Barriers to Entry: Electronic Music’s Hidden Gatekeepers

barriers electronic music
Author : Skylar Schossberger
November 24, 2021

Barriers to Entry: Electronic Music’s Hidden Gatekeepers

Music production appears glamorous. Your favorite artists’ social posts probably look like they’re having the time of their lives, but the photos will never show the sacrifices or struggles these artists likely went through to get where they are today. If you are an aspiring house and techno artist, then it’s important to be aware of barriers to entry. Why? When you understand these barriers, you will understand the sacrifices that coincide with music production and how these barriers can be broken.

Enroll in ArtistMap, a roadmap program for house and techno artists, to develop the mindset, discipline, and strategies for becoming a professional electronic music artist in today’s environment.

An Often Cited Barrier to Music Production Is Financial

The most blatant barrier to producing music is financial: the cost of production is steep. Here is a basic list of items that you need to produce music.

  • A laptop ($1,000+) capable of running music software like Ableton ($749 for full Live Suite).
  • Mixing headphones ($100+)
  • Studio monitors ($100+).

Thinking about buying a synthesizer? A classic TR-808 can cost you $14,000. There are other financial costs associated with making music. Consider the cost of taking production classes, or paying someone to mix or master your track. Also think about long-term costs, i.e., the costs associated with marketing, promoting, and branding your track.

The bottom line is that you need thousands of dollars to begin production, and the investment doesn’t end there.

Not Everyone Has the Time or the Resources

There are less obvious barriers to entry for those aspiring to produce music. Consider time, access to resources, and different environments.

For those with job(s), schooling, family or other responsibilities, time is an important currency. It takes time to learn and practice music production using software like Ableton. Not everyone has the time that is required to sit down and learn music production from YouTube tutorials, podcasts, or music production classes.

Moreover, not everyone has access to these resources. For example, music production classes are not offered everywhere. The internet seems like an obvious solution. However, not everyone has a steady WiFi connection either.

Read Next: Why Do You Follow Your Favorite DJs on Social Media?

Not Everyone Has the Luxury of a Peaceful Environment or Clear Headspace

Lastly, think about the luxury of being able to produce music in a peaceful environment with a clear headspace. Broadly speaking, households and communities across the United States experience very different socioeconomic circumstances and levels of violence.

Also, consider conflict around the world. Violence, destruction, and different types of insecurity plague and impact many people across the globe. These circumstances can make it incredibly difficult to produce music.

Additionally, these circumstances can be detrimental to mental health. Depression and anxiety can be enormous obstacles for aspiring artists.

Read Next: The Artist Journey: Daily Mindset and Doing “The Little Things”

How to Break These Barriers

The barriers to entry for aspiring electronic music artists can feel intimidating. Music production comes with its sacrifices whether they be financial or time-related. There’s no common solution for all, but you can always be a trailblazer.

Consider baby steps. If you’re just beginning, then you persevere. Your experiences may be the best catalyst for your art: DVS1 spent time in prison before he became the artist that he is today.

If you know how to produce, then bring others along with you. Teach your craft to others. Share your story, how did you make this work given you were dealing with “x, y, z” at the time? You never know who will be inspired by your journey.

Music production is not as glamorous as it seems. Like any industry, there are barriers to entry that make it difficult to begin making music. Whether you experience or do not experience the barriers listed here, awareness is the first step and perspective is key. Take stock of what you do have and help others break these barriers.

House and techno music teach that there is never a “right” way to do something. Blaze your own path, no matter what life throws at you.