Since the music industry crossed over to the virtual world in 2020, musicians now have the opportunity to develop new skills to enhance their business and their craft.
These skills include branding, recording music, releasing music, and developing fan relationships. So, in this article we will discuss why it is important to develop these four skills:
Branding is an essential tool for independent musicians. After all, branding is how people see and perceive your project.
Branding in has two main ways to think about: visual and content
If you go to the social media pages of any major label artist, you will notice how everything looks so consistent and clean cut.
The key is to have a clear visual identity, colors, and photos that line up altogether.
Visually, you should have a color palette that you consistently use for your album covers, social media pages, merchandise and website.
You should also have a set of press photos and headshots to consistently use on your platforms.
Many indie artists make the mistake of posting random content and memes that they think will bring more ‘likes.’
However, we are in the age of ‘engagement’ and creating conversations with your fans.
A post with five likes and five comments is more preferable than a post with fifty likes and zero comments.
Why? Five comments are made by five real people, ready to have five different conversations, and who are interested in your music!
So when it comes to content on social media, our objective is to tell our story, show who we are, and transmit our intention for making music. Everything on social media should fit your story, your motivation, and your identity as an artist.
If you can start thinking about the visual and content branding of your project, you will go a long way with reaching out to your fans.
The last few months have shown that having an income stream other than performing is essential.
Recording music has traditionally been associated with large studios and expensive sessions that had to be booked weeks in advance. However, in the last few years we have seen the increase in tools for home recording, and within affordable and reasonable budgets.
We have also seen artists who recorded albums in their bedrooms and reached all the way to the top of the charts who got major awards in the music industry. For this reason, every musician should learn how to use a microphone, how to record music on a laptop, and mix and master on their own.
Traditionally, each of these would cost a few thousand dollars to start with, with very specific skills and personnel for each step of the way. While these are very intricate crafts, with today’s tools and technologies, we are able to learn the foundational skills of recording, mixing and mastering, at least on a convincing level on the internet for free.
3) Releasing Music
After you learn how to record your music, the next step is to release it.
It is important to learn how to upload your music to the streaming platforms and set up the proper channels to get paid for your music.
You should register for a PRO (Performing Rights Organization), who help you get your royalties. After releasing, you should make a marketing plan including which playlists to go for.
4) Fan/Follower Relationships
Another important skill to learn for an artist is managing fan-follower relationships.
Fortunately, we live in the era of social media where we can easily connect and have conversations with our followers from all over the world. As such, engagement is key.
Engagement, in essence, is the idea that your followers will do more than ‘liking’ your photos. The objective for any follower you have should be to get them to listen to your music, and hopefully turn them into lifelong fans.
This objective is ambitious, but it is not impossible. What’s important is that you need to understand who your fans are and also understand why they follow you.
Talk to your fans one by one, respond to their messages, and engage with them. They are real people who follow you because your music resonates with them.
While these four skills might not relate to each other, each one of them has an important function in an ever changing and dynamic industry like music. Streaming music and the demand for new sounds will be here in the future, so recording is an important skill to take on during this time.
Releasing your music, managing fan-follower relationships, and branding will lead the way for a fanbase and continued support for your future projects.
All four of these skills are helpful in one way or the other. So start researching, have fun, and start brainstorming new ways to utilize your soon-to-be acquired new skills in your project.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.