When you’re trying to make something of yourself as an independent artist, you’re likely to make mistakes that will make people say you’re doing things wrong. What stings more is if you’re convinced you’re doing things right, but you’re not. Expect to take flak as an independent musician (not signed to a major record label) as you climb up the career ladder yet everything seems to move at a snail’s pace.
Getting on People’s Nerves
We all start from somewhere. Good manners and behavior will take you far. Try to be nice and make a positive impression on anyone you bump into. Don’t suck up and put on a façade day in and day out, to avoid rubbing people the wrong way. It’s a simple case of being nice, professional, and a positive influence on the people you meet or interact with. While a snobbish attitude and controversy can help your career further down the line, when getting into the state, it might piss off a lot of people, and make them avoid you or hesitate to help you move up the career ladder.
Charging for CDs at live performances
In the past, CDs were pretty expensive and artists didn’t fancy the idea of giving them for free. Fast forward and the exact opposite is happening. The problem for artists when they’re starting out is generating interest to sell CDs in economically viable quantities is a difficult thing. Say you sell a CD for $5. You might sell a few copies in your live show, but people won’t likely buy them. Sell your CD for a dollar or less to cover music production costs and fans might think you’re a big joke, and question the value of your music.
Give your music CDs away for free during live shows and people will see you are taking your music seriously, and are confident that your music will pay off later. Almost every in attendance will try to grab a copy of the FREE CD, which is a fantastic way of getting your music out and reaching a wider audience.
Failing to network
Lastly, you’re likely to struggle to make it if you don’t try to network within the music industry. Networking goes beyond meeting up with music producers, record label executives, and the who’s who. It means keeping details of every person your encounter in your journey right down to the individual artists and bands that play live shows. There’s a lot of “give and take” in the music industry. As an independent artist, you never know who may prove to be an invaluable contact down the road. Get out, mingle, and involve others in your music projects, and you can build a formidable network.
Not staying abreast with happenings in the music industry
If you follow trends, you’re probably aware that the music industry is at a crossroads now, and navigating it is both confusing and challenging. What’s crucial is to know you won’t likely make it as a musician if you’re used to just reading music tabloids, and not following mainstream news. While you can catch up with gossip and learn a thing, you won’t keep up with serious trends. You want to make sure you familiarize yourself with industry workings, music business, and more. Try to get to know more about the music press from the industry side, instead of the consumer side.
Not taking advantage of free marketing
Another area where budding musicians fail is not making the most out of free marketing channels and platforms to promote and market themselves. With so many places to market yourself for next to nothing, it’s inconceivable why a musician wouldn’t try to elevate their brand and grow their presence. Setting up a Facebook or Instagram page is a step in the first direction, but not enough to make you the next big thing. Invest your time and effort in marketing yourself, and generate buzz around your music.
If you need evidence that free marketing can make a world of difference and catapult you, look at some of the biggest artists and musicians right now. Lil Nas X, A$AP Rocky, Griz, Anderson Paak, and a host of other musicians are where they are because they leveraged social media to grow their brands. Get your marketing right and you will draw the attention of thousands of people, eager to listen to your music and buy tickets to your shows. The more unique and entertaining your online presence is, the more buzz you’ll generate. You might be surprised how far happy fans will take you on your musical journey.
Not accepting criticism
We get it. You want people to praise you from dawn to dusk. But that’s not how the industry works. If 90 out of every 100 people in a show, say your music is whack, it probably is. Not that this will happen. The truth is you won’t go anywhere if you can’t take criticism graciously and learn to produce better music.
One of the things that will make you go far in the industry is being able to accept criticism and use it to improve. Even if you’re confident that your new music hits all the right chords, or is flawless, this won’t make any difference to your audience if they feel otherwise. Now, this is the kind of feedback that can hold you back.
One of the major blunders independent artists make is misinterpreting what it means to go DIY. Unlike what you think, scaling the career ladder as a top musician with zero outside help whatsoever treads a fine line between difficult and impossible. Just because you want to do things under own record labels, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring others on board or seek a helping hand.
A growing number of artist management agencies and PR firms now offer real and better alternatives to work under record labels. Instead of trying to take control over songwriting, recording brand and image rights, and so on, leave it to professionals who can help promote your music and maximize your exposure.
Not signed to a major record label? We can grow your brand and music as an independent musician
If you’re looking to promote your music or establish a brand, get in touch with Glacer FM. We are a global radio station for unsigned and independent musicians and can play your music to our large online audience.
We’ll grow your brand and online audience in equal measure. To get your music featured or arrange interviews, contact us online.