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Music Business Training: How hard would you say it is to be successful in the music industry?

This is a very general question, so I will do my best to answer it for you. Succeeding in the music business is based on how much you want to invest your time, money, and sweat equity into the craft. It takes 10,000 or more hours to become an expert at anything and the music business is like any other business, you just need to know the rules and the players and most of all willing to do whatever it takes (lawful and moral) to make it.

One of the biggest challenges I see facing aspiring artists and music entrepreneurs is that they are looking for shortcuts. There are no shortcuts to success in any vocation, but there are ways to hustle smarter not harder. Another issue I see is young artists refusing to roll up their sleeves and get dirty, perhaps they think the money, fame, and success are going to just show up one day at their doorstep. In this game, you have to pay your dues and earn your stripes, which builds substance and character.

Lastly, EDUCATION, THE MORE YOU KNOW THE LESS THEY CAN TAKE FROM YOU. You wouldn’t be much of a plumber if you didn’t own an adjustable wrench or understood how to unclog a drain, so the music business is no different from learning and developing a skill set and knowledge base than any other vocation.


The best advice I can give someone is to stay flexible. If you are flexible, you can change with the ever shifting current of the music business, but if you remain rigid you will break and ultimately fail. Once again, knowledge of the game is muy importante! Believe it or not there are still people pushing CD’s in shopping malls calling it hustling and I was told just yesterday when an artist HIJACKED my post and stuck his song and video in the comments section of my totally unrelated post that it was called grinding. In any event, your business model must be CURRENT as well as, FLEXIBLE. Also, you must dedicate yourself to learning the history of your craft. You wouldn’t be much of a DJ if you never studied Grand Master Flash. You wouldn’t be much of a lyricist if you never studied the words and delivery of Rakim. You wouldn’t be much of a guitar player if you never studied Stevie Ray Vaughan or Jimi Hendrix, and you wouldn’t be much of an music entrepreneur if you never studied Rick Rubin & Russell Simmons and so on and so forth.

In closing I must ask you, WHAT DOES YOUR SUCCESS LOOK LIKE TO YOU? Every person has his or her own view on what success is… Peace and blessings-Sahpreem

Sahpreem King is a multi-platinum music producer and author of the books Gotta Get Signed: How To Become A Music Producer and Surviving The Game: How To Succeed In The Music Business

Reader Comments (2)

Good Words. Thanks for the reminder - Work hard, keep learning, get better!

June 22 | Unregistered Commenterdaz nez

Thank you for your real and encouraging words. I found them very helpful.

June 26 | Unregistered CommenterJudith Baker

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