In recent years, a lot has changed in the music industry. You started hearing non-English songs requested on the radio and you think to yourself that if they can make it to mainstream media, so can you. However, even taking BTS as an example of a group that worked hard to get to where no other K-pop artist has gone before, you must not forget all the hard work you have to put into your own career.
This year is not just about stepping out of moulds. You have to prove yourself worthy through the following:
Look, you may be talented but there are plenty other unsigned bands that are also talented. If you want to become the next Harry Styles, beloved by fans and treasured even by legends in the industry, you must be a good person. This does not just mean having a clean record.
What fans look for these days are artists who practice what they preach, who support diversity and stand up for causes that will improve the world in general. It costs nothing to be kind and this same kindness may be what gets you off the ground.
In a digital age, perhaps you think it is enough to start a YouTube channel and SoundCloud account, and then wait for fans to flock to you. You are missing the point of marketing if that is how you do it. You have to play, out there, where people can see you.
A&R starts not with your recorded videos, but with you performing live and showing scouts how they might be able to find a place for you in the label they represent.
If you think the age of demos is dead, think again. You do not have unlimited opportunities to impress a record label until you get it right. They will want demos and you should be ready with your songs in disc packaging that looks professional. They know you are unsigned, but do you want to give them a CD without even a sleeve with your band’s name on it?
Music has a universal reach. You may be from Manchester, but your song can reach Asia and touch the hearts of millions of people. The science of music shows that minor and major keys play a part in how your song triggers emotions in people, but the lyrics are also important.
Yes, you may start as an artist with a catchy chorus that everyone will play over and over, but to be a serious musician, you need depth. You need to go beyond catchy tunes and meaningless lyrics, to write something that evokes feelings even if people do not understand the words. A powerful melody may not be overplayed like a song from The Chainsmokers, but keep providing relatable music that expresses emotions in a therapeutic way and your fan base will come.
The music industry is not for everyone. For those who are serious about making it, it is time to start working hard.