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50 Best Career Tips of 2020

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Music Connection readers know that MC is the place to go for career advice and industry insights directly from experts and fellow music-makers. Listed below are what we believe to be the very best career tips we’ve published during the past year. Each quoted tip cites the month it first appeared on musicconnection.com.


FOR THE ARTIST

1. It is always interesting to write with people you’ve never met before. You introduce yourself, and start laying your whole life down. You have to get past vulnerability being an embarrassment. In the songwriting community you have to not care.
– Maggie Szabo
Songwriter
July

2. Constantly create. Put music out. Create content. Play shows. Do everything you can to get your music out there. Don’t hold onto it. Let people hear it.
– Ian Cripps
VP of A&R at Atlantic Records
January

3. Whenever there is emotional intensity in the environment, we can connect better to music. It can be much more meaningful.
– Jono Dorr
Songwriter
September

4. I thought when I signed a record deal that all my worries would go away, but the race never really stops—it just gave me a launch pad.
– Madison Kozak
Country Singer-Songwriter
March

5. It’s good to have songs that mean more than one thing.
– Tatiana Owens
Songwriter
April

6. Bands should just focus on making great songs they want to listen to and let the rest take care of itself. And the more songs you write, the better you get.
– Jake Round
Founder of Pure Noise Records
June

7. [Songwriting] isn’t so much about having a thick skin as much as it isabout showing all of my skin. And in showing it, people will feel less alone in theirs.

– Bishop Briggs
Singer-Songwriter
January

8. There is power in building your brand, especially when it comes to getting signed, because the artist development is done. There is a mutual respect and you will get a fairer deal simply because they assess the fact that you could do this by yourself.
– Chika
Rapper
June

9. Play out as much as you can, play in front of as many real people as you can and get good on the Internet.
– Allen Stone
Songwriter
April

10. Trying to be famous is just crazy. There’s no way you can control that. But you can control the music you make. You have to hope you get lucky and when it happens that you’re able to deal with it.
– Wayne Coyne
The Flaming Lips
September

11. A bridge relieves you. Choruses get old. I like two verses, a bridge, a third verse and then out. You can do all of your damage right there.
– Dan Penn
Songwriter
October

12. Make music on your laptop and distribute it on the net, and build up an audience that will show up live or pay for a stream. It’s hard to monetize the recordings themselves, unless you land a commercial.
– Todd Rundgren
Multi-Instrumentalist
Singer-Songwriter

May

13. If you’re doing something just because you think it’s hot at the moment, I don’t think that works. What translates is the passion podcasters have for what they’re talking about.
– Codi Fischer
Managing Producer at Earwolf
Podcast Production Company

February

14. You never know where a song is going to fit or just end up, and how people are going to hear it or experience it. It’s always different. It’s never just the same formula.
– Trevor Dahl
Cheat Codes
March

FOR THE PRODUCER-ENGINEER

15. When you work with somebody else, you can be inspired immediately by them. With my own stuff, I can be my own worst enemy. As a producer, you can have a fresh-ear perspective.
– Ethan Gruska
Producer
(Manchester Orchestra,
Fiona Apple)

March

16. Most of the people who are technically savvy are usually not the best artists. The most important thing in any art form is that you’re able to make the art. It’s still all about the song.
– Jim Demain
Mix Engineer
(Jimmy Buffett, Elton John)

October

17. You don’t really understand the way music works until you haveyour own and do it yourself.

– Brian Tarquin
Guitarist-Composer-Producer
May

18. There is this saying ‘you’re only as good as your last record’––but only if you make it about your last record. People need to know your skill set. That’s what longevity is.
– Ellis Miah
Producer (BTS)
May

19. You can learn a lot through instructional videos. My ears are there from making records for my entire adult life, but as far as understanding how the gear really works, it’s like I went back to school.
– Adrian Young
Drummer-Producer (No Doubt,
Moxy Brothers)

June

20. If I’m hired as an engineer on a project, even though I might have opinions [on the production], it’s important that I keep them to myself. The producer is the one who’s supposed to express an opinion.
– Marc Uselli
Producer (Lou Reed, U2)
November

21. You can have a really janky amp or drum set, but if you’ve got a great drummer, it will sound good.
– Adrian Young
Drummer-Producer (No Doubt, Moxy Brother)
June

22. Learn how to not fatigue yourself. Have a fresh ear. Don’t work all day. Hang out, talk and have fun. When you come back, you’ll be rejuvenated.
– Ethan Gruska
Producer
March

23. Even if it’s not good that day, I still try to finish. It’s going to be a bad [session], but you still did it. If you just lie in bed all day, you’ll get in the habit of not [working] when you don’t feel like it.
– Morgan Matthews
Producer (Alicia Keys)
July

24. You should absolutely build your own studio. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. Many of my amazing ideas come early in the morning or late at night. So it’s important to have this creative outlet in your house and not just go to a studio.
– Jessica Audiffred
DJ
August

25. Less is more. Sometimes things are just fine with a drum groove, bass and melody. You may not need all of the bells
and whistles.

