8 Steps To A More Successful Music Career

How To Succeed In The Music Business In 2013Note: While this guide was written in 2013, it's still relevant today, in 2015. Hey you sexy musicians, it's 2013 and we're still here! I hope 2012 was a good year for you and your music career. I know some of you just started out last year and are getting your feet wet in the world of music. Others of you have been doing this for a number of years, and have plenty of experience and largely know what to expect from the industry. Regardless of your situation however, there is one thing you will all have in common:

This year, you can do SO much more if you are willing and you put the work in!!

That's right guys, even if 2012 was your most successful year in terms of music so far, you can still make this one even better. So why would you aim to do any less?

I know though that it's not always easy to know what to do in terms of moving your music career forward. Fear not however, as that's why I'm here! In fact, I've put together a guide with 8 things you can implement in the coming month or two to give yourself the best chance of improved results this year. Some of them you may be doing already, others you won't. But either way, read through them all and put into practice anything you're not already implementing.

So if you want to know how to get started in the music industry in 2013, read on and act upon what you learn. Feel free to let me know how you get on.

Shaun Letang,
Music Industry How To.

Note: If you find this guide useful and want to say ‘thank you', please share this guide via Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else you feel it may be useful for other musicians. Thank you.

Edit: 2013 is now up!! How did you do? Have a look at our top 10 guides of 2013 if you want to start 2014 with a bang!

But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:

Free Ebook 5 Steps To A Profitable Youtube Music Career Ebook Sidebar

Free eBook: Discover how real independent musicians like you are making $4,077 - $22,573+ monthly via Youtube, let me know where to send the details:

1. Write Down, Visualize, And Map Out Your Aims

Write Down Your Music Aims And ObjectivesIf you want to do well in 2013, the first thing you need to do is make it clear what you hope to achieve in the coming 12 months. Make sure these aims are realistic, and that you have a real way of achieving what it is you hope to do.

Once you've thought of all the major things you want to achieve this year, the next step is to write these aims down. Next, print up this piece of paper if typed up, and stick it to a clearly visible place on your wall.

By seeing what you need to do on the wall everyday, you'll make it easier for yourself to focus on what needs to be done. Often it's all to easy to stray from an original plan, whether intentional or not. If you've got your goals and tasks in black and white in front of you however, it makes everything that much more easy for your to follow.

So once you've finished reading this guide, I urge your to make a list of your music related goals for 2013. You can use all the aims mentioned in this guide (Recommended, all of the below points work best when done together) or you can pick and choose which ones are best suited to you. You can also add your own aims and goals as required.

As well as writing down your goals, be sure to mention how you're going to achieve each of them. I can't overstate how important this point is; by writing down and viewing a actionable plan daily, you will make things that much easier for you.

Without writing down how you're going to achieve each aim, you're not doing much more then dreaming and stabbing in the dark. By making things measurable for yourself however, you're allowing yourself to see what's working and what's not.

I talk a lot more about aims, objectives, target setting and the like in the first lesson of my course the IMA Music Business Academy. If you want a better idea of how to do that, I suggest you check it out.

2. Learn To Market Your Music Effectively

Music MarketingIf you've read more then 5 posts on Music Industry How To, chances are you've heard me talking about marketing. This is because alongside talent, this is one of the biggest factors that will effect how far your go in your music career. In fact, in some ways marketing is even more important.

We can all think of a few acts that aren't as talented as a load of other musicians in the same genre, yet they're doing a lot more and are a lot more well known. If they're not as talented as their competition, why do you think it is they're doing so much more? That's right, because they've learned how to market themselves properly, or at least they've got someone to market them on their behalf.

That said, music marketing is something that's so often overlooked. When recording your first product, it's easy to think that creating a great CD will mean it'll fly of the shelves. Unfortunately, that's simply not true.

All to often I've seen acts investing money into recording their product, getting cool artwork and getting their product into shops. What they fail to do however is leave themselves a budget for marketing. This often leads to a flop release, simply because they're don't extend their reach to the right kind of customers when their music is available to buy.

So yer, that's basically a long way of saying “learn how to market your music or face an uphill struggle”. 🙂

If you want to learn how to promote your music effectively, check out my music marketing guide. In there you'll get a load of good tips and advice on how to get this part of your music career on lock!

