To be successful as an independent artist, firstly you need to be confident that music is something that you are good at. It doesn’t matter what other people say, you have to be sure of yourself and your capabilities regarding your music skills.
Every independent artist has to start from the bottom and work his way up. Hard work and patience is required to make your name known, and it will be harder as an independent artist because you are not going to have the help and promotion means that mainstream artists have.
How to become an independent music artist
Being independent means that you have the ability to manage and market yourself and your music, and marketing skills are something that you really need to acquire. Furthermore, you should play and promote the music that you like, without having in mind what people like or not.
Being independent is not as easy as it seems, but it is rewarding being able to enjoy the fruits of your own hard work. Here are some steps you should follow, to achieve success as an independent artist.
Create awesome music
When pursuing a career as an independent artist, the main key of success is creating amazing music. You should invest countless amounts of time and make music productions, write lyrics or sing and rap. The music industry is full of very talented musician and you will have to compete against them.
You must listen to established artists and musicians and study their songs in order to get an idea on how to work on your own. Focus on their song structure and the techniques they use in order to write lyrics, compose their music or make their beats.
Make sure that you watch their videos and interviews on youtube and note down the advice and the technical knowledge they may provide. It is good to know that you can make quality music, but there are always more efficient ways that you can work and improve your skills.
Take the time and record your demo songs. This way, you can listen to them and spot any weaknesses or parts of the song that need to be changed to achieve better results.
Do not be afraid to experiment with new styles or genres. Knowing which your music genre is is extremely helpful, but do not limit yourself. Test new this will help you see other music genres from a different perspective, and may even convince you to apply them on your own music.
You need to practice every day until you decide on your style and improve it to perfection. Independence means that you will have to build your own home studio, so that you can work long hours without having to pay for a professional recording studio.
Make a small starting investment and buy all the equipment needed to set up your studio. Soundproof the room in order to create a quality listening environment and start practicing on your songs. Make sure that you buy a microphone along with the rest of the equipment and record your demo songs.
In addition to the above, you could practice not only with your own songs, but with the songs of successful musicians too. If you are a guitarist, make a cover version of a song you like, and if you are a rapper try to perform a verse of your favorite artists.
This way, you can see first-hand how they create their music and what methods they use, or how they manage to colorize their voice and take breaths that help them present entire verses without any issues.
You have to build a strong social media presence. It is very important for every independent artist to be able to advertise his work and create a trustful brand name for himself.
You should engage with your fans in a regular basis and try to find out what they expect from your music. Update them regularly with more of your work and ask for their honest opinion. This way, you invite them to participate and they respect the fact that you take their opinion into consideration.
Try to be active in as many social media platforms as possible. You can use Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr. Try to search for your audiences interests and give them reasons to visit your profiles.
What is more, consider having your own website. This requires more effort on your behalf, but it is worth having your online place that you can customize and display any way you want. You can create your own logo and include information about you and your career.
Next step you need to take is to start your live appearances. If you have shared your music and have connected online with people, the next logical thing is to engage them in person.
Book live stages, bars or local coffee shops and start performing live. Make sure that the places that you book have regular customers that listen to relevant music so that you can come up to their expectations.
Connect with the audience. Do not just showcase your songs. You have to talk to the people, notice their reactions and focus on what part of your performance they like, which are their favorite songs and which part of your live performance made them participate the most.
Make sure that you talk to them after the gig and show some genuine interest. Listen to them carefully and ask for their opinion. It is very important to be able to understand if they are happy with the show, or if on the other hand they were expecting more from you, so that you can improve your next live performances.
Build a fan base
Recording and sharing your songs, having an online presence and making live performances are the basic and most important steps of building a fan base.
A fan base means that you can turn random listeners into a regular and engaged audience of your music. Keep in mind that engaged listeners always expect more. You can keep them always updated by posting regular photos of you working, to creating more in depth videos of your studio recordings.
Thank them for their support and the trust that they towards you by providing with more of your music at a regular basis. You should be careful to not upload new music too often, otherwise they will get used to it too soon and stop appreciating it.
