You love music. You’ve been playing music for a while and can’t imagine doing anything else for a career. Maybe you went to music school. While you were there you practiced more than you ever will the rest of your life, took theory classes, musicianship classes, played in about 9 different ensembles, and just generally geeked out with your music major friends.

You know what they didn’t teach you? Anything about business.

I know, business majors are the worst. “Oh, we gotta get this Q3 profit margins up! Debra, don’t forget to maximize our synergy through team building retreats and value-added marketing proposals!”

It’s like they’re speaking a different language. But the music industry doesn’t work like it used to. Gone are the days of getting signed, becoming a star and living off of royalties for the rest of your life. In reality, those days were never really here. You’ve got to make it happen for yourself.


Being a professional musician has always been and will always be one thing: hard work.  There’s no way around it. As a freelance musician, you are in charge of your career. You are your own business, your own startup. There’s no corporations to join with regular hours, health insurance, and a nice 401k (unless you land a symphony job). Yet there are millions of musicians around the world that are making a living doing what they love to do. Musicians are stereotyped as being lazy, but the successful ones are some of the hardest workers you’ll ever meet.


That’s where this blog comes in. Startup Musician exists to fill in the gap between being a great musician and making a living.

On this blog you’ll find business essentials for freelance musicians. Topics like marketing, networking, building your own website, branding, finance, productivity tips, tools to use, app reviews, and general stuff about musician life.

What you won’t find is tips to make you a better musician. That’s a given. In order to make it as a professional musician, you need to be excellent at what you do. Whether it’s playing guitar, teaching piano, recording, composing, tuning harps, or whatever your main thing is, you have to be great. This blog is for the next step.

Is being a professional musician hard work? Yes, absolutely. Is it worth it to be able to do something you love to make your own independent living? Yes, definitely. If you find anything on this site helpful, please share it with your musician friends, we’re all in this together.


Startup Musician was started by Brandon Shaw, a freelance bassist in the Los Angeles area. He started playing music at the age of… you know what, no. I can’t keep going on talking in 3rd person like that, sorry. I’m a bass player. I went to college and now make a living doing music. It’s awesome. Everything I write about on here is stuff that I’ve found helpful through my experience as a professional musician. I hope you’ll find it helpful too. I’m so excited that you found this site.


If you want to email me, click here. I would love to hear from you.


Last thing, you should join my email list. That’s where the good stuff is. You’ll get new posts delivered to your inbox, as well as additional tips and links that aren’t posted here.