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5 Mistakes To Avoid As A Performing Artist When Getting Started In The Music Industry

Let's start by stating the obvious: The music industry is big. It is so big that when you make that decision to pursue a career in it, you're not so sure where to start. When typing those keywords on a search engine for advice the "tips" are usually so generic that it can still be daunting. Sometimes those "tips" are just click-bate to persuade you to pay for promotional services before you're given any useful knowledge. This post is going to help you get started by sharing the top five things a performing artist should avoid when making that decision to start a career in the music industry.


Come to the realization that being a great singer and/or instrumentalist does not make someone ready to start a career in the industry alone. At this moment you are possibly an incredibly talented aspiring artist with little to no fan base, knowledge, or experience.

Now it's time to think more like an entrepreneur. One thing that entrepreneurs always do is research. Start with searching the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the market you choose to pursue. Make sure you are very specific in what market you choose to pursue. For example, if you are an aspiring artist in the United States and want to start a career domestically, you have 50 states and the District Of Columbia to choose from. With all these options I advise to start with your local city. If your local city does not have a music scene you can try forming one while looking out for neighboring cities.

Some great resources to help get started is:

CD Baby DIY Musician

FMC (Future Of Music Coalition)

BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated)

ASCAP (American Societies Of Composers Authors And Publishers)


Without doing your homework first it's going to be obvious that you're new and it makes you an easy target for sharks in the industry.


There is a high possibility when you first get started you will be alone, however, do not make that an excuse to try to make it by yourself. Choosing not to network will make it very difficult to grow an authentic audience. As you continue to put yourself out there, you'll realize how community oriented this profession is. Going out to open mics to only perform without talking to people can either make you forgettable or give people an impression that you are only there to play. Even if you are more of an introvert there are effective ways to engage yourself in public environments without feeling overwhelmed. You'll meet people along the way that will become your friends, fans, and even business partners.


According to the Future Coalition Of Music there are currently 40+ revenue streams to get started in the music industry. If your dream job is to become a performing artist and doors have not opened for you, then just like starting a traditional entry level job so that you can get promoted into that senior job in a company, start out with an alternative profession in the industry. You'll grow your network and eventually that door will open. Some alternative examples to get started are music instructors, audio engineers, music bloggers/reviewers, volunteering at an indie label, and so much more!

This also goes with choosing the right market. It is very popular to move to New York City or Los Angles to start an artist career. In order to be successful reality needs to set in that not everyone can afford to pack their bags and leave everyone they know behind to start a career in a city where the cost of living is too high, and the market is competitive. Your hometown might be your market. If you've already tried your local community and have not seen any results you can also try neighboring cities.

Being open to other options will help you gain experience, learn new skills, and it will open more opportunities for you as well as help you save a lot of money.


This one is a no brainer, but it still must be said. Unless Sony, Universal, or Warner offers you a record deal with a six-figure advance do not quit your day job.


Every time a "breakout star" is getting recognition in the media, we are given the impression that their success is overnight. We are also living in a society where we want things to happen now and we need to create a Utopian-like image of ourselves to be accepted. It takes time to build relationships so understand that it's going to take time to build your network. Go to as many open mics, local music shows, and networking events as you can. While you are at the events enjoy every moment of it.

As your local network grows two credible national network conferences that I can recommend you to is Durango Songwriters Expo and CD Baby's DIY Musician Conference.

Do you all have any tips you would like to share with artists who want to get started? Or are you a new aspiring artist with questions? Write a comment below by creating an account today. Don't worry, it's free and you will not be spammed. I only post once a month ;).