The music industry can be tough to break into and is highly competitive, especially for artists and producers. You can find more detailed information on the different areas of the music industry on our other blog: Music Business - What does it mean?
In this blog, we’re going to cover how to increase your chances of success by building up your music production portfolio and experience. Essentially, how to grow as a music producer. If you're thinking about getting into music production, you can find more details on our other blog post: What Is A Music Producer & What Does A Music Producer Do?
We’re going to talk about this in two main areas. These are: Working With Others and Things You Can Do On Your Own.
These are both very important areas in regard to building up your music production portfolio and experience, so try to work on both.
One aspect of working with others is to make music with other artists or producers. Apart from learning from each other and gaining experience, you can add the collaborative work to your portfolio. This may also lead to further work whilst developing your professional relationships.
If you’re looking for more experience in a certain area such as mixing or mastering, offering your services for free at first is a good way to get that practice. Just make sure that this is only a temporary thing though, so people don’t take advantage of you and your skills.
Something I’ve done as well is to trade services at first instead of money. For example, I wanted to practice mastering, so I mastered someone's track for them in exchange for some artwork for my EP release.
Doing this not only gives you experience and something for your portfolio, but also gives you something else in return.
Networking is really important in this line of work, so try to start building your professional network as early as possible. There are quite a few music industry networking events you can attend, which can be really useful, but sometimes opportunities can arise when you don’t expect it. So just putting yourself out there and talking to people can be lucrative.
For example, I once went to a karaoke night in a local pub and got talking to the guy running it. After talking to him, he knew that I had experience in sound engineering with digital mixing desks, which led to me getting a sound engineering job at a local venue.
Having good communication skills is important in most lines of work. Being able to clearly convey your ideas to the people you’re working with and using the correct terminology shows your knowledge and confidence in the subject.
Being able to strike up a conversation with someone at a networking event, in the hopes of working with them will yield more successful results, if your communication skills are good.
Showing that you have experience in different areas of music production, with a wider range of skills can also help to yield more work opportunities.
Another area that differs from making songs and beats, is creating music and sound for media. Producing music for film and games is highly competitive but having an example of this work in your portfolio will show that you have a wider range of skills.
Creating a showreel is a great way to show off your work. You can find royalty free film clips and game scenes online. You can find them without sound, or you can usually remove the sound in your DAW. I find it best to completely remove all the audio from the original clip and start from scratch.
Create and arrange your music to fit with the video and add any sound effects (Foley). Also, synchronise any dialogue that you've recorded with the visual movement of the characters' mouths. It can be quite time consuming but is usually pretty fun and rewarding!
When you've finished a few different clips, you can put them together in your showreel to add to your portfolio.
I know it sounds obvious, but practice really is so important!
Hone your craft and keep progressing!
Creating social media pages and being active and engaging on them can really help to show people what you can do as well as using it as a platform to find potential collaborative projects.
Social media is one of the most effective promotional channels as well!
Most producers, including myself, tend to have a genre or style that they specialise in.
Although I mostly still make music in that genre it's useful to create music in other genres as well. This can show how versatile you are and gives you a more diverse portfolio.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, it can be difficult to break into this industry, but having a portfolio that shows off your wide range of skills and experience can really give you an edge!
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