How To Approach The Music Industry – A Step By Step Guide

study the industry

Last time on The Ten Laws of Indie Success…


…We covered The Law of Indie Success #5 Customer ExperienceWe witness how Nicki Minaj makes her fans feel important by including them in exciting unforgettable experiences.


This week we take a look at how Joey Clipstar created a unique music brand by analysing the industry.


The music business is exactly what it says on the tin, it’s a business. Anyone serious about establishing a business around their music needs to study the industry, learn the rules and find out what works for other artists. Find yourself a mentor or coach and network with influencers. Your competition is probably doing all of this and more.


As an independent artist your role is to act as the record label on a temporary or permanent basis depending on whether you decide to sign a recording deal or not. Digital has become the focus for many independent and emerging artists and with streaming models such as Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music passing physical sales for the first time this year – this really is an area for new artists to become more familiar with. The first step however is to understand the role of the record label, and what is required to position yourself to make money from your music. Record label departments include the A&R, marketing, press, radio, and digital department. If you are not with a label, either you or an appointed person will be responsible for each of these areas. You will also need to consider how you will sell and distribute your music, and have a cash flow forecast for how this will be financed over a given period of time.


As well as record labels, the music industry infrastructure is made up of publishing companies who will help you to make money with MCPS, PRS, through synchronisation, and sheet music, depending on the type of musician you are. In the area of live performance you will need to promote your own events or partner with an established promoter, booking agent, or appoint a tour manager. Other considerations will include an artist manager and legal representation.


Have you studied the ‘best practices’ in the music industry?

joey clipstar hardest bars


As well as recording, the music industry has a wide range of positions ready to be filled. It consists of companies and individuals that make money by creating and selling music and music related products. UK music host, Joey Clipstar, always had a passion for UK Rap. Having personal relationships with many key figures and having studied the UK Rap scene in depth, Joey created a unique position for himself by creating ‘Hardest Bars’ (the UK’s #1 weekly UK Rap chart show) and, a platform to promote and support UK Rap music and Urban culture.


The music industry is not a solitary music company or an individual musician, by its very definition industry refers to a group of companies that are related by their primary business activities, in this case, music. To do well in the music, or any other industry, you need to analyse the level of competition within the industry. This analysis can be broken down into five forces:


1. Threat to new entrants (how high/low are entry and exit barriers for anyone looking to compete against you in the marketplace?)


2. Threat of substitute products or services (how easily can counterfeit copies be created?)


3. Bargaining power of customers (buyers) (how many alternatives do buyers have?)


4. Bargaining power of suppliers (how many suppliers do you have available to you?)


5. Intensity of competitive rivalry (how will you sustain a competitive advantage?)


 After much industry analysis Joey recognised the competitive advantage he would hold by establishing a show like Hardest Bars. The entry barriers were low for whoever did it first, and would quickly become very high for anyone trying to copy the format. There were no alternatives to a show like Hardest Bars as no one else was placing UK Rap artists into a weekly chart based solely on lyrical sound bites, also known as ‘hard bars’. So, after recruiting Bar4Bar as his co-host Joey Clipstar launched season one of Hardest Bars in September 2011 (in association with Peppergrain). Joey Clipstar and Bar4Bar have sustained their competitive advantage over other shows within the genre due to their dedication, consistency, and approachability, a rare quality for gatekeepers in any industry.


Do you own a unique position?


Once you’ve studied the industry and own a unique position your next step is to dominate that position by ensuring you own the largest market share. This can be done through innovation, strengthening customer relationships, and the partnerships you establish. In its third season Hardest Bars was approached by Link Up TV (the UK’s largest Urban music platform), to host the show on their channel. Hardest Bars is now in its seventh season and has received over 1.1 million online views. Through Hardest Bars, Joey and Bar4Bar showcased many of the UK’s biggest Urban artists long before they went on to achieve mainstream success. In February 2015 Joey Clipstar was given the position of A&R/Artist Liaison at Link Up TV. He continues to host Hardest Bars alongside Bar4Bar with season eight of the show looking set to commence in January 2016. Joey Clipstar also offers an independent A&R service in which he guides the careers of new and emerging rappers, adding further value to his unique position.


Are you increasing your market value?


Do you want to stay ahead of your competition and learn the best industry practices to generate income from your music brand?


Book a 30 minute consultation to find out how to…


Analyse the industry you are in

Own a unique position

Increase your market value


Do you want to own a bigger market share? Click here for a 30 minute consultation now!

Next time on The Ten Laws of Indie Success… The Law of  Indie Success #7 Build A Strong Team

Deb McKoy