Whether you are a striving musical artist, music producer or are just intrigued with the music industry, there are several common misconceptions about the field that most people never question. Lindsay Guion, Founder, Global Chairman & CEO of GUION PARTNERS, is a personal manager who works with Grammy award-winning artists, songwriters and producers offers some of the popular myths in the music industry.
“A record deal means you will be successful in the industry.” Roughly 98% of all acts that sign to major labels fail. In some ways, getting a record deal can be much riskier than managing your own artistic career. Lindsay Guion explains that there are hundreds of indie artists who have never had a record deal but make 6 and 7 figure incomes. The glitz, glamour, and fame associated with being on the cover of Rolling Stones Magazine or selling out arenas can be goals worth setting (if they hold value for you), but they do not define success for every artist.
“All you need to be successful is a manager or booking agent.” Lindsay Guion explains that there are not a lot of managers or booking agents who will work with an act that is not already making money; the reason is that they work on commission. It is highly recommended that artists learn to book for themselves, becoming well-versed in the business side of the music industry to be able to manage themselves. Additionally, if you have the skillset to book and manage your own career, it will set your expectations when you are able to hire someone to do this for you.
“Social media is the only marketing you need to be successful.” Social media is an important component of gaining traction in your career as a music artist. However, as Lindsay Guion stated, driving traffic to your website is much more important. Social media is evolving and changing but maintaining a large mailing list of fans that you are able to keep up to date on your events and releases is much more important.
“You just need to ‘make it’.” There is no threshold at which an artist become successful and stay successful. Most of the wildly successful musicians you idolize work very hard on a consistent basis. Success requires a lot of work, time and dedication — there is no such thing as ‘making it’.
“Record sales matter.” Long gone are the days of record sales, as streaming platforms have taken over the industry. Indie artists can now work through websites like Bandcamp or Patreon, along with pre-order crowdfunding campaigns via PledgeMusic, Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. There are dozens of ways to diversify your revenue streams by selling experiences, merch and more. Record sales are no longer the only exemplifier of success in the music industry.
There are myths behind every commercial enterprise and the music industry is no exception. Lindsay Guion explains that getting into the business is not as simple as it may seem and instead requires continuous effort. As outlined above, the music industry is much like any other as aspiring individuals must apply themselves and put in the work — it is not as simple as signing with a label.