Indie musicians often face a number of hardships that can make it difficult for them to feel confident in tomorrow’s success. From financial strain, low album sales, limited touring opportunities, lack of industry support, to unfamiliarity with the legalities of the business, and often, a missing support system, independent musicians must bear unsuspectingly high pressure. And even this pressure is not something they are allowed to openly lament about as they get ostricized for it and blamed for a lack of motivation. If you are an indie artist who feels like giving up, after this article, you just may rethink your entire experience as you will discover, you are NOT alone!
7. Unfamiliar Voice
Many musicians, even those who are successful and accomplished, often struggle to listen to their own recorded voice. There are several reasons why this is the case. Firstly, the voice that we hear when we speak is different from the voice that others hear when we speak. This is due to the vibrations in our bones and skull that change the sound of our voice as it reaches our ears. This discrepancy is jarring and uncomfortable for many musicians to hear.
Secondly, many talented folks are perfectionists and hyper-critical of their own work. They hear imperfections or flaws in their voice that others do not notice, leading them to feel self-conscious and uncomfortable listening to themselves. In addition, hearing one’s own voice can be a reminder of mistakes or missed opportunities during recording, which then leads to feelings of disappointment or frustration.
Lastly, some musicians feel uncomfortable hearing their own voice due to anxiety or insecurity about their talent or performance. They worry that their voice is not good enough or that they are not living up to their own expectations or the expectations of others.
Despite these challenges, it is important for musicians to overcome their discomfort and listen to their own recorded voice over and over again in order to improve their skills and grow as artists. By doing so, they can identify areas for improvement and develop their own unique style and sound. Not to mention, they may actually get to a point they enjoy listening to their own songs!
6. Unavoidable Competition
The indie music market is more saturated than ever before, with a seemingly endless number of artists and bands vying for attention and recognition. The accessibility of digital platforms and recording technology has made it easier for musicians to create and distribute their own music, leading to a flood of new content and a highly competitive landscape.
This saturation makes it difficult for independent musicians to stand out and gain traction. With so many artists and bands releasing music on a regular basis, it can be challenging to capture the attention of listeners and build a loyal fanbase. Additionally, the sheer volume of music being released can make it difficult for music journalists and bloggers to keep up, leading to a lack of coverage for many talented artists.
Furthermore, the crowded market has also led to a devaluation of music and a struggle for artists to make a sustainable living from their craft. With so much music available for free or at low prices, it can be difficult for musicians to earn a livable income from streaming and digital sales alone.
We won’t sit here and lie to you that it is easy being a musician in the 2020s because it’s not! But if you grow your skin thick and your patience wide, you just might make it.
5. Post-Release Regrets
Music artists often experience regret after releasing a song due to a variety of reasons. Most commonly, they may feel that the final product does not live up to their own expectations or creative vision. This is due to a number of factors, such as the constraints of recording time, limited resources, or outside pressure to conform to certain trends or styles. In such cases, artists feel that they did not fully express themselves or that they compromised their artistic integrity. Don’t worry, even the most famous ones slip up in public interviews recounting horrifying experiences of hating their own songs to the point of asking the label to black them out from their catalog.
Secondly, artists may feel regret over the reception of a song. If a song does not receive the attention or acclaim that they had hoped for, they end up feeling disappointed and frustrated. This is particularly challenging in the age of social media, where artists are often subject to harsh criticism and online backlash. People don’t realize that back in the ’80s, a lot of now-famous names sucked big time too. However, people don’t bully in person as much or to the extent they do online, so those musicians had an easier time getting over the few nay-sayers.
Additionally, artists may experience regret over the personal and emotional baggage that a song can carry. Songs often reflect personal experiences and emotions, and releasing them into the world can feel like a vulnerable and exposing act. If an artist feels that they revealed too much or were not ready to share certain aspects of their life, they later regret releasing the song.
If you’re in this position right now, please continue to create and release music as a way to express yourself and connect with people. You never know what stranger from IG or TikTok may need your words and voice at that moment.
