Understanding the Music Industry: A Practical Guide for Aspiring Artists

Becoming a music artist is easy, but making a living off your music is the true challenge. The music industry changes every five years, especially with the advent of big changes in technology.

Becoming a music artist is easy, but making a living off your music is the true challenge. The music industry changes every five years, especially with the advent of big changes in technology. Many aspiring artists have learned to leverage the power of the Internet and social media while others go the traditional route with a record label. Still, the music industry is a business at the end of the day and it’s important you have a good grasp on it so you can be successful. All of this may seem like common sense, but we’ve put together a practical guide for aspiring artists to remove the air of mystery and give you the help you need to get to the next level. 

Social Media 

In the old days, music artists relied on physical promotion and advertising to get noticed. Things have changed dramatically with the rise of social media platforms. Starting a fanpage on Facebook, posting a mix of photos as well as videos on Instagram, and posting a slew of content on TikTok could get you noticed by the right people in a short amount of time. Sit down and devise a realistic posting schedule so you can properly promote your new music releases. You might also want to consider hiring a social media team or agency to handle your social media tasks for you. Either way, this will help you stay connected with your fans and build anticipation for your next release. 

Music Distribution 

You can make all of the music in the world, but it is virtually worthless without music distribution. Music distribution used to be done primarily through physical stores purchasing music via CDs and/or vinyl records. This still exists but has evolved into digital distribution, which is the more commonplace route to get your music out to the masses. There are multiple ways of making this happen and this includes going through a distribution company, a record label or digital distribution platforms. Music artists can upload their music directly to these platforms such as Distrokid and these distributors will push it out to music platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, iTunes, etc. 

Artist Management 

If you decide to go the independent artist route or go for a more traditional path, you should consider getting a reliable management team around you. A seasoned manager will work one-on-one with you and devise strategies to get your music heard on the largest levels possible. Managers have years of experience in the music industry and can help you navigate the business side of things. This could help you align with other important people, make more successful moves, and help increase your finances. Find someone you trust and has a good reputation/resume. 

Touring and Live Music 

Music royalties garnered from streaming services don’t pay much so many artists rely on touring to make the majority of their money. Most artists go on tour following an album release, but you can set up live performances at any time. In the beginning stage of your career, you’ll open up for other artists, but overtime you’ll become the main act. This will help increase your publicity, engage with your fanbase, and help different regions become exposed to your artistry as well as your music. When your rise in your career, you’ll eventually need a tour manager and a booking agent. They will handle the business end of scheduling tour dates, talking to venues, and managing a technical crew. This will allow you to focus on performing to the best of your ability and making a statement. 

Licensing and Sync 

Do you ever wonder how certain songs make it into movies, video games, commercials, and other forms of media? This is accomplished through the magic of licensing and sync. There are people in the music industry who solely work in this field while there are agencies that promote your music for you to different brands. This is one of the most lucrative paths you can take as an up-and-coming artist in the industry. If your song gets placed in the right TV show or movie, you could blow up overnight or this could become a stepping stone for the next phase of your career. 


Thousands of aspiring artists try to make it in the music industry every year, but still struggle to get their music heard and have a hard time being seen. Thankfully, there’s tons of information online and in print about the music industry that could prepare you for the future. Taking advantage of social media is essential to your career, getting your music onto music distribution platforms is paramount, and getting the right manager could change your life. Touring and live music could strengthen your financial livelihood, and sync licensing has the ability to get your music heard in a diverse range of media outlets. There’s so much more you could learn about this industry, but this practical guide could increase your chances of becoming the next superstar. 

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