All too often, we get wrapped up in new tactics, new ideas, new plans and new ways of getting bigger and better as musicians. With social media and the internet, there’s so much information that it’s almost become immeasurable.
This is great and all, but maybe we sometimes lose sight of what we shouldn’t be doing.
There’s lots of stupid shit you shouldn’t be doing.
Here’s a quick guide to what you shouldn’t be doing.
THE PERSONAL ELEMENT
- Don’t ever stop practicing your instrument.
- Don’t be an asshole.
- Don’t WANT WANT WANT WANT. Learn to give back first.
- Don’t get defensive. Learn to take constructive criticism.
- Don’t forget to learn how to take destructive criticism, too. You’ll get a lot more of it than you think.
- Don’t forget that everyone’s an asshole.
- Don’t stop learning.
One of the best ways to grow is to look at what’s worked for other indie musicians and adapt it to your own career. I’ve compiled 10 great strategies with 10 real examples to get you going. A lot of musicians I’ve talked to think they can’t start making strategies to move their career forward until they’re making money, until they take some business classes, or until they get a manager. The coolest thing about these strategies is that you can start using them TODAY.
1. Make a Plan from the Start
Making a great plan is one of the best ways to get to that music success you deserve. Not only do concrete goals give you something to aim for, they also help you decide what your first step should be.
The internet is full of basic advice on how to market your music with Youtube. That said, if you want to really step your game up and start reaching more of your target audience, there are only a few advanced guides that will let you know how to do that. This is one of them! So have a look for 3 ‘not often talked about’ tips that will have you using Youtube much more effectively!
MusicThinkTank.com Weekly Recap: How to Find Your Audience: A Step-by-step Guide for Musicians (Plus a FREE Template)
- Lukas Camenzind | How to Find Your Audience: A Step-by-step Guide for Musicians (Plus a FREE Template)
- Dylan Lott | 11 Things You Need To Bring On Tour
- Fiona Zwieb | 7 Ways a VA Can Create Your Best YouTube Trailer
Ah, Youtube. Where more than 1 billion unique users visit each month and over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth.
Chances are you have an account but since they upgraded all channels to Youtube One back in June of 2013, I bet you $10 you haven’t gotten around to uploading a killer promo trailer to drive in subscriptions to your channel. Did I just get a free lunch?
So, why is it important to have a YouTube trailer?
If you want find and grow your audience, be recognized for what you create, and make money as an artist, you need to think about WHO your music is for. Unfortunately, this is something most independent musicians don’t do. They make music for “anyone who wants to hear it”, which quickly turns into making music that no one ever hears (or cares to listen to…). Don’t make this mistake. Just follow these steps to answer the basic question…
So you’re going on tour. Time to dump your girlfriend, because there’s gonna be coke, girls, parties, beer, and did I mention the coke? But before you get to live your 80’s hair metal fantasy, you need to pack your bags with everything you’ll need for the trip.
I had to learn the importance of almost everything on this list the hard way, and I’d like to help you avoid the mistakes I’ve made if at all possible.
This one should be a no brainer. Nowadays, everyone has a smartphone, and for good reason. On tour, I rely on my smartphone every day. I use Gmail to contact promoters; Google Maps to find venues; Yelp to find restaurants; Spotify to listen to music; Netflix to watch shows. The uses are endless (I’ll be writing up another article on my “must have” apps). The major drawback to most smartphones though, is their battery life, which is why you also need…
- Ariel Hyatt | In Defense of 1,000 True Fans - Robyn Dell’Unto’s Multifaceted Approach to Fan Engagement
- Jon Ostrow | 5 Time Management Tactics Every Musician Must Know
The discussion of the intersection between independent musician and entrepreneur is not a new one. Both are responsible for shaping their own careers, building their own teams, setting their own goals and working towards the proper milestones that will turn dreams into reality.
Musicians and entrepreneurs also suffer from a similar issue: time management.
And rightfully so… whether you are a solo artist working on your own, or have a band that you can share the responsibilities with, the amount of time it takes to get through the never-ending task-load can very quickly surpass the number of hours in a day, week or year.
We all know how hard it is to keep up with tasks. The sheer quantity of things itching for completion each day is a point of contention for everyone I know.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by how much work there is to be done and just dive in, rather than to take a second to step back and organize all the work before doing so. I would argue that taking 5 to 30 minutes each day (depending on your quantity of tasks) to organize and lay out your tasks will allow you to be more productive while you tackle them. Because of the 5 reasons below, I suggest you take a second to revamp your daily routine if it doesn’t already include planning time!
Last week, I was talking to an artist about potential shows for their first national tour. As a relatively new band, they didn’t know what kind of turnout would be there in several of the markets, even though they’ve had some prominent national press. Naturally, without a solid tour history, many of the promoters were unwilling to provide a guarantee – they only offered door deals to the band. The band told me that the shows needed to have a good turnout or money to make it worthwhile. Of each show, they asked me, is it worth it?
The week before that, I was talking to an aspiring author who was finishing up his first novel. I recommended talking to an editor to help with grammatical structure, word choice, and pacing, which is especially important for works of fiction. However, when he saw the price range of professional editors, he asked me, is it worth it?
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(Updated January 13, 2016)