With everything going online nowadays it is easier than ever to share your music with the world. If you have a mobile phone and a social media account, your good to go. But the downside is that it can also be harder to be heard. Standing out form the masses will require lots of hard work, patience, dedication and maybe even a bit of luck. Nothing is set in stone but this is a good place to start.
Music should always be your number one focus but you should also pay attention to your social media comments and responses. See what your fans actively respond to, what songs get the most plays, where people are playing your music and why. If you are touring you will obviously want to prioritise visiting the towns and cities that are playing your music the most. Work out what audience you want to reach and target them. The more information you can gauge the better you will be prepared for success!
Having a strong team around you can really help with your career. With the surge of people becoming stars from various social media platforms such as YouTube it may seem like you can become famous with little to no help but this usually is not the case. If you want music to be a career and not a job you need to be aware of the sort of people you associate with. Having a good relationship with your agent, manager, lawyer etc will require having realistic and achievable goals that all of your team are aware of. Surround yourself with honest people who will tell you whats what and not beat around the bush. Everyone should know what is expected of them and understand their roles. No one should be expected to do it all on their own, take time to learn the industry as music is just a small part of the business.
Trends are a big part of music. It’s easy to just jump on the bandwagon and try and capitalise on them. This will not do your longevity any favours. There will always be artists that come along at the exact right time with music that fits perfectly into the sound of the moment. These songs are usually very popular at the time but then after a year or two the artist has disappeared. Jumping on the new fad and changing your style every week or month is not a great way to build a loyal following. You should strive to be the one setting the trend and become a leader not a follower.
Some musicians become successful on their first release whereas for others it can take many years or releases. The key is to be patient. In the time that you are waiting for success you should be constantly learning and applying yourself. As an artist and a person you should be trying to develop everyday. Learn what your strengths and weaknesses are and be open to feedback from other people.
Peoples attention spans nowadays are getting shorter and shorter so you really need to stand out. Having excellent music is obviously the best way to achieve this, but having a recognisable and original brand will definitely help. You should have a greater purpose or goal. You should find your intentions for creating a project and stick to them tirelessly. Your brand and intentions should be consistent.
Performing live can be daunting. You may have thousands of plays online but when the time comes to perform on stage, you feel overwhelmed and don’t perform as well as you could. You should get performing live early in your career so you are prepared when the moment comes. Find any local venues where you can perform as often as you can. Their may be similar artists to you performing, you could ask them if you can open for their show. Even if you do not get paid to perform you should take the opportunity and be thankful for the experience. Maybe have a friend come along that can give you feedback and moral support.
Do not turn down help. Successful musicians are rarely just a single person. It’s usually a team of people such as engineers, graphic designers or videographers. In the beginning you probably won’t have enough cash to be paying a large team. You should use whats available to you- friends, family or social media connections. You may have a friend who is a great artist or designer that can help with things such as promotion material or album artwork.
The cover of your album is important. It will be many peoples first impression of you, so you shouldn’t just throw anything together. Meet with creative friends or family and come up with something that stands out and project your personality onto it. Even if you can’t come up with something that you are happy with go minimal. Many artists have simply named their album after a number or colour and had great success.
Album/single artwork, photos and music videos all help visually identify you as an artist. You should be putting a lot of thought and effort into these as with some artists these can just seem like afterthoughts. With everyone connected via social media and content everywhere, there is no excuse for this. Social media likes and follows are pretty much like a new currency and greatly help with promotion.
You need to know yourself. As a new artist you should think why are you making music? Becoming successful in this industry can be stressful and emotional. Being motivated by money, women or fame is not going to help your career. It will only take you so far. Don’t try and compare and compete with other people. Some musicians drive themselves mad because they aren’t becoming as famous as quickly as other artists. Mostly everything in this industry is out of your control apart from the music you create and how it is delivered. You should be trying to make yourself stand out, the people will decide who becomes famous.
You should take the lead of your team and they should know exactly what your vision and goal is. Most successful artists are out in the public eye shaking hands etc. Artists who just shy away making music and expect their team to do the rest usually are not so successful.
Don’t just release your music on a whim. You should plan releases carefully. People love attention so when we release a new project we receive that attention, and now with the internet, it’s instant. This may lead you to release more and more which can lead to a decline in quality. You should take care with each release and don’t over saturate. Taking more time with your releases gives you extra time to perfect it!
Covering a song or producing a remix is one thing , but just singing over someone else’s beat doesn’t always work out. People won’t get an idea of what you are about as an artist and capitalising off someone else’s work is not really a good look. It is always best to show your talent on a original beat. Talented producers are everywhere that will be willing to work with you for free or a small fee. If you are good at what you do collaborating with a good producer shouldn’t be difficult.
Technology these days is constantly evolving and changing. Business’ can disappear or change suddenly with no warning, its the same with trends in music. Artists that create a new trend are usually followed up by many copycats that try and recreate their success. You need to be aware in this changing industry and embrace the craziness. Carve your own path through it all and keep to your visions. Really, you should try to enjoy the actual business-side of music too or be so passionate about music that no matter how bad things may seem, you are willing to keep going toward your dream.