Why Diversifying is Key to a Successful Music Career

Written by Ian Park
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From Spotify to Soundcloud, YouTube to Bandcamp and all the social media channels in between, there are more ways to promote new music than ever before. In fact, how many of us have spent the last few days using our Spotify Wrapped to recall some new artists we discovered in 2022?

You’d think that having more platforms means there’s more room for both established and emerging artists. After all, if Billie Eilish and Post Malone can find fame through Soundcloud, it must mean that it’s possible to get noticed in ways that don’t follow the traditional route. But, while there are more ways to upload music, the industry remains one of the most competitive to break into.

And with artists still feeling the effects of the pandemic and the recent cost-of-living crisis creating financial strain, music – and the arts in general – is tough to break into and be a success.

So, how can you make it in the music biz? Could diversifying be key to becoming a hit?

Where we are

Knowing where to go is worth looking at where we are right now. According to This is Music, in 2021 the UK music industry’s contribution to the economy was £4 billion. This was up over a quarter (26%) on the £3.1 billion figure for 2020, which is promising. However, it was still down 31% on the all-time high of £5.8 billion in 2019.

This shows that we’re still slowly moving back towards pre-covid numbers. But the cost-of-living crisis is likely to see these numbers stagnate for a while. After all, the music-buying public isn’t likely going to live gigs and shows when there are other things to pay for. And musicians, too, are impacted by the economic crisis. For fledgling artists, it can be easy to pause plans until things settle financially.

What is a portfolio music career?

There are options, however. It could still be possible to be a success in the industry. One way is to try a portfolio music career. This is where people with a passion for music use their talents to pursue different roles simultaneously.

This provides access to different revenue streams rather than pinning everything on one role. For musicians, it can mean tapping into different jobs related to the industry. For instance, providing music lessons, performing as a solo artist, joining an orchestra, recording in a studio, or picking up some work as a composer. These jobs can come at once or be booked around tours and gigs.

This type of music career can be useful as it diversifies your music talents and helps bridge the income gap. After all, this is an industry with no set amount you’ll be earning each month.

Why diversify?

Creating a music career portfolio opens the door to other music-related career opportunities. As we’re still recovering from the pandemic and not quite at the numbers we were at in 2019, it makes sense to explore alternative routes within music.

By doing this, you can continue to upload your work to Bandcamp and Soundcloud. You can also continue arranging tours between studio work or playing in an orchestra.

You might find that switching to different revenue streams that are still rooted in the industry allows you to steady yourself financially. Should you require advice on navigating this career path, there are organisations dedicated to artists and musicians that can help.

Music may remain one of the toughest industries to get into, but it’s possible to position yourself so that you’re still making money doing what you love.


Read 1649 times Last modified on Monday, 23 January 2023 17:47
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Ian Park

Ian Park

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ZANI was conceived in late 2008 and the fan base gradually grew by word of mouth. Key contributors came from those of the music, film and fashion industry and the voice of ZANI grew louder. So, when in 2013 investor, contributor and fan of ZANI Alan McGee* offered his support to help restyle and relaunch the site it was inevitable that traffic would increase dramatically and continues to grow. *Alan McGee co-founder of Creation Records and new label 359 Music..


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