One of the best ways to grow as an indie artist is to look at what has worked for other artists and adapt to it. Lots of artists think they can’t start making strategies to move their career forward until they’ve started making money or until they get a business manager. With these strategies you can start using them today.
Plan from the start
One of the best ways to attain the success you deserve in the music industry is to make a extensive plan. Goals will give you something to aim for, they also help you decide what first steps you should take.
Try to be specific with your goals. Just saying ” I want to be rich and famous” isn’t going to help. “I want to be able to be a full time musician with a yearly salary of … and tour outside of my local area” is more specific. Break down your goals into smaller tasks such as “collect contact information for local venues”, “contact 3 venues within the next week”, and connect with other bands for a gig.” This makes it all the more manageable.
Use your copyrights
Your copyrights are your business. You need to understand them as they are your assets and your products. You don’t need a lawyer level of knowledge but it will help to have a general understanding of copyright law.
The two types of copyrights are composition and sound recording. A copyright is created when a musical idea is put into tangible form. For example when you write that song down or record it you will own the rights! All those rights are exclusive to you meaning only you can leverage your song. You own them, so you have the power. Without your copyrights labels and publishers wouldn’t have anything to sell. Musicians have been realising this and have figured out unique ways to leverage their copyrights.
Today’s independent music artist plays the part of both artist and business professional. This can sometimes become overwhelming as they find themselves juggling too many tasks. It’s great that musicians today can be completely in control of their careers but it’s also often hard to find time for what matters most- making music!
If you think there’s something your doing that is stopping you reach your goals you need to stop and take a closer look. If you are spending too much time on a task that’s not really benefiting you, you should postpone, eliminate, streamline or delegate to your team. Try and prioritise your tasks in a list. Urgent matters that you keep putting off should have a high priority. REMEMBER, always make time for your music!
Have a Team that Grows with You
DIY may not always be the best option for indie artists. There are many musicians out there that are business savvy but they’re still no experts. This is okay because you have more important things to worry about like making music! You should find a team who is passionate and motivated.
Your team doesn’t even need to be seasoned pros. If you have a band then you’re already way ahead of the game. Everyone has their own unique skills, so take advantage of them!
Network with People
This is one of the most important parts of becoming an established artist. It’s easy to get bogged down with internal tasks and forget to take the time to introduce yourself. You don’t need to prepare a speech or a pitch. Just get into a habit of introducing yourself to one person at every event or show you play or at the studio you record at.
Networking is a two-way relationship, and collaboration is most likely the best way to promote this. It’s a win-win situation. If you collaborate with someone on a show, song or a recording you will be exposed to each others fan base. Always give before asking. If you do something for someone, they will remember you!
Find Your Audience
When building a fan base you should start small. Start in your local area and move up from there. Focus on your town or city and build a strong following. Stay behind after your gigs and talk with your fans. Give them something that’s unique and valuable. Once you feel you’ve conquered your local area move onto the next place. It can be a long process but you will have a lot of people that are excited about your music so it will all be worth it in the end!
In the same way you should really focus on a niche such as a attitude, a belief or a genre. Having a niche creates the possibility for a connection – chances are there’s lots of other people out there that are just as excited about that niche as you are.
Get Your Fans Buzzing
As an indie artist in this day and age, you’re most likely in charge of your own marketing. It can seem like a daunting task if it’s just you trying to get the word out but you should realise that you have a whole team of marketers at your disposal waiting to share your music- your fans!
With social media everywhere, most music fans today are bombarded with more information than they can process. Because of this, most music fans rely on recommendations from trusted sources for new music. these include music blogs, websites, streaming services but more often than not it comes from friends.
Developing a Brand Strategy
Artist image and branding aren’t new concepts at all. The music industry has always had artists that are defined by genre and personality. Today there are so many people trying to make it as a musician that you need to consider why people would buy your music over someone else’s.
To define a brand some artists like to list all the genres they draw influence from whilst some artists avoid this and don’t like to label themselves. Having no brand is just as bad as a confusing one.
You don’t have to tie your brand to just your musical style. Incorporate elements of your personality, beliefs and your attitude.
Balance Paid and Free Content
Your music is valuable, and fans will pay for it in a variety of ways. But money isn’t the only form of payment that has value. Information can sometimes be even more valuable in many ways. Making some of your music free is one of the most effective ways to grow your fan base. A-list musicians such as Radiohead have used free music to their advantage. There should be a reason to have it free though.
When deciding what paid content you should have available don’t just restrict yourself to typical products like CD’s and T-Shirts. Sell unique products. Services like BandPage Experiences let you sell unique products and experiences to your fans. Selling more personal products and experiences will appeal more to your fans.
React to Opportunities
Opportunities pop up in music when you least expect them, and you should be ready when they do! These could be anything from a pick up gig, to a collaboration with a local artist or a publishing deal. In any case the artists that can react quickly are generally the ones who succeed. While yo do need to take the time to think about your options, overthinking an opportunity can be just as bad as under thinking. Sometimes you just need to decide to go for it or not!