Local Freelancing: Your Gateway to the Music Industry

freelancing music careers

Want to break into the music industry? Freelancing may be the right method

From the outside, the music industry can seem like a vast, impenetrable entity. However, thanks to improvements in technology in recent years, one of the largest changes in business has become the ability to work remotely or from home.

This sea change in the business world has revolutionized the way people do freelance work, presenting an amazing opportunity for those who are interested in working in the music industry.

In fact, doing freelance work at the local level is one of the best ways to get your foot in the door. We’ll guide you through the freelance forest and get you headed down the right path:

Local Freelancing: Your Gateway to the Music Industry #musiccareers Click To Tweet

Be Part of Your Local Scene

The most important thing for anyone wanting to become involved with their local scene is to first be an active and understanding member of that community.

Like many small groups or niches, music scenes are, in many ways, like a family. This close knit nature means that it can be difficult to break in professionally without already having personal connections established. People are more likely to work with others they already feel comfortable and mesh with, especially with artistic endeavors.

I am incredibly fortunate to have an amazing local music scene in Boise, Idaho, but doing freelance work has still required me being an active participant in that community.

The best way to start making these connections is to establish yourself as a member of that music scene personally first. By having these connections, you will also have a greater understanding of what work is needed, and you can then match those needs to your personality and skills in order to carve yourself out a niche to work in.

The biggest mistake you can make as a freelancer is to sit back and wait for work to come to you. Even if you’ve worked with a band or musician before, you should not necessarily expect them to automatically come to you every time they need work done. Frequently, people either simply don’t think to ask for help, or they don’t want to burden you.

You need to get out in front and offer your work.

The biggest mistake you can make as a freelancer is to sit back and wait for work to come to you Click To Tweet

Establish Your Value

The danger of working with local or smaller artists is that they frequently have little or no real budget to put toward hiring people to help them. You shouldn’t offer your work for less than its truly worth, but you also don’t want to make your services too expensive for someone to hire you. You need to find a balance between these.

What I have found to be incredibly effective for this is to establish the value of your work, but also negotiate a strict timetable that pushes you to be efficient in your work.

For instance, when a local musician approached me to write a bio for his band, I told him that my rate would be $20/hour, but that I would be able to offer him a few short bios to choose from and would be able to finish them in an hour of work. By doing this, I clearly established the value of my work and did not sell my abilities short, but was also able to offer it to him at an affordable price.

freelancing in the music industry

Getting your foot in the door of the music industry isn’t easy, sometimes freelancing is your way in.

I now have been able to work with this musician a few times, doing a variety of projects for multiple bands that he is in, including larger projects that require more time, but are worth more money. After doing a variety of projects for him, he has also shared my work through social media, which has helped me land additional freelance work.

Freelancing can give you an opportunity to work in a variety of ways within the music industry that suit your skills and interests. If you are a writer, there are traditional avenues like conducting interviews or writing reviews, but you do not have to be limited to these, especially if you have established relationships within your local music scene.

By doing this kind of freelance work, you are getting incredibly valuable experience while also working in a world that you enjoy, with other interesting and creative people. You can also use your work and experience as a freelancer to establish and build your portfolio, which can be incredibly beneficial to you if and when you decide to pursue larger career opportunities in the music industry.

Know Your Business

Doing freelance work can definitely feel like a daunting task for many reasons. However, you shouldn’t let this keep you from pursuing it. In order to make freelance work seem more manageable, there are a few things you should plan for before you start. As mind numbing as it may seem, do this work early on, before it becomes an issue. Even if it feels like you don’t need to be concerned about something right now, it’s better to have a plan in place ahead of time instead of scrambling to adjust when it becomes a concern later.

If you are doing freelance work, then there are lots of things you should know about how to properly manage the money you make. While it may feel annoying to learn how to properly do things like taxes, by doing this you can actually put yourself in a much better position financially by utilizing tax deductions you probably didn’t know about.

Along with this, you should make decisions about the type of work you are capable of, including a basic rate sheet outlining what type of work you can do and how much you charge for it.

Not only will having these things figured out beforehand save you a great deal of trouble in the future, but it also makes you look more professional to musicians that might be interested in working with you. While it is good to be flexible and come to agreements that both you and your client are comfortable and happy with, having answers for questions they may have about your services shows that you are someone that is worth working with.



  1. […] I wrote in an earlier post about doing freelance music work, the most important thing if you want to become involved with the music scene in your area is to […]

  2. […] I wrote in an earlier post about doing freelance music work, the most important thing if you want to become involved with the music scene in your area is to […]