Updated: Mar 7
There are several things that I wish I knew at the beginning of my career. The things that would fasten up the process of developing my career to the point where I am today.
I wish I knew all about the processes of developing my career as a musician, audio engineer, songwriter, mixing, mastering etc..
If I knew all the steps in this process, I think I would develop my career much faster than I did, and that’s mostly because I wanted to do it all by myself and that is because I didn't know better and not because of some other reason. I thought that that’s the standard and that this is how all other artists were doing it, but I was wrong. I remember how shocked I was when I realised how many people were involved in some artist projects whose music I like and whose parties I like to attend.
This conflict is the conflict between our artistic side and the entrepreneur side. Being an artist is one thing, but being a successful artist is a much more complicated thing. At the first point, it looks like being an artist means being able to create a piece of art, but reaching an audience and making that piece of art being successful will need an entrepreneur skill. What does that mean?
If you have an artist mindset, you will probably be comfortable in your studio having fun making music and enjoying being creative, and you will have certain rituals to boost your creativity.
You will be focused on the creation and most probably in love with that process.
On the other side, making this piece of art or music successful requires a completely different mindset, and to do it correctly, it requires a set of entrepreneurial skills.
Now, during my career, I have met so many people that have a problem when they realise artists are making money from their music. If we are 100% honest, we will understand that each of us has some expectations from our music, something that we ask in return for our work. If you watch this video the most likely is that you are an artist already, and you probably do not have anything against making money with your music right? But some of the fans and the people who listen to our music can see it as untrue and they might get a disappointed hearing that some artists are charging too much money for a gig from their perspective.
So while we create, we are giving a lot, we are spending our energy, time, we are putting a lot of effort into it and we do expect something in return, some of us are expecting the financial benefit, emotional satisfaction by watching how the audience is reacting to our work, or we just enjoy in this process, or all the things together, but we do expect something in return.
In order for us to succeed in our path, the most important thing would be that we are honest to ourselves first and realising what is exactly that we want. What is our main goal? As if our goal is to be touring around the world or doing mixing and mastering will have completely different paths.
My goal for example was all of those things together, as I didn’t know I should divide them or see them as separate things, and that’s why I need so much time to succeed.
If we want to become global DJs and tour around the world, I would advise you to work mostly on your entrepreneur skills, which would mean that person who wants to have gigs around the world should have music signed on his name but He does not necessarily need to make that music himself, as there are people that love working in the studio and not enjoying travelling around, and those two types are a perfect match. Ambitious people who have a goal of becoming international DJs, and people who love being in the studio that is not enjoying that much being on the road all the time. As someone who has spent so much time on tours and gigs around the world, I can promise you that that part is super challenging and not easy at all. This is also one of the things I knew while choosing a career. As if I knew how hard and crazy it can be, I would have second thoughts.
Ok, so let’s get back to the previous topic.
The entrepreneur will most probably put a lot of work on social media and create Public relations and promotion on the highest level. Every business is tightly connected to numbers and analytics, and this type will chase numbers of plays, likes, downloads and he will put extreme effort in gaining those numbers, while artists won't care that much about the numbers, as they do understand that number of plays, likes, downloads do not measure the quality of the music, nor their art can be judged by the number of plays or downloads. While the entrepreneurs will be engaged by numbers as most, as they do have a business mindset and they will be deeply in analytics and mouth of all those numbers.
My career was on both of those sides, I did start as a pure artist. My goal was only to make music and make a living from my creations. Before I became good enough to make some living from spring my music, the screen had already changed, and there was not much money from only releasing the music, so I started DJing as well. The good thing is that I fell in love with mixing music and I did find a huge passion for that as well. The second important thing to write down is this: Producing music and Mixing music, mixing as a DJ are two completely different things, and they ARE two different paths.
This can be crucial for developing your career, is to divide those two on a bigger scale. Sitting in your comfy studio, smoking a bit of weed or microdosing yourself to boost your creativity and making music by playing around by tweaking knobs and manipulating the sound waves and touring around the world, spending enormous hours in airports and hotels, almost not sleeping at all, eating not so good food while travelling, all of that for those 2hrs to play, and then repeat all of that again on your way back home, and doing that quite too often are two completely different worlds. Not many people are able to see all it: time spent at the airports and hotels, waiting for the delayed or cancelled flights, making your visas and organising your tours. What people will see are only those 2 hrs when you play.
This is something you need to be ready for, and as you already know, time flies so fast, and we are not getting younger and it doesn’t get any easier. It is something you need to be ready for!
Do not misunderstand me on this one, I am not complaining, I do enjoy all of that as well, but I did find so many artists that are hating it and that we're saying that this is not what they have been fighting for. Just take a look at the Avicci documentary if you didn’t and you will see exactly the point that I am referring to.
There is also the separation of the processes for making the music. I wish I could know how to better organise myself for creative work. It would be really handy if I didn’t need to learn everything about mixing and making my music sound that great, as this part took the most of my time. Researching about the speakers, converters, hardware, software, and the hardest one the room acoustics. There are super successful artists on our scene that are not mixing their own tracks, they are hiring others to mix their music, they do have some extra costs, but they are saving years of the time invested in learning all these technical things that can be not that much of fun to everybody. They are investing that time in making more music that they can release.