How do you break through the clutter and achieve music career success when everyone’s making music including your 5-year-old nephew? If you’re an up-and-coming musician, here are the things you should do to level up your music career this year:
#1 SINGLES, NOT ALBUMS
It’s very difficult to gain a fan base by overloading them with a dozen or more of your creations at once. By releasing singles only, you set yourself up to potentially spread a consistent campaign out for twelve months versus twelve weeks – the typical promotion window for an album.
#2 GO FOR SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS
Spending money on a publicist and a press campaign may not be the best option for new rising artists. Instead, find YouTubers, Instagrammers, and/or Tweeters with substantial followings, send them a professional email or direct message, and ask if they’d be interesting in premiering your music in their next video or social media post.
#3 MAKE CONNECTIONS
There are more musicians than events. As a result, promoters and venues are bombarded with booking requests and have to diligently filter out the quality. Standing out as an act and personal relationships with promoters and venue owners are thus more important than ever.
#4 PLAY AT A SMALLER CLUB BUT FILL IT
When targeting venues and events, it is way smarter to play a smaller club with a 100 people capacity, which you can fill, than playing a 500 capacity club and leaving it empty.
After all, promoters and venues are after revenue, and if you disappoint them once, chances are you won’t get a second chance. If you pack a place and people have a good time, they will almost definitely want you back.
#5 PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS
Know your strengths and focus on them. It’s all well and good being able to write a great song, but there are plenty of other ways to boost your music career – and earn money doing it.
If stage presence is your strong suit, you could try and secure a residency at a local venue. A regular gig slot puts your music in front of new people every week, and earns you extra cash to fund your career.
If you’ve got a creative mind and know your way around a camera and editing software, why not focus on making original music videos? If they’re awesome enough, they could go viral!
#6 STOP WAITING FOR A RECORD LABEL
No one is going to knock on your door with a golden ticket, and no one is going to do the hard work for you. Don’t assume that major labels know the secrets of the industry, or that signing a record deal is even a good idea.
Many musicians who sign to a major record label never actually end up releasing music, and labels can drop an artist as quickly as they signed them. Nowadays, major labels hardly ever sign an artist without a successful independent career behind them, so concentrate on doing your own thing and don’t worry about chasing a big-money deal.
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.