Rick Barker is the host of the Music Industry Blueprint Podcast, Former Manager of Taylor Swift. Co-Author of The $150,000 Music Degree. If you want to learn how to start a singing career, this is for you.
We chat about:
Rick's journey from radio host, to manager of Taylor Swift, to his online program The Music Industry Blueprint.
How the internet has changed the game for the music industry.
The roles and responsibilities of managers for singers and music artists.
Keeping solution-oriented and honest mentors in your life and the right group of people to help you.
Everyone needs a vocal coach and it is an ongoing process.
Slow down, be patient and focus on YOU and your craft.
Make investments in yourself first and then turn this into a business and career.
The 4 best ways to market your music for free.
How To Start A Singing Career - Rick’s Journey
Nearly 30 years ago, Rick got his start in the music industry in radio. He started networking with record companies and learning about the industry when he started to notice some parts of the industry were broken, so he set out to fix them.
One of those things was getting artists to be able to perform while they were out on radio tours. He created the “Nashville to You Tour”, which brought Nashville to the California audience using radio stations and venues that would give these artists the chance to perform.
This introduced Rick to Scott Borchetta and landed him a job at Big Machine Records where he met Taylor Swift. Just six months later, her parents asked him to be her manager.
How To Start A Singing Career - How the internet is changing the game
When Rick began managing Taylor Swift, he was living in California while she was still in Nashville and he was focused solely on her and her career.
Part of the reason Rick created his online business, The Music Industry Blueprint, is because he noticed that independent musicians weren’t getting the same opportunities and guidance as major label artists.
Just like how years ago, you used to have to be in the same room as your vocal coach and now there are so many programs we can use to connect, Rick noticed that the internet gave him the ability to manage and help so many more artists.
Now, Rick has over 1,600 clients through The Music Industry Blueprint in 10 different genres that he is helping to grow and engage with new fans. He also wrote a book and hosts a podcast, and holds weekly management sessions with his clients where they are able to learn and grow from each other. And this is all possible because the internet allows him to do all of this from across the country!
How To Start A Singing Career - What are the roles of a manager?
Help you figure out who you are as an artist
Help you create realistic short term goals and intermediate goals.
Help you devise a plan to reach your goals.
Have an understanding of how the music industry is changing
Understand online and digital marketing
Be trustworthy and able to have tough conversations
Keep you accountable
How To Start A Singing Career - How do I get started?
1. Decide what you want.
If you’ve decided that you enjoy music, then just enjoy it. If you’ve been writing songs, coming into your voice, started performing, and are starting to see people react, then start thinking about the next steps.
2. Start Securing the Online Components
Secure a website, social media handles, etc. Everything you will need online to grow your online business.
3. Get a vocal coach
Everyone needs to have a vocal coach. It doesn’t matter what level you are at -you always need to take care of your vocals.
4. Become a student of your craft
Your music has to be good (or great!) Be patient and perfect your vocals, songwriting, or playing. Don’t be in a hurry.
How To Start A Singing Career - The best 4 ways to market your music.
Between these four platforms, you have a venue to play at every. Single. Day. You can go on for just an hour, and it lives there forever. Then your followers share it to their friends, and your music gets out to the world. For free.