The concept of a music fan purchasing an artist’s music might seem outdated in 2020, but it’s still a crucial part of making an income and leaving a legacy as an artist. Music has changed so much in recent years that it’s easy to dismiss long-standing cultural and industry traditions like selling music physically and digitally, but artists and audiences alike lose out when convenience ushers out things that are truly meaningful and enduring in music. Selling and owning music is something all musicians should be advocating for.
Digital streaming platforms are bringing both huge benefits and challenges to musicians. Today, the idea of an unknown artist distributing their music online and resonating with audiences instantly is very much a real thing. But while more music is being made and listened to than ever before, building real connections with listeners is a major challenge for musicians working in an unprecedented era of music saturation and competition. You might have loads of streams and followers in today’s digitally driven music industry, but making real fans is a whole other story.
Sharing new music for the first time is incredibly exciting for a songwriter. After months or sometimes years of working on a project, music takes on an entirely new meaning and purpose once it finally makes its way to audiences. Understandably, for many musicians, the money made or lost on something like an album or EP isn’t nearly as much of a concern as whether new music ends up striking a chord with fans or not. But the unavoidable truth here is that not caring about your relationship with money is something that can harm or even destroy your career. The good news is that you can plan realistic financial goals for your releases that support and prioritize things like connecting with audiences and not going into debt over your music.
I probably don’t need to tell you that we’re living in an unprecedented time not just for music, but just about every other facet of human life. We have more ways to instantaneously share and absorb information than ever before, and that’s not always a good thing. Whereas musicians working just a decade ago didn’t need to worry much about how they related to their fans online, it’s something that can absolutely make or break an artist’s career today. In theory, musicians being completely open and transparent about their personal lives is something that fans can and long to relate to, but the reality is a whole lot more complex than that. Some musical identities and genres of music are much better served through things like sharing political views and personal stories than others. Share too much or too little with your audience, and you risk alienating your fans or appearing cold and uninterested. How do you find the right balance? Asking these questions can help:
Lots of musicians make music with the intention of sharing their work with the world. The main function of being a serious musician is giving music with people, whether it’s through live performances, recorded songs, or both. But making music available for audiences is a serious choice with consequences we don’t often give much attention to as musicians.
New Year, New You, am I right?! At least, that’s what it felt like a few weeks ago when you were still in full planning mode, psyched about the New Year, and ready to tackle everything on your to-do list and then some.
But now, as we get deeper into the day-to-day of the new year, that magic is starting to wear off. You’re still motivated to do all the things you set out to do just a few weeks ago, but you seem to have suddenly lost the time, energy, and clarity on how to make that happen.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This post-holiday slog hits all of us. It’s easy with the promise of a new year to get all hyped up on our greatest dreams and ambitions but the truth is, when things get back to “normal” and we’re back in the post-holiday day-to-day, it can be really difficult to have that follow through.
But, don’t fret! There are a few easy ways to get yourself out of this funk before it’s too late.
Playlists are something serious musicians can’t afford not to care about or pay attention to in today’s music industry. You probably already knew that though, unless you just got rescued from an island in the middle of the ocean that had no internet. Things like conventional radio and licensing placements can still be hugely influential in music, but playlists are becoming so popular that many seasoned music industry professionals worry the listening format is pushing out traditional albums. By now, most of us have heard of success stories in music where artists get featured on huge playlists and become hugely successful shortly after. But the truth is that playlists are still new as listening formats, and they work much better for some artists than others.