How to succeed as an independent music artist

If you want to take your music from being a hobby to being a career, you’ll need to step things up. You might create great music, but how is anyone going to discover you? Your whole mindset needs to change as you head into making money from your music.

Person crowd surfing with microphone in hand. Red smoke in the background.
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Don’t spend your whole life thinking “what if” – if you want to turn your music into a career, then go for it. However, you need to be aware of what will come with that. You aren’t going to make thousands overnight, and you won’t have your name in lights quickly either. These things take time and really have to be worked for. You are your own boss, marketing team, scheduler and creator. Everything that gets done is your responsibility. So, if you don’t invest your time in it, you won’t grow. Unfortunately, it will be a challenge to begin with because you need to do the work of multiple people. Once you’ve got into a routine though, the rest should follow.

Connect with people

Your success will come from fans. People supporting you and wanting to see you succeed. Unfortunately, these aren’t something that will typically find you. At least, not at first. You need to go out and find your fanbase. Let people see why they should follow your work. Get them hearing your music, and from there, you might just have a fan for life. It all starts with you though. You need to connect with people, reach out and let them know who you are. Show them your personality. Be authentic and real, so they learn to trust you.

Take to social media. Support other artists. Comment, like and share their work. They might just return the favour and from there, you’ve reached a new audience. Reaching out to artists similar to yourself means you’ll have a similar fanbase. People who enjoy their music, might enjoy yours. It’s worth interacting with as many as you can. The aim is to build friendships, connections and therefore a circle of people who have your back throughout the music world. People are far more likely to check out your page if you’re communicating with others.

Don’t spend more than you can afford

One issue many creatives have is money. When you’re new to the music world, or any creative industry, you don’t have the funds to splash out on everything you want. Think about what you need. Consider the pieces of equipment you don’t already have that you cannot create your art without. Typically, you’ll have a lot of this because you’ll have been creating music prior to making it your career. So, you shouldn’t really have to spend too much when branching further within the industry. If there are purchases you need to make, consider exactly what they are and why you need them before buying.

People sometimes think they need to pay for adverts and social media help to get them up and running. This isn’t the case. You can do it all by yourself, it will just take commitment. Another thing is, you’ll want to learn new techniques and grow. Don’t spend money on the first course you see offering to teach you. You’ll find so many tutorials online that can show you what you need to learn. Don’t start spending money until you’re making money. If you don’t need to pay for a service, then don’t. Upgrade to their premium versions once you see a profit and not before.

Be approachable

No matter how good your music is, or how big you get, you’re never too important for other people. Don’t allow yourself to get into this mindset of having talent and therefore walking all over others. It won’t do you any favours. Especially in the beginning. You need to be as humble as you can be throughout. This way, you’ll attract more people willing to help. You’ll find fans who want to share your work. Other artists will want to work with you, and before you know it, you’ll have a network of people around you. If people feel they can drop you a message about your work, you’re more likely to grow.

Not only that, but if you’re willing to respond quickly to people and help them out, you’ll seem so much more genuine. You want to work with people when you can. Yes, you’re an independent artist, but you might need something further down the line. It might not even be a collaboration within music. Maybe you need some visuals making, or a logo. Whatever it is, if you’re approachable, other creatives will feel they can communicate with you. You’ll go a lot further in the industry this way. Managers or labels might want to get to know you. Think of Ed Sheeran being spotted in an average pub. He didn’t draw attention to himself, and didn’t have the celebrity “I’m too good for this place view” – this eventually led to him joining in a sing-a-long when prompted.

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