Independent artists in the music industry are going to come up against a lot of pushback when they initially get going, this can deter quite a few people when they want to build a music career, however, knowing how to work through this is important for all artists to understand so they can support themselves along the way.
If you are focused on getting into the music business as an independent music artist hoping to be signed to a major record label, then here are some tips that may be able to help you make your breakthrough and grow as a successful independent artist.
What Are Indie Artists?
Indie artists or indie musicians, whichever one applies, are individuals or groups that are ‘independent’, they produce their music independently and do not have the support of a record label (yet).
It is seen as having more grit, and they don’t care that much about commercial success, so their music is made for their fans, not what is trending.
It Incorporates Different Genres
It is a bit of a confusing term, as we call someone an indie artist no matter what type of music genre they are in, for example, Arcade Fire, The Smiths, and Bon Iver, are all classed as independent music artists and yet they all have different styles.
Going from Unknown to Well-Known
It can also be an odd label since an independent musician can be signed to a big record label but still be called an indie musician despite the fact that they are no longer ‘small’.
Moving on to bigger things is seen as a natural progression and some independent artists, as well as independent musicians, will still focus on releasing music on their own and promote their own songs and records without a major label influence.
There is a lot of up and down with this label, as people would argue that if they get really famous they are no longer an indie artist even with them still sounding the same.
Some will say that as indie art becomes well known, it turns into the ‘alternative’ genre, e.g. indie rock to alternative rock.
Whatever label it has, it is a fascinating thing and it is always evolving and influencing the mainstream music industry.
How to Grow as an Independent Artist
If you want to keep growing as an independent and successful artist, releasing new music and making music videos, then there are some things that you can do to move this along and get to a place where you feel good about the journey you are taking.
Don’t Stop Writing
When you write your first song, you may feel a bit stuck afterward, especially if you were so focused on the one you were writing.
Now is the time to pick the pen back up and keep writing.
Pushing through that writer’s block can be hard so you may want to go out and gain some inspiration from what is around you.
Building on your collection of original music will help you make your way up when you are trying to put your music out there.
Even if you only write half a song, don’t throw it away, put it to the side and focus on something else, you can always come back to it at a later date.
Other music professionals go through this as well, you are not the only one so don’t get discouraged by it.
When you are writing, you should also be recording yourself, even if it is on your phone or computer, just for a backup and to help you with any changes you need to make.
Having the recording there can help you out when you are moving towards actually publishing music on your social media platforms or streaming services.
Carve some time out each day to practice your singing and/or instrument playing.
Keeping at it every day will make you better and it will motivate you to keep pursuing your dream.
If you are part of a band, then get your band members together each week or after school/college and just play with each other so you can motivate each other.
This will help you all contribute to the band, and if there are any problems with the music or someone wants to make suggestions, then you are all together to listen to them and build on what is being said.
It Will Make a Difference
Constantly practicing will have an impact on how well you do.
People want to hear a performer or band that gels and can produce music that people want to connect to.
Go to as Many Gigs as Possible
All your favorite artists at one point had to do small gigs or gigs in places they never even thought about so they can get their name out there and create a following.
There is excitement about getting out there and playing your new music to people for the first time, it can be very rewarding and fun to do, and even with the nerves you feel, they add to that entire experience.
Check Out The Local Scene
Do some research about where you can gig and see what kind of music they normally like to play so you can find a place that will respond to your genre of music.
Look for promoters, venues, and potentially other bands that you can work with.
Go online and try and connect with them, or go to these places in person and chat with the owners.
You may want to go to a few gigs as an audience member and see what the crowds are like and talk to the singers/bands that have been doing it for a while just to get their input.
All of it can be beneficial to you.
Be Your Own Manager
You don’t really need to hire someone to manage you if you think you will be able to do it yourself and you have the drive to do it.
Working behind the scenes is the manager’s job, so if you can hack that and you want to completely manage what you do to have full creative control and know what you are doing and where you are going, then being your own manager may work.
What Does a Manager Do?
A manager will book venues, organize band members, book gigs and rehearsals, and network with other artists.
Managing yourself can be easier, but managing a band will take a lot of time and patience as you will be dealing with different people who have diverse requirements.
Use Social Media
It is very hard to ignore social media nowadays, if you want to make an impression on your target audience, then you are going to need to create a social media page/pages for your talents.
What Should You Do?
When you use social media, you need to make sure that you are using it effectively so you get what you put in.
Keep these tips in mind when you are starting out.
- Create engaging content.
- Do not spam your followers.
- Adapt your message for each social media platform you use.
- Do sponsored posts where possible.
- Be aware of what you write and say online.
- Set up a professional website specifically for you/your band.
This can help you as you try and grow yourself so you don’t feel like there is too much happening all at once.
Release and Share Music
Using sites such as Soundcloud or YouTube means that people can put their music out there independently without having to go through the ‘big guys’ to get heard.
This is great for artists who want to be heard but do not have the following or connections to make it happen on bigger labels just yet.
Free services may not mean proper visibility, which is why paid streaming services can actually help artists who want a bit more visibility online.
Here are some tips on how to release your music.
- Make sure it is completely finished before releasing.
- Create a timeline so you know when you want to release and what you want to release.
- Publish your music, this will help you collect royalties. You can do this on your own to collect all the royalties, however, it is much easier to publish through specific sites that only ask for a percentage.
- Try out Apple Music and Spotify to release your music for digital distribution. They have a wider user base and they can reach all new listeners.
- Promote your music with audio clips, music video snippets, pictures, art, etc, this will help with getting people on board and interested to listen.
- Do a gig about releasing your album. Promote it online and look at doing it in your hometown or somewhere close to it for people to hear your new music live.
Remember to be patient.
Things take time and it may be daunting to go through, but you have worked hard for this and you are doing everything you can to put yourself out there, so keep at it.
Now that you know how you can grow as an independent artist, you should hopefully, feel a bit better about going down the path you are taking.
You will come up against some roadblocks in your time, but they happen to everybody, so keep at it and show people what you can do.