Do you want to be a star? Well, it won’t happen overnight. You’ll need to put in hard work.
For a lot of up-and-coming musicians, there’s a belief that all you need to do is gig until you find a music manager. But, this actually comes much later.
First, you’ll need to manage your own career.
There are certain skills that you’ll develop while managing your own career, that will help you later on in your career – when you do start working with a manager or promoters.
You’ll need to devote time to building your social media following, gain more fans, and craft a distinct sound that people actually want to listen to.
To help point you in the right direction – here are 3 steps to jump start your own music career.
#1 – Start Distributing Your Own Music
Thanks to the internet, you have quite a few different ways to distribute your own music. If you own the rights, you can upload your music to SoundCloud, DatPiff, and other music sharing sites. Of course, there’s also Spotify.
Getting your music onto these online services ensures that you have a way to directly release music and get it to your fans.
This distribution model is one of the major advantages that has helped modern indie artists break out from traditional musical career paths. You now have the power to take matters into your own hands.
You can distribute your own music without having to release vinyl albums, tapes, or CDs.
Take advantage of these opportunities to share your music. It can help you gain recognition and grow your fan base.
#2 – Release EP Albums on iTunes
With the online music distribution options that are available, you’ll be able to upload tracks or albums, but you won’t make money.
Now, Spotify does pay royalties to artists based on the number of plays each song receives. Though, you’ll need to get a lot of plays to make decent money.
If you want to start selling your own music, iTunes offers decent pay to artists for every purchase. But, you’ll need to release an album to sell your music on iTunes.
Because of this requirement, a lot of artists take the time to release full albums with 8 to 12 songs. The problem with this method is that the majority of your sales will only come from 2 or 3 songs.
So, instead of creating a full album, you should release an EP. Stick to a 5 song EP to get more music out into the cloud and start making money for your effort.
Here’s a short video that covers the basic steps for selling music on iTunes:
#3 – Market Your Online Music
Whether you upload music to a streaming site or try to sell music on iTunes, you need to market your music. There are two main marketing solutions that you need to worry about – direct marketing and digital marketing.
Direct marketing is what happens when you play live gigs. People get to hear you play and then, if they’re interested, they can look you up online and purchase songs or recommend you to their friends.
So, to do more to market your music directly to your target audience, you need to play live shows. You don’t need a booking agent for this. Start calling local venues and simply ask if they are looking for performers.
Depending on the location, they might want you to send them links to your music or for your EPK. Others may want you to come in and play. This really depends on the location and the person responsible for booking acts.
You may get turned down several times, but you’ll eventually start to learn which venues you can regularly book. You can begin building a rotating schedule of regular performances at these locations.
Digital marketing refers to all the various forms of online marketing that you can use to promote a business or brand. In this case, you’re promoting yourself.
For your digital marketing strategies, you should include a combination of email marketing and social media marketing. If you have funds available, you can include paid advertising. But, you can definitely get started without using paid ads.
Email marketing is useful for maintaining a growing list of fans. It’s a more direct form of contact between artists and their target audience, compared to the use of social media.
How do you get started with email marketing? Use an email marketing platform, such as MailChimp, to set up a new mailing list. You’ll then include a form on your website to allow your fans to sign up to your mailing list.
As your mailing list grows, you can send out regular emails to let your subscribers know about upcoming live performances, new music releases, and any other updates related to your music.
While people may not check on their social media accounts every day, most people check their emails daily – so they’ll never miss out on your updates.
Social media marketing simply means remembering to update your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts at least once per day.
What should you post about? First, keep everyone updated, the same as your emails. But, with Facebook, you can include other topics – share music-related news and other articles that you find online. Share anything that you think your followers will find interesting or helpful.
This is a tactic that businesses use in their social media marketing. They’ll limit the number of self-promotional tweets and Facebook posts that they release each day.
The majority of the content that they share is generally informative, educational, or entertaining. Then, they sneak in the promotional social media posts.
Final Thoughts on Managing Your Own Music
It really isn’t that difficult to manage your own music when you’re first starting out. Over time, you’ll be able to grow your fan base, build your email list, and gain more followers.
All of these steps help you to achieve those goals. You’ll need to start distributing your own music and then use marketing to promote it.
You won’t gain success overnight. Just keep at it, don’t give up, and continue growing. For more tips, check out our guide – Music Management for the Indie Artist.