The music industry is one of the hardest industries to get into and being a musician is one of the hardest jobs to maintain. These last few decades have proven that without a good connection it seems impossible to get heard by our fellow peers within the music industry. However nowadays, musicians have many outlets that can help get their music heard. For example, iTunes, CDBaby and Soundcloud are effective distributions some musicians may choose to use just to name a few. Knowing your fan base can quickly spread an artist's music to a wider market by using digital platforms such as social media. These tools can spread the discovery of music to other fans with a similar taste of music genres and automatically contribute to a musicians fanbase.
Where do you start?
One of the most common ways to get your music out there and engage with your fan base is by building a mailing list and asking for their email address. By doing this you’ll be able to continue to share for instance free music clips, concerts and/or show updates you may have coming on, but remember do not spam them. By doing this you’re able to create a fan street team and have prizes to give away at your shows such as free CDs, t-shirts or free download links to one of your songs. Give a fan a shout out for supporting you in the process of making yourself a professional musician is always a nice touch. This is all a major advantage as you’ll reach more fans with this approach and can benefit your brand by having your fans market your music.
In our human instinct, when a person who has more knowledge or knows more about the music industry, you may get angry with their constructive criticism. It’s important to take all the advice in once you get a chance to be advised to by an industry professional even if it’s something you may not want to hear. So that’s where you start, by asking for advice, advice on your ‘USP’ advice on your music and even advice on how to best connect with your fans. Whatever it may be just take the advice and use it to improve yourself, this information is very valuable for those who want to be musicians.
How can I stay relevant?
We often hear the phrase “It's not what you know, it's who you know.” I cannot stress this enough with all the street teams, fan giveaways, shows and contests. Networking, is a must for anyone who wants to be in the music industry, when it comes to an open spot at a venue or a club gig.
As it is a highly competitive industry, if you do not network with entertainment professionals to gain maximum exposure you could possibly be missing out. They’re many ways of networking which include attending events and musician/ entertainment industries meetup groups. This is especially vital in big cities like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago just to name a few. After, you've established a client or friend relationship with them, it is very important to maintain that relationship and not let it go down the drain by failing to keep contact. You never know who in the industry is going to give you a break or your next big opportunity.
Another way to stay relevant is to start a blog site where you’ll get noticed for your work. Joining other musicians who have a ton of views on their blogs and asking them to feature you and your music as you do the same for them is called ‘Cross Promotion’. This is a great way to gain new fans and discover new artists to collaborate with. Other advantages include building an established network system of likeminded people and the opportunity to conversate with a community of people with a common interest.
It’s not always easy to follow your dreams but at the end of the day it’s all about marketing your music to others who will listen and having a successful career in this competitive music industry. No matter what, always believe in yourself and your craft, this is the first and vital step, if you cannot believe in your own music then who will? Be true to who you are, never let anyone tell you you’re not good enough to be heard in the mainstream world. Respect other people, they will also get you where you need to be. Lastly, treat your fans, your network and your team with respect and never bad mouth other musicians even when you do not like their music.
Written by: Susan Hu
Susan has a number of degrees under her belt including a Music and Recording major and a Bachelor Degree in Entertainment Business from Full Sail University. She was a professional red carpet host and journalist for 3 years with WTV Networks in Los Angeles, California and also is an aspiring actress. She currently works as a Communications / Social Media Director for the International Film Festival in Manhattan, NYC and The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy.
You can find Susan on Facebook here, follow her on Instagram: @buzzy_nfamous2u and check out her twitter here.