Musician Success Guide, Strategies for Success, Motivation & Inspiration
The end of the year is upon us, and that means it's time for resolutions! We've
all made the typical resolutions before – get in better shape, stop eating
junk food, quit smoking, spend less money – but what about those specific
to you as a musician? There are plenty of things you may want to do in 2015,
but we'd suggest starting with these six resolutions to really kick your music
career into high gear. Don't forget to customize them (e.g. "I'm going
to release one new song a month," or "I'm going to attend at least
three music conferences by the end of the year") to align them with what
you personally want to achieve!
1. Educate yourself
You may be an expert at writing meaningful
lyrics or playing guitar, but is that going to be enough to
help you make a living in the music world? Plenty of musicians
hire people to do the things they aren't good at or that they
don’t have time for – publicity, management, booking,
legal issues, publishing – but that doesn't mean they
have any idea how it works. Some of the most successful (read:
richest) performers got there by paying very close attention
to their investments, their money, and those they work with.
Sure, your main job is to play shows and create music, but
that doesn't mean you should have no idea what else is going
on. Do your best to understand what these other people in
your life do, and why it's important to you. After all, it's
your money, so make sure you're spending it wisely.
Don't know where to start? Check out the Music Business 101 section of the
Sonicbids blog, and you'll find a ton of great resources and expert industry
2. Play more shows
Depending on who you are, this one may
be tough. There are plenty of bands that are always on the
grind, but there are also plenty of others that could play
live more. Since people rarely purchase music anymore (just
suck it up and accept it), you have to find other ways to
make a living, and performing live is an obvious one. Don't
be afraid to find one-off shows, private events, or even small
tours. For example, if you live in New York City, why not
go on a quick tour of the Northeast, playing one or two shows
per state? Not every tour needs to be a massive, nationwide
endeavor. Here's how to book your next DIY tour like a pro.
3. Network more
Nothing bad ever came from meeting new
people, so go for it! The more people you meet and the bigger
your network, the better. Now, that doesn't mean you need
to be crazy aggressive about it – just focus on meeting
people and forging connections.
While you're at it, you may want to go out of your way to try to say hello
to or meet certain people in the music world. People who book venues, those
at labels you like, bloggers, pretty much anyone who works in the music world
is a good bet. You can do that in person, or of course, use social media. If
you're brand new to the music industry, LinkedIn is actually a great way to
start making solid connections. Here are some pointers for who you should be
connecting with on LinkedIn.
4. Talk to your fans
This is probably something you're already
doing (especially if you're a smaller, more independent artist),
but it doesn't hurt to do it even more. No matter who you
are or how small your fanbase is (everybody has to start somewhere),
reach out to them and say hi! Perhaps set a goal of how many
you'd like to email/tweet/reply to on any given day or week.
Take note of these three ways to turn your fans into superfans
– because the better a relationship you have with them,
the more they'll support you when it counts.
5. Take a risk
Maybe it's time for something drastic.
Have you always dreamed about going on tour or recording that
album, but never had the money or thought it was too risky?
Well, no matter what you think, it likely isn't going to be
any easier next year or the one after that, so you might just
have to go for it. There is a certain amount of irresponsibility
that should be tolerated, and this is a perfect example. If
it's your dream, go for it – though maybe don't ruin
everything else in the process. It's all about calculated
6. Release more music
Unfortunately, people's attention spans
have dwindled, and now a song is over and done with almost
as soon as it's leaked. While albums are still the standard
way of releasing new music, that doesn’t mean you should
only be unveiling new tunes every year or so. Try filling
in the time between with tracks that didn’t make it
onto albums, new recordings, or even new variations. You can
give away acoustic or live versions, or even remixes. (For
even more ideas, here are 14 ways to make money from a single
song!) A steady, semi-constant stream of music is a pretty
good strategy, even if it's tough work.