If you could receive a 5 minute quickie on how best to start in the music industry, what would it be? Well, here’s an example. Obinna Agwu shares some insight on how best new game players (artistes, producers, entrepreneurs, etc.) can get started in the industry.
– By Obinna Agwu
One of the first steps to take is getting a product. So, you need to find a way to make the music. You could either build a relationship with a studio/producer that believes in you and is ready to work with you or source for funding from family and friends to get the product out. Become adept at marketing your music on social media. The most important thing is to START. If you’re having a hard time getting a deal, your other option is to go on your own and build.
Understand that growing a fan base is germane to your success. No fan base/following, no money. Period. While it is important to have mentors to guide and fast track your success, mentorship is still overrated. Always remember that the fan is king, so taking them for granted is not an option.
Covers are a great way to start your music journey and build some following because you have to break through the melee and be heard, which is a massive challenge (unless you have a lot of money). They also help you hone your music skills, so if you like a song, COVER IT! Then, get a manager who believes your music is the best thing since DMs.
But if you’re more interested in starting up your own label, instead of creating music, it’s important you build a team of people which will include: A&R, Lawyer, Social Media Manager, Graphics Guy and Accountant. The good thing is these guys do not have to work for the company full time, because one of the challenges you can face when starting out is funding. You also need adequate knowledge of how labels work. While there are no certifications required in order to have a record label or be in the music business, you need to have a heart for the music and study about the business and industry extensively to have a successful label.
However, being a music artiste is not the only way to earn in this industry. You could be a Songwriter, publisher, music pluggers for radio and TV, music journalist, professional studio manager, venue manager, business manager or accountant, booking agent, tour manager, vocal coach, publicist, social media manager, etc.
Regardless of what line you choose, family is the first line of support, both financial and moral, for any budding entrepreneur and it’s no different for an artiste. However, you must resist the urge to bring in family members to play critical roles on your team. Your career will rise and fall on the calibre of talent on your team. You should only hire family or friends if they are the most qualified people that you know for the job. Nine times out of ten, they are not. They may sometimes tell you what you want to hear, so flee from yes men and sycophants; make it easy for the people around you to be brutally honest with you. Be wise; don’t abort your career before it’s even birthed.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Spark magazine. Find the magazine here to read more articles.
Agwu Obinna is an A&R, Talent Manager and Music Business Consultant who is passionate about the music business and the great heights that are attainable for the African continent. Writer of the now concluded The Mob’s Take article and reviews series. Agwu Obinna is senior partner at the Lagos based TwoGoodHeads Inc, which he co-runs with his brother and partner.