Be with fellow musicians as much as possible. It's easier to grow in a group than when one is alone… It's also more fun.”
All right, I'm about to share with you another big tip that most independent musicians never take advantage of. Along with the info given in the “The Importance Of Marketing Your Music” section, this is one of the points you really need to take on board. If you do and start applying this theory to your music career, things will start to move forward a lot faster then before.
While the internet has given musicians a big opportunity to get themselves out there, it has also spawned a lazy mentality. MySpace taught us that all we need to do to get fans is sit at our computer all day and add people. It was simple, and in a lot of people's minds, it worked.
In reality though, it didn't. The majority of the people that viewed your page were other musicians, and were in it for their own goals rather then to become your fan.
While MySpace has long since disappeared as a widely recommended tool for artists, a lot of people still have the same mentality: That it's possible to focus all your promotional efforts online, and add people one by one on your chosen social networking site.
While select social networking sites are important to have (see the “Setting Up Your Online Base” section above), there is something you can do which is much more powerful than adding people on these sites all day: Getting on and being recommended by established platforms.
What do I mean by this? Well, sometimes instead of you personally marketing directly to fans one by one, it's better to get yourself on an established platform in your niche and let their audience hear you instead. So for example, network with a popular YouTube channel and get them to feature you in one of their videos. Or network with a community radio DJ and have him or her play some of your tracks.
The good things about this is these places will already have a set audience. If you get featured on one of these established platforms, you will instantly be showcased in front of a audience proven to like the type of music you make. What's more, someone with authority in the niche will be giving you a stamp of approval, giving you instant credibility.
Now who do you think people will listen to more: Some random person that has added them on Facebook (who they went on to ignore by the way), or their favorite YouTube channel saying you're an act worth listening to? Exactly, the second option!
As an independent musician, once you have built up a small following (and maybe even while you're in the process of doing that), you should put the majority of your time into networking with and trying to utilize these platforms in your genre. I say you should start to build up a following first, as you can use the fact that you have some loyal fans to get onto your first established platform.
But wait, I know what some of you are thinking; it sounds like a lot of work, right? These platforms aren't that easy to get on, right? Well, in all honesty that could actually be a good thing. Barriers are there to keep the competition and more lazy people out, so if you push past that and manage to get on your first couple of established platforms, things will get a lot easier from there.
As I mentioned, it's all about leverage. While it may take you a month or two to make progress with your first established platform, once you do get showcased on one of them, you can use that first experience to your advantage. You now have the experience of being on this first platform, and can use its name to help you get on other platforms in your genre. So if for example you can say to people you've been on one of the top three YouTube platforms in your genre, don't you think DJs on community radio stations are going to start taking you more seriously? As will other YouTube channels in your genre, and websites that talk about your music style.
When networking with people who are involved in other established platforms, without boasting, you need to mention what other platforms you have already been on. This will automatically give you more credibility, and increase the chances that they will want to work with you. Think of it as showing your resume; the more past experience you have, the better your next job could potentially be.
As you get on a lot more platforms, others will start approaching you. Some will be big, some will be small. Most will be worth doing. The more you get yourself on these established platforms, the more opportunities will come along, and the more new people you will reach. Once the ball gets rolling, as long as you can retain a percentage of the fans you get in front of and convert them into buying customers, you will have a good music career.
So where do you find these platforms? Easy, you go to where people in your niche want to hear new music and find out the latest happenings. Examples of platforms you can leverage include:
- Radio Stations.
- YouTube Channels.
- TV Channels.
Now I know it can take a while to get on your first established platform, and it can feel like you're not really getting anywhere. But your chance will come, and when it does, it will all be worth it. During that time, keep practicing your art and promoting your music in other ways by yourself. But never give up on getting on these bigger platforms, as when you do, things will start to take off much faster then ever.
Tip: Don't go for the biggest established platforms first. If you're an unknown artist and try to get on MTV Base, most likely this won't happen. Aim for one of the top 3 YouTube channels in your genre, or a grassroots level popular website for your music style. From here you can build things up, and get on even bigger platforms as your name becomes known around the circuit.