Understand what you’re investing in
Starting a career as a professional songwriter or artist, it’s understandable that the first idea that comes to mind is “I need to have a finished professional sounding song”. From this, you’re probably instantly looking up the nearest studio or producer to hire and overwhelmed with the money you’ll be losing before knowing how or when you’ll earn that back.
Becoming an exceptional writer and artist doesn’t need to cost more than a few hundred pounds with the right equipment and persistence.
Less $£$£ is more
Time and time again, we will come across questions about putting together an album or music video and wonder what is the best way to invest and promote this.
The expensive studios, mixers and producers are not at all necessary at the start of a writers journey. This is because the beginning stages will be vital in your development and let’s face it, you won’t have your biggest songs just yet. Why invest expensive energy in recording and mastering a song that isn’t strong enough to be promoted?
As an unsigned artist, one of the biggest things to avoid is in fact putting money into an album or especially a video that isn’t ready to be heard or seen, especially in today’s modern industry where the key focus is having an outstanding demo. Just one song or one mind-blowing chorus that can alter your career forever.
What do I mean by your work not being ready to be heard? As a writer starts out their career, they’re still finding their feet during the development of going from a decent writer to an amazing one. Too early on, the big goal is to have a product of work, an album to promote, or a music video to share in order for you to feel like you’re a professional, but the issue is that too many artists and writers and putting far too much money into BAD songs and songs that labels wouldn’t know what to do with. Your key role as a writer is to inspire an A&R - give them a vision of what they can offer you. Excitement is that push that will get them to invite you for a coffee, set up big sessions for you, or have that glamorous contract discussion.
For at least the first few years, these are the ‘trial and error’ stages of writing music and the best development is writing a bunch of bad songs in preparation for your greatest hit - make this your focus and be sure to inspire not only A&R’s but most importantly your growing fanbase.
Money doesn’t buy opportunities. You create them.
With so many lists and opinions online regarding what to invest your money into, it’s extremely easy to fall into the mistake of burning holes into your bank account and wondering what you even spent it on. The scariest thing I’ve seen through my career is how artists and writers (artists especially), who feel the greatest way to succeed is to look the part. With the £1k+ photoshoots, music videos, outfits, luxury recording studios (usually for the Gram), the whole do. In the bluntest way possible - money won’t buy you a great song. It is the music industry, after all. You need music, the vision comes later when you actually have a great song to apply visuals too.
Below we’ve created a list of luxuries vs the necessities; the key things and the only things you need in order to develop your music career effectively and professionally. Take a look and make sure you’re investing your time and finances well.
Not needed! The luxuries that are viewed as the ‘must-haves’ in order to have a successful song/music career.
Recording studios (£500+)
Hiring a Producer / Mixer (£200+)
Collaborating abroad (£1k+) - unless you’ve been offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to write with a grammy writer that can take your music to the next level, or if it’s not a label/manager financing this, then it is just a holiday.
The essential qualities and objects that are required in order to become a successful writer.
Song Feedback (FREE)
Recording software (Logic Pro x, Pro Tools, Ableton Live etc) (£70 - £150)
Acoustic instrument (guitar, keyboard) (£100)
Microphone + interface (£100+)
The journey and development are key - the end goal will happen once you’ve put in the work. You can never buy that sh*t.
If my goal is to become one of the greatest athletes, a career that takes a ton of brainpower, physical strength and long hours in order to succeed, there’s not a chance this can be done by paying for the best gyms and not turning up or buying protein shakes but having an awful diet.
Building skills is a journey and one that can only be crafted, not bought.
As an unsigned artist, one of the biggest things to avoid is, in fact, putting money into an album or especially a video that isn’t ready to be heard or seen, especially in today’s modern industry where the key focus is having an outstanding demo.