Is college still necessary for a successful music career?

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Written by: Matt Lillywhite


Many producers and people within the music industry naturally go to college because it’s been the norm for decades and has continued through previous generations. But with technology constantly evolving, is it really necessary for a successful music career? During this article, we’re going to discuss some problems commonly faced when going to college, and what can be done instead to progress your career. After all, the dilemma of going to college is something that many producers within the music industry face.


Throughout High School, we are taught that achieving straight As in classes is the only way to succeed. We are often taught that college is the accepted norm for the next progression of our lives. But in the modern day, thousands (possibly millions) of people are not going to college because of other opportunities available to them. But in reality, college simply doesn’t prepare students for the real-world like it would have done several years ago. In a time of economic prosperity, many courses are outdated and even talk about marketing tactics that no longer are useful due to courses having been written in 2005. But as soon as the system gets flipped on its head, everything becomes surreal. For example, many people become so used to success that they have no idea how to deal with adversity such as an economic recession. Instead, people considering college could use the internet to educate themselves on how to create a stable income from their passion and overcome a financial recession.


Another expectation of college is that it’ll immediately give you a job upon graduation. Of course, this is not the case in the slightest anymore. Despite spending thousands of dollars and drowning in student debt, many people find themselves unable to find employment even months after graduation because their degree is no longer relevant to whatever they would like to pursue. Instead of getting a degree and spending $50k on college, that money would much better be invested into things like branding and promotion of your music.



Of course, the majority of colleges are not preparing students for the real world. They are graduating with zero skills in their respective fields, and thus find it hard to gain employment. Sticking with the music industry as an example, what’s the point in reading about music promotion if you’ve never run a campaign yourself? Due to this fact, many people getting a degree find that their qualification is almost obsolete upon graduation. They discover that there was no point in learning all of the information just on a piece of paper – when it can be found out using the internet. Technology has changed the game… yet traditional colleges are unable to keep up. If you were a record label, would you rather hire someone with a degree in sales who hasn’t sold an item in their life, or instead someone who created a $100k per year income selling items on Shopify? I think we all know the answer.


Instead of college, there are a couple of viable alternatives in order to progress yourself within the music industry. For example, you could educate yourself. Whether it’s at home or even at a co-working space in the city, you can easily educate yourself on topics that will lead to success. For example, algorithms of different social media platforms, how to produce a certain genre, networking with big names in the music industry. You get the idea. The point is that instead of going to college and spending thousands of dollars, you can learn more practical information about yourself at a fraction of the cost.


Also, you could potentially build a business in order to prove to the world that you’re capable of what you think. Of course, not every single person is capable of it. But if there are multiple people doubting your ability, proving them wrong will certainly be a beneficial step towards gaining a significant amount of revenue and achieving your ambitions. Thanks to the internet, there are hundreds of courses that will teach you exactly how to set up a sustainable business model, how to find clients and much more useful information. Even if it means getting a part-time job in order to raise capital for your business, it will certainly be worth it in the long-term if you genuinely consider it a viable path towards success. Similarly, you could make yourself into a YouTube or Facebook influencer. If you have a good personality, there’s a strong chance that your following will grow, and you’ll eventually be endorsed for brand deals, and much more. College is not the only path to success in life. As this article has shown, there are many different ways of becoming successful and achieving your ambitions.


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