In the music business, you can never get too comfortable

comfort, professional comfort, job security, professional security, music business, success, music industry

Succeeding in the music business is hard work, and the only way to get ahead is by doing everything you can to consistently develop new skills.

The goal of every aspiring professional is to land their dream job and feel secure within it. You could say the same for current professionals as well. Everyone hopes to find something to do for a living that compliments their interests and has the potential to last for many years. No one likes looking for work, and no one wants to go through life feeling as though their job may be taken away from them at a moment’s notice, especially if they’re good at what they do. 

Life in the music business is a tricky proposition. On the one hand, finding employment can mean the actualization of dreams that have lived in someone’s soul from a very early age. On the other hand, maintaining a job once employed is never guaranteed. Business come and go in this industry just like trends in music. The label that employs 300 people today could very well find themselves needing only a fraction of that staff in five years time. Consumers dictate which businesses thrive and which companies die. You can be the best at what you do, but if no one is buying or supporting that thing there is a good chance you could soon be looking for work once more.

I tell you this not to discourage you, but to reinforce the need to stay engaged in the industry.  If you want to work in music then you have to accept the fact you the hustle really never ends. That doesn’t mean you have to work 24/7, but it does mean you need to be constantly pushing yourself towards bigger and better things. Full-time employment is not enough. Paying your bills is not enough. It’s not about money and it’s not about things. Longterm success in music is about constant personal development, both for yourself and for those around you.

Several years ago the head of publicity at an iconic heavy metal label told me that he challenged himself to develop a new skill every year that would – in some way – aide him in life. The year we spoke he had set to learning video editing, and by the following spring, he was making additional money creating promotional clips and lyric videos for bands of all sizes. He was also creating more interesting content for work, which in turn helped push the label forward.

We apply a similar practice here at Haulix. We invest in the skills our marketing and sales team need, such as public speaking and graphic design. We encourage our programmers to be creative with their designs, make training available to support team members, and hold weekly meetings to discuss the economics of our market with the entire team present. We don’t want our team to understand our business alone, we want them to understand the industry and our role in it, as well as that of all our competitors.

So ask yourself: What don’t I know?

Got it? Okay. Get to work.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.