Photo by Austin Hodaie

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first of a series of columns that will centrally revolve around navigating, working and ultimately making a living in the music industry as a whole. We will explore topics that you can use to (hopefully) get what you need from the industry while also giving back if you are ever in such a position. As we will discuss in months to come, the music industry is unlike any other, and giving is just as important as taking. So, let’s get started!

I suppose before we dive into the music industry, I should tell you a bit about myself. My name is Ryan “Fluff” Bruce, and I suppose you would call me a man with many hats. I am an audio engineer with a home studio, from which I mix my own and others’ music. I am the touring guitarist for the band Rest, Repose, mix engineer for YouTube extraordinaire Rob Scallon, and currently the Artist Relations representative for famed producer and mix engineer Joey Sturgis and his JST Plugins audio company. I have run my own successful YouTube channel Riffs, Beards & Gear since 2011 and have amassed over 35 million views while also running social media for a local guitar store here in Seattle and freelance create and edit videos when time allows.

Like I said, many hats. A diverse skill set will give you a distinct advantage over someone who has a singular or limited skill set. We will talk about the who, what, when, why and how’s about all that another time, but enough about me. Let’s talk about the big bad music industry (queue dramatic music).

The music industry is made up of many, many micro (and not so micro) industries and sort of branch out from what we would typically define as ‘the music industry’. Gear companies (guitar, drums, keyboard, microphone, string, etc), lighting companies, camera companies, rental companies, social media companies (yes Facebook and Instagram are part of the music industry in a big way) and many many more all make up the industry as a whole.

Within these proverbial large building blocks of industry, there are many side roads, alleyways and trails that can be used to get to where you need and want to go. Sometimes it’s about finding a trail, while other times it’s about asking the gatekeeper in just the right way in order to let you pass. Really, your musical journey depends on what exactly you want to do and what you hope to achieve.

Each article will focus on a specific subject, i.e. building a social media platform, getting your own music in front of people, getting a job in the music industry, how to turn a job into another opportunity for yourself, things like that. So, buckle in, get a cup of coffee and lets dig into this crazy industry!

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Audio engineer, touring guitarist for the band Rest, Repose, mix engineer for YouTube extraordinaire Rob Scallon, and currently the Artist Relations rep for famed producer and mix engineer Joey Sturgis and his JST Plugins audio company. Runs the YouTube channel Riffs, Beards & Gear.

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