We have done a lot of podcast extra interviews over the years, and so a lot of wisdom has been shared by some of the most creative and established talent in the industry. What has been a constant thread, is that many of them never planned to end up making a living from music, so none of them were prepared. If one of our kids were thinking of trying to make a living from music, then these are our top 5 bits of advice.
1. If You Want To Be Rich, Then Choose Another Profession
The biggest mistake that many people make is that everyone in this industry is making a pile of money. The music industry is a financial pyramid, with the 1% at the top making 99% of the money - then below them are the producers, engineers, musicians, software developers, product manufacturers working hard to make a decent living. If your kid wants to be rich, then tell them to be a lawyer.
2. It Takes 20 Years To Become An Overnight Success
Yes there are exceptions to the rule, like those who win TV talent contests, but on the whole success is more about perspiration than inspiration - it takes a lot of hard work (often for no money - see above), a lot of tenacity, commitment and still without any guarantees - there are no shortcuts, honestly.
3. Be The Best
Being the best is not about money or fame, it is about making a commitment to doing the best you can with what you have. A good musician or sound producer can work with the tools they are given, be that a Neve console or an iPad and make fantastic music and audio. A bad workman does blame their tools and too often the excuse people give for producing a bad sound is that they didn’t have the right equipment, I think the early Beatles recordings blow that excuse out of the water. Don’t get caught up in the gear, it will distract you from your creativity - you might end up with nothing to show for your collection of hardware and software, just depreciation.
4. Guard Your Heart
The industry is full of pitfalls, cynics, bullshitters and just general idiots. The most precious thing you have is your creativity, so choose who you share your gift with carefully. You don’t want anyone to squander, steal or smash up your gift, so be as wise as a viper and as gentle as a dove.
5. Use Your Ears
When asked, nearly everyone we interview on the podcast answers ‘what piece of advice would you give someone starting out?’ with the same answer, USE YOUR EARS. Staring at screens to make and mix music is almost counter intuitive, we rely on our eyes so much and too often we just head for the same old settings. Next time you find yourself in front of a real desk or a piece of analogue rack gear, then close your eyes and craft the sound you need - you might be surprised at the settings when you open your eyes .
We love making music and we love making money from doing what I love. We do hope at least one of our kids follow us in, but we want them to know that it may seem glamorous, but like most things in life, it takes equal amounts of talent and hard work to be the best! Simon Cowell may be one of the richest people in music, but that’s because he made everyone else think that being successful in this industry was easy.