“The goods” are hit songs. There’s no substitute for them. Music business is pretty much same as any other business and there always are people coming and going. The only difference between music business and the other industries is about our products. In other industries the sales pitch is easier to either consumers or other businesses, because mostly the product is something that people can hold in their hand and they can feel it. When the product is music, people can’t see it and probably wouldn’t know the importance of it. Look at it this way, everyone know and keep talking about how important water is, because they drink it, they bathe with it, they use it to cook, etc. They appreciate because they can physically see it. But rarely anybody cares about oxygen! It’s even more important than water but because they can’t see it, and it always had been there for free, they never cared about it. Music is also everywhere. Just imagine your life, one week without any sort of music. No radio, no television and not even music in a mall. That’s the difference of our industry with most others. Else than our product being extremely hard to sell while it’s unbelievably necessary for people’s lives, the rest is pretty much same as any other industries.
You don’t just “turn professional” by getting a diploma or unlocking some secret code. It’s not like turning a corner. You don’t wake up one day and “turn professional”. Same way that you won’t just wake up one day and become a mathematician. I would suggest that you become a professional by learning from people who are professionals, emulating them, working at your craft daily and busting your butt to take advantage of every opportunity you are given. The professionals I know became professionals by following an unrelenting dedication to quality and improvement. They are never satisfied with the quality of their work today, so they push for tomorrow’s song to be even better. If you are familiar with the story of the Velveteen Rabbit, it’s like becoming real. Here’s a quote from the book to describe what I mean. “It doesn’t happen all at once, ’said the Skin Horse.‘ You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” - Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit.
Writing better songs is your best chance of “turning professional”. Again, we go back to the one tip I give in every single topic. To write more. Never underestimate the power of keep writing every day and on a fixed routine. It will do magic. Spending your time worrying about how to “turn professional” is focusing on the wrong thing. You will become a professional if you learn how to write songs that are competitive with the best writers in the world. It will happen to you if you keep improving your writing until you are world class. Until then, worry about writing better songs and the “professional” part will come to you when you’re ready.
Hangi Tavakoli is our in-house established and professional music producer with 20 years of experience in songwriting, music production, mix and mastering. He has written and produced more than 5,000 published songs to-date, including some major hits in international scale.