The business side of being a musician is arguably just as important as the creative side given the industry and landscape we find ourselves in today.
Talent is only half the battle in the digital world we live in. Being a musician requires more than just studious practice, rehearsals, hit songs, a strong work ethic, and a confident stage presence amongst other things. It now requires you to be both the creative and the business mind behind the operation. In some ways, there is more expected of musicians than ever before for the same or less financial stability.
Once you have your hit song you need to find a way to make it visible to your target audience. There was a time when bedroom artists like Tash Saltana and Troye Sivan were discovered with no more than a few YouTube videos. However, with the rise of technology and the ease of live streaming, posting, and social media, it is a struggle to rise above the noise and be spotted in the massive crowd that is the online space.
This probably seems like an endless and uphill battle… well, it is! But what can you do to combat it? The answer my friends is upskilling.
What is upskilling? It is quite literally upping your levels of competency when it comes to different skills. Everyone has things that they are better at as well as some weaker spots. Instead of shying away from those areas, take a course, ask a friend, find a mentor, read an article, or do anything that will proactively help you get closer to understanding what you didn’t before. Vampr Academy is a great example of a place to go to upskill. Make sure that where you go for advice or extra learning is credible and reputable.
Attention is the hardest thing to come by lately. Our attention spans are spread so thin throughout the day. Think about how much time you spend on your phone. If you dare… look up your screen time. Notice that you have only so many waking hours during the day and often most of it is spent scrolling or liking posts. It is the mission of apps to capture your attention and hold it for as long as possible. Whilst the musician side of you should be thinking about the quality of the song, the business side of you should be thinking about the moments where you can capture attention to talk about your music and how to do this effectively.
Self Promotion for Businesses
We have all been in groups or at performances where the artists or organizers do some shameless self-promotion. Some even begin the sentence with “and now for some classic gig plugging”. Whilst it is easy to stand back and internally cringe at this, the fact of the matter is, if you have a captive audience, it is the perfect time for self-promotion. Don’t waste it!
Talk to any business-minded person and you will notice more often than not, they will have a business plan. From that plan, comes strategies that they then will implement. You should think about yourself as a business. What is your overall plan for your career? Where do you want to be in 5 years? How much money do you want to be making? Is there a particular band you want to go on tour with? Once you identify what your goals are, then you can start strategizing how you will achieve them.
*Hint: try and pick measurable goals! It is easier to strategize toward something that can be measured and analyzed as you go.
Perhaps your first goal is to release a single and get 2,000 streams on Spotify. Ask yourself, how will I do this? Write out a list of steps. They may look something like this:
- Write a melody.
- Write lyrics.
- Find musicians on Vampr to collaborate with and finalize the song.
- Have a rehearsal and perfect the song.
- Search for a producer and sound engineer in Vampr.
- Book a recording session.
- Find someone to mix and master the track in Vampr.
- Design the single artwork – look for a designer in Vampr.
- Get headshots taken.
- Decide on which online distributor you will use for digital distribution. (Ditto, CD Baby, Vampr, etc.)
- Upload the song for release.
- Create a Spotify profile and upload your headshot, bio, and similar artists.
- Apply for Spotify playlists.
- Ask people to pre-save your track.
- Build hype around socials of your incoming single.
- Contact radio stations for some interviews and air time.
- Contact blogs, magazines, and articles for media coverage.
- Share your song link on socials once it is released.
Notice how even though each step might be obvious, each step requires thought, time, and execution. All of these steps are in order to achieve just one goal and many of these steps are business related, not just creative. Always make time for the strategy side of things. Don’t rush to release music without thinking ahead to all of these tasks. You do your music a disservice by rushing to get it out quickly without building some hype around it.
Building a Team
You may have just read all of that and thought, oh damn, how on earth will I make the time for all of that, let alone the brain space! Enter managers, publishers, record labels, publicists, social media managers etc. Yes, this is a lot of work and you don’t necessarily need to do all of it yourself until the end of time. However, you should have a good understanding of what each business are is, its purpose, how it can benefit you, its value and how much time and money needs to be committed to it. The best way to do that is to start doing it yourself. This also means you can always hold someone accountable and check in with them when you eventually hand it over.
In fact, this is a beautiful segway to mention our Building Your Team Academy course. Know what you need and how to get it!