music industry, see consistent income, network with big names and legends, & overall be able to do what I love every single day! I also learned how to build brands, market effectively, & I earned a great reputation amongst my peers for being a talented, hard worker.
There’s tons of other things that go into being successful in this industry, but these are 5 very useful steps that you can start doing this year & if you’re consistent with them, you will start to see success in this industry!
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