Have you been making music and then releasing that music through digital distribution and handing out CDs at shows and networking events?! I know all too well how, for today’s artists, that alone is not enough. To be a successful artist or band in today’s music world, it takes a lot more. In this article I’ll be going over some of the things that artists need to add to their already heavy workload. No artist wants to add more work for themselves, but the things I’m going to go over are necessary for success as independent musician.
Think Business …
Now, more than ever before, artists are required to be more business savvy and business-like with their art. Before the days of the internet and auto tune, artists were fewer and further between. Yes, I do mean what you think. Because of the internet and auto tune, just about anybody can lay down a vocal track on whatever they wish to use and release it to the masses via digital distribution. Guess what? That’s the same thing a large percentage of indie artists are doing. Their music may be the greatest thing since The Beatles but no one knows it exists because, nowadays, you can’t separate yourself from the masses with your great music alone. You need to utilize social media and cull an online presence for yourself if you want to be discovered. Of course, performances still have to be exceptional, videos still need to be made, and the need is there to invest time and money. Being seen by potential fans is still difficult even if an artist is batting 100% in each category. This is why being business savvy with your art is so important now.
Now don’t let that take the art out of the music!
It still begins and ends with the art you make. The ability for literally anyone to be an artist completely floods the online catalogs, the industry, and even the venues with bands and artists from the polar opposite walks of life in music from which they come and this makes it absolutely impossible for a serious – and seriously good – artist to get the art they live and die for out to the people they desperately want to get it out to.
So, what do you do?
Treat making music like a real and serious business. Here are a few steps one can take to begin looking more professional, being more business-like.
- Put together a legitimate plan of action. Break down the massive, daunting project you have in front of you into short term goals. Analyze your time and make realistic weekly and monthly goals for yourself. Then, physically write, or mentally make, biweekly or monthly progress reports for yourself and your bandmates. Include items being worked on as well as items completed in the progress reports. Evaluate how you can better manage your time and where you need to be investing your energies next.
- Delegate. Assign specific jobs to members of your band. If you’re a solo artist, try and utilize people from within your circle of supporters. Make sure that each job you assign to someone is doable for them. It will be counterproductive if you overload work onto one person. It will also help if you know what your bandmates are naturally good at or excel in.
- Get organized, and stay organized. Organization is the key to a business staying afloat and maintaining a level of professionalism and success.
Use the keys I have outlined above to get started on approaching your career in the auditory arts more like a business. This is barely just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to approaching your art as a business. I haven’t even touched base on specifics with social media, branding, performances, and the many other facets there are to a fully functioning and successful business. My hope is that with some of the basic points made throughout this article, it will initialize the thought process behind business in art and the art of being an artist in today’s music industry.
If you would like to see more on the subject in the future through follow-up articles, contact Infectious Magazine or feel free to contact me at RickyFreeMusic@Gmail.com and follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and on Facebook.
Ricky Free is the lead guitarist for the Atlanta-based rock quintet The Armory. Their debut full-length, titled Rediscover, was released last month and you can check out the music video for the second track “If I Ever” below. If you dig what you hear, you can purchase a CD right here.