As musicians we work, or at least hope to, in a business that is based
on contacts, opportunities, and one's reputation. In most cases, the
ones who are successful get there by working hard and developing lasting
producers hire the same people to work on their big budget recordings
as they hired on their earlier low budget demos. It is so important
to do your best work always, regardless of the pay. You just never know
who is going to be the next big time recording artist or film/television
Be "open" to
work possibilities. I have lost count of how many times something that
initially seemed like a bad deal has led to major work opportunities.
Consider other factors besides the money. We are in a service business
and certainly should be compensated fairly for our time. The problem
is there will always be another musician willing to do the job for less
money than you and your clients will not hesitate to let you know this.
I have seen
many a composer walk away from an opportunity to get their music heard
just because the contract wasn't exactly right or the money was too
low. I am not suggesting you give your music away, just that you stay
flexible in your decision making process. Although it is crucial to
thoroughly review all contracts and legal agreements, it's also important
to consider the other benefits of accepting a job. Keep in mind, the
more your work is out there, the more momentum and income your catalog
Set a standard
of excellence in whatever you do. Be dedicated in your writing and humble
about the work you create. Composing with this work ethic will raise
the quality of your music, benefit everyone involved, and will propel
your career forward. Don't just look at the individual situation . .
. stand back and try to see the larger picture. Remember, there is no
room for arrogance in our business, just confidence. You might think
that your work is as good as everyone else's, but until your work is
out there nobody will ever know your talent.
There are many
ways to create income as a composer and the fees can range from low
to quite high. It is important to remember that this is not your first
and will certainly not be the last song you will ever write. An experienced
composer knows that there are more songs where that one came from. As
much as you might love the song you're holding on to, it is wiser to
get it out there than to keep it on the shelf. I know many talented
writers sitting on great songs that might never be heard.
is no shortage of composers who are capable of sitting down and completing
a well crafted song in a single afternoon. They are able to do this
because they have studied their craft and because they are constantly
composing and creating new music. These writers have built up a catalog
of songs that have found there way on to films, television shows, and
CD's. Their deals have ranged from work for hire, keeping/splitting/or
giving away publishing, and collecting or waiving sync license fees.
is different. Some good, some great, and some disappointing. The important
thing is to keep writing and to actually find ways of "releasing" your
music. Try to keep in mind the act of releasing implies a certain degree
of letting go. Having a long career requires dedication and flexibility,
both in your ability to compose and in your willingness to take a broader
look at your business options. So, next time, when opportunity knocks
. . . remember to open the door.
Wanna publish this article on your website? Click here to find out how.