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Making a Living From Your Music, Part Two

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This article is a continuation from Part One, Making a Living From Your Music. Read on for more tips on how to further your artistic career like the professionals do.

  1. Do Your Label Research

If you want to get signed to a label, first research the labels who are looking for music similar to yours, and then read everything you possibly can find about them. A quick and easy way to do this is to get free Google alerts account and stick the name of every label you are interested in into the search parameters. Then, whenever something new happens with the label and it’s posted to the Web, you’ll be one of the first to know.

  1. Get a Great Lawyer

No, this isn’t to deal with any temper tantrums you or your band has at any given venue, or any defamatory comments made to the press, Paris Hilton-style. Almost every band signing doesn’t allow the actual musicians to be present during the negotiations. Instead, the label’s lawyer and your lawyer will duel it out either in person, over the phone or through fax (or a combination of all three). If you find a talented entertainment lawyer with experience in the field, make sure to create and maintain a strong business relationship with him or her when the time comes for their specialized services to be of use.

  1. Make Your Own Music Business Degree

Separate from part one’s suggestion regarding becoming an expert at your instrument, this topic refers to the actual business of making music: marketing, promotion, sound engineering, economics and production (and so forth). Although you could attend a reputable college or university and get a degree on the subject, you can also “create your own” based on personal tastes, preferences and time. How? Review the post-secondary calendars of institutions that offer these diploma or degree granting programs. Review their list of courses, and then take a closer look at each course syllabus. (You may even get lucky and get a list of recommended reading or questions to study if you look hard enough). Take avid notes, and then hit your local library or bookstore to pick up what you need. Teach yourself the ins and outs of the business on your own time, making sure to cover everything mentioned in the information you retrieved. And once in a while treat yourself to a “field trip” by contacting local production companies, recording studios and marketing companies, asking them if they will give you a tour of offer a day-long course for you to learn the more practical parts of the business.

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