Zucchero, before being successful with the song “Donne”, took part in several editions at Sanremo Festival without being noticed. Vasco Rossi, like Zucchero, had no luck with Sanremo Festival and came last but he was able to go on from that failure thanks to his artistic consecration with “Vita Spericolata”. Fabrizio De André, despite having already composed several songs, became successful thanks to Genoese music and to the interpretation of “The song of Marinella” by Mina.
At the beginning of his career, Ed Sheeran played on the streets of LA making himself known in every club he found and then, one night, the producer Jamie Foxx discovered him. His fortune now is worth hundred and ten million dollar. A group that at first was not considered by the producers were The Beatles, who at their first audition were rejected by Decca Records because “groups made up of four guitarists are now out of fashion”.
The list could go on and on. For somebody it’s just luck that drives a song to become a hit. Is it really so? It would been not so because in the music history there were cases, like those mentioned before, in which luck was together with other factors. How to be successful in music production? We spoke with some industry experts such as the record executive and music publisher Beppe Andreetto (Ed., he worked for many companies such as BMG Ricordi) writing a guide for early beginners that, without any presumption, wants to give some useful advice 🙂
Here the five rules that can not be missing:
1. Music quality
This is the most important element in achieving success as a musical artist. If you work only for the money or prestige, it’s difficult you will get one of these things. Love music and try to get to know it as much as possible. Listen critically to a million songs until you understand what makes them work and what weakens them. Keep the goal of producing a great song on every single track you create. If you respect the art of writing, performing and recording, perhaps you will end up creating something truly exceptional. You can worry about buying a new car once your music starts to be well known. Be grateful that you love music. Always remember that having a passion in life is one of the greatest gifts you could ever have.
2. Artist storytelling
Many people produce a song. Aim to be the person who create a song in a way that only you can and show your talent. When you think about the artists who have truly left their mark in the music history, they have all brought their own distinctive feature to their tracks. The greatest usually behave in two ways. The first belongs to those who have the gift of find the essence of themselves and people, discovering something they didn’t even know they had. Typically these are also the ones that focus on the most honest and natural performances like Rick Rubin, Jack Douglas and T Bone Burnett.
The second group is made up of artists who focus on distinctive sounds bringing their recognizable musical aesthetic to their music. For example Phil Spector opened the way to this approach with his “Wall Of Sound” technique which later was adopted by Bruce Springsteen and by The Cocteau Twins. Another good example is Brian Eno: his productions for the Talking Heads, U2 and Coldplay are all characterized by his typical atmospheric synthesizers and his use of “The Studio as a Compositional Tool”. Therefore, to any group you belong to, try to bring your unique point of view: it’s the only way to have a chance to stand out from the crowd.
3. Good attitude and determination
You can’t be successful if you don’t know what success means for you and you can’t be successful if you have constant insecurities along your path. So try to figure out what you want and commit to making it happen. There are many people who start this kind of work and each of them is 100% committed to their job: most have never really considered doing anything else and this is what you need to be successful at high levels. For example, if your goal is to become the best producer of your band with the freedom to make records on your own terms, work towards to achieve it. If you want to produce indie records and be the point of contact for local bands or rappers, do something to make your dream come true. Never give up.
Thanks to home recording, there have never been so many people who try to produce beats or sell themselves as producers. Don’t let this put you off. While it may seem like there is more competition out there, you are racing with only one person: yourself. If your love of music is true, finding success as an artist is more easy than you could ever have imagined. Believe in yourself for many, many, many years and work even when you are not inspired. Always smile and be positive and kind. People don’t like to see others complaining.
4. Choose right partnerships
Michael Jackson with Eddie Van Halen produced the song “Beat it”, Run-D.M.C. with Aerosmith produced “Walk This Way”, The Beatles with Eric Clapton, George Harrison and many others produced “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. Music business is all about relationships and this opportunities make you grow your musical culture and vision, your name and your fan base. The way you deal with someone can impact to your future potential opportunities. Jimmy Iovine started as a concierge in a recording studio where he made his way becoming a sound engineer for a young artist called Bruce Springsteen. Jimmy Iovine now is a music producer. Consider this story next time you interact with someone 😉
Connecting with artists at your level would be easier, especially when you’re building your audience. However, contacting the most important artists will be much more effective in improving your career. Another option is to collaborate with DJs because they can create a remix version of your music and share it with their audience. Don’t forget the management partnerships (record companies, music publishers, managers and so on) and platforms like Tutelio which generates authorship proof of any artistic project protecting your copyright in case of plagiarism or illicit use.
There are many cases of musical plagiarisms. Among these we tell you the case of Michael Jackson who, for his song “Will you be there” (Ed., recorded in 1991), in 1992 was accused by Al Bano for having copied his “I cigni di Balaka” (Ed., recorded in 1987). This matter ended seven years later when the Court of Milan stated that both singers had been inspired by a blues song from 1939 and Al Bano lost his plagiarism cause (Ed., one of the elements that establish the authorship of an artistic work is the proof of anteriority and in this case the blues song came earlier than Al Bano and Michael Jackson songs). Do you understand why it is important to protect your music?
5. Analyze the market right to you
Today the music industry is extremely competitive and saturated. With the rise of social media platforms and the endless opportunities to get noticed, more and more artists try to share their art with the world. In this situation, to be successful, a marketing strategy is a real necessity. First, analyze the market. Identify your competitors and what makes you different from them. Then, depending on the genre of music you are creating, define your audience and potential fans. It is also important to establish your long and short term goals. Are you planning to release a new song by the end of this year? Write an action plan with a list of your goals calculating the budget you are willing to spend or have to spend to promote your music.
There are two ways to promote your songs. Online promotion, through its own website, social channels, digital platforms such as Spotify and paid advertising, and offline promotion such as live performances (Ed., as soon as the situation will get better) or through a brand merchandising. To increase your internet popularity, you can open your own podcast channel, produce video tutorials or contact music influencers. If you are looking for funding for your music project, you can start a crowdfunding campaign. To do this, it is essential to have an active community and to invest a small amount to promote your campaign.
Nobody wants to tell you that it will be simple but some rules can help you in difficult times. We wish you good luck with the hope that this little guide will be useful to you 🙂
Have an idea? Protect it with Tutelio! Place your music project and get the certificate of authorship. It’s free!