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7 industry tips for new artists who want to turn their hobby into a fully-fledged career

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  • Dave Turner
  • 30 March 2017
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6 Don't be afraid to apply for funding...

The thought of taking outsider cash and (maybe) losing full control over your work makes you feel slightly queasy, right? Put the brakes on a little and think about it. There are plenty of bodies in the UK able to financially provide for musicians, whether that be the PRS for Music Foundation, Help Musicians UK or the national art's councils in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Since 2000, PRS has provided over 5,300 new projects with a total of £23.6 million, with artists such as James Blake, Floating Points and Mount Kimbie receiving funding. Funding programmes include The Open Fund, which looks to push "outstanding new music" across all genres, and Women Make Music, which aims to counter gender stereotypes in the industry and encourage women making their own music.

Highlighting PRS for Music as an example, Tomas Fraser, whose label Coyote Records is a platform for new talent, believes artists should definitely be open-minded towards funding. "It can do wonders for artists, particularly those that lack the access to certain production equipment, studio time or even contacts. Granted, it's not for everyone, certainly not within the underground dance music paradigm, but given the UK's current lack of investment in the creative arts, funding has become more and more influential."

7 ...But don't be afraid to fund yourself

By all means, if you want to finance everything yourself, then do so. This way, all decisions and creative direction are owned solely by you and you're free to do whatever you wish. "With absolutely everything, artists should maintain control," Melissa Taylor says. Even if you were to apply for funding, there's no guarantee you'll get it, so a Plan B is always wise. That might mean working a job during the day or playing the odd pub gig on evenings and weekends to rack up some money for studio equipment. Don't think you're bigger or better than dropping Dexys Midnight Runners' 'Come On Eileen' at a wedding, either. Danny Daze spent his youth DJing for newlyweds to make some cash, but these days you'll catch him at fabric, Panorama Bar and Warung in Brazil.

Just don't run yourself into debt with the wish of sorting yourself out with gear quick-time. Taking out loans can be dodgy, so only do it if you can work out a viable payment plan to pay it back. Remember there's not a time limit on you 'making it'. Bristolian DJ Eats Everything was juggling a recruitment job and DJing until the age of 30, very nearly jacking in the dream of being a DJ by occupation before his big break came with 'Entrance Song'.

Don't let finances stress you out. Keep your mind clear for working on productions that could potentially elevate your career to a whole new level.

Dave Turner is Mixmag's Digital News Editor, follow him on Twitter

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