Getting into the music industry as a freelancer can be a challenging and somewhat intimidating task, but it’s not as hard as most people think. It boils down to having some basic skills and confidence in yourself, and also being active with the industry itself. There are thousands of tools and free services presented to us today, allowing us to do so and start getting gigs.
Here are 3 tips that I think are important and useful for aspiring freelance composers to get gigs and connections, starting out in the industry.
Utilize Internet and social media
Internet has completely changed the way the music industry works and operates. It has changed the ways people meet, collaborate and connect. Never before has it been this easy to work together with people from all over the world, and it’s easier than ever to broadcast your music to people all across the globe. Through YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud, CDbaby, Bandcamp etc, almost anyone can have their music published and made available to the general public – reaching more people than ever.
Using the power of the internet has been a game changer to me, and the most important platform for me has been YouTube. But I’m not alone there, as violinist and music producer Jason Yang says:
“Social media is and has been the platform on which I built my entire professional career.”
His videos has been viewed over 30 million times, and following that, he’s been commissioned by HBO and has been touring the world with Madonna. And everything started on YouTube for him. The same story can be heard for many thousands of successful freelancers out there.
Make sure to get your music out there, on the many venues of the internet. A lot of new clients and big new contacts have found me using YouTube, and it has provided me with lots of gigs and projects, especially in my earlier days. Use the opportunity the internet gives us to reach out to as many people as possible, because these platforms can seriously change your career when utilized properly.
Network, Network, Network!
This is an often recurring tip, but it’s just so damn important. Your success will in a lot of ways depend on the network of people you build around you. Most of your work will eventually come from already established contacts, and most new people you will be introduced to will also come from already existing relationships. Therefore it is imperative to actively work on building a strong and high quality network of friends and colleagues around you and on the web.
However, I see a lot of people overlook this powerful part of business. They focus solely on just improving their skills (which is also extremely important) without ever working on actively strengthening their network of contacts. Make it a habit to reach out to people. Utilize social media and the internet, and don’t forget about real life communication. Just get out of your comfort zone, connect with people and establish new relationships. It’ll help you greatly as a freelancer and as a person.
Acquire good production skills
Having some decent, basic production and mixing skills is becoming more and more important for modern composers. It rarely suffices anymore to just be good at composing if your mixes are horrible and your MIDI mockups don’t have any higher quality. Remember that this is the first thing a director, a publisher or a client will ever hear from you. Whether you’re sending your tracks to a trailer house, a label, a director or anybody else – making a good first impression with a well done demo is extremely important.
You don’t have to spend 10 years acquiring professional mixing experience and invest in tens of thousands in equipment. Just realize that you have to be able to produce your own music well, and account for that when it comes to what you’re focusing on improving with. Learn basics of mixing, understand how EQ’s, reverbs and compressors work, learn how to clean up your mixes, how to make them more punchy, and in general how to make it sound presentable on a more professional level. Also, focus on making your midi mockups sound realistic and nice – this will be very important when it comes to impressing future clients.