What you should do is promote any way you can your already released music. You can achieve this by providing details of the recordings, introduce the people that worked with you, release acoustic or remixed versions of your songs.
What is more you can host different types of contests, such as remix or newcomer artist contests and let them work on your own music. This is a great way to give your fans the opportunity to work with the music of their favorite artist, and at the same time is a great advertisement means for you.
Sell your music
One of the most important goals for independent artists, is the ability to generate income from their music on their own. This can be achieved in several ways.
First of all, you can sell your music on music platforms and libraries. These websites are an excellent way to sell your music, because they have already built large fan bases and the drive a lot of traffic to their pages. In addition to this, they are experienced marketers and they supply you with all the necessary tool to sell your music through their interface.
Such websites are, Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, CD Baby, Ditto and more. You can drive your fans from your social media profiles to these platforms and give them the opportunity to purchase your individual songs or entire albums.
In order to be able to sell your music through these platforms, you need to make sure that you have created graphics for your works and that you include details about the contributors featured in your albums.
Keep in mind, that a great way to attract your fans to buy your music, you can create discount codes or bulk deals. For example, if you have five CDs available for purchase at a total price of $50, you can make a discount of 20% and offer them at the price of $40 if they buy them all.
Promote your brand
If you are in the music game for the long term, you need to focus on promoting your brand name. Building trust around you should be your number one goal, because this is the most efficient way to make the listeners always come back for more.
You have to make sure that they will always remember your name. Create a trademark logo and use it in every work you make, every social profile and every music platform that you sell music. This way they get familiar with your brand’s image and you become more trust worthy.
Always make sure that you satisfy your fans. Ask them regularly their opinion about your music and the things they expect from you. Make sure that you take into serious consideration what the majority of your audience has to say, and use some of their suggestion to improve your connection with your audience.
Try to gain knowledge around the music industry and learn from the promotion campaigns of other independent artists and major record labels as well. Try to apply all their successful moves into your own promotion efforts, adjusting them to your budget limits.
Be positive. The best way to promote your brand name, is by bringing positivity to your listeners. The purpose of music is to entertain people and you need to walk on the same path in order to keep your listeners engaged.
Plan your promotion campaigns and do not make random choices. There are always good and bad moments to release an album, and you should make a schedule so that you do not confuse your fans. Stick to the schedule and market every music release you make.
Acquire as much knowledge about marketing music as you can. Being independent means that you not have the opportunities and influences that major record labels have, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot market your music effectively.
Marketing usually requires small or bigger investments, so you have to make sure that you have managed to generate even small amounts of income before you proceed to this step.
You have to use you logos and graphics in order to display your brand in every marketing campaign. You want people to remember who the campaign is about, so that you can advertise yourself efficiently. Try to find out what the interests of your listeners are so that you can attract your listeners easier.
Make sure that you plan strategically your marketing campaign days or weeks before you launch it. This way you can make sure that you have reduced the possibilities to make mistakes. During this time, try to promote the launch of your campaign to as many people as you can, so that you can have a great starting day.
You can use social media, newsletter or even other successful artists that may be willing to help you with your campaign. Using every means you have to approach your audience is the best ways to influence their decisions and achieve the maximum marketing results.
Make yourself available
Especially for artists that are just starting their careers, being available and accessible by yours fans is a one of the most important things to consider.
You should answer any question your fans may have about you, and talk to them in a friendly tone when they message you in the social media or the music platforms. It is essential that you get in their shoes, and help them acquire the information they are looking for about the artist they like.
Discuss every suggestion about live performances or partnerships and be honest with your intentions. Make your music easily accessible for purchase by advertising it regularly to your listeners so that they know where to find your songs and albums.
Do not take for granted that they know everything about you. Be there to help them and guide them to every problem they may face considering your next lives shows, how to purchase your music or merchandise in order to earn their respect and trust.
These are some of the main guidelines for beginner independent artists. Keep in mind that it is a long-term game and you need to acquire as much knowledge about the music industry and the marketing techniques required to promote your music as you can.
Last but not least, remember to focus on your music creations, practice and remain inspired, as the ultimate purpose is to make good music!