There are three types of musicians in this world:
- Those that only make music because they enjoy doing so, and have no desire to showcase their talents or make a name for themselves.
- Those that enjoy making music, and want to turn that passion into a career.
- Those that do music simply because they’re good at it and see it as a way to make money. They’ve lost the passion for the art down at some point, or they never really had it in the first place.
If you fall into the first category, this article isn’t really for you. If you fall into the seconds category (nice) or the third (it’s unfortunate you’ve lost the passion for the music but it happens), you need to read this article.
As you may or may not know, ‘making it’ in the music industry isn’t easy. It often takes people a while to get their talent to a stage where it’s ready to be accepted by their target audience, although this can greatly be sped up with singing lessons, instrument tuition, music production courses and the like.
The good thing about this though, is with enough practice, chances are you can get to a level where you make good music. You’ll need someone to teach and help you along the way however, as it’s too easy to fall into bad habits. If you’re doing something which is turning people off your music but you mistakenly think it’s a good thing, you need to have someone there to jump in and tell you it’s not. Otherwise you’ll keep making the same mistakes, and find it hard to progress and build up your fanbase.
But let’s say you’ve now got a good level of talent, and you feel you can match some of the other musicians in your genre who are doing well for themselves. Your talent alone should be able to get you in front of your target fanbase right? Well, not really. Unless you market yourself, you’re not going to get much closer to your goals than when your talent wasn’t that high.
The Record Label; An Example Of Why Music Marketing Is Needed
Getting signed to a record label used to mean you’ll get someone to help you develop your talent and style, and then when you’re ready, a big marketing campaign to spread the word about you. As the shape of the music industry has changed over the years though, so has what the labels will do for artists. Now instead of investing a lot of money developing a talent, their main role is now more or less exclusively marketing.
Record labels know marketing is essential for creating a big act; you should probably do the same – Tweet This.
Yes there’s always the exception to this rule, but generally labels these days will only sign a act if they already have a good level of talent and they have some kind of momentum behind them. This momentum is caused by you marketing yourself.
But why have record labels switched to almost exclusively marketing the acts they find rather than finding and developing acts with potential? Simple, because that’s where the money is! They know that if they pick up a act who already has a proven fanbase, they can invest more money into marketing them (which the artists often couldn’t afford by themselves), get them out there to more people, and make money off the back of this exposure. For them, effective marketing is what gives them the biggest return on their investment!
So Do You Need A Record Label Before You Can Start Marketing Yourself?
No, not at all. The only reason I mentioned a record label is because I wanted you to see how important marketing your music really is. I’ve mentioned this a lot on this site, but it sometimes gets lost among the other things I advise. That said, marketing is one of the most important thing you should be doing in terms of the business side of music, so I wanted to make this point clear.
Now I know it’s easy to give excuses for why you don’t start the marketing side of things when you can.
“It’s too difficult for me, I just want to focus on making music.”
Well remember at the start of this article, I said if you only make music for the fun of it and didn’t want to ‘make it’ as a musician this article isn’t for you. Just for the fact that you’ve carried on reading this far, I know that you do want to make yourself a successful musician. Therefore, the above is only an excuse for why you don’t get started with the marketing stage of things.
Stop making excuses and do what needs to be done!
Marketing doesn’t need to be difficult, there are plenty of guides on this site which help you understand it all and put it into practice. In fact, marketing can actually be quite fun!
“I don’t think it’s needed, if I have enough talent people will find out about me anyway.”
If marketing wasn’t important, why would the marketing of musicians be the main overall job of most record labels? And if talented acts were easily found without any marketing, why are there so many talented musicians who want to become a star but never do?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like this. There’s no formula which goes ‘more talent = the more you’re known’. It would be nice if there was, but there isn’t.
If you haven’t already been marketing your music, or have been but not on a serious level, I hope this article has shown you why you need to start doing so. Music marketing doesn’t have to be difficult, but it will help you a lot in terms of becoming the successful musician you want to be.
But what if you’re not sure how to get started with marketing? What if you want someone to guide you through it all and show you what the right things to be doing are? Well then you may find my music marketing course the IMA Music Business Academy useful. It’s a course that hundreds of musicians have been through, and one that’s helped empower them to market their music properly and effectively. Check it out and see if it can also help you.