Starting a music career with big, irrepressible ideas and goals can be a great thing for an unestablished musician. On the other hand, sustaining a serious career in music is a massive challenge for many. It’s important for musicians to understand their dreams in a healthy and positive way when things get tough. As you progress in your music career, it’s crucial to break down big hopes and dreams into small, actionable goals. A dream of yours might be to get signed by your favorite label, but what exactly does that mean? Are you looking for a partner to help you promote and sell your music? Or are you more interested in teaming up with a producer to help your work stand out?
Creating short-term goals will help give you attainable targets to shoot for and clarity on where you are in your career and where you want to go. If you’re unsure which short-term goals to shoot for in music, here are a few realistic ones to consider:
Music takes on two very different identities. The first is what a song or album means to the person who created it. The second is how the world interacts with musical work. When a musician throws money, energy, time, and love into a project, it makes sense why getting negative feedback can be hard. Allowing criticism to impact who you are as a person can lead to negative consequences for you and your music. Learning to navigate and accept criticism with grace is a crucial survival skill for all serious musicians.
With the availability of streaming data for artists, the first week after releasing your music can provide important indicators. Your number of listeners, how they listened, and how your music may fit into larger playlists are all examples of important streaming data. Moreover, the insight from the data can also help you visualize potential projects for the future. Your first week of data is an essential indicator of whether you will get placed on major playlists or not. For these reasons, it is useful to have a strategy for your release in order to maximize your streams. In this article, we will look at four strategies to craft a successful first week:
Not focusing enough on music doesn’t seem like a problem for most musicians, but there have never been more distractions in music than there are right now. Whether it’s petty jealousies, disagreements with your team, or obsessing over your social media following, focusing on the things surrounding your music instead of your work can transform into a big problem if you’re not careful. Here are three ways your music suffers when you lose focus on it:
Every music scene is its own world, packed with locally famous venues, musicians, and history. It’s natural to want to develop within the music community that exists in your hometown. However, when musicians fail to evolve past their local scene, they limit not only their opportunities, but also their creativity. Forming an identity outside of your music scene isn’t easy, but it’s essential to connect with large audiences.
Don’t settle for local success
It can be incredibly exciting to find success within a local music scene for new and unestablished bands. Opening for national artists, getting written up in local media, and headlining shows at local venues are all signs of momentum within a scene. The problem comes when bands get addicted and comfortable with the notion of being the big fish swimming in the small ponds of their local music scenes. It’s completely possible to be a well-known and beloved band to the music fans in your hometown but no one else. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this. Yet, if your music career ambitions are bigger than being locally successful, you’ll have to plan to be active outside of your hometown.
There is so much power in being an independent artist. Now more than ever, you have advantages that you’ve never had before. From complete creative control to the ability to make decisions for yourself, being an independent artist is no longer seen as simply a stepping stone on the way to signing to a label. Many artists—perhaps even you—have made a decision that indie is the way to go.
However, one of the things you’re bound to run into as you navigate the DIY waters is the inevitable feeling of wearing all the hats. You know what I mean—you’re the manager, you’re the publicist, you’re the marketer, and you’re the booker. You’re trying to learn, do, and get better at everything, and it’s exhausting.
You start to feel frustrated and a little resentful, as you wonder—how am I supposed to do this all alone?
Artists can get quite a bit of mileage out of releasing their music on free digital listening platforms in today’s music industry. However, there’s no getting around the fact that some money has to be spent in order to give your work the best chance at being heard. Music has never been cheaper to create and share, but if you’re hoping to reach the largest audience possible, be prepared to spend a little money to make it happen. Here are three essentials you’ll most likely need to spend money on to share your music with wide audiences:
Musicians have a lot on their plates these days. We’re told that there’s virtually no chance we’ll succeed without throwing a huge amount of our time and energy into doing things like promoting our work over social media or carving out brands for our digital identities. But while there’s some truth to that advice, it won’t make a difference if the music you’re looking to share isn’t solid. Yes, in today’s music industry, artists shouldn’t expect to post music online and find a following without throwing in some hard non-musical work behind it, but many of us are missing the point of what it means to be creating music in 2020, and that point is to share compelling, interesting, fresh, and meaningful music.