The Essentials for Musicians

Essentials for Musicians is a step-by-step guide to progress effectively as a musician. A collection of essentials, advice, inspiration and resources for music enthusiasts navigating the new music industry.

About the eBook

Musicians today live in a golden age of tools and technology. Nowadays a basic smartphone app can give you the functionality of an expensive recording studio.

A new song can be shared with the world and also tutorials for every sound design or music production technique can be found through a Google search.

As a result, all of these developments have served to level the playing field for musicians. Therefore, making it possible for a bedroom producer to create music at a stage of a major-label artist.

While things happen fast in the new music industry, nowadays it’s simply not enough to only make music if you wanna build a successful career. So, what should a musician do from the early stages to breakthrough?

In this 90 page eBook you’ll find informations and all-together resources filling the gaps between the process of starting out and becoming a successful musician in the new music industry.

Table of Content

Theory & The Fundamentals – what are the stages
The State of Music Production – essentials to progress effectively
Stages of a Music Producer – the journey
The Studio Essentials – home studio, recording & audio process
Record Deals & Labels – get signed
Distribution & Publishing – progress to your label & artist output
Debuting new music – release & build up with your best music forward
Working with a PR Agency – why and when, the boost
Bookings & Management – from the calendars to a manager
Playing Live – make your way to shows
Marketing & Promotion – build your brand name
Web Presence & Social Media – build your audience
The Essentials for Musicians
The Essentials for Musicians
The Essentials for Musicians
The Essentials for Musicians
Theory & Fundamentals

Music theory beginners are lucky. Above all, learning music theory is a journey that can be lots of fun and very useful. As simple as it sounds, most people don’t do it. They start diving in and then they think “Oh well, I already know this, I’ll just go do something else”. Because of that, they don’t get a solid music theory foundation which is key on this journey.

If you start at the beginning and study the basics, you can get that solid foundation and learn the next steps MUCH faster than the people who didn’t. This gives you an advantage over the other music theory beginners, and gets you out there learning music and getting the gigs, a lot faster.

First Steps
  1. The Theory Basics – This will give you an overview of basics and the main elements of music theory. Not the fine and sometimes confusing details, just the essentials.
  2. The Music Alphabet – This gives you a firm foundation in the music notation systems and pre-develops a sense how scales will work.This page will show you how useful learning the alphabet can be. It’s as easy as A-B-C!
  3. The Scales – Scales give you a sense of order and directionality. Also because scales are one of the essentials of music, this section will show you real life examples, not just redundant theoryroutines.

Music Production

Over the past 10 years, music production has become lot more accessible. Great music is being produced all the time in bedroom, garages and basements by many. Often with little more than a computer and some headphones. Produce a song, post it online, watch it go viral and you’re famous overnight. While it’s not that Easy, it is that Simple.

Three things you should know about being a producer is that it’s difficult, it’s diverse and it’s rewarding.

Master the fundamentals of music production. If you’re looking for an easy hobby, this isn’t it. But if you’re looking for something that will positively impact your life, cause you to think critically and artistically, and give you the joy of creating something–then this for you.

Stages of a Music Producer

Being a music producer is difficult for a number of reasons. The first one is that it takes a long time to get to a level where your music is actually worth releasing. There are confusions involved in music production that not only take a while to understand in theory, but require deliberate practice.

Even if you’ve got great musical ideas, your mixing skills might not be great, or your sound design may not be up to standard. There are a few stages that you need to experience to find your way trough and we cover these up in the eBook:

  • Initiation
  • Exponential Learning
  • The Dip
  • Proficiency
  • Mastery

Studio Essentials

Building the perfect home recording studio is a huge project when you start out, isn’t it? It takes months of planning, research and preparation.

Well most people think so, but the truth is, getting started is far easier than you might imagine. The perfect home studio has to mean perfect for you, meaning your budget and your needs.

Building a home studio is overwhelming and expensive at first. So really all you need is the basic essentials, later on the setup can go further as your needs and skills grow, so we’re going to cover all this.

Record Deals and Labels

Scoring a major label record deal is at the top of to-do list for most musicians, and for good reason. Having one of the big labels working on your music can be your ticket to the big time.

However, indie labels are doing pretty great as well. When you’re trying to decide whether your ideal home is an indie or a major, you need to know and keep the labels benefits and downsides in mind.

Distribution & Publishing

Distribution – is the way that recorded music gets into the hands and ears of consumers. Traditionally, distribution companies sign deals with record labels which give them right to sell that label’s products. 

Professional record labels have deals with distribution companies that send their records to stores, whether physical or digital. With digital becoming the primary format and the huge cost reduction of not having to create physical product, most labels release new records on digital only. They are supplied to digital service providers (DSPs) such as Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify or Beatport.

Music publishing – is about the ownership of songs, is about the rights of songwriters and song owners. And perhaps most importantly, music publishing is about money and the royalties that songs generate. Music publishing can be complex and confusing. Our aim is to simplify the most basic concepts of music publishing.

Debuting Your Music

Embracing this total power shift means not only exerting more control, but also confront with different lifestyles and busier schedules. Under such models, musicians must accept their status as CEO of their own artistic empire, and be wiling to make tougher executive decisions.

The artist-run label movement is growing most rapidly in the indie electronic sphere, where DJs and producers such as Gramatik, Mark Sherry and Ganja White Night are running their own, digital-only labels. DIY business models fit well with electronic music, as DJs and producers historically built their fame on the fringes of the mainstream through file-sharing and other internet trends.

