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Breaking Into The Music Business


Inside%20The%20Music%20Biz%20logo.jpgThe following is the first episode of a talk show programme titled ‘INSIDE THE MUSIC BIZ’ hosted by Thaddeus “Teddy” Laidley every Wednesday at 3:30 to 4:00pm. The programme is aired on HOT 102 FM during "THE HOT MIX", hosted by Richie B 2:30 to 5:00 PM. The programme is aimed at offering insights into the music business for aspiring artistes and industry persons.

You have recorded some singles for the unsuspected world to hear, so what! Anyone with a few dollars can go into the studio and record some singles. Making music and making a living from music is not the same thing. When it comes to getting your music in the market place you have entered the domain of music business economics. There are two music worlds. There is the world of pure music, which involves the creative side of things, song writing, rehearsing and performing. Their is another world which must come into play if you truly want people to hear your music...the music business; questions associated with such are what is a copyright? What do publishers do? What happens when you do sign with a record label or a contract? What is a royalty and why do labels pay the royalties they do pay? Etc.

Breaking into the music business takes hard work, a lot of discipline, and as a recording artist you have to be prepared you have to keep your head up. You've got to have passion, think out of the box and have basic fundamental business knowledge. There are several ways in which opportunity presents itself. One such is our local talent shows through which artist can be discovered, which have proven to be a success. Some examples are: Digicel Rising Stars, which have given way to Christopher Martin, O'Neil Peart and most recently the astounding Jim Laden; Tastee Talent Trail which have given way to, the legendary yellow man, Sensational Nadine Sutherland, and the undisputed Bennie Man and many others.


There are other talent shows such as Magnum Kings and Queens of the Dancehall, Faith Gospel search, which presents same opportunity. The internet also plays a tremendous role in the process of discovering artist, in such upcoming artist has the opportunity of joining the social networks, such as Hi5, Imeem, MySpace, Realvybes media, facebook and most commonly used youtube, just to name a few, where they can upload their songs, so industry players who visit these sites can hear and see them and also develop their potential target group. Products of such networks are Solider Boy and Jamaican born Sean Kingston. Most Importantly You need to Network, Network, Network, and with networking comes boldness, attend the various press and album launches, local conferences and events where industry players will be present. Don’t be shy, Make an approach, introduces your self, exchange contacts and in appropriate situations your Demo; however you need to ensure that the content of what is presented in your demo is well crafted and has the potential of becoming a hit, in that you are sending a positive message in what ever style of music been done, hence will have an impact. Too much of our artiste are engaging their time in making disposable music (music that doesn’t last long). This simple means that as an up and coming artist wanting to make a breakthrough, You always have to be prepared, in that you should always have your demos, business cards and possibly your press kit (if any) in your possession. Another integral aspect of the breaking in process is promotion. It is often said that majority of up and coming artist are without financial support and if they do have it’s really not enough to take them along. This is however not a barrier to promote to yourself, so stop saying it is. Think outside the box, embark on a Guerrilla approach (unconventional/non-traditional way of promotion, which is usually inexpensive) in such print a few flyers and business cards make a drop at offices of industry player, or drop them an email stating what you have to offer as an artist, tell them what’s your potential, have a desperate tone but not to the point where it seems as if you are becoming annoying, that may be a turn off from you. Forget about your pride make calls to the local music channels and request interviews, the answer can only be yes or no. If yes take the opportunity and make the best of it, but remember you must express gratitude. This music industry is an especially tough business to break into alone. This is why you must surround yourself with a team of people that you trust and are qualified to help guide your career. You should have a team of focused and enthusiastic people around to help out with your day to day activities.

There are certain Qualities an artist must posses in such competitive business of music, which will guarantee preference to be discovered; Talent, tenacity, ego, willingness, commitment, humility, personality, ambition and most importantly knowledge of the music business. Let's face it good talent can be found on every corner and standing out in the crowd has become the biggest challenge.

Ten stages have been designed to guide an artiste towards a successful career in the entertainment industry. Each Artiste’s talent and abilities are different depending on the stage that they have reached in their career, thus they may need to begin at a different step but complete an area of a previous step. The steps are as follows:

Step 1 – Evaluation Period/Talent Audit
- What is the artiste’s core talent?
- What is his/her voice/singing range?
- How far has the artiste reached in terms of their talent? How much exposure?
- Do they need voice training / coaching / dancing lessons / gym training?

Step 2 - Press Kit/Profile
-Define the artiste’s image
-Determine their target market
-Start a preliminary Biography
-Do photos shoot for get press photos.

Step 3 - Developmental Period
-Develop musical skills, Voice training, instrument
-Develop performance skills, rehearsals
-Interview Training
-Start developing Electronic Press Kit (EPK’s)
-Develop personal skills- speech and interview training/coachingdancing lessons, gym training

Step 4 - Repertoire Period
-Introduce them to the studio atmosphere and begin to record demos
-Work on rhythm tracks
-Introduce the artiste to different recording studios and producers

Step 5 - Hit Search
-All out effort to search to find a distinctive song
-Arrange for the artiste to do a collaboration that features an established artiste.
-Work on rhythm tracks

Step 6 - Introduction to the Media
-Introduce the artiste to local media houses through interviews on cable, radio & literature
-Establish internet exposure through websites and create a website for the artiste
-Obtain free exposure through free show performances and attendances at public events

Step 7 - Evaluation Period
-Release songs on radio
-Get feed back from local radio and the street
-Depending on response step up promotion

Step 8 - Market Saturation
-Saturate the Caribbean market
-Distribute posters and singles
-Book the artiste on bigger shows

Step 9 - Initial International Exposure
-Begin talks with international recording companies
-Get the artiste interviews internationally on radio, and in magazines

Step 10 - Known Internationally
-Get into positive relationships with international distributors and promoters

Fame and fortune are tough to get, otherwise everyone would have them. Making it in the music business takes a lot of hard work, and even the most gifted performer may have to leap a lot of hurdles. If being a performer is truly your goal, have faith in yourself and what you can do - and have the discipline to keep pushing for yourself.
An important line to artist, ‘he that humble him self shall be exhaulted’, remember ‘repudiate the taught of HYPE’.

Research done by: Mariesha Spencer.
Part of the article was derived from pre-existing materials done by Michael “mikey” Bennett and Steve Golding.

Teddy Laidley is an entertainment consultant with years of experience with touring musicians and event production. Email him with your comments suggestions, and questions at:


Comments (1)


Posted by Lyndo | March 16, 2010 12:26 AM

i'm an upcoming artist & i have to say this is the best article i have come across for a very long time...i'm makin sure to have this article saved in ma pc...thanx miss mariesha spencer & for this article...blessd love

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