The history books are filled with artists who never had the success they deserved.
They released an album and then disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again. More often than not, these artists made too many mistakes. They didn’t listen to advice. They didn’t roll up their sleeves. And they didn’t take the small but important steps towards their goal.
In this article, we explore five ways you can take your music career to the next level.
1. Turbocharge your marketing plan
Marketing isn’t a dirty word. Nor is it “selling out”.
Marketing is a necessary craft that combines creativity and ingenuity to communicate the value and importance of your music. If you aren’t doing it, you’re not giving your music a good chance of succeeding.
Think of marketing as another instrument; if it’s played well, it can elevate your music to lofty places in a shorter period of time.
Consider hiring a good publicist. A good publicist is worth their weight in gold. They cost money, and you need to trust their plan. So make sure they’re reputable and have strong industry connections. A good publicist can spin a strong story around your music, which they can then weave into newspapers, magazines, and influential blogs.
Ultimately, a good publicist can maximise the impact of your release, and its earning capacity, by generating the hype and buzz your music deserves.
2. Images: ‘A window into your art’…
Lady Gaga, Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Madonna…
Their images are iconic and recognisable worldwide. Do you have strong and unique images? Images are an integral part of your overall brand. A high quality, compelling image tells people how seriously they should take you and your art.
In a world of information overload, people are often influenced by a single photo, or lack thereof.
“You’ve invested time and money into your music, so why not do the same with your image and brand.” (Victoria Wiltshire “How Important is Band and Brand Image?”)
3. Increase your exposure by playing live
Artists like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Madonna, and Kanye West have experienced success in large concert venues, arenas, and stadiums.
All of these artists started small and slowly built upon their live audience numbers.
Before The Beatles experienced any notion of success, they were arguably the hardest working band in Europe.
In 1960, two years before they signed a record deal, their work schedule was gruelling and underpaid.
The band worked from 8 pm to 2 am on weeknights, from 7 pm to 3 am on Saturdays, and from 5 pm to 1:30 am on Sundays. Seven days a week. Each performer was paid less than $5USD per day.
The Beatles showed incredible initiative and understood the importance of stage time.
Work smart, play hard.
Be smart about the gigs you choose, but try not to be too fussy about the time and place. Just make sure the gig has the right ingredients for your music.
If you’re a pop band, it may not be a good idea to play at a metal gig. Similarly, if you’re a grunge band, a folk night may not be ideal.
Are all your shows at the same venue, or are you booking gigs in surrounding towns and cities?
Are you playing to the same 50 people, or are you also supporting established acts with their own fan base?
If the gig fits your genre, age-bracket, and stage requirements, then it could be a great opportunity to showcase your music.
4. Use feedback to your advantage
What do Lady Gaga, Elvis, Madonna, and The Beatles have in common? They were all rejected. Elvis was told he ‘Ought to go back to driving a truck’, Madonna was told she ‘Lacked the material’, and The Beatles had ‘No future in show business’.
“The music industry can be a brutal stomping ground and you need to be prepared for that.”
But don’t take it personally. As the old Japanese proverb goes, ‘Fall down seven times, stand up eight’. If a producer, label, manager, or radio station provides you with feedback, it means they take you seriously. Don’t be disheartened by the accompanying rejection letter; rather, study the feedback so you can improve your music and better yourself as an artist. Influential people will be generous with their time if you are respectful, persistent, and eager to learn.
If you take their feedback on board, implement it and become better, you are more likely to remain on their radar.
5. Don’t rush it
We spend so much time in life trying to do the things that make us happy.Sometimes we lose focus of the source of that joy; but if you’re like us, happiness comes from creating and sharing your art. Think of the amount of time you’ve spent crafting your album. The late nights, early mornings. Don’t rush things now. Take your time choosing the right single, the right photo, the right film clip, and the right shows.
Take your time planning the next steps towards your goal. And most of all, enjoy it.
If you get the little things right, the big things will take care of themselves. People will always gravitate toward great art.
About the Author:
Nick is a writer and journalist from Australia. He has interviewed artists from around the world including Oasis, Moby, Cypress Hill, Florence, and the Machine, and many more.
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