It would seem in the music business both artists and fans are aware of the initial process and the end process but no one talks about the in-between phase. The reality is that the in-between makes the difference. While we all know that you need to have at least some relative pitch, a good hook, and an even better sound engineer in the beginning, few realize what comes after you put together a great record. Read the following 7 realities you will have to endure when building a successful indie music career. This is your foundation process and whoever skips it, fails.
7. You will have to spend some serious money when starting out.
If you think you know someone who made it without spending money you just don’t know the name of their “angel investor.” Angel investors in business are the people who typically invest in new companies and startups that can’t really guarantee anything. In a musician’s case, their initial investors might be themselves, their relatives, their lovers, their friends, or fans who are financially well off. This is before we even get to be noticed by a label. This is the money needed to mix and master the songs, to shoot the music videos, to run some basic marketing campaigns, and to get the word going. It’s a long road and it costs to pursue it. So make sure you are energetic and creative enough to hold down several jobs to finance yourself if others around you won’t.
6. You will have to talk to your fans one-on-one more than you think.
The truth of the matter is that your fans’ genuine connection with you and your music is your lifeline. You could most seriously show up tomorrow on all media outlets and News channels but no one will bat an eyelid or follow you. You might get a few curious bystanders who will google you for the heck of it but you will not inherently sell out venues and merch. Word of mouth is the only relevant factor in promoting your music. Meaning… your music has to be so good that those who listen to you and know you, feel compelled to share your material and support you consistently. When those 50 real-life acquaintances love your tracks and they each tell to two other people, you’re already at 150 new followers. They each share your music with 2 other friends, you’re at 450 new listeners. 2 more each, 1350 real fans. Guess what? Most indie artists never get to this step and opt instead for paying blogs and magazines to feature them. Those are irrelevant if you don’t have your real-life foundation set in stone. Focus on word-of-mouth fans first and media features second. Press outlets won’t like you too much or do repeated business anyways when you can’t bring in the bare minimum of external readers to their article about you. We all keep track of the readership spike or dip that comes with new featured artists.
5. You will have to learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
In the music business, NOTHING will go as planned. You will reach a point when you’ll realize this and either accept it or quit doing music. Even the biggest of legends plan entire promotional campaigns for their new singles only for these to often devastatingly flop. And then a studio demo leaks and everyone loves it and it goes on top of the charts overnight leaving the artist and her team in utter shock. Not to mention they now have to speed up the post-production process to release the song in time while the leaked version is hot to capitalize on the momentum. It is a career similar to a rollercoaster. You never know when you’ll fail or succeed.
4. You will have to go against the trends when inspiration strikes.
Many PR and marketing teams whisper suggestions down their artist’s ears hoping that by engaging in the new music trend, the records will sell faster and in higher numbers. But here’s the catch… No one ever became a trailblazer or a recognizable name in the music industry by simply following the tide. The opposite is actually true: those who’ve disregarded trends and created their own sound resisted the changes of society and acoustic influences in time.
3. You will have to learn and live by the definition of persistence.
Persistence is by Google definition, the continued or prolonged existence of something. You will be told NO a lot more than YES as an indie artist. Sure, the higher you go on the food chain, the more doors will open to you but for you to get in that position, you’ll have to run into a lot of dead ends and broken promises. If you just stick it out, we promise you, you will build resistance and seriously thick skin. Having immunity to being told no is key to succeeding in the creative arts field. A musician is not a scientist who can find the right answer and be rewarded for it. A musician is a person who sees the world in a different way and expresses it through music. The musician has to convert those around him into believers of his perspective of the world. Unlike scientists, there is no right or wrong when it comes to your songs.
2. You will have to be an excellent time manager.
Do you know what almost everyone struggles with? Self-discipline. And it gets considerably harder for creative geniuses as inspiration can strike in odd moments and musicians tend to be night owls. Guess who doesn’t care about that? Life. And the industry. And the world. You have to find what works for you and be consistent with it. Can you truly only excel at nighttime? Then stick to a sleeping schedule and find part-time night jobs to fit your circadian rhythms. Equally, if you’re a morning person, don’t get a job working the night shift. Not respecting your body and mental health will bite you in the ass tenfold when it comes to pursuing a music career. Your real-life endeavors have to be set up to help you in achieving your artistic goals not sabotage them.
1. You will have to accept you’ll never be ready.
How do you know when you’ve made it? You kinda don’t. Because as you become a better musician and a better business person, you will demand more from yourself and from your team. Therefore, as soon as you’re close to achieving one goal, ten more will naturally unlock and it becomes an endless pursuit of making it. Also, if you’re a smart person, you know you’ll never be smart enough to start doing certain activities flawlessly so you might as well execute the riskier steps now. You’ll either learn from it or actually succeed. Achieving this sense of peace of being okay with flawed performances or imperfect pitch, will push you in the direction of your goals faster than you think. Nothing will ever be perfect and ready. That includes yourself.
Blue Rhymez Entertainment ©2022
If you want to make the world a better place by helping 50 stellar indie artists arduously working 24/7 to give you authentic music, stream the playlist below.