#1
Ive been playing for 5 or 6 years. I'm sixteen and write fairly good instrumental songs. I want to make a carear out of my ability to write songs. Besides playing local gigs and what not, what other options do i have? I can record a studio album, but then what? Suggestions and encouragment would be appreciated.
#2
I don't know how I can put this, but if you plan on making a career out of your music, you're being foolish. Hope for it to happen, but have more realistic ambitions be your first priority or you're going to end up in a box. To be able to make a living off of your music, you have to be at the right place at the right time with the right people while doing the right thing. There's no way to force it.


Also, even though your instrumentals aren't bad, compared to what's out there, your compositions are very simplistic. To put this into perspective for you, this guy isn't signed:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beWPPNwJywE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyFPJ5yjkc0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PemzHddFyNE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm0vSXCR6g0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu-tAT1_0Co

...and he's lightyears ahead of you.
#3
i have friends who write songs and make money. mostly the ones who make a living write for commercials - or in one case, she writes for herself but several of her songs were sold to companies to use for commercials.

if you want to make a living playing gigs, it's very important to know how to work with a mailing list - snail mail and email. you'll always need to let your fan base know when and where you're playing with plenty of advance warning and a reminder, make them feel a part of things and make sure they know if there are special things about each show. also be sure to have DVDs to sell at each show, looking nice and professional - maybe even shirts. don't stay too local. make friends with musicians who play similar or compatible types of music and you can play shows with them and get fans from each other. always have a friend to count the people who come in the door of a paying club asking for you or with your flyer - club owners tend not to want to pay. work myspace and your own website hard.

i found that playing for charity events pays and they tend to refer you a bit.

search myspace and other such sites and local ads for people looking for songwriters to collaborate with.

remember, song writing ability isn't what makes the money - the best songwriter in the world only makes money if he/she has a way to get their songs and ability known or heard. that's usually the hard part.
Last edited by patticake at Sep 9, 2009,
#4
make a music myspace for your stuff. add friends all day long. look for people in your own area at first and add them. just do like 50-100 a day. its basically impossible for a new band to get out there without a myspace these days. its extremely convenient.

dont look or sound like a local act. get yourself a full band. acoustic solo players dont draw nearly as much attention (Chris Carabba being an exception). upgrade your equipment when the time comes. you're only gonna sound as good as your equipment. dont expect anyone to find you.

great songwriting is a nice skill, but record companies dont care if you make a whole CD full of you just strumming an E chord either. as long as it sells.

Its not so much what you know as it is who you know...

a friend of mine recently got signed. He has was used to be a solo project called Secret Secret Dino Club. im not really a fan of the music, but it sold and now he's signed to Drive Thru records and just got back from tour with the Jonas Brothers. From everyhing I've seen going on over the last few years its that getting signed is either hard, or its pretty easy. note that making a living and getting signed are different things.

Record companies dont just give artists money, they give them loans or "signing bonuses". you're next 4 years or so after getting signed arent going to profit you. you have to pay back the label's signing bonus first.

often times it is much better promotion to go out to a famous artist's show and hand out very professional looking postcards of your band than it is for you to play a show of your own. Make sure its a big arena show and just hang out outside. say like Taylor Swift drops by through town, go to the venue she's playing at and start handing kids postcards. Not posters or fliers or little paper handouts in grey and white...no, professional looking, high resolution, informative postcard size pictures of the band. have your band name, myspace, and website on it.

kids wont know who you are, but they will take these cards from you. You can even start playing acoustic outside of that venue. if you do that, kids will come flocking, I guarantee it. sometimes venues will tell you to stop, sometimes they wont. not a big deal. 16 year old girls love the mystique, sex appeal, and confidence of guys in bands. its retail science, really. note that the stuff im saying is from personal experience and results do vary.


also, I just re-read your OP and realized you might only be doing instrumentals. in that case, almost none of what I said applies. bit of a different ball game. commercials, musicals, video game music, and movie/tv show soundtracks might be more your ball game. in which case, its actually a lot more about who you know and not what you know than i stated previously. welcome to the mess. there's still lots left to figure out and there are a lot of options.

