New Year, new resolution, new me, bla bla bla. How about we stop for a second, pause, breathe, and look back with pride at all that has been achieved in the past year? At the end of the day, you had resolutions for that year as well and 365 days ago it was the same novel feeling as you have for stepping into 2023. If you’re a musician, we also bet you are your worst critic and feel you haven’t done much. Respectively, we want to show you you did do many things and deserve a bottle of champagne with a fat box of chocolates for still being here and still wanting to do this thing called music.
10. If you’ve released more than one song.
Writing, producing, recording, polishing, mixing, mastering, and releasing a single song is titanic work and only people familiar with the process know the effort it requires to pull it off. If you’re an indie artist and released any number of songs that’s bigger than one, you dear reader, deserve a cookie made of gold. It takes more planning and budgeting to put out music consistently as an indie artist than a signed act. Be extremely proud of yourself if your Spotify artist page shows two releases from 2022.
9. If you’ve released a music video.
Even more arduous than releasing a song is releasing a music video. A music video is born just about the same time the lyrics started flooding on paper. If you’ve gone through the trouble of laying down several plot concepts, calculating the budget needed for each of them, settling on one, seeking a decent videomaker, reaching out to them, negotiating the fees, scheduling the shoot, and showing up when planned, you’re a f*cking hero. Major bonus points if you’ve laid a contract on the table specifying the deadline and release agreement for the video.
8. If you’ve added new contacts to your mailing list.
Your mailing list is your career’s lifeline. Don’t believe us? Pay attention to how mainstream acts are aggressively demanding their fans to give up their emails in exchange for unlocking VIP content and exclusive footage. There’s a reason for it. Social media platforms are NEVER guaranteed to be around years down the line while e-mails are the safest option for ensuring contact and updates directly to the fanbase on a yearly, monthly, and weekly basis. Accordingly, if you’ve accepted the fact and acted on it, we are very, very, very proud of you and you should be too.
7. If you’ve performed live more than once during the year.
In a world that is still grappling with returning to normal, if we can even take the liberty to call it that in totally altered economical circumstances, performing in public spaces is no short of being a miracle. A plethora of well-known artists had to cancel their tours and gigs altogether. Countless TV shows and films have also been indefinitely postponed (a nice term to say canceled in our not-so-humble opinion). And where does this place the indie artist? In the middle of the sh*tstorm. So if you managed to get booked and go through with the show, you’ve done better than millions of artists across the world in 2022.
6. If your social media followers went up in numbers even if by little.
Social media in the 2020s is what journals and TV shows were in the ’90 aka EVERYTHING. If you succeeded to move the needle, even if only by little, you did phenomenally! Don’t underestimate how difficult it is to stay consistent and use the algorithm in your favor on social networks. Consequentially, seriously and sincerely, if despite the struggle and lack of finances (most indie artists are in financial deficit) you still have more followers now than in January 2022, you earned yourself an A+ from Blue Rhymez Entertainment.
5. If you’ve networked with industry folks.
A seriously underrated aspect of a solid indie career is a network of relevant individuals who take a genuine interest in you and your music. Have you gone to music conferences? Have you participated in Zoom songwriting sessions with pros? Have you paid for a master class conducted by a reputable music business name? Have you shown admiration and respect for music journalists, agents, label representatives, and even big brand names that support art like Red Bull? If the answer is YES to even one of these, you are on the right track and possibly light-years ahead of most indie artists.
4. If you got at least one professional press piece about your music.
Getting crappy coverage is easy. Just go on Fiverr and choose the cheapest option and BAM! You got an article out there in the world that nobody but you and your family is gonna read. Sounds pretty yucky, ay? Well, that’s ’cause it is! If you, on the other hand, got a professional review, interview, or any other type of coverage done on you and your product, congratulations! You’re part of the indie elite.
3. If you’ve entered a vetted music contest.
There are so many scam contests around that it might make one nauseous just documenting them! And the worst part is seeing gullible yet guilty artists engaging in participating, promoting, and not doing their research on the reputation and validity of the so-called songwriting competitions. If you entered LEGIT contests, like the ASCAP vetted list, we have tears in our eyes applauding for you! You are so much smarter and more dutiful than you think! Props and kudos and all the confetti in the world for your diligence.
2. If you’ve improved your streaming numbers.
With ever-growing numbers of indie artists on the market, getting people’s attention AND retaining it is only for the tough-skinned geniuses. Most indie artists start well with plenty of drive and dip badly after the first two years as they realize how hard it is to sustain, maintain, and progress as independent musicians in this day and age. If against all odds you actually got more streams and more listeners this year than in 2021, we want to be friends with you.
1. If you’ve understood what you need to work on.
Nothing in this world is harder than taking an honest look in the mirror and saying “Okay, I am a great songwriter but severely uneducated in regards to marketing and branding.” Which in our experience, is the most common occurrence in the indie sphere. At times, a musician might have taken care of the first and second aspects but lack the proper image that will help the brand’s mission such as sporting the wrong colors, an ill-fitting haircut, or a poor denture that takes away from the visual experience. A successful artist is a self-aware artist. Know when you’re lacking, what you’re lacking, and how to fix it. If you’ve gone through this uncomfortable step in 2022, you’ve set yourself on the right path that will only flourish in 2023!