What you should know how to do if you want to be a successful DIY musician today
1. Make Good Music
Should we need to say this? Ideally no, but some of the stuff we stumble upon in the big wide world of the internet makes us wonder if some musicians actually listen back to the songs they are making.
You need to know what makes a song appealing. Look at the charts. Beyond all the manufactured stats and big marketing campaigns by major labels, there is music there that appeals to the masses for a reason. Simple things like lyrics that make sense or a catchy chorus should always be considered.
2. Forget About a Record Deal
We get questions all the time about when is the best time to approach a label as a DIY musician, which labels are the best to approach, etc and we are always surprised that so many musicians still think like this. If you have to ask these questions, your focus is in the wrong place. If you focus on making music, building your tribe of supporters and establishing your career, then labels will find you at which point, you may not even be interested in them anymore. The knowledge and ability needed to build a sustainable music career lies within you, you just need to get focused.
Facebook. Twitter. G+. Snapchat. Instagram. Meerkat. YouTube. Vine. Etc. Etc. Etc.
We know, there are a lot of social media channels but don’t feel pressure to communicate on all of them but do test out a few to see which ones you are most comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to ask your supporters as well which networks are their favourites as chances are you will be able to reach out to new supporters on their preferred networks. We would recommend keeping it to 2 to 3 networks. There are some services you can use to help you automate this work as well.
Yes ultimately it should be about the music but the music fan of today has a bit of a bigger appetite. They want more than just the music, they want you. Hate it or love it, blogging will have to become part of the package of a DIY musician.
You should have already invested in your own website which is where you should host your blog. Don’t limit yourself when it comes to blogging. Write about your thoughts, post pics and videos, review albums from other artists. There are so many things you can do to create interesting content.
5. Manage Your Expectations
All these big acts you see topping the charts and having sold out tours, they have teams of hundreds of people as well as 6 figure marketing budgets behind them to help them along. Even with that level of support, a surprising number of them still fail to even sell 10000 records.
We are saying this to say that it’s important that you acknowledge and respect what it takes to make it in this industry. That doesn’t mean that you aim small but don’t be so hard on yourself if you’re not an overnight success. Being a DIY musician can be very fulfilling without ever hitting the charts.