That’s right! But let’s get one thing straight. There is TOO MUCH music nowadays. Seems like everybody wants to be the next singing sensation and if you take a tour of all the social media platforms you will find literally thousands of individuals, duos, trios and bands. Everything from the sublime to the ridiculous and there is no end in sight.
Surely the more people who are vying for one’s attention the harder it will be to be heard above the noise. A logical and rational assumption, and very true if what you are trying to do as an artist is to become the next superstar. Fortunately not every musician wants that. In my experience interviewing hundreds of emerging musicians of all levels, the overwhelming majority just want to write and create great songs that people can connect with. They want to get better at it, and as they get better, they want to reach more people. As they reach more people, they want to be able to earn from their music so they can live, pay their bills and invest in their craft, make more music and take it far and wide.
The really cool thing is that technology is on their side. It is now possible to learn to play an instrument, learn to write lyrics, compose melodies and sing, all for free if you know where to look. The obvious place is of course the Internet which is bursting at the seams with platforms, websites, videos, audio, and pages of free content just waiting to be absorbed. On top of that, recording equipment is so accessible and cheap, that anyone can start to record high quality audio and video in minutes and in even less time, their creation can be on display for anyone around the World to see and hear through platforms such as You Tube or Facebook.
The days of a band or an artist getting discovered, signed up by major label and becoming overnight superstars are long gone, but that doesn’t mean there are less opportunities to make a good living out of music. On the contrary, now is the best time ever to make a living out of music, and all you need is great or amazing songs, and an understanding of how to grow your audience through the multitude of platforms that are available for free on the Internet.
If the song is amazing, just by having it on one of those platforms could result in people getting so excited about it that they will ‘like’ it and share it with their friends, family and their networks, and the more people that hear it and see it and get excited, the more they will share it. Before you know it, you would have reached thousands if not millions of people at no cost and in lightning quick time. How about that?
The reality is that anyone can create a song and post it on one of the platforms I mentioned. That’s the easy part. The hard part is to make people like it. In fact this last sentence is nonsense because you can’t make someone like something. The song HAS to be good, period. And you know what? There is no shortage of good songs out there, in fact there is definitely no shortage of talented song writers, singers and musicians, and every single one of them can turn their talent and passion into a valuable commodity which will earn money and eventually provide them with a living wage.
Here are ten basic steps any emerging musician must take if he or she wants to become successful and make a living out of their music:
- Write amazing songs
- Practice, practice, practice
- Record high quality demos, either acoustic or studio produced, but make sure the quality of the sound and the recording is high, this is extremely important!
- Make your songs available on as many platforms as possible so they can reach as many people as possible and make sure they can be streamed. Don’t worry about people ripping them, what you’re trying to do here is making your music known to as many people as possible so you can start to cultivate a loyal fanbase
- Ask for feedback and when you receive feedback, be gracious about it and engage with the person or persons who are giving you this feedback, they are potential super fans
- Start collecting names and email addresses early on, perhaps in exchange for a free download of one or more of your tracks, but don’t use the email addresses to spam people or annoy them with silly emails. Wait until you have something really substantial to share with them
- Make sure you have an original message with your music. What is your reason for being an artist? What lights your fire? Can you define your music? Where does it come from? What are you trying to convey?
- Get to know your followers and fans. What makes them laugh? What makes them cry? What is it about you and your music that they like? Ask them!
- Learn how to use the different social media platforms and use them to their full potential, most of them are free and they are your links to the World
- Being a musician is much more than just singing and playing an instrument. It is engaging with the people that like your music and connecting with them directly because those very people are the ones who will be supporting you and who will be buying your music, your albums, your T-shirts and who will be buying tickets and travelling to your gigs, so look after them, and they’ll look after you!