Difficulties As An Independent Artist

Music is a tough business to break into. The music industry has changed over the last couple decades and musicians have to be able to do it all. In the past, if an artist were signed to a label all they really needed to focus on was their craft. They were summoned to make the music, perform it and the label took care of everything else. Artist did not have to worry about getting mix engineers, producers, managers, branding specialist, advertiser, etc. Most, if not all, those task were assigned by the label. Even their social media accounts had specific managers to help promote on their social pages and build their brand.

Artist development is also almost a thing of the past. Social media has changed so many of our perceptions of artist development. Social media has taken over and live performances have declined. People are “trying to keep up with the Jones’s,” which basically means most are following what’s trending. Many artist are no longer having their own unique styles. The artist as a brand is no longer being strategized and planned out. Their fan-bases are no longer considered and most don’t even know their target audience. Many don’t have guidance as to how to perform live. In most cases, there are no teams figuring out their stage set-ups, lighting, dancers, and attire etc. They do not have a team coaching their movements. There is no PR in their ear telling them what to do and what not to do.

Social Media definitely took away from music. The actual lyrics and music are being tossed aside for visuals. The attention span of viewers today has deeply declined. Audiences want things immediately and in a short period of time. They want instant gratification which in turn, leads to artist no longer releasing full-length LPs and opting for EPs or even just single releases. If your music isn’t immediately catchy you could get caught in the musical twilight zone. Long gone are the days of full albums and CDs with full sized posters, inserts, and 3-4 minute songs for every track.

In today’s day and time an independent artist has total creative control and freedom. More and more artist are going viral via TikTok or IG and in the next instant you are “the newest sensation.” So, once they are in that role they don’t have the proper development or experience. It’s off to the races and they are on go time. It can either make them or break them. This can affect the level of success they want to have or will have. It may work for a while as artist continue to move forward in their career, though they may find that they need to incorporate some of the older elements and tactics of the past.

Recognition and getting a reputation as a professional and serious artist becomes difficult as well. Artist are their brand and they need and want to be taken serious. Independent artist usually don’t have a big backing  of funding and/or an outpour of support. This can cause them to be overlooked and brushed under the rug no matter how much talent they have. If you don’t have a good team of people in your corner it can be difficult to get mentions, publications and radio play. The more well-known artists are more likely to catch the attention of bloggers and disc jockeys. In fact more blogs would be faster to respond to a well-known PR agent faster than reading emails from the artist or band. Your brand and name being attached to them are far more reputable and grabs more attention.

How do you conquer these issues? We want to give our opinions and advice as well as possible guidance to independent artist.

Do not get discouraged! The music industry is a difficult career to break into. You have to have a combination of skills to sustain a successful career. Independent artists have more obstacles in their way but it can be done.

So, what can you do?

Tag publications, bloggers, and journalist in your social post where applicable.  But, don’t be a hound dog and too aggressive. Tag them on your album release post or something special that they just need to have their eyes on.

Make your post engaging, short and visually catchy. Get their attention and poke at their interest. Remember you are taking a chance at this. Don’t get upset and try to get negative press or reactions by lashing out. That just makes them look at you as a difficult person to deal with. Some may say all press is good press but it’s really not. Although, it may work for some. We would suggest steering away from that.

Make it your business to learn email marketing and ad posting if possible. If not try to incorporate someone in your team that has this skill. Send out short engaging pitches with all the necessary information (clear and positioned well). Include links to your music and all of your social media.

Artist should make it their business to learn skills that will enhance their career. Think outside of your creative musical box. Look at other companies and other artists to see what worked for them and what did not. Create your own blueprint. Ask yourself the questions like: What can you incorporate with your music career that will get you noticed? Is it branding your own merchandise? Is it branching out to other social platforms that you wouldn’t normally consider?

Take time to breathe and rest when possible. You don’t want to get overwhelmed. Do something outside of music that may just trigger an idea that can enhance your music career and visions.

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