another thing you could try doing is finding local bands in your area that have a good reputation and fan base and see if they need any members. if you're just a single guitar player you've really gotta ***** yourself out. I say do all of these things anyway because any band, venue owner, studio owner, and promoter you meet is a potential hook-up.

and last, but not least, dont be lazy.
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#6
Quote by i_don't_know
I don't know how I can put this, but if you plan on making a career out of your music, you're being foolish. Hope for it to happen, but have more realistic ambitions be your first priority or you're going to end up in a box. To be able to make a living off of your music, you have to be at the right place at the right time with the right people while doing the right thing. There's no way to force it.


Also, even though your instrumentals aren't bad, compared to what's out there, your compositions are very simplistic. To put this into perspective for you, this guy isn't signed:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beWPPNwJywE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyFPJ5yjkc0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PemzHddFyNE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm0vSXCR6g0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu-tAT1_0Co

...and he's lightyears ahead of you.

dont tell him to give up already. hes 16 that guy is like ...30ish? hes got some time.
but if i could give you advise. copy as many popular songs as you can to get noticed. so people can relate to them, just play the vocal notes on guitar over the beat,, if that makes sense. and you should probably try to learn to sing either way, its a useful skill in music and that would make you a million times more marketable.
you probably have already heard of this kid hes amazing but ill link him.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS0QjEeNYpM&feature=channel_page
#7
Quote by yabes24
dont tell him to give up already. hes 16 that guy is like ...30ish? hes got some time.
but if i could give you advise. copy as many popular songs as you can to get noticed. so people can relate to them, just play the vocal notes on guitar over the beat,, if that makes sense. and you should probably try to learn to sing either way, its a useful skill in music and that would make you a million times more marketable.
you probably have already heard of this kid hes amazing but ill link him.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS0QjEeNYpM&feature=channel_page


I'm not telling him to give up. I'm telling him not to be naive.

And the whole point is even when he's 30-ish and (possibly) as good as Andrew Gorny, there's still a very low chance he'll be signed.
#8
Without a doubt, it's hard, but not impossible. You have to start somewhere. Have you been playing gigs? If they go well and people respond, maybe make an EP or CD that you can start selling at these gigs. If you're selling out quickly, you can use that to book gigs at bigger places. Also, try to play around with other people; this will improve your abilities and potentially open up more gigs. This should fill your plate for a couple of months.
#9
Quote by i_don't_know
I'm not telling him to give up. I'm telling him not to be naive.

And the whole point is even when he's 30-ish and (possibly) as good as Andrew Gorny, there's still a very low chance he'll be signed.


He's not saying he wants to be signed, he wants to make a career out of music. two different things. Success is not necessarily being signed to a multi-million dollar deal. He's young enough to make his dream happen.
#10
Quote by i_don't_know
I'm not telling him to give up. I'm telling him not to be naive.

And the whole point is even when he's 30-ish and (possibly) as good as Andrew Gorny, there's still a very low chance he'll be signed.



did you know that if you aim higher for goals you will get farther. but if he dont aim high and try to be the best he can, chances are his subconscious will change any constant playing habits to hanging that guitar up for good. ive seen it happen to a couple of my friends just because their closest friends always made him think lower of himself.


and if hes as good as he is now and hes 16, thats not that bad. one of my friends who has been playing for about 9 years, never imagined himself being good. meanwhile another did and he practiced a lot, now he has been playing a bit over a year and knows a lot of great metallica, a7x, acdc, and more artists songs.
#11
Quote by brasuca6
Without a doubt, it's hard, but not impossible. You have to start somewhere. Have you been playing gigs? If they go well and people respond, maybe make an EP or CD that you can start selling at these gigs. If you're selling out quickly, you can use that to book gigs at bigger places. Also, try to play around with other people; this will improve your abilities and potentially open up more gigs. This should fill your plate for a couple of months.



and thats why its good for people like me who have friends with whole recording studios at their house