If you wanna learn more, please check “Debuting New Music“, it covers up everything you need to know before starting your music empire.

PR Agency

Promotion – Yes, You need it too. just like you need to give people some way to buy your albums, you need to let them know that they exist in the first place. To do that, you have to promote, promote, promote. Promotion is necessity, but it’s hard work and you need to be prepared for a huge learning curve.

Music publicists and PR (public relation) agencies are responsible for generating press, both online and offline. They do this for record labels, artists, event promoters and venue owners. Their services include pushing releases or an artist to online blogs and offline magazines, interviews, feature placements, reviews and other forms of press. Many big PR agencies also provide radio plugging services.

Booking & Management

Getting a booking agent is a good goal to aim for. It’s what all the hard work leads to while you’re still making things work on your own. To decision to hire an agent or getting into a booking agency depends on where you are in your music career and what you hope to achieve by working with. 

Having the right music manager on your team is as important as having the right players. The “right” manager doesn’t necessarily have to be someone with tons of experience. Although it’s nice to have someone with connections, a motivated friend who learns the ropes with you can also be a great ally.

Playing Live

One of the best ways to build up a fan base for you is to get out there and play live as often as you can. But often artists find themselves between a rock and a hard place; to get a gig you need and audience, but to get an audience you need a gig.

You can rise above that, however, and get yourself in front of the crowd if you follow the right steps. The “Essentials for Musicians” covers getting one show but you can build on many of those steps to book yourself or band and entire tour. For this, you’ll need to know how to promote and how to do business with promoters and venues.

Marketing & Promotion

Music marketing, also known as music promotion, is the process of raising awareness of your music. By marketing your music, you are getting people to know it exists. Without properly promoting yourself or your music, no one would know you even make music.

How many sales or fans do you think you’ll get if people don’t know you make music? That’s right, none! You can record 1000 songs and have the best album in the world, but if you don’t effectively communicate this message to people, it won’t be worth anything. 

Proper marketing can make or break your music career, so make sure you learn how to do so properly. While it used to be the case record labels would do all the marketing for you and you just focus on projecting your talent, this is no longer an option for most new musicians.

While you could always hire people to do marketing for you, this can get costly and often isn’t a good idea unless you’re at a good level with your talent.

Online Presence

You’re on Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram and a handful of other platforms you barely remember signing up for. Yes, you have an “online presence” – but so does every other artist in the world. That’s okay. Social media is integral to a musician’s success today.

But total reliance on social media is an all-too-common mistake a lot of new musicians make. What these platforms do not provide you with, of course, is a website: an online headquarters for your music, a space that you control for the long haul.

Without your own website, you’re not just losing out on press and promo opportunities, you might actually be losing out on gigs too. A musicians website is the new music press kit. It’s a vital part of your music promo and career. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube.

It’s smart to have them and to keep them updated. But if you don’t have a proper website you’re missing a big opportunity. Most industry experts agree, musicians need a dedicated website and here’s why: 

  • makes you look pro
  • people want a one-stop destination
  • you are at the center of the experience
  • you have total control
  • social platforms come and go
  • you can sell direct-to-fan
  • more than stats
  • you own the address

Who is this eBook for?

If you are a music beginner going to make music and open to learn more, this is for you! If you are an advanced musician and you’ve ever found yourself struggling to make a path for a music career, this ebook is also for you.

Who we are, the authors?

We are musicians-producers and label owners, with over 10 years of experience in the music industry. We know the business inside out.

We’ve helped many artists along the years and debuted their music on labels such as Sony Music, Universal Music, Warner Music, The Orchard, Spinnin, Armada, Ultra and more.

As a collective group of musicians, we wear many hats and are involved in numerous roles such as: managing multiple projects, distribution, record labels, studios, club-events, promotion-marketing, and idea creation.

Using this eBook

You may think of The Essentials for Musicians as something like a travel guide. Probably will help you to find relationships between the various stages of a musician and to see them as a passionate, informative system, rather than as outlying examples.

essentials for musicians


Why is this eBook needed?

There are already many ways—books, video tutorials, software documentation to learn about music technology and music production.

We strongly support all of this as well, and encourage anyone who’s interested in this ebook to also take advantage of all these resources.

The Essentials for Musicians is a shot to help people who are also comfortable with the basics of music production but who still find the other stages to be a difficult process.

Final

In conclusion, we combined this 90 page ebook that is a complete guide covering all the various stages of a musician and how to progress effectively in the new music industry. While we hope you find this eBook inspiring as aims to be as genre-neutral as possible, similarly, we hope even more that what inspires you is the music you make.

Go on progressing effectively to your successful music career. Enjoy the wonderful journey!

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Essentials for Musicians
What People Say

Reviews & Testimonials

Tons of valuable information on just about every aspect of the stages and the career of a musician - all gathered intelligently and explained thoughtfully.

Joshua Nicoline Producer/Composer

Well structured and very entertaining, I strongly recommend it!

em
EM Singer/Songwriter | BAB, Silent Strike x Deliric

Really useful tips for both beginners and advanced producers! Simply love it

lucam
Luca M DJ/Producer | Defected, Toolroom, Terminal M

I got the hard copy because this is very interesting. It has everything that I needed to know to go further. I truly recommend it.

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Eveline Hannes Singer/Songwriter

It opened up my mind to want more and do more, also helped me to get rid of old beliefs and blockages about music production.

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Maximilian J. Musician/Early Producer

Essentials for Musicians