How Can You Make Money With Music As An Independent Artist?
Music Marketing and more…
Turning a profit on music is hard, even for mainstream artists backed by record labels with millions of dollars to blow. If you’re an independent artist, making money with music is even more difficult. But should you let that stop you from making a career out of music? Of course not! However, you’re going to have to be smart, dedicated and organized about your career. Today, technology allows artists to record music without setting up shop in a recording studio. Furthermore, technology has greatly facilitated music distribution. Independent artists all over the world can share their music with huge audiences at little to no cost. Undeniably, one of the primary motivations for getting known in the music scene for many artists is making money. If you’re good at doing something and have spent years of hard work perfecting your craft, it would be nice to be compensated for it, right? The question then is how to do it. One word: marketing! But as an independent artist with a limited budget, how do you compete with the music marketing budgets of major record labels?
Even though social media often sounds vastly overhyped in today’s society, you can’t deny the potential benefits it can bring for your music career. You have probably heard of artists who started out as “YouTube sensations” and eventually turned into global super stars – hello Justin Bieber! The big 2 here are Facebook and Twitter. You probably have at least a Facebook fanpage set up already and if you don’t it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. By regularly updating a Facebook and Twitter page and interacting with your fans you can build up a relationship that will gradually transform casual listeners into lifelong fans. Do promote your music and releases too but be wary of spamming your fans as eventually they will tune out. A better approach is to update them on your day to day activities, ask engaging questions or post funny or interesting topics. Establish yourself as a friendly, trustworthy individual and an authority figure first, a musician and salesman later. Also, even though it may sound tempting, avoid buying fake Facebook or Twitter fans. Utilizing the power of social media is a good tactic to include in your music marketing and it’s basically free and not that demanding on time. A few minutes every day will suffice – if you’re smart about it you can schedule a handful of updates for the day ahead once in the morning or whenever you have time. However, you can’t rely solely on social media to fulfill your music marketing needs.
Your Own Website
Having your own website is always a good idea for artists and gives an heir of legitimacy to your music. You can include a multitude of information and other elements such as music, free downloads and more to carefully brand yourself or your band. Pairing this with social media will greatly improve the interaction with your fans as you can direct them from Facebook or Twitter to your official website and vice versa. You will also be able to gather more in depth feedback by analyzing page traffic and statistics for your site. Thus, you’ll have an idea of the reception you are getting and know where you can improve. Just remember to not be overly sensitive of criticism and to not be frustrated by a lack of traffic initially. Create special promotions and regularly update your website with articles, news items and fresh music to encourage more and regular visitors. Whatever you do, don’t forget to add an informative biography to your website homepage. This is your chance to make an introduction to people who are not yet familiar with your music. Include your philosophy on music and your influences and give your listeners something to relate to.
One of the most important decisions for independent artists is choosing a platform to release your music on. In terms of selling your music, some of the most popular digital platforms include iTunes, Amazon Music and Reverb Nation. CDBaby is a great choice as a distribution partner, as they will send your music to all major music stores including these and many others, as well as providing you with a bar code and ISRC codes at a reasonable price. If you are looking to simply attract new fans and give away free music – hands down the most effective music marketing tactic available to you – then releasing your songs on YouTube, SoundCloud or Spotify is also a good idea. You can even “leak” a handful of free songs to YouTube for example, and include an iTunes purchase link for the full album in your video description. If your musical release is a mixtape, there are also a number of specialist release platforms such as Datpiff.com that are also well worth considering.
Sadly, many artists think the work is done when they have created an album or single and uploaded it to the platform of their choice. However, there are a number of ways you can utilize a new release to build interest for your music. A major element here is creating the “hype factor”. Dispatch information little by little and foster a sense of urgency amongst your fans to hear your new material. Create a music video for one of your tracks. This will give your listeners a taste of what to expect from your album and a video is intrinsically more engaging than audio. It functions like a movie trailer and leaves people wanting more. Submit your album to music review sites. Do your research and list down sites that cater to your style and genre. Don’t be afraid to aim high. You might feel a reviewer is too big for you. Still, go ahead and send it. You might just catch their ear and earn a review that can bring a lot of new fans your way. Before you know it you’ll be making money with music! Stay tuned for more tips on music marketing and making money with music coming soon.