3. Start A Gigging Campaign

How to get a gigIn 2013, you'll want to work on both your online and offline music promotion efforts. When it comes to making movements offline, one of the easiest things you can start seeing real results from is gigging.

Everyone talks about ‘face to face interaction with fans' as a plus point to gigging, and this is one of the benefits. That said, there's a lot more to it then just that. First of all, gigs are a great way to bring in additional income to your music career. Not only can you get paid for gigging (Hard initially, but gets easier as you've got a few shows under your belt), but you can also make money by selling your merchandise at gigs, and by collecting royalties from any original songs you perform at these events.

CD sales often go down well, even if it's the first time the audience have heard of you. By playing showcase events and letting people know they can buy your CD at the end of your set, you will often get people taking you up on this offer. So go round after your set is done, and let people know you have CDs for sale if they liked your music. Perform well and fall on the right crowd, and you can end up selling a good few CDs each show.

If you give people a way to contact you after a show as well (A business card leading to your website, flyers etc) then gigs will be one of those all round beneficial tools for your music career. They make money, they get you new fans, and they help change up your routine so things don't start getting boring. If you're not already gigging, you definitely need to start in 2013!

4. Get Your Own Music Website

Make Your Own Website For MusiciansContinuing on from the marketing side of things, in the broad sense, there are two places you can market your music: Online and offline. Both are just as important as each other, and both should be used if you want to maximize your chances of musical success in 2013.

When it comes to online marketing, there is one thing you need to set up more then anything: Your own website! Now I'm not talking about your own Facebook page, or even your ‘own' site built on a third party platform. I'm talking about your own .com website which you fully own and is yours to do with as you please.

While there are a number or reasons you'd want this over simply having a page on another website, one of the main ones is control. You'll have full control over the look and feel of the site, and you can decide how long it stays up and is active.

Having your own music website will mean you can lay it out how you want for better conversions. You'll also look more professional in the eyes of fans (Do you know any big mainstream musicians without a website)? You'll have a place where fans will always know they can find you regardless of what other sites are popular or not at the moment. The list, as they say, goes on.

It's not difficult to make your own website, I've already outlined the steps here. If you haven't already got your own .com website, take just a hour out and get it set up.

Ok, so those are the first four things you need to do to have a more successful music career in 2013. But we're not done yet, there are still 4 more things you need to do if you really want to step your game up! Read the below 4 points to get a full picture of what needs to be done to make 2013 your year:

5. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Musician In Their Comfort ZoneThe comfort zone. A area we feel safe, and are happy to operate within. While the comfort zone can be quite comforting (Sorry, I couldn't resist :)), a lot of the time, it can also hold us back. Not already trying to get gigs? My guess is that's because you're not comfortable getting up on stage. Not already offering your music to fans as a paid product? Are you instead giving it all out for free? Once again, my guess is you're not comfortable asking fans to pay for the quality music you produce.

Sometimes we know different things can benefit our music career, but we don't do them because we're afraid of the outcome. That we may fail, or that people won't like what we have to offer. Sometimes you're not really sure what you're afraid of, but the fear holds you back anyway.

This year, we're got to overcome that fear!

I'm saying we because I face those fears too. I often work inside of my own comfort zone, even though I know doing more will help progress my life in all different areas too. Well, no more!! This year I'm going to be doing a lot more which I've been putting on hold because I'm not fully ‘comfortable'. Some of these things relate to this website Music Industry How To, so expect some cool changes in the coming months that will have the site helping you more then ever before. 🙂

6. Build Up Your Mailing List

How To Build A List For MusiciansStraight to the point with this one: If you haven't already been building up your list in 2012, now is the time for you to start doing so!

Building a mailing list is one of the best ways to get the contact details of fans, and build up a relationship with them (That part of the process being called email marketing). Think of all those people who visit your site, listen to your music, like what they hear, then move on and search for the next thing for keep them busy for a few minutes. Not to say they don't like your music or that they wouldn't potentially grow into a true fan given enough time and material, but if you don't get access to that person's contact details when you get the chance that one time, most likely that person will never stumble upon your site or music ever again.

