[EDIT] A couple of weeks ago, mid November, Francis Gane of Chartburst (a platform for unsigned artists, that says they will get you heard by major labels, producers, bloggers, pluggers, etc.) asked me if I would be interested in contributing to Chartburst’s blog. Very flattered, I said, “Yes.”
However, on reflection, I have got to decline the tempting invitation, because I haven’t got time to write for myself! Blogging, as informative content creation, is such a time consuming taskmaster. Sorry, but LibreRock Records and UnsignedBandPromotion must come first. Being independent means taking responsibility for yourself, and that’s what I’ve got to do!
Anyway, How To Become A Successful Independent Recording Artist WAS destined for Chartburst; I’m sure Francis will be pleased that I posted it here instead.
“How do I become a successful independent recording artist?” is just the sort of puerile question a schoolboy would Google right after he had Googled, “How do I get a girlfriend?” I can hardly believe someone posed this innocent question so sincerely to me. But they did, and I can’t believe that I am actually going to genuinely bother to answer it. I’ll not over inflate the article with fluff, and as a convention, I’ll use “artist” meaning artist, musician, band, etc….
Firstly, at what point would you say, “I have become a successful indie artist?” Here are a couple of my favourite answers: 1. When I can jack in the day job and earn a living playing music. 2. When the mainstream media starts to take notice. I’m sure you’ve got your own individual answer, maybe it’s relative to the artist? Set your goals - and maybe that’s too unfluffy for you!
How good at doing it are you?
It’s my belief that if an artist wants to become a success on the music scene and make a living from their music, the most important area to get right is their musicianship and stage act (Music and Performance). This is The Core Essential and best indicator of whether you are going to make it or not.
Seek criticism and advice from an independent and qualified person whose opinion you value and trust. Then act on their advice and continue to seek their feedback for continuity. I am Not talking about crowd-sourced, public opinion here; I am talking about a qualified individual who can tell you the truth.
Do you have a Business Plan?
To make a money out of your music, you need a Business Plan - talent is sometimes (usually) not enough! Running a business is a big subject, too big for this blog post anyway; it includes: finances, technology, marketing & PR, sales, staff, regulations & legal stuff - and that’s just the tip of the iceberg, off the top of my head!
Being an independent artist doesn’t mean you that have to do everything yourself, you will need professional help and advice - maybe it’s an accountant or maybe it’s a website designer? Find the right professional for the job. There are a number of music industry pros. worth contacting, here’s a list: 22 champions of the independent music community - one should be able to set you on the right path. Personally, I’d start off by talking to a specialist music industry accountant.
How do you connect with people?
The third element in this trilogy is Connectivity. Actually it’s a subsection within business - Marketing and PR. It is how you connect with people and how you get them to take notice. It’s being on the same wavelength as the person with whom you are talking, it’s empathy and rapport. It’s marketing - bringing yourself to the attention and consciousness of your potential fans. Yet another massive subject, however, it’s a key factor in becoming a successful indie artist. Talk to LibreRock Records for some personalised information and help.
So there you have it, a simple, candid answer to a puerile question! The Three Core Essentials are: Music and Performance, Business and Connectivity - get them all right and you’ll do okay …even though in reality, the odds are set against you ;)