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Written by: Matt Lillywhite
Living in traditional cultural cities is no longer mandatory to having a successful career due to the opportunities presented with working remotely. However, it certainly helps.
As technology gets more advanced in the modern age, the music industry is constantly expanding into new realms. With the likes of artist managers, journalists, graphic designers etc to work remotely from laptops, it comes as no surprise to learn that being in a cultural city such as LA or Amsterdam is not as important when it comes to networking as it was 10 years ago. In this article, we’re going to discuss what a digital nomad is, how to be one within the music industry, and the effect that working remotely can have on your music career.
A “digital nomad” is an extremely broad term that covers a variety of industries. However, the simplified definition is that it’s somebody who can work remotely, leveraging their laptop/phone to perform work tasks. For example, a graphic designer designing cover art for Spinnin Records could quite easily take his laptop to a beach in Thailand, and work on his craft from there. Likewise, an artist manager could technically work on an artist’s career whilst traveling Europe. There is no longer a mandatory requirement to complete work in a traditional office. Instead, thousands of music professionals are trading in their 9-5 life for the lifestyle of a digital nomad within the entertainment industry.
With producers creating a full-time income from their music, and many other people within the EDM scene working from their laptops, the digital work environment is slowly but surely becoming the new norm. But how can you become one within the music industry? The short answer is that you need to find a job that pays enough to sustain a lifestyle abroad. eg. If you’re getting paid $1000 USD a month, it would be worth looking into spending several months in South East Asia (where you can comfortably live for under $800pm). Essentially, you simply have to leverage technology to benefit your income. But why do some people choose to work remotely within the music industry? Here’s some reasons as to why it could be beneficial for some people:
Firstly, remote work offers a lot of freedom in terms of location. Instead of being cooped up in an office over in Amsterdam, you can literally go and meet clients around the world and strengthen relationships, visit beautiful countries, and to have a lot of freedom within your life. There’s no return ticket, no office hours, and certainly nothing from stopping you moving onto another country if you aren’t keen on where you are now.
Inspiration is often extremely important for people within the creative arts such as music. If you’re a tropical house producer, it might help heading to the beaches of Spain or Mexico for a few months. If you’re somebody wanting to plays loads of festivals, why not set yourself up in Amsterdam or London so that you have easy access to European festivals? Working remotely offers the chance to be truly inspired in your work by the environment that you immerse yourself into.
Another great thing about working remotely is that it (often) allows you to earn as much money as you want. If you don’t feel like working today, you don’t have to. If you’re running low on cash, do a few intense work days in order to boost your funds. The opportunity of financial freedom is absolutely incredible!
Finally, it offers the chance to meet new people around the world. If you are a UK producer wanting to get signed to Armada Music (as an example), there isn’t much stopping you from booking a flight to Amsterdam and working from there for several weeks/months. After all, being in a location alongside people you aspire to work with is a truly wonderful thing.
Likewise, there are several disadvantages to working remotely in the music industry. For example, if you’re on a freelancing job (such as graphic design), your income is not always guaranteed. For example, you could be making $1500pm with 3 clients, and then they suddenly decide to stop working with you for whatever reason. Therefore, it’s always important to form a contract within any regular works that requires the client to give a period of notice – allowing you to find new work to sustain an income. But of course, it’s always good to have a couple months worth of savings in case of an emergency.
Also, having a lack of an office can reduce productivity in some people that are working remotely. Without a comfortable working environment, it can become extremely easy for somebody to lose productivity. After all, if they are constantly getting distracted, the amount of work that it completed is at a lower standard. As soon as you arrive in a new destination, it’s worth finding a good place in which you can get your work done on a regular basis. This may be an AirBnB, hotel lobby, Starbucks, or even a co-working space. With the lack of a traditional office, it can be very easy to lose routines or schedules that you may otherwise stick to.
In conclusion, working remotely can provide some truly amazing opportunities for expanding your career to the next level. Whether it’s having financial freedom, or getting the chance to network in the music industry, it can be extremely beneficial. But of course, it’s worth creating a schedule so that you maintained disciplined. Living in traditional cultural cities such as New York, Los Angeles & Amsterdam is no longer mandatory to having a successful career due to the opportunities presented with working remotely. However, it certainly helps.