If when they visit your site however you have a opt in form which tells people to enter their name and email address in exchange for a cool EP or exclusive video you've made, chances are you'll get a percentage of your website visitors taking you up on this offer. You can then use this email address to build up a relationship with these subscribers, let them know about any show dates, and generally make your relationship with them more then just a passing one. And as most people check their email address on a daily basis, you will get a lot more people seeing your messages then say a Facebook or Twitter update.

You can read about how to set up your mailing list here.

7. Learn How To Sell

Learn how to sell your musicAs I mentioned briefly in point 5, a lot of musicians feel uncomfortable asking fans to pay for even a percentage of their music. This is ok if you're happy paying for people to listen to your music for the rest of your career. I say you pay for them to listen because you still have to pay for studio costs, equipment, travel costs, getting your music to them via physical CDs or online distributors, and the like. Giving all your music out for free is like you paying for people to enjoy your music, which doesn't make sense right?

If you want to be a financially successful musician (No matter what your definition of ‘success' is), you will need to start selling to a percentage of your fans. It's as simple as that.

Now please don't look at the word ‘sell' like it means you're being evil or distancing your fans. The truth is, your music career is a business. And if people like your music enough to want to hear it, you'll find a portion of your fans will be willing to pay to hear more from you.

If between 1% and 5% of your fanbase ends up buying something from you, you're doing well. The other 95% – 99% is often happy hearing you on Youtube and radio for free, and will hopefully help spread the word about you through word of mouth and video sharing. Who knows, they may even get a few buyers interested in your music, or even turn into a buyer one day themselves.

So we know that a percentage of people that come across your music will be willing to buy something. That said, if you don't offer them something of value to buy or don't approach them in the right way, you will miss out on sales. It's because of this that you need to learn how to sell your music properly.

You don't have to force sell people anything they don't want, but you do need to be there with your quality paid downloads and merchandise when fans are ready to buy.

We look a lot more at the process of friendly selling and putting people through your sales funnel in the Academy, so if you're enrolled on there, check it out for more info.

8. Get A Music Related Job

Get A Music Related JobOk, so this one isn't going to be for everyone, but I'm sure it'd be a good step to take for many of you. I've already looked at why it's a good idea to have your day job in the music industry, so if you're not happy with your currently job, you may want to check that out.

So if you're not currently working and are looking for a way to fund your music career, it wouldn't be such a bad idea to try and find a job that's music industry related in some way. Not only will this help give you money to live off and carry on making music, but it'll also get you deeper in the industry and help you build up your links along the way.

So read this guide for ideas on ways you can make money in the music industry if this is something that interests you.

Let's Do It Big In 2013!!

Become A Big Musician In 2013And that's it, 8 ways in which you can make 2013 your biggest year in music yet!

In the music industry there's no excuse for moving backwards. No matter what your year was like last year, this year you need to step your game up. That means more gigs, more fans, and more money!

The above is a plan on how to do that. If you do all the above things to a good level, you will push your music career forward. You will gain more fans, and you will make more money.

If you haven't already, bookmark this article for future reading. By referring back to it throughout the year, you'll be able to stay on track with what you have to do to have a more successful year in 2013.

Ok, so you've got the information you need to do well this year, now it's up to you. If you don't put this into practice, nothing will happen. If you do, the possibilities are endless.

I'll leave you on that note in the hope that you will take action on the above powerful advice. Good luck, and may 2013 be the year you really start to get your music out there.

Shaun Letang,
Music Industry How To.

P.S. If you did find this useful, please share it via the below social sharing buttons, leave your thoughts in the comments below, or email a link to the guide to your fellow music industry friends. Thank you.

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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    1. Hi Emjay. Once you publish a piece of music it is automatically copyrighted in the eyes of the law. Add a copyright logo to your covers as well just to show this to people. (Low level copyright)

      If you want to take things further, you could also post yourself a copy of your work before it’s released, with a timed delivery stamp. Don’t open the package, so if you ever need to prove you created your music before a certain date, you have the package as proof. (Medium level copyright)

      If you want to do more, you may want to get in contact with a professional that deals with copyrighting, and they for a fee will be able to give you the highest level of copyright. (High level copyright)

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