So what is music career planning? Many musicians begin their careers with the hope or expectation that making great music will be enough to make them succeed.
This makes sense considering the stories we hear about musicians usually involve overnight, rags-to-riches success scenarios.
Unfortunately, quick and easy success isn’t in the cards for most musicians. Great music is an essential part of what it takes to find success in music, but you’ll have a much tougher time making meaningful progress in your career without a solid plan.
Here are 6 ways making and sticking to a plan will help you to have much more long term success with your music career:
Gives You Focus and Direction
In 2019, structure, intention, and followthrough on behalf of musicians has never been more important. You might believe your music is worthy of a big audience, but the people who can help give you meaningful opportunities in music are looking for musicians who are serious about what they do.
Having a plan for your career reflects your dedication to others, and will lead you through the many disappointments and uncertainties the music industry is bound to throw at you.
In theory, many musicians want to achieve big things with their work, but those who actually commit to solid planning have the best chance of making something happen with their careers.
Manages Day-to-Day Challenges and Long-Term Goals
Planning in music, whether it’s for a single project like an album or an overarching goal involving your entire career, planning is something bound to save you time and stress.
Being caught without a plan means devoting loads of resources to putting out fires, making last-minute changes, and handling the administrative aspects of your career.
In other words, a failure to plan in music will frustrate you and keep you from focusing on creating, rehearsing, and performing. Planning makes room for everything you need to do in the short and long-term, letting you prioritize your work.
Helps Identify and Energize Your Fans
Browse the major streaming platforms for a bit, and you’re bound to see artists you’ve never heard of racking up millions of plays and followers. It’s easy to play the “I wish I had______” game in music even though it’s a waste of time.
Planning in music helps you find out who exactly your fans are and what motivates them. You might be starting with a small core group of avid listeners and supporters, but with the right plan, this audience can be the foundation of something big and important.
Planning also helps you appreciate and leverage the momentum you have in your career rather than sitting around wishing you were further along.
Adds Strategy and Organization To Your Routine
As a serious musician, you might have the goal of “making it” in music, but what exactly does that mean?
Whether you want to exclusively earn a living through music placements someday or ink a deal with the label of your dreams, you’re absolutely going to need a strategy to make it happen.
Planning forces you to answer tough questions about what you want to accomplish through your career, big and small, and leads you to create productive routines and schedules.
All that day-to-day stuff you need to get from point A to B gets addressed when thoughtful strategy and organization becomes a part of your work.
Gives You A Massive Advantage
Making music in 2019 means competing with an unprecedented amount of other musicians fighting for the attention of audiences. Great music is a must, and everything else is bound to be forgotten or ignored.
Save for quality of music, planning, strategy, and organization are the assets that separate dedicated artists from hobbyists. The better and more detailed the plan is for your career, the more likely you’ll be to find real momentum for your work.
Conditions are too brutal and saturated to release music, cross your fingers, and hope it somehow connects.
Gets You Thinking Differently About Distribution
Signing up with a platform like Distrokid that puts your releases on Apple Music and Spotify is the first step you’ll need to take on distribution, but it shouldn’t be your last.
There’s loads of massive and modest opportunities alike out there for artists to license their work and team up with publishers to generate income.
Rather than hoping your song will end up in a massive commercial, you can plan ahead by researching how artists of every size are earning money from having their work featured on platforms that link music with media like videos and podcasts.
You might get lucky and get discovered, but planning ahead and researching gives you the best chance at getting the most out of distribution.
Final Thoughts on Music Career Planning
The music industry has always been challenging, and many musicians can’t stomach the inevitable disappointment and uncertainty that goes into this line of work.
Being a strong planner prepares you for all the different scenarios––good or bad––that you’re likely to experience making music. This sets you up for long-term productivity and gets you looking past momentary gains and losses.
Overwhelmed with planning for your music career and don’t know where to start? Click HERE
Kevin is the founder of Music With Flavor, which joined Whipped Cream Sounds in 2023. He is a seasoned musician turned industry expert. His passion for music goes beyond melodies; he delves deep into the intricate world of music marketing, striving to unearth the most effective strategies for indie musicians. However, Music With Flavor isn’t just about Kevin’s knowledge; it’s a network of industry experts handpicked to provide the most trusted advice. Kevin’s role is to pose the right questions, not just answer them, as he and his team tirelessly research trends, connect with artists, and gather valuable insights.