4. Reliable Feedback
Independent musicians often struggle to find honest and reliable feedback on their music due to a variety of reasons. The biggest of all is that the music industry is highly subjective, with personal taste and opinion playing a large role in determining what is considered “good” or “bad” music. This subjectivity can make it difficult for artists to receive objective and constructive criticism, which is much needed for real growth.
And let’s admit it, the proliferation of social media and digital platforms has made it easier for anyone to share their opinion on music, but it has also made it more difficult for artists to identify credible sources of feedback. With a vast array of online communities and comment sections, it can be challenging for artists to discern between genuine feedback and trolling or spam comments.
And last but not least, the music industry is highly competitive, leading many people to withhold honest feedback in order to avoid damaging relationships or opportunities. This turns honest feedback into a nearly impossible-to-resolve conundrum. So, rejoice in your struggle, as the vast majority of artists face the exact, same problem.
3. Updated Production Style
Independent music artists must have a relevant production style in order to succeed in the oversaturated music industry. A production style refers to the way a song is recorded, mixed, and produced, and has a significant impact on the overall sound and appeal of an artist’s music.
Having a production style that is relevant and current is important because Music trends and tastes are constantly changing, and artists who are able to adapt and incorporate relevant production techniques and styles are more likely to gain traction and maintain relevance. Think of all the artists from the ’90s and 2000s we never heard of again and compare them to those who survived the passing decades. We assure you, the latter successfully confronted the changing times because they gave up on the acoustic elements that betrayed the era they belonged to. Even Beyoncè did Mumble Rap when everyone was into it.
Also, having a relevant production style will help an artist connect with their audience on a deeper level. Production techniques evoke particular emotions and feelings in listeners, and by utilizing current and relevant styles, artists create a more impactful and engaging listening experience for their fans, especially for their younger listeners.
However, it is important for independent artists to find a balance between having a relevant production style and maintaining their own unique sound and identity. While it is pivotal to stay current and adapt to changing trends, artists should also strive to create and maintain a distinctive and recognizable sound that sets them apart from others in the industry.
2. Sustainable Branding
This one is likely a struggle you may not even be aware of. Independent music artists often struggle with BRANDING due to a variety of reasons. Evidently, many musicians operate without a team or marketing resources, which makes it difficult to develop a cohesive and effective branding strategy. Without the guidance of industry professionals, many indie acts struggle to identify their target audience, establish a unique brand identity, and communicate their message effectively.
Of course, branding is a complex and multifaceted process that requires a deep understanding of marketing, design, and communication principles. Independent artists often lack the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources to develop a comprehensive branding strategy, leading to a lack of consistency and clarity in their messaging and image over time, thus engaging in a perpetual spiral of gaining and losing fans.
And for those who may be entirely unfamiliar with branding, it is a time consuming and ongoing process that requires constant attention and adaptation. Independent artists struggle to balance the demands of creating music with the demands of maintaining a strong and effective brand presence. This is where the record labels have the upper leg without much debate.
1. Financial Resources
Independent music acts, very, very often struggle with limited finances due to multiple factors. Without the financial backing of a record label or industry professionals, indie talents find it challenging to pay for their projects (they must cover the costs of recording, producing, and distributing their music, and they nearly have to go into debt if we consider professional music videos and social media marketing).
The second most common reason for a lack of proper finances to push a music project to success levels is the lack of time to create these. Even if a music artist has the will to work three jobs, the time and energy working those jobs will be strenuous to the point of leaving the artist’s creativity depleted. Nobody can write music when the only thing they have time for is working double shifts six days a week.
The third most common reason, is simply, life. Okay, less theory and more pragmatism. The third most common reason is: unexpected circumstances. Let’s assume an artist has a great paying job that doesn’t take away all of their time. Let’s even assume they have savings in the six digits in their bank accounts. Then let’s say this same artist is diagnosed with a chronic condition that was genetic and unavoidable. Suddenly, they lose that job, lose the energy to work as much overall, and they begin surviving off their savings. Do you think anyone would blame them for using the money to exist instead of doing music? No.
We are not telling you to give up, but we are telling you: YOU ARE NOT ALONE, and if you’re here, reading this, and still wanna fight for your dreams despite the many struggles you must face as an indie musician, you are a hero in our book.
Blue Rhymez Entertainment ©2023
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