So you write amazing songs all your friends and family love. You can write for days and the music just flows out of you. Maybe your in a band and your surrounded by amazing musicians that bring the best out of you. That's all find and dandy but there's one thing holding you back from reaching that next level.
Here's a new concept for you. Being in a band or being an independent artist is like running a business. Instead of making and selling coffee like a typical business, your selling your artistry and music. Still they remain products your selling like any other business. So why don't you treat it like a business? Let's look at what key elements it takes to run a business and how you must implement them into your music to become successful and take your career to the next level.
key elements every business needs
Let's start with
Just like any other coffee shop or restaurant you must have the proper tools to make the products your trying to sell. Quality equipment to make quality product right? So instead of a grill, coffee machine or oven a restaurant may typically have as part of there equipment, your band still needs other quality equipment such as a microphone, cables, guitar, bass, drums etc...
One major thing I see as a label and studio owner is local bands and artist coming in to record with entry level gear and call themselves professionals just needing a chance. Well I hate to break it to you but that's not how things work. You must represent yourself as professionals with professional equipment for a solid sound. Sure you can come into my studio and I'll have gear for you to use but that shouldn't your only resources. You should own it. Don't get me wrong when I say professional equipment I don't mean spend 4k on a guitar I mean get something that actually sounds good. That can be anywhere from 500 and up for a guitar or 100 for a microphone... You get the idea. You have to work for what you want which takes us to our next point.
It takes a lot of determination to "make it" in the music industry but I can assure you it's a lot easier to do so if your educated in how to run a business. It takes a lot of work and trust me when I say there's no time to sleep or watch tv. It takes constant construction and networking. Let me give you a little picture of what a slow day looks like for me.
6am-8:15am morning meetings
8:30am-10:00am studio setup
10:00am-11:00am meet with the band(s)/artist(s)
7:00pm-7:30 meeting with artist for details on session
7:30pm-9:30pm mixing work from the day
9:30pm-10:30pm follow ups for next day activities
10:30pm-11:00pm emails and web updates
Being a musician with a day job should be no different. There's still the discipline of getting up early and getting started weather that means practicing a song of yours or having a morning writing session or getting online and reading articles like these to help further your knowledge of being a successful artist. There are plenty of ways and plenty of hours in the day to really invest the time and effort into your self and music. "I'm tired" is not a good enough excuse.
The next main section is the most important not because it's your music but because of who it's really for. You have to ask yourself who are you really creating this art for. Is it for yourself? Or is it for others to connect with an enjoy? Is it both? It appear to be an easy question but I assure you it isn't when your talking about running a business.
lets consider Apple products. when they came out with the iPhone do you think they made it for themselves so only they could enjoy? Or did they have you in mind? The answer is they had you in mind! The truth is when selling a product you gotta find what your customers are in store for and its no different with your music.
Dont get me wrong it's not about being shallow with your music, it's about hearing your fans and feeling what they're going through. How do you as an artist relate to them? Does your music inspire them or does it pump them up? How ever you decide to accomplish it is your own but the idea remains the same.
The next subject is your store and I don't mean a store front for people to come see you I mean your website! Your website is your store where you connect, sell and get information out to your fans and followers. Just like any other store it needs to reflect you as an artist because your website is simply another art form reflecting you. Professional professional professional I can't say it enough. Be professional, be willing to invest in some good templates or be willing to pay someone to do it for your but don't hold back with one of the most valuable opportunities your fans get to connect with you.
Marketing is one of the best things for any business. Marketing your music in general is makes your musical life flow. It's necessary for every artist to market there music either through ads or facebook promotion. Having friends share it can be very beneficial. How ever you do it doesn't matter but it needs to be done either on a big scale with a marketing firm or on the smallest scale with having your mom tell all her friends. Remember you gotta have somewhere to send them so they can listen to and buy your product. Going back to your website these two are critical components.
one of the hardest things bands and artist alike seem to forget the most is to invest. If you opened a restaurant would you not invest in the equipment you need or would you wait till it magically comes to you? If you were the owner of Apple would you design a new iPhone out of Cardboard and simply leave it that way or would you pay someone to create the actual quality prototype for you to then mass produce it for the world to enjoy.
Your music is still no different, you create the demo of your new single, you pay an PROFESSIONAL engineer to record, mix and master your new song then you release it to the world! You take an idea, have someone build it for you, and you release it to the world. Your demo you recorded in your room that your friend who went to a semester of engineering school mixed in his pc on free software is not investing. It's being cheap. Which I call a lack of determination.
Cant afford that top notch engineer? Save your money till you do. There's no shame in that and in the end you'll be better off. Have a day job and bill you gotta pay? So does the rest of the