Music Marketing

Posted By Rick Goetz on July 6th, 2013

A blog for musicians and music industry people. It is a free educational resource and it is also the way I advertise my music consulting services. I am an entertainment professional with deep roots in the music industry. Throughout my music career I have been a major label A&R representative, a music supervisor, an artist manager, a reality show producer, a bass player and the head of a digital record label.


How to make it in the music industry

Posted By Rick Goetz on December 21st, 2010   
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Other than How do I get a record deal? or How can I License my music? the question that comes up the most is How do I make it in the music industry?”

“Making it” to me just means making a living playing, writing and recording music.


Top 5 Behaviors that will help you make it in the music business:

It is ALWAYS about the music.  Practice your craft daily.  Learn everything you can about music theory and writing and reading music- this will make you much more employable than the dozens of hobbyists out there. Never ever stop learning and finding people to learn from.  This has to be your number one priority no matter what happens.  You have to keep finding new ways of challenging yourself because just keeping callouses on your fingers is not enough.  If you really hit a wall with your instrument – pick up another instrument or get better at home recording techniques.  Sometimes taking a break from your primary instrument can help but there is no reason to stop learning all together.

#2 NETWORK – seek out and befriend people who make a living making music be they session players, band members, music executives (at labels, publishers, management companies or booking agents) or producer / engineers… The music business is all about your talent and who you know. In many cases people can get away with less talent if they know the right people and can convince them to participate in their projects.  Find conversation currency with these people and a way you can collaborate with as many people as possible even if it is just throwing networking events.  A note about “conversation currency” – talking exclusively about yourself and how you want to be a star could put Sominex out of business – stop it already.

#3 PLAY AND RECORD OFTEN. Play live, get basic home recording gear so you can preserve your ideas and share them with other people. Join a band or two – co-write with anyone and everyone who will let you. Start simple with open mic nights and work your way up. Meet and keep in contact with everyone who is doing what you want to do.  Your songs and recordings are like viruses – make sure you have lots of them out there and have the help of people with a vested interest in making them get heard.  The best way to do that is to collaborate.

#4 BE PROFESSIONAL. The music business if full of flakes. Don’t be a dude, there’s a million dudes out there. Be a man.  (please replace Dude with Chick and Man with Woman if this applies to you).  Do you know why Spinal Tap is so F*cking hysterical?  Because it’s based on too much truth.  Start by being punctual.  More than just punctual make sure you are paying attention – it’s your career!  Ask questions rather than nodding your head as if you already know and remember the people you are dealing with when booking shows or making records or whatever are making a living in music too so be considerate of them and their time.

#5 LEARN ABOUT BUSINESS. Look at and learn all of the ways that money is made in the music business. A good starting point is Donald Passman’s “all you need to know about the music business” – if you understand where the money comes from in the music business it will be much harder for people to take advantage of you…and they will try.  To this end- find knowledgeable people you trust and surround yourself with them.  Nothing is more terrifying than things we are vague about.

This last one doesn’t need to be advanced accounting either.  Take control of your financial life.  Keep receipts for everything and make a spreadsheet of everything you spend (I do this – it has saved me lots of $$$).  Most people find they are spending too much in some areas and not enough in others.  I once advised someone to do this who realized after three months of record keeping that he spent more on beer than he did on his career…  He is much farther along in his career now.

Got other practical suggestions for me or your peers about how to make it?  I’d love to hear from you.

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15 Responses to “How to make it in the music industry”


This is a very cool article


wow thanx 4 the tips

Atul Rana

Cool man. Yeah I definately think the networking thing is extremely important. It also helps you meet like minded success oriented people who might be on the next “level” already. Keeping this in mind I started a networking form called Rock Bands in London http://www.rockbandsinlondon.co.uk If you are ever here, do come down!

Onika Best

Those 5 points are a great help. thank you.


I like this article. I have been doing these things for a good amount of time and they are pretty accurate. Its about staying consistant in what you find interest in. I would recommend writing everything out as it helps immensly. Good Luck and feel free to check out some of my work artistically http://www.MostArt.com :)

Darren Flowers

I appreciate u being real about this music industry we need more people like u realtalk.

Nick Krautter

I used to work in the music business and taught at SFSU’s music business school. You point out some great ideas on how to make it in the music business.

I wrote this article which has some more ideas and links to online distribution and important new music business channels that I think your readers will appreciate.


Tracey Dey

I have been checking out a number of your articles – thanks for a very informative site.


Eddie Buchanan

Straight and to the point! I dig it!

Nikki Tasha

As an aspiring musician, I find this guide to be a very good “big picture” guide!

That being said, I’m just starting out and don’t have much money (yup, the typical starving musician). I’d like to start out making beats on my computer. Can anyone suggest a good tool that’s affordable?


thanks for the tips yo , really needed them !!

sarumo cyroc olanrewaju

sincerely i have to say this:-This is really good and it has changed my mood, i took it in like it’s food, and now i’m a man and not a dude. ..
May j.j be with you for ever and ever. ..


Great article!

I live in the Stockholm area and here there are about three or four venue tiers. You start out playing at local bars that are niched towards your genre of music, then you move towards larger venues that are more centered around the performance acts it accommodates, and then, if you break free of that, you can start playing some of the smaller stages at concerts or festivals. That’s how I’ve understood it so far. But what I’d love to have access to is the statistics around how many bands make it through each stage. If there are 600 bands starting out, all competing for ONE spot on a small stage at Sweden Rock Festival, and THAT band that makes it after working their asses off for years still isn’t earning more than a plumber or a secretary or some ch3ap @ss h0e, then you can safely say the monetary incentive to enter the music industry is gone.

I’m not sure the situation was this bad before Napster, but I’m more and more convinced musicians will have to learn to accept beer as payment and do it all for the admiration of the crowd.


Really nice article, we are going to work on this with our band!.



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