First things first, it’s important to understand what a music mentor is and what they do. A music mentor is usually a musician/artist in their own right that has already seen success in their career and wants to pass down their knowledge, experience and expertise to others.
As Paula Marantz Cohen writes in The American Scholar, "A teacher has greater knowledge than a student; a mentor has greater perspective."
A question that’s often asked is “Do I need a mentor? Or do I need a manager?”
In short, they both play very different but equally important roles in a musician’s career.
The first main difference is a music mentor can provide you with the knowledge and tools to succeed whereas a manager tends to organize and maintain your commitments and connections. The second main difference is a music mentor doesn’t take a direct cut from your earnings whilst a music manager tends to take between 10-20% of your earnings.
Right now is such an exciting time to be an independent musician because you don’t necessarily need a record label to be successful anymore. In fact, you’re likely to make more money as an independent artist than you would being signed to a major label.
According to a new report from MIDiA research, independent musicians are actually the fastest-growing segment of the global recorded music business and are estimating that last year self-releasing artists generated $643 million worldwide.
With the rise in streaming services, YouTube and Social Media - independent artists now have the opportunity to find new, innovative ways to have really successful music careers and they get to keep 100% of their earnings.
With this being said, DIY musicians now have the power to take control over their own music careers and attain huge results without major label support.
This means finding the courage to make an investment into your music career.
You could put thousands of dollars into recording your next album. It could be the best music in the world. But if you’re not willing to invest money into learning how to promote it or how to grow your fanbase then nobody is going to hear it.
Finding a good music mentor and learning from their direct experiences is one of the most valuable things you can do. You’ll be given the right inspiration and education on techniques to improve your craft, and valuable information.
Our CEO and Founder of Modern Musician, Michael Walker, shared his opinion with us:
“One of the biggest mistakes I see artists doing is putting most of their resources into recording the album. What I recommend is an 80/20 split... 20% into the album or product and 80% into the marketing. Reason being - marketing is what drives your sustainability to allow you to keep making music... I see it a lot and it hurts my soul, watching artists spend all their money, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars into recording their music, and they are really proud of it because it’s a part of the essence of who they are. But when they release it, nothing happens because they didn’t budget enough into marketing.”
If you want to beat the odds of making it in the music industry, then investing in your education and providing yourself with the tools to do so is key.
Despite the idea of being an entirely “DIY Artist”, sometimes working on your own can be daunting. Where do you even begin?
Having a mentor can be very reassuring. They are the first person you can turn to when you need advice.
It’s important to have a team of people around you who support you and encourage you: a mentor, friends and family and a community of fellow musicians.
Remember, there isn’t a single person out there willing to do the work for you, you have to do it yourself...but, you don’t need to do it by yourself.