While there a few sites on the internet which give independent musicians and music industry figures good advice on progressing (e.g. this one), there are also a lot of sites which give out bad advice. Dated advice which sounds like it works in theory, but really doesn’t.
It’s easy to get caught with this and end up wasting your time with things which are slowly killing your music career. Not cool.
It’s because of this that some times the important things which can really help progress your music career get overlooked. Musicians (some, not all) are talked into doing activities which were effective a few years ago, but not so much now. And because they’re busy doing these things, they don’t put effort into doing the below power moves which you’ll see good progress from.
If you only read one post of this site this week, make sure it’s this one. The below are things which often get overlooked, but are essential if you want to create a long term sustainable music career for yourself. They’re not the most exciting, but they will help get you where you want to be.
If you find this important music business theory useful, please share it. And if you’re not sure why any of the below are super effective, feel free to ask for further clarification in the comments.
1. Building A Mailing List And Sending Newsletters
I still can’t believe how often this is overlooked, especially as your mailing list could become the most profitable asset you own as a musician.
Just imagine for a moment that you had a way to figure out who your best and most interactive fans are. Not only that, but you could message those fans personally into their email inboxes and offer them exclusive offers, things to buy, and ways to spread the word about you.
Sounds like a great idea right?
Well, by building a list you can!
Mailing list services (some of which are linked to in the guide I just shared above) allow you to see who’s opening most of your emails and clicking the links. These will be the people who are most interested in what you have to say. You can then go on to offer these people exclusive offers, and guess what? They’ll be a lot more likely to pay attention and take you up on them.
Furthermore, unlike social media marketing, these emails you send will go directly into their email inbox. This means there’s a lot less of a chance they’ll get missed.
If you want to go on to make money from music, building a list is very important. Unfortunately though, this is overlooked by many. Don’t make that mistake.
List building and newsletter sending is easy to get to grips with and is very powerful, so give it a go.
2. Communicating With Fans Personally
For many years, musicians putting a barrier between themselves and fans was a common procedure. This helped surround them in mystery, and make them appear as someone who’s not just an every day person. This would help with people idolizing them and overall sales.
Now though, with the way the world is so connected together, this is a lot harder to achieve. So much so, that independent musicians should actually do the opposite!
Being personally in touch with your fans is a good way to find your true fans, and have them stay loyal to you for the long term. Don’t push them away and ignore their posts on your social sites; instead reply to the key ones and get involved in the discussions.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you have to reply to every single message. This would be impossible as your fanbase increases. But when you’re starting out or if you only get a few messages from fans a week, replying to each of them personally is the stuff that will get them loyal and talking about you to their friends. If you’ve got the time to respond, why not?
Even as it becomes impossible to reply to everything personally, you should still reply to the key ones and publicly address any issues that have been brought up a few times. Or better yet, hire someone to reply to common messages under your name (e.g. “I love you, when will you be gigging in *area*?”) and you handle the ones which can’t be done by anyone but you.
3. Getting Talent Training
Ok, so this one applies to some types of musicians more than others. As a musician, if you want to get good fast, you’ll want someone with experience to help you achieve that goal.
Now believe it or not, when you first start making music, chances are you aren’t very good.
This isn’t to say you can’t get good, but generally that first note you sing, that first lyric you write, those first guitar strings you strum; they aren’t how the experts will do them.
Now, a lot of the time you can learn how to get good by watching talented musicians around you and taking certain aspects of what they do on board. That said, this method can take a long time. Longer than it should. It’s because of that that I recommend you learn from someone who has gone through what you want to achieve.
If you’re a singer, thankfully there are no shortage of singing teachers out there. If you’re a rapper however, things are often a bit harder (but not impossible). There aren’t really people who ‘teach rap’ out there, but you can always go to a good rapper you know and ask them to teach you. If they can’t do it for free, it’s worth paying them for a few sessions to help you identify where you need to improve.
Want to improve guitar? Hire a guitar teacher, or if you’re on a budget get online guitar lessons. Same with producing, playing other instruments and the like.
Learning your talent along the way can be a slow process. It’s worth getting help in this area as it can shave a year or more off progressing your music career. When your talent isn’t top quality, doors will be harder to open. When you’re undeniably talented to your target market, people will find it harder to keep those doors shut and you’ll get more opportunities.
If you aren’t putting any of the above into practice, I suggest you start doing them asap. If you implement one of the above which you weren’t before, I guarantee you’ll be in a much better position in six months than you are now. Do them all, and even more so.
So, are there any other things which you see musicians overlook which you have found that really helps your music career? Let us all know in the comments.