The Music industry is vast with many uncharted regions so it’s imperative that you set your goals in order to stay on a path to success
When it comes to how to set your goals for music, you have to look at things from your perspective. It’s not necessarily helpful to look at any other musician and want their career. We all have our own paths to walk and the best way to do that start with a belief in yourself and your ability to make your own mark.
Setting goals is not everyone’s cup of tea but the process can really make a difference to your focus and your attitude towards success. Here are 10 things to think about that will help you set your goals for your independent career in music.
1) Full time or part time
This is a vey important aspect to consider. As much as you may be drawn to the glitz and glamour of some popular musicians, you might find that your happiness lies in just making music part time. You have to be true to yourself. Do you really want to be out on tour for half of the year being away from family and friends? There is no right or wrong way to approach this, it’s all about what works for you and the lifestyle you want for yourself.
2) Will you be releasing new music this year?
It’s always worth thinking about this in advance. If you plan to be releasing music this year, then there will be many things to consider which you will need to start implementing sooner rather than later. You also give yourself the chance to look at other commitments and where they would fit in around your release schedule.
3) How will you raise money to pay for the production?
Even if you produce your music yourself there will still be costs to consider such as time. Musicians tend to underestimate how valuable time will be when trying to get an album project completed. Outside of the production, you will also need to think about mixing and mastering costs. Then if you’re planning to release a physical product (CD, vinyl, etc) you will need to think about manufacturing costs.
Do you have enough savings available to cover your costs as well as your living expenses for a month or two before you start seeing a return? Is crowd funding an option? Or will you hold down a job while you release and promote the record.
4) How will you distribute your music to digital stores?
This will be something to consider in advance especially if this is your first release. Finding out which company is right for you can take a bit of time especially given how many companies now offer digital distribution. One good way to research the one most suited is to get feedback from other musicians. See what they think about their choice in digital distributor.
5) How will you promote your music?
Let’s face it. It’s not a case of if you build it, they will come. Without marketing, there is only one thing that will happen for certain…..NOTHING! You absolutely need to have a budget and/or a solid marketing plan in place. If you’re completely new to this, agreat book that will help you set your goals when it comes to promotion is Guerrilla Music Marketing by Bob Baker
6) Do you need new promotional photos?
Musicians tend to forget that in this industry visuals are just as important as audio. You will want to have some professional shots done with you looking your best for your press pack. Media publications like blogs and magazines are more likely to feature you if you look appealing so be sure to factor in a photo shoot at some point.
7) What about merchandise?
We’ve all heard everyone talking about how music isn’t selling anymore. Of course some of you know that that is not at all true. Regardless though, diversification is always a good thing and if you can open up another income stream with merchandise, it’s definitely worth exploring. This may not necessarily involve upfront costs as there are companies like Band Camp of Spead Shirt where you can create your merchandis and make it available for sale at no upfront cost to you.
8) Are you going to buy any new equipment?
This will be important to think about especially if you’re a touring musician. What happens if your instrument gets damaged or needs replacing? Hopefully you either have insurance in place or some other way of replacing your equipment without too much interruption to your income stream. Even if you’re a bedroom producer, insurance will still need to be considered at some point.
9) Do you need a new website?
Actually, maybe that question is phrased wrongly. In this day and age, you do need a website so it’s more a question of how you’re going to make that work. With content management systems like WordPress available, you can certainly build a professional looking website yourself. There are also services available that offer websites specifically for musicians like Bandzoogle for example.
And no social media profiles don’t count as a substitute for a website. Yes they are an integral part of your online marketing strategy, but they don’t remove the need for a website. If you want more information on how a website can serve your career, we can help.
10) Is Licensing an avenue you want to pursue
We mentioned diversifying income streams earlier and this is certainly another way of doing that. If you don’t know much about music licensing, we have a blog post here that will help you understand it a bit better. It’s a bit of a no brainer though in terms of whether or not to pursue. You already have the music recorded so you might as well try and get as much revenue from it as possible.
There will be many other things to think about when you come to set your goals for your music career but hopefully this gives you a good place to start.