A year after quitting his day job AudioJungle author Vlad_INSIDE reflects on the benefits and challenges of making music as a full-time job.
A year ago I left my job.
I was working at an office with an average occupation and a stable manager’s salary when making music had begun to take up more and more of my time.
I was writing music myself, I had a band, and my boss was beginning to notice. He gave me an ultimatum: music or job. I chose music and left the company.
It was a huge risk. I didn’t know where to find work as a freelancer and how I’d make money. I tried to sell my hip-hop beats, tracks and lyrics. But only got around five clients and $100 per month. I even offered my services as a video editor to no avail.
Then I remembered I had an account on AudioJungle that I’d registered back in 2014. I logged in and uploaded a couple of tracks.
The very first, “Winter Is Back” reflected my mood at the time: tired, troubled and cold – it was December so it was chilly. It finished uploading, I closed the window and forgot about it.
The first five months after leaving my job were the most difficult. I was questioning my choice to leave, was unsure of where I was going and my relatives were starting to push me to find another “real job”.
I’d made this call to focus on music but although I’d been composing since I was a child, I still wasn’t an expert at it, particularly at mixing and mastering.
So by the time I opened my AudioJungle account again I was really doubting myself, questioning whether it was time to look for something stable.
As the window loaded my confidence was sinking, but what I saw when my dashboard finally appeared blew me away. 4 sales, someone had bought my tracks! It was then and there that I made the decision to focus on AudioJungle and figure out how to succeed on the market.
I started working hard, making one track a day. I read articles about commercial music and what makes it sell and watched mixing and mastering tutorials to polish up my skills, lifting them to a new level. It took three months but my sales began to climb hitting 27 in July, 41 in August, 35 in September and 42 in October.
“Inspirational Epic” was a manifestation of how motivated the first few sales made me. “Epic Beat” proved I could create something valuable for other people, it’s now my bestseller. And “Future Bass” was a great achievement because it was used in this video for an Envato contest.
I was finally feeling the freedom I craved back in my office job, doing what I love and earning some money from it.
In my old job at the office I was waking up at 6:30 and heading into an eight hour day. Now I was able to wake up at any time I wanted, work as many or as few hours as I wanted and pick when in the day I wanted to do that work; morning, evening, it was up to me.
Thanks to my career move I now have the freedom to work around my inspiration. I can write a special commercial corporate track if I feel like it or shift to something like epic music or dubstep. It all depends on me and where I’m at, as well as what I think the market needs.
That last thing’s an important aspect to remember: on AudioJungle you’re not just a composer but a businessperson too. It’s your job to keep in mind what’s going to work for the market’s audience as well as how best to present your tracks for them. I always make previews for my tracks, and will sometimes make a video to go with them, shared on YouTube. I’ll also post the tracks on SoundCloud and share news about my AudioJungle portfolio on Twitter, Facebook and Vkontakte (Europe’s largest social network).
The last year has been interesting: difficult but still full of happy moments.
I don’t have any regrets, but I’m also not at a point where my sales are good enough to really match the money I was making at the office. But it’s not much of an issue when I consider the happiness and freedom I get to experience now that I’m free from my old job.
I still have a lot to learn and I know to make more sales the quality of my tracks and the commercial viability of them will have to increase. But I’m working towards that and hope one day to open AudioJungle and see my track on top.
Having my music featured in a Hollywood film or popular game would be nice too (haha).
I’m still very much at war with myself – debating whether I’m a good enough composer and musician, but I’m staying patient and hoping for a bit of luck, because it’s not a sprint, it’s a long distance run.
Image credit: enolabrain