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Getting Past the Gatekeepers
May 2017

5 Music Industry Myths That Hurt Your Music Career

by Tom Hess

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Want to build your music career faster? Stop believing these music industry myths:


Music Career Myth #1: You must be young to make it in the music industry.


Reality: Your age matters very little to bands and companies in the music business. There are thousands of professional musicians in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s in every area of the music industry. Your age won't be an obstacle unless YOU make it one.



The music business is like any other business. When you have value to offer and possess drive, determination and work ethic, you can become successful at any age.


Learn what music companies really look for in musicians and develop these skills (more on this below). This makes you highly attractive to everyone in the music industry.


Music Career Myth #2: Music fans don't buy music anymore.


Reality: True fans DO buy music, but the outdated business model of selling music no longer works. To sell music to your fans (and make good money), you must:

  1. Understand how the music business works today (vs. how it worked 20 years ago).
  2. Think innovatively like an entrepreneur. This helps you discover new ways to sell music (and other merchandise) to your fans.
Music Career Myth #3: You must become a great musician first, before working on your music career.


Reality: Becoming a professional musician takes A LOT more than "good musical skills." Many music industry pros are not virtuoso musicians ...and many great musicians never become pros.


Lesson for you: keep working on your musical skills while you develop the other elements of music career success.


Note: You do not need a music degree to become a professional musician. Going to music school helps you improve your musical skills. It does not help you build a career in the music industry. Thousands of people graduate from top music schools every year and struggle to earn money with their talents.


There are also far more effective ways to become a great musician than going to a music school. Working directly with an expert music teacher helps you master your instrument a lot faster (for a fraction of the cost).


Question: "But Tom Hess, what about music business degrees? Won't a degree in the music business help my music career?"


Answer: Usually no. Music industry professors are not successful professionals in the music business. They are educators. Their job is to teach you about the music business.. not how to build YOUR successful career in music. Example: in music business classes you learn how record contracts work, how tours are promoted and how publishing deals work. Learning this theory is nice, but it does not help you to:

  • Actually get a record contract offered to you.
  • Get on a tour (and make it profitable).
  • Get publishing deals.
  • Get into the band you want to join.
  • Earn big money with your music.
  • Sustain a successful music career over the long term.

You achieve these results through ongoing music career mentoring from a real pro. (Someone who actually achieved success in the music business.)


Music Career Myth #4: You must move to a big city with a huge music scene to become successful.


Reality: The city you live in does NOT determine your music career success. You do.


You can create opportunities to work with companies and musicians who live far away from you. Learn the principles that make music career success possible and apply them. This helps you become successful no matter where you live.


Music Career Myth #5: You must have many connections within the music industry to become successful.


Reality: Connections rarely lead to music career opportunities. If I introduced you to the CEO of any record company of your choice, what would this do for your music career? Probably nothing.. unless:

  1. You have significant value to offer far above and beyond other musicians.
  2. You have a reputation throughout the music industry for being trustworthy, loyal, hard working and possessing a business mindset. Record company executives WILL check your reputation in the music industry before deciding to work with you.



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