Are you investing in your Future Career/Business?

Hello Composers, Mike here! :slight_smile:
I want to know if and how (in what ways) you are all investing in your future and career in music. Regardless of which niches within the music industry you are working towards success within.

As I see it, investing in your music career can be things like:

  • Investing in yourself (education)
  • Your Brand (website, social media etc.)
  • Time (more studio time)
  • Tools (hardware/software)
  • Network (building connections)
  • Content (videos, blogs etc.)

Let’s discuss this so that we can motivate and inspire each other to take more actions to “invest” in our careers in music! :smiley:

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Great topic Mike! I have spent most of my investment in educating/studying music theory/composition and my studio/creation gear. I’ve also tried to make some contacts with other creators, mainly visual artists, some of whom are trying their hand at video game creation.What I need is to get more time actually writing and creating and in turn, trying to build my brand. One thing is, I’m not very confident in my music yet.Though I like composing all sorts of stuff, my main love is epic fantasy/adventure music in the style of Junichi Nakatsuru’s soundtrack to the SoulCalibur video game series, but I haven’t been able to write anything I felt is good in that style.

I of course have my SoundCloud page, but that’s about it. Other than this forum, which is great, thanks :smiley: and YouTube, I stay away from social media. I’d like to build my own website, but I don’t have enough work to use nor have I tried to license it to any music libraries or actually put it on my own YouTube channel as I don’t think any of it is quite good enough. I don’t really know how to get over that bump. I’d like to build up my contacts and maybe get offers to do some projects, but again, I don’t have the time or the skillset/workflow where I feel I could accept those projects.

At the moment then, I’m focusing on writing/mixing well enough to do library music compositions. This way, I can upload whenever I’m done and not worry about having enough time to work on something. I’d also like to write at least one major piece of traditional concert music (symphony/concerto) before I die and that would take god knows how long!

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Hey Matt, I am curious to hear more about the “contacting visual artists” you mention. How do you go about that, and what outcome is it that you hope to get from those connections?

Second, what libraries are you looking to pitch to? Exclusives, non-exclusives, stock-music? Names would be great if you are willing to provide it? :slight_smile:

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I used to attend (until covid :cry:) local pop culture conventions where I would meet both amateur and pro visual artists. My goal was to see if any of them had projects that they were doing that needed music or ask to see if they wanted music if they hadn’t thought about it. In doing this, I’ve met one artist that was creating an online visual story using his art as the visuals for the scenes and he thought is would be great to have some music/theme song to have while people read. Met another who was a pro artist from L.A. who actually designed promo posters and such for movies, and another who was trying to make a video game with a story based on a series of drawings he had made and he need some music to go with it. Unfortunately, nothing came out of those contacts, but the point was to get myself some composition credits and perhaps those people knew others that needed a composer and they would recommend me.

As far as libraries, the instructor for a music licensing class I took recommended that you work with a number of different libraries; do one exclusive, some non-exclusive (but be carful of those!) and stock libraries. If you’er a member of ASCAP, that’s essentially an exclusive/stock music library with how you upload your music to them. Others from my class list were West One Music, Universal Productions, Big House Publishing, Big Score Music to name a few. This list is from 2018, so some of them may not exist any longer, and I have actually looked at them all to see how legit they are or if they’re exclusive/non.

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Great post.

Unlike most who will be focussing on education, I’ve finished my education. At least in the sense that I chose university as the path to learn. My last 4 years have been learning how to implement what I’ve learnt in the context of the scary beast known commonly as “the music industry”. Which has a lot of strict guidelines to adhere to.

I’m very particular in what I do so I’ve moved slowly in terms of moving forward. Looking back I should have started to take bigger steps in business growth around 2 years ago… but my confidence wasn’t at the point where I considered doing it.

In the past 8 months my confidence has been growing considerably, both in myself and in my ability. I know my ability but doubt it… I think this is a common story for most creatives.

So the rest of my story actually started when I released Violin Swells. I haven’t had too many people buy it, but the feedback has been so encouraging. So I developed the second which will be coming out Monday. I don’t want to dwell on this because it will start to come scross as advertising, where right now it’s simply part of my story.

In short, this was the push I needed to get serious and take those steps that I spoke about. So I went on holiday camping in snowdonia last week and my goal was to mentally strengthen myself by giving myself positive reinforcement about my abilities. I also set myself goals for when I came back. Goals that will force myself to take what i atleast call “radical and drastic steps”. At least for me they seem HUGE… but they seem smaller when put down in words.

Here are my points that I’m following:

  1. Invest in myself
  • Upgrade my Gumroad account to premium.
  1. Get noticed
  • create 1 youtube video per week
  • make sure I speak in person
    / get over the uncomfortableness if speaking to camera, use Instagram to get over this.
  1. Emails
  • build a following and engage with them.
  1. Keep active logs of incomings and outgoings
  2. Be vulnerable.
  • don’t be scared to take risks.
  1. Create things with substance.
  • make things that people can use, that is accessible in price (with some free content), and rich YouTube content that with help musicians grow quickly. Not just tips and tricks…
  1. Stay accessible!!!
  • this is a huge thing. Something I believe is so important but may get more challenging as things grow.

So this week I’ve been implementing these things in particular… making plans, asking what people want from a content and product creator.

