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« Why Most Indie Music Groups and Labels Fail (Part 1) | Main | Why Being On Oprah Was The Worst Day of My Life »

The 9 Step New Year’s Resolution For Indie Musicians



We all commit to starting over once the New Year rolls around. It is entirely possible we ate too much, did not exercise enough or spent way too much money in 2012. Once the calendar year ends on the 31st of December though we have a clean slate, that fresh start and brighter future is known as 2013.

An artist who has not yet made it may be looking beyond the money and health related promises and use 2013 as a time to advance in their career. If you are such an artist it may be wise to consider on one or all the New Year’s resolutions below.

1. You will need money to fund your project, consider fundraising, taking out a loan or asking for help from friends, family or those close to you.

2. Learn all you can about the people who will purchase your product. Pay close attention to their buying habits, wants and needs. The goal is to cater to them so they can in turn support you. Obviously you will not be able to study them firsthand during one of your performances. A good alternative is to attend an artist show that happens to fall in the same genre as you.

3. People come to your show to be entertained not just to hear your music. Think about ways to make your live performances bigger and better to sustain the attention of your audience.

4. Follow the three P’s- Promote Yourself, Protect Yourself and Play Live and your career is sure to take off

5. Do not let fear control your destiny! Stop being terrified of what others will think of you! Never say it is too hard to accomplish!  Put these feelings behind you and let artistic expressions take over!

6. Any profession will tell you the more skills you have the more valuable you are. Artists are no different, you will need to take the time to learn new programs and acquire new talents in the new year to prove your worth.

7. If you are a negative person, negativity will follow you around but if you rise above and choose to be positive then things will start going your way.

8. Make a plan, a real plan and write it down. This piece of paper or file on your computer should contain all your business and marketing goals for the next year. You will need to show how you intend to get there by supplying estimated facts based on research you conduct throughout the year.

9. Social networking is a valuable tool bestowed on us in the last ten years. It has enabled us to connect with thousands of people in a matter of minutes. Many artists’ careers have been established and maintained using these services. Being online and meeting people online is becoming more and more important but the need for face to face interaction and networking is just as important to advance in your career.

Written by Sarah Oliver @SoSoActive

Work Cited:

Tumblr. “100 New Years Resolutions For the Proactive Musician”. Indie Band Solution. 2011, January 26. Retrieved 27 December 2012. Careers: Music Careers. “ Music Career New Year Resolutions”. Mcdonald, Heather. 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012. “ What Is the Poor Starving Artist to Do in This Economy?” Ori, Nancy J. 1996-2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012. “ Happy New Year 2013”. [Photo]. Flickr. 2012, December 15. Retrieved 2012, December 27.

Reader Comments (7)

I do agree. The modern 2013 musician has to develop many skills in order to succeed.
Except perfecting your music skills, you also have to become a... ''label'. The days of ''recording a demo in my bedroom and then I get signed'' are well over.
The record companies do not make the money they used to make. This is because of the ''digitalization'' of music. Basically when people started to be able to download music and share music illegally for free, they stopped buying it. Which is sad because musicians are in trouble. But that's how it is.
In the 80's 90's where people were still buying vinyl cassettes and CD's all was good. The record companies were getting a huge percentage of the sales and the artist not much, but then, when everybody didn't have any other option but to buy music, musicians could make a living from album sales. And the best part? You could get a deal with just the strength of a demo. All you had to do was go to the record company or send the demo in, if they liked it then you would get a development deal. Which basically meant that they would invest. You were getting some money from the record company to live comfortable, while concentrating 100% in your music.
So....perfect situation to be able to develop your craft!!! Also, when your record was out, the company would do a massive promotion so people know about your music.
2013: The record companies do not sign artists. They wait. They wait for the artists to become successful first and then jump in and start taking percentage of the artist's money. What do you get back? Bigger promotion. But they do not do it until they are sure that they will be making money from that band.
So from the artist's side, the reality is that you basically have to do everything without support. Grow your fan-base, self-promote, invest, research, become the label.
If the record company sees that you can do that and you have a small profitable business, they will sign you. They cannot afford risking at all because they are afraid that investing to something completely new can go wrong and will lose their money.
Which means that the bands/artists have it very hard. But then... you can chose not to get signed and remain independent. No one can control you then...

It takes a lot of work determination but it's all down to work in this life isn't it?!

Theo from E-MUTE

January 3 | Unregistered CommenterTheo

Wow, so all I need is a shit load of money and a positive attitude?

January 3 | Unregistered Commenterme

You'd be amazed how far a shit load of money will get you!

January 5 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Great post. Buisness cards are a great way to get started. Thanks. Peace

January 9 | Registered CommenterPedro Jaure


You made some very valid points in your response.
The indie artist isn't allowed to be just about the music anymore, they must know a thing or two about the business side as well.
The industry as a whole is changing and labels are operating lots differently than they used to.
It is all about the "brand" now and less about the music.
Everything in life that is worth anything is worth working hard far I say!

Take it Easy!!


A positive attitude can go a long way! I know getting your hands on a lump sum of money is harder than it sounds these days, not trying to down play that by any means.

Thanks Pedro!

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