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Kailas Joshi

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Oct 18, 2018
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Hello people!

As I've mentioned earlier I have a printing and packaging solutions company and I'll post regarding that later. This is a very juvenile question that I have - Is it really possible to be a 'real' musician?
Like the guy who makes music (on his own terms) and gets paid for it, respected for it and people look up to this guy and not some commercial fart who just hits play and a million dollar amount is transferred to his bank. I've been a very erratic and hot-headed person in the past and in these years, things have changed. Even though most of my time is occupied with business and working out(I was fat too haha), I really wish to play music(like fo-real and not as a 'hobby')(been doing this for about 12 years, no 'real' success as such) as that is the one thing that comes naturally to me. I just need help to learn the art of selling music and/or channels through which I can generate income through music, all leads welcome, whether they are books, criticism, personal talks/chats, examples or ways to deal in this industry
 

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George Appiah

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This is a very juvenile question that I have - Is it really possible to be a 'real' musician?
I don't know jack about the music industry. But...

I've come to learn from experience that, most times, when I approach a challenge with questions like "is it possible to...", my brain works out the shortest, safest, and easiest circuit and finds all kinds of reasons why it's not possible. My brain tends to "edit" my research and the feedback I get, numbing down the "yes, it's possible" answers while highlighting the "no, it's not possible" answers.

A better approach I've found that works for me is to mentally commit to doing it (if I'm convinced I desire the outcome), then ask "how can I make this happen", and set out my brain to go seek answers.
 

Ninjakid

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OK you wanna hear something truly woke?

When I was like in high school I wanted to be a hip hop artist. I probably like hundreds of pages of songs I wrote.

I've always been a HUGE music aficionado. I know lots of people who formed bands and made their own music, and I've listened to it.

Now the common narrative that people told me is this: A lot of good musicians don't make it. Why? They weren't lucky enough to be discovered.

So it's a sad story. A musician who's talent goes undiscovered just cuz of fate.

But this is not the truth. Wanna know the truth? Here it is:

99.99% OF MUSICIANS DON'T MAKE THE KIND OF MUSIC PEOPLE WANT TO LISTEN TO

No, seriously, this is true.

I've listened to people's mixtapes, listened to underground bands, and most of everything I've heard is not impressive compared to what's on the mainstream charts.

Sorry, but this is the truth. The real reason why popular music is popular is because it's better everything else.

Is your band that struggles to get every member together to jam together on the weekend as good as Metallica?

Is the guy who every two months posts a minute long verse on his Facebook page as good as Jay-Z?

Is the girl who covers songs by using more high notes going to be the next Mariah Carey?

Being able to sing, rap, play guitar or any instrument, and being able to compose a song that millions of people will play on repeat are DIFFERENT THINGS!

And it's not all about being known by everyone. Yngwie Malmsteem isn't a household but a lot of people love his music, hence he is successful.

But believe is or not, pop music follows certain patterns of notes, timing, and rhythm which male us hooked on the song. It's more scientific than artistic process.

So when you ask questions like this
Is it really possible to be a 'real' musician?
Like the guy who makes music (on his own terms) and gets paid for it, respected for it and people look up to this guy and not some commercial fart who just hits play and a million dollar amount is transferred to his bank.
It shows you don't have the mentality to be a successful professional musician.

You assume that anyone who's a successful musician is rich because they sold out to the man. That's the same mindset every other failed musician has.

If your expectations are delusional, you're going to be bitter when reality doesn't match your entitlement.

And what are your own terms?

Like Drake said, "‘Cause while my closest friends out there partying
I’m just here making all of the music that they party to."

Are you ready to make that sacrifice? When all your time is spent in the studio, and playing shows, are you really going to feel like it's on your "own terms" then?

Will you still want to be a musician then?

Because that's what it takes if you wanna make it to the top. If you're serious about it, decide right now that you're willing to sell your soul to your craft.

Otherwise, make music as a hobby and be happy you have that.
 
G

Guest61362

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  • Download 10 songs from your favourite genre or a tape, Top40 whatever
  • Insert 3 of your own songs. If low volume is an issue put a limiter on each to -9dB RMS
  • Play them all during family sitting, in a car driving with friends etc
  • What are them people reactions? Do they feel it or cringe? Even if they ignore songs switching- great, you are good enough to not stand out in a bad way- you fit in and have the sound.
:smile2::clap::
 

George Appiah

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  • Download 10 songs from your favourite genre or a tape, Top40 whatever
  • Insert 3 of your own songs. If low volume is an issue put a limiter on each to -9dB RMS
  • Play them all during family sitting, in a car driving with friends etc
  • What are them people reactions? Do they feel it or cringe? Even if they ignore songs switching- great, you are good enough to not stand out in a bad way- you fit in and have the sound.
:smile2::clap::
Are you saying you need to be as good as the highest performers in your industry before you even make an entry?
 
