MP3 Mafia: How to be a successful musician in India

Contrary to popular belief, success in the music industry rarely happens overnight. Unless you have powerful connections or hefty bank accounts, you can’t just buy your way to the top and become a recognised music artist. The music scene is brimming with talented and passionate musicians, making the competition even more cutthroat. If you want to be a popular musician and release your written songs, how are you supposed to make it in the industry?

This is why some small-time musicians believe that it’s just about luck and the right timing. However, this is not entirely true. There are lots of factors you have control over that can rise you to fame, especially now that music streaming platforms like MP3 Mafia are within reach.

Take a look at these tips on how to be a successful musician in India:

Stay motivated

Your ability to stay motivated is your main foundation in pursuing the music industry. Keep in mind that it’s hard to reach the top if you’d spend daydreaming about succeeding more than doing the actual work that needs to be done. You can’t just safely assume that every producer or record executive that you get in contact with will sign you, especially when you can’t show them what you’ve got.

That’s why you need to know your motivations before reaching for bigger things. Think about the reasons why you started in the first place. Perhaps, you want to release your songs that experiment with various genres and introduce a new sound to the public. Maybe you want to honour the memory of your late father who inspired you to pick up the guitar when you were young. 

That way, you can weather any rejection that comes your way. When you feel like you’re failing yourself, you can stay motivated by going back to what motivates you. Remember that when you’re just starting, the road to success is incredibly long but worth it.

Use social media platforms

Before the launch of various social media platforms, it can be pretty hard to get your name out there. Fortunately, you can take advantage of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram to promote your name and music. This is where you can post your songs, upcoming gigs in town and music advocacies, to name a few. 

Make sure that you regularly update your accounts. If you don’t, your followers might lose interest in your music since they’re being left in the dark. This isn’t to say that you should post every day which can overwhelm your fans and possibly irritate them. We highly recommend that you only post two to three times a week to keep everything balanced.

Don’t wait for a record label

There’s a common belief among new musicians that the only way to success is through a record label. They think that these companies have golden tickets in their pockets, ruling out the idea that success is mainly about hard work and determination.

This probably came from the misconception that record labels know the secrets of how to be a successful musician. The bad news is, they don’t. Your rise to fame won’t start with signing at a record label. The outcome will solely depend on your actions—nothing more, nothing less.

Some musicians who managed to sign a major record label weren’t able to release music. In some cases, labels would drop you without warning even if they signed you in the first place. You’d even notice that most record labels won’t give you an offer unless you have a successful independent music career. That’s why you have to concentrate on your projects, release music on streaming platforms and establish a fanbase. If you make the mistake of chasing after the big-money deals in the market, then you’re less likely to gain your end.

Listen to everything

When you’re a writer, one of the most important pieces of advice is to read books as much as you can. It’s a great way to significantly improve your writing skills because you are introduced to a lot of materials that remain notable for centuries. This goes the same when you’re a musician. You have to develop your taste by listening to everything, no matter the genre you prefer. 

For example, even if it’s not your cup of tea, take some time to explore the rock genre. Listen to punk, heavy metal, psychedelic rock, screamo and grunge, among others. Learn about the greatest rock hits that are still on the music charts up to this very day. 

Once you find something that you like, try to look back on what influenced the music. You must find the roots of your favourite artists so you know how they used to create their own. 

Learn how to network

It’s easy to stay holed up in your room writing and recording songs all day. However, this is a mistake you should avoid. Although streaming platforms and social media help get the word out, nothing beats the art of networking. Keep in mind that the music scene is a people-based industry, so you have to meet other people who pursue the same thing as you. 

Take some time away from your guitar, keyboard and microphone. Make conversations with established professionals near your area, including vocalists, producers and songwriters. If possible, you can join music festivals, trade shows and conferences to meet like-minded people. Don’t be afraid to make new connections along the way, and keep track of who you keep in touch with.

Know your advantage

It’s intimidating to enter the music industry, given that lots of musicians may be more talented and skilled than you. You might be tempted to focus on why you would never make it rather than assuring yourself that you have the chance. Besides, if there are more talented musicians than you will ever be, why should you try in the first place?

Keep yourself in check and focus on your competitive advantage instead. You might not know it, but you have something that no other musician can offer. If it helps, list down all the skills you’ve learned throughout your career. Look back at all the experiences you’ve gone through and how these events moulded you into a better musician. 

For example, you’re a great improviser. Even if you’re not prepared, you can grab the guitar and perform a song on the spot. You’re always geared up to pitch a song you’re writing with little to no preparation, or you can come up with catchy tunes within seconds. 

When you’re just starting as a musician, don’t be afraid to focus on your strengths. 

Get yourself out there

One of the best ways to be recognised is to perform in front of a crowd. We’re not even talking about massive stadiums, concert halls or overpriced music festivals. You can start by performing for small audiences in coffee shops or restaurants that give a platform for small-time musicians like yourself.

However, if you think that you’re not confident enough for small gigs, you can also begin by performing in front of your family and friends. Bring your guitar during family events and sing your songs. You never know, a family relative may know someone who works in the music industry and help you get a deal!

Once you’re ready, attend a coffee shop open-mic. Since you only have a small audience, you might feel a bit more comfortable singing wholeheartedly. Besides, people who usually stay here are easy-going, helping you feel more laid back.

Another option is to join a band. Don’t be afraid to ask about their journey in the music scene, tricks they’ve learned along the way and how they stay dedicated to their craft. If you want, you can form your band if you have trouble finding bands to play with. Use your social media platforms to look for potential members who play the same music as you.

Be committed

No matter how talented and determined you are, you may see little to no results when you’re just starting. You’ve been releasing songs on music platforms, yet it feels like no one wants to hear what you have to offer. You see your peers and colleagues getting recognition, signing with record labels and selling tickets for their shows, yet you’re still in the same spot from when you began. 

Remember that being a successful musician can take a long time. This is why you need to stay committed no matter what. Also, don’t forget to celebrate your success, no matter how small. 

For more information and advice on how to be a popular musician, stay tuned here at MP3 Mafia and release your songs with us!

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