If you were looking for an easy career path, it's pretty obvious that becoming a musician is not one of them. Even people who know nothing about music are aware that the industry is notoriously hard to break into, with very few people ever 'making it big.' Of course, plenty of people do it for a labor of love. If you're not passionate about the music you make, you probably won't last very long in the game - integrity goes a long way in any creative business. But you also need to be fairly hardened and determined, and confident in your decisions. In such a competitive environment, it can be easy to be led astray or to get caught up in things that may not necessarily benefit you in the long run. Here are some of the most common problems underground musicians face, and what you can do to sail your way through your local scene with minimal issues.
Be picky about your promoters
There is a common conception that being a music promoter is a thankless job - and it's definitely true that it's one of the most difficult roles out there in the industry today. But that doesn't mean to say that you, as a musician, should put up with any promoters that are not up to scratch. Always do a background check on any promoter who offers to put you on at their show - asking fellow musicians is usually a good way to tell whether or not the person is legitimate. Demand a high level of communication and always outline things like fees and equipment requirements as early as you can, as these are often the things that promoters will try and swindle you out of.
Get your music out there
In the 21st century, we are lucky that there are now so many different ways for us to consume music. You can choose to stream your music online, sell it in CD format or even put it out on vinyl. But if you're really savvy, you'll consider doing a combination of all three. Why? Well, reach is important as a musician, and anything that can get your music heard by as many people as possible can only be a good thing. Look into using services such as Nationwide Disc who are experts in distributing music in its various formats. The process can be quite convoluted, so it always helps to have a professional on your side.
Keep changing it up
As local music scenes tend to be so saturated, you cannot afford to get complacent. Whether your music is something you do as a hobby or a career you are trying to push, you need to make sure you are bringing something fresh and new to the table. If, for example, you've been playing the same set for months now, see what you could do to inject some fun into it. This could be writing new music and changing it up entirely, or something more low-key, such as adding a quirky cover in the middle. Whatever it is, vibrancy is key, so make sure your audiences always have something to talk about after your set