Step by Step Music Industry Tips You Should Be Doing for Success
With the modern day music business rapidly changing there’s so much more to learn. Yes there are some aspects of the music industry that rarely changed. However, there’s a whole list of things that have drastically changed in the music industry. Being an independent artist in the music business with such major changes can be very challenging. It can make you feel like you’re never going to make it. It can make you feel like you’re doing all the wrong things. It’s not that what you’re doing is wrong. A lot of times the way you’re applying it is wrong or you’re applying the right feature at the wrong time. Here are some powerful step by step music industry tips to help you gain success as an indie artist.
Building your brand
One of the most common music industry tips you’ll hear as an indie artist is to build your brand. It’s arguably the most important in regards to music business 101. You can’t succeed in the modern day music industry without building your brand. A lot of independent artists may argue “I am building my brand.” However, building a brand goes much deeper than just being active on social media. Building a brand goes into a logo that represents you, having a team to support you, singing, songwriting or rapping specific songs that fit you as an artist. It’s literally a life style you take on as an artist. This music industry tip may require you create a vision board, an outline or list of goals to work it effectively. Building a brand very important. It goes much deeper than sporadically posting on social media or engaging on the internet. The best way to utilize this music industry tip is to establish what you want your brand to say about you as an artist. Then create an outline around that idea and begin to build your brand that way.
Stop waiting on someone else
On the list of music industry tips this tip is actually a don’t. This is something you need to NOT do. Whether many indie artists realize or not a lot are guilty of this. Stop waiting on something or someone to save you and present you with this magical career. Whether you admit it or not a lot of indie artists aren’t where they should be because they’re still waiting on the next Berry Gordy to discover them. I use Berry Gordy as an example that can symbolize many people or an entity. A lot of aspiring artists are waiting on some major record executive to take him or her under their wing and transform them into the next Diana Ross or Whitney Houston. Yes there are many legendary artists who started out as proteges of a mentor. This mentor whether it’s Berry Gordy, Clive Davis or L.A. Reid may have jump started the artist career and helped make them a mega-star. However, the reality is the music business today doesn’t work this way. The number one thing aspiring artists have to understand is no one is going to groom your career more than you. With streaming, social media and the internet now being the new music industry it’s hard to find a mentor that can take your career under their wing and spark it. You have to build your own audience and fanbase independently. Waiting on someone else will only stall the dream you could be living out.
Utilizing social media
This is one of those music industry tips that are common and at this point cliche. Once you saw the title you probably thought to yourself “I heard this one before.” I’m sure you have and it’s so true. Utilizing social media and the internet is one of the best music industry tips. It’s due to the fact that social media and the internet have practically taken over the music business. The new record label is social media. Although you may be utilizing it already make sure you’re doing so effectively. This mean make sure your social media pages correspond with your brand. Make your you’re interacting with other artists on social media. Make sure you’re using proper hashtags. Another social media/internet feature a lot of indie artists neglect is Youtube. A lot of artists think they have to be established first to start posting to Youtube. This is not true at all. A major piece of advice for aspiring artists is to start creating videos and posting to Youtube. This will help grow your fanbase. This will help you rank higher on search engines. You can either make a promo video and post it. You can make a local music video. You can even simply post just an audio video of your song with a picture as the background. This will still get you views and exposure.
Be your own artist
Another music industry tip many indie artists seem to ignore is the fact that you have to be yourself. What I personally notice about today’s music business and entertainment is the need to remake art. The need to remake classics and duplicate work legends have already did. People are always looking to be the next Aretha Franklin, the next Michael Jackson, Prince or Tupac. This is where many artists go wrong. You have to be yourself and be original. There’s nothing wrong with admiring certain legendary artists. Everyone has someone they look up to or admire. However, there’s a difference between being inspired by someone and trying to paint your career after them. Sometimes it’s hard to draw the line or establish where the line should be drawn. This is very understandable especially if you’re a huge fan of the artist. However, now’s the time early on in your career as an indie artist to create yourself. Now’s the time to establish your look, style, purpose and voice.
Worry about others
Once again this is another one of those music industry tips that you’re suppose to not do. This goes on the list of “don’t’s.” Stop worrying about others, as in other aspiring artists. Many indie artists won’t admit this, but a lot of times you’re focused on what the other guy is doing. A lot of times you’re worried about who’s slowly getting ahead of you. In the music business practicing this concept is guaranteed to harm you. There will always be competition. There are many talented singers, rappers, songwriters, producers, etc. If you sit around worrying about who’s better than you. If you sit around worrying about who’s going to make it, you’ll never make it. Any successful artist will tell you when giving advice for musicians not to worry about competition. The only person you should be considering competition is yourself. It’s almost like if you’re running a race. If you continue to look back at your opponent you’ll never make it to the finish line. You’ll literally be slowed down. This same concept applies to indie artists. Constantly worried about the next artist will only hinder you.
Think outside the box
I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before “think outside the box.” This is a great philosophy to live by on the list of music industry tips. In order to be a successful indie artist in the music business you definitely have to think outside the box. This means being your own artist. However, what this really mean is creating opportunities and avenues for yourself. As an indie artist a lot of times we sit around waiting for an opportunity to arise. We feel like we don’t have the same platform as mainstream artists. This may be true to some degree, but there are ways around this. This is where thinking outside the box comes in. Don’t just perform or promote on social media. Don’t sit around waiting on your big break. Get creative, original and network. This could mean presenting your own shows. This could mean performing at small town communities events, etc. Below are a list of various ways you can think outside the box to build yourself as an indie artist:
- Enter music competitions
- Submit to perform at music festivals
- Perform at open mics
- Request to perform at common events (weddings, engagements, gender reveal, holiday specials, etc).
- Ask to be opening act at children’s talent shows
- Request to perform at rally’s, business openings, etc.
Perhaps the most important item on the list of music industry tips is building relationships. With today’s music business changing so rapidly and everything being social media based, building relationships is extremely important. Of course networking and establishing relationships have always been a major factor. However, it’s become 10x’s more important than before. Since today’s music business is all about having a following and who you know, building relationships should be at the top of your list of music industry tips. Imagine if you’re an independent singer and you’re trying to get your song played on a popular radio station. Remember there are other artists trying to get airplay on that station as well. If you knew someone that worked at that station, even an intern don’t you think it would be easier for your song to be submitted. Imagine you’re an independent songwriter and you’re trying to get your demo to a popular male artist management team. If you were making connections and knew a producer that worked with his manager, that’s an easier way to get your demo to that artist team. Not to mention the producer could put in a good word for you. You may be wondering how do you establish these relationships? Here’s a list of different ideas and routes you can take to build relationships:
- Building a following via social media
- Following behind the scenes artists such as producers, A&R executives, record label presidents and managers
- Recording at and visiting the most popular recording studio in your local area
- Attending artist related events such as open mics, karaoke, etc.
- Attending networking events, seminars and music related parties
- Working with other musicians, singers, songwriters, etc.
Apply these powerful music industry tips and watch your career as an indie artist flourish. Remember nothing happens overnight. Also remember nothing is guaranteed without your hard word and dedication. However, once you put in the work these music business tips will become a great benefit to you. The great thing about most of these music industry tips is the fact that they don’t require a lot of money. All they require is your ambition and determination.