My real goal is to become self sustaining. I’m nowhere near this right now but this is my dream. If people would like to know I’m happy to inbox my goals privately. I just don’t want them public until I reach them. Not that they are huge, it’s just more of that slowly does it” mentality that I have.

Also, @Mikael I have a great artist who helped me create the instrument art. He’s also an animator and is very reasonable. If you’ll like his details just let me know. He’s great!

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Nice list Geoffers. If you make a YouTube channel with composition or orchestration discussions, like digging into the specifics of one of your scores, I’ll definitely be one of your first subs! I studied composition/orchestration/theory about 15-20% at my local conservatory and 80-85% on my own or with personal tutors/online courses (Thanks again @Mikael!!!).

I’m not the greatest at remembering all the theory all the time when I compose, but I really think my main issue is a lack of confidence in my compositions. I’m trying to write a certain style or in the style of a certain composer that I admire, not necessarily to copy, but to write in a way that I know is successful and I like, but I end up with my own style too much integrated into it. In most cases that would be a good thing, but to me it makes my pieces sound completely off from what style I’m going for.

As an example, I’m currently writing a piece that is supposed to be a modern film score-ish character theme for a tragic villain (is he/she really evil or were they good at one point?) but as usual, my style makes it sound like something from the late 1800s Romantic era. I know that’s mainly a harmonic thing, but how do you gain confidence that your compositions are actually OK?

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Why do you prefer to stay away from social media and only have soundcloud?

I already have a youtube and I have my first Demo video up. I’ll be posting that Demo on Monday.

That is a great idea. Perhaps I’ll start to upload some of my scores with an in depth overview on YouTube as you suggest… this would actually compliment one of my ideas. Which is part of the adding value part of the process. This idea is to include a patreon link where people can support me each month in a small way financially, and I will provide either full midi tracks to a piece, or all of the audio stems for them to really go into detail to hear and see what I did.

Inbox me one of your tracks and I’d be happy to give you some feedback on where you are at and the steps you need to take to get to where you want to be :slight_smile:

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Cool cool! I might take you up on that then, and consider myself subscribed!

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I just find social media, other than this forum and some channels on YouTube, don’t really add much value to my life. Too much negativity and people anonymously displaying some serious lack of intellectual integrity. Not all people of course, but you see how some have become addicted to Twitter or Facebook. Just not my thing. Perhaps if I were a more successful artist with a huge fanbase, I’d be more visible there, but success for me would be mostly having my music used in media projects, I don’t need to be real famous.

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definitely stay away from twitter if you can :sweat_smile:

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Great info thanks.

I am emailing and trying to network, reaching out to people for contact building. I have a friend who has been getting work now by emailing people or going through Facebook to message them. I am researching a laptop for more space and speed, if there are any recommendations for laptops for music composition and production let me know. I am also mixing more to practice mixing everyday dedicate at least 2-3 hours. I need to be better with the education and practice piano more.

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Background:

I am moving from audio engineering towards music production and sound design for my artist project (reflekshun), library music and video games.

The artist portion requires education on marketing. Library music education on the most suitable platforms for my work, and the most viable formats. The video game portion requires education on middleware and knowing the community.

Education:

I have been compiling education resources like reddits, podcasts and youtube pages for each of these categories. I use Notion to keep all of these organized.

Network:

I have been researching the best forums and discords for discussion and connecting with like minded people with similar problems to solve (sound guys finding their way in the industry), or complimentary problems (developer needs music/sound -> I need video games to put the music/sound on). Also with people who are better at me at both those things.

Content:

(Artist)
I have been writing music, making music videos and trailers for artist songs and tracking how long it takes to do each of those and how viable it is to keep doing all of those things, how often I should do the full package etc. I intend to also make some tutorial videos for youtube to compliment it.

(Library Music)
I plan to write these faster than the artist tracks and keep a list of the moods I am writing for

(Video Games)
I plan to write music for video that is posted by video game developers at a lower level to practice syncing and sound design, it also doubles as something I can send back to them for opinion and perhaps even end up working with them if they like it. I also have my eyes on game jams in case they are suitable for my goals.

Tools:
I have spent years accumulating great tools for composition and sound design, so i intend to focus my resources on other areas right now.

My Brand:
As I release more artist music videos on youtube, enforcing my visual and sonic signature, my brand strength will improve. I am also doing twitch streams and have a discord server which I am starting to engage a little more in to help with that.

For video game music I am considering making a separate page with easy to navigate mood and situational cues (town music, action music, forest music etc). To give a quick glance at the atmosphere I can provide for games.

For library music I may do a similar thing as video games.

That’s all I can think of for now. Let me know if there is any feedback on my approach, I am very eager to improve and learn! Thanks for everyone sharing your ideas as well, it is good to be here :slight_smile:

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Wow Peter you really have a focused plan to follow, I love that! :slight_smile:
A nice roadmap and strategy is so important for future success imo. Then it’s just about consistency to keep producing the content and doing the stuff you set out to do! :smiley:

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I wish I could have such a plan of attack. Really sucks still having a day job :cry: Takes too much time out of my day. I really need to focus on getting faster at my compositions to get more out there and mixing them better as well as setting up my personal brand and getting the work out there. I’ve got much of the education behind me now.

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