Martin Backhausen Jingles the 3 Keys to Unlocking the Music Industry Door

Whether you want to be a singer, producer, or any other role in the music industry, there are certain steps most musicians take to encroach the industry doors. And few musical professionals know these doors better than industry veteran Martin Backhausen. Over his illustrious 30-year career, Martin Backhausen has helped many budding musicians grow their careers and thrive. Here are three top tips any individual can use to break into the music industry successfully. 

Martin Backhausen

Understand Your Options & Expand Your Horizons 

The music industry is exceptionally expansive. While you may be laser-focused on one area today, it may not be the venue that gives you your breakthrough. Your ability to see the possibilities is paramount. Some of the most common options in the music industry are:

  • Lyricist
  • Backup singer
  • Music producer
  • Musician
  • Songwriter
  • Music arranger
  • Singer
  • Sound designer
  • Composer
  • Mixing Engineer
  • And more

Why is understanding the possibilities within the music industry important? "Simply put, when one door closes, another window could open. But this can only happen if you know the window exists," says Backhausen. 

For example, if you hope to be a lead singer or soloist, you will likely face more than one rejection. Instead, you may find more opportunities and a way to get your foot in the door as a backup singer. Martin Backhausen explains, "Some of the biggest singers and musicians today got their start as backup singers. Mega stars like Whitney Houston, Katy Perry, Mariah Carey, Dave Grohl, Elton Jon, Gwen Stefani, and many others all started out as backup singers." The moral of the story is to understand what's available and remain open to the possibilities. "You never know which path you may have to take to achieve your goal," says Backhausen. 

You Will Be Rejected

"Do you think you can play an instrument or multiple instruments really well? You're not alone!" explains Backhausen. He shares this tidbit of knowledge to highlight the industry is saturated with talent. And the most talented individual may not always get the record deal. In most instances, before you get the record deal, you will be rejected. Similar to being a backup singer first, many of the top-selling artists were rejected. Icons like Madonna, Lady Gaga, and even U2 had to deal with rejection. He continues, "Because of this, it's imperative to understand that you will be rejected, so tough skin is as important as musical talent. Remember, however, hearing "no" shouldn't deter you. It's synonymous with 'not right now.' Instead, keep honing your craft and creating music."

Get on the Inside

Getting on the inside is as simple and impossible as it sounds — unless you know this one trick: get an internship. Backhausen explains, "If you are working on a music-related degree, an internship (paid or unpaid) is a remarkable opportunity to build connections and relationships, which are everything in the music industry.

At the same time, internships can help you gain experience to learn how the music industry works." However, many internships are not openly advertised, so you may need to work with your music professors or college internship department to find one. If you're not in college, you can probably find success by calling around to a few record labels to ask about opportunities. Martin Backhausen extols, "Many record labels welcome interns because they bring fresh ideas to the tables and can alleviate some of the more manual, mundane tasks off paid employees." 

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