Commentary: Artist Development And Its Impact On A Musician’s Career

Music artist development refers to the deliberate and continuous process of nurturing a musician’s skills, fanbase, and career. It involves improving their talent, building their brand and image, making business connections, and strategizing their path to success. Artist development is crucial for any musician who wants to establish a sustainable career in music, and it is, inarguably, the most complex and hardest part of a musician’s career. It is also the reason why record labels don’t develop artists anymore and prefer to sign those who’ve laid the foundation themselves. It’s a faster, easier, and more profitable business to do so. And modern music is exactly THAT: A BUSINESS.

Developing one’s talent is the foundation. And developing it in the proper direction – the pilasters standing on that foundation. Musicians should continually practice their craft, learn new skills, and push themselves outside their comfort zone. Based on their specialized genre, artists should take vocal or instrumental lessons, learn music production, songwriting, or other skills that complement their abilities. A Rap artist, for example, must consistently improve his/her rhyming schemes, double entendres, and breath control. A Rock band must spend countless hours together to hone their harmonies, riffs, and unisons both of voices and instruments.

Part of artist development is also building a brand and image that will aid in developing a loyal fanbase. Musicians need to determine their target audience and values before cultivating a consistent brand across their website, social media, music, merchandise, and all communications. Their image, style, and persona should match the brand. Establishing a personal connection with fans by sharing glimpses into their life helps tremendously to build a following.

An equally crucial element in developing a musician, be it oneself or someone else, is expanding one’s network opens up more opportunities. Musicians must connect with other artists, music industry professionals, influencers, and media contacts. Playing live shows, collaborating with other artists, and making genuine connections in the music scene lead to more performances, partnerships, media coverage, and career progress. Networking strategically and following up to build relationships is monumental.

Hopefully, indie artists will have the skills and patience to develop themselves until they are able to put together a proper team. This group of decision-making people significantly impacts the artist’s career path. The artist may need to work with a manager to guide their career, an agent to book performances, a label to fund and distribute their music, or other music companies. Securing the right partnerships and contracts is essential to career growth, but musicians must go in prepared with a clear vision, professional brand, and leverage to negotiate fair deals. The most successful musicians often continue developing relationships and partnerships over the span of their careers.

The development continues with strategic planning that helps musicians work toward their goals and make the most of opportunities. They should frequently evaluate their talent, skills, fanbase, brand, and team to determine what needs improvement. Setting specific, measurable, and time-bound goals before developing a detailed plan of action to achieve them will lead to progress. Regular re-evaluation of goals and plans is needed as situations change and seemingly, wars and pandemics are now a reality and not a work of fiction.

In summary, music artist development requires dedication, concentrated effort, networking skills, a team player attitude, and hard work. However, it is the only thing that guarantees a successful long-term career. It leads to improved talent, a strong brand, a loyal fanbase, and powerful industry connections—all of which open more opportunities for the indie artist. While developing their artistry, musicians must also develop their business skills and actively work to advance their careers if they aim to make music a lifetime pursuit. Consistent progress depends on strategic planning and re-planning to navigate an ever-changing industry.

Blue Rhymez Entertainment ©2023

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