– Brian Tarquin
Guitarist-Composer-Producer
May

26. It’s all about comfort. Sometimes people get equipment because they see other people using it. You need to know what works for you. I bought some beat machines one time and it just confused me; it took me away from what I was used to.
– Justin Mosley
One-half of producer duo
Mosley (Post Malone, The Game)
August

27. The test of a good monitor system is how it sounds on other speakers. The first place I go is out to the car and take a little ride.
– Flying Lotus
Producer/DJ
September

28. Get the production right. There is no rush, especially if this is your first recording. I know we live in an instant gratification world, but live with the mixes and performances for a while before releasing them to the public.
– Brian Tarquin
Guitarist-Composer-Producer
March

29. There’s only so much room for repetition and OCD in the studio. Leave space for magic. Be ready for those moments.
– Caroline Jones
Singer-Songwriter
October

30. Do your research. I listened to Lou Reed’s entire discography multiple times so when I went into the studio with him I knew everything he’d done.
– Marc Uselli
Producer (Lou Reed, U2)
November

Taking Care of BUSINESS

31. Get [A&R] who really believes in your art and is passionate about it. Even when an artist has a long, successful career, there are going to be a lot of valleys. You need someone who’s happy to push through those valleys.
– Mark Chipello
VP/Head of A&R
at Position Music
January

32. Make every effort to respect other artists’ copyrights, and hopefully other people will respect your rights too. Copyright gives people an incentive to create, and without incentive, it especially makes it hard for new artists to thrive.
– Bobby Borg
Author-Music Business Professor
November

33. You need to get yourself a good lawyer and you need to make sure you have a great relationship. Sit back, pay attention to what people say, and don’t be too anxious to say things.
– Trippie Redd
Rapper
February

34. People want to feel heard and noticed on social media. Of course, branding and building your profile is important, but the work does not stop there. Engaging in meaningful interactions with your community comes hand-in-hand if you want to truly cultivate a strong network of followers.
– Helen Kim
Social Media Consultant
May

35. When seeking out a manager, try to get to know the person first and their background and experience. See if they are truly interested in you and your career. If you are just starting out, you probably won’t be able to attract an established, successful manager.
– Glenn Litwak
Music Attorney
June

36. If we’re not making a lot of money through Spotify, developing a relationship with people and building your following from the grassroots level is important. As far as selling your music, you just have to put the elbow grease into it.
– Jennifer Westwood
Jennifer Westwood
& The Handsome Devils

April

37. It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to repeat your previous success.
– Armin Van Buuren
DJ-Producer
April

38. Become an expert at everything to do with the fine art of communication. If people like you they will want to do business with you.
– Bobby Borg
Author-Music Business Professor
September

39. The process of collecting music and clearing music [for use] is sort of done on a case-by-case basis; everyone has a different process.
– Shellie Lewis
Business Development
Manager at SyncFloor

May

40. You won’t always get paid. You’ll get burned, stepped on and screwed, but keep going if you want to do this.
– Morgan Matthews
Producer (Alicia Keys)
July

41. [Composers], the smart thing to do is write all the songs you can, so when [Film/TV execs] are looking, you’ve got a big old bag of goodies.
– Jack Williams
Composer
November

FOR THE MASSES

42. Don’t mortgage your entire present for a future success. I think it’s our personal responsibility to continue our growth through engaging in new challenges … As stressful as the “down times” can be, it’s important to continue to create and to expand your body of work as your unique self.
– Tyler Bates
Composer-Songwriter
January

43. Anticipate and plan for the unexpected—you don’t want circumstances making your decisions for you.
– William Honaker
IP Specialist and Patent Attorney
November

44. If the label wants to sign you, you’re not gonna turn them off by asking questions or understanding it. A contract in its nature is a commitment. And while you may be excited in the moment, I think it’s really important to take a step back.
– Craig Breitsprecher
Bass Player of Fires
in the Distance

September

45. Focus on yourself. Stop looking at other people’s Instagram. Stop worrying about other rappers. Worry about yourself.
– Caroline “Baroline” Diaz
Senior Director of A&R at Interscope
January

46. Leave your ego at the door. Who you are as a person will define who you are to the members of the industry and whether anyone wants to work with you.
– Madonna Wade-Reed
Music Supervisor
October

47. Even if you don’t have projects going on, [work], so when opportunity arrives, you’re ready to dive in.
– Inon Zur
Composer
February

48. It is crucial right now to be proactive, not reactive. This season offers unique opportunities, and the artists who aren’t afraid to pivot and move forward, taking even one step each day, will build a solid career and stable income on the other side.
– Bree Noble
Musician-Entrepreneur
May

49. If you want to try something and it fails, it’s okay, because you gave it a go.
– Kevin Parker
aka Tame Impala
November

50. Be flexible. Take feedback and notes. You can go into something and be so sure that it works. Then other people may tell you that it doesn’t.
– Codi Fischer
Managing Producer at Earwolf Podcast Production Company
February

The post 50 Best Career Tips of 2020 appeared first on Music Connection Magazine.

For more, check out MusicConnection.com (Source)

Written by: Music Connection

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