G

Guest61362

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Yea, how else do you cross the easy entry barrier today when everyone can perform, produce and even publish online in seconds.

Reminder- as the title says this is for discussion, I'm not in a music industry.
 

George Appiah

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Yea, how else do you cross the easy entry barrier today when everyone can perform, produce and even publish online in seconds.
Then I'll respectfully disagree with you.

Sure, you may have to be as good as the best to be at the top.

But who starts at the top?

I get it that most wannabe artists may have an inflated sense of how good their creations are. But to say that if you're not as good as the highest performers in the industry, you're not ready to even make an entry... that I'll respectfully disagree with you.
 

splok

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(on his own terms)
gets paid for it
not some commercial fart
Can you see the problem?

Doing something "on your own terms" is a hobby. At the very best, it's "fine art", as opposed to "commercial art". Guess which one gets you a paycheck? Artistic pursuits are typically better hobbies than professions for this reason.

If you want to get paid for your art, then it comes down to the same value proposition as any other business. You need to find an audience that's eager to pay you. If you can find one that wants what you want to make, then great! But you'd massively increase your odds by finding an audience that's both eager for something specific and under-served, then make exactly what they want. Of course, that would make you a commercial fart, so good luck.
 
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Kailas Joshi

Kailas Joshi

New Contributor
Oct 18, 2018
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13
Haha I think I should rephrase the question to how can I sell the music that I make, without really succumbing down to 'market pressure' :D
Thanks though, I do understand that bit, spent 3 years getting used to that fact .
 
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Kailas Joshi

Kailas Joshi

New Contributor
Oct 18, 2018
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Hey,
I'm guessing how I've asked the question makes it seem like Im slightly new to the music scene, but Ive been performing and producing for the past 10 years and I've been doing commercial work for money obviously. Haha, but my question isn't a can it/will it type of thing but more of how else can I improve and/or learn how to seek music differently. Because how we consume music has really changed over time. Hence looking for ideas that might be unconventional yet effective. Thank you so much for participating in this discussion. *Brofist*
 

Never1

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I'm 20yrs in the music business. I've had some commercial success, nationally, but it was short lived mostly of my own doing from lack of experience, a young ego that couldn't see an end to the "ride", and lack of good mentors and knowledgable people to help me navigate whatever attention I finally had found, for my music career.

The 4 biggest indicators of potential commercial success are, IMO:

#1 Be likeable. The old "women want to be with you and men want to be like you" rhetoric. Music is a relative medium. People connect with music created by people that they can relate to. Who are you and what do you stand for? Is your image and your sound congruent? If you're a depressed stoner, full of cynicism and self-loathing, you're only gonna grab the attention of those who relate to this, if that's what your music speaks to, emotionally. If you're upbeat and the life of the party, and your songs infect others with this "good times roll" mood-altering energy, then you'll attract larger crowds of people wanting to have a good time. and so on.

#2 Master your craft. Get really good at songwriting. Master your instrument. Master your vocals. Master your live performances. Pay attention to what songs move your audience and try to figure out why. What songs lose them? Drop those songs. Write more songs like the ones that your audience loves. I consider myself to be an exceptional songwriter and vocalist. I'm also no slouch when it comes to guitar chops. I've arguably had more success writing for other artists, and as I get older, this is one area that continues to pay off. I may not be a teen idol, but I sure as hell can write songs for the up and comers seeking material with good commercial appeal.

#3 Find good bandmates/partners and don't hesitate to fire/ditch anyone who slacks or shows little motivation to work hard. Making it in music is harder than making it in regular business. I've been in both camps and speak from experience, here. Skipping rehearsals is unacceptable. Not doing homework/practicing is unacceptable. and so on...

#4 Be willing to listen to experienced people, who've been there before. They know where the landmines are. Watch out for low-level predators and industry wannabes. Don't hire a "manager" just so you can tell people you've got a manager, now. It's a form of action-faking. Do as much as you can on your own, and grow your profile until the real movers come looking for you.

Edit: also, tenacity and constant course correction when you gain new insights to what makes you and your art stand above the rest are implied. Win fans one person at a time. Be social. Get off stage and don’t hideout backstage. Work the crowd and the room. Carry merch in your hand and sell cds etc to anyone willing to chat with you. You’d be amazed how often people will buy a CD (or download card) from someone they get the chance to talk to, at a gig. It’s a personal connection. I moved thousands of albums this way.

Final note: The industry is in a state of rapid flux. None of us know what's going to happen in the next 3-5 years. Money is way down and I'm actually concerned about where everything is headed. The world is a much different place, these days. music is not nearly as coveted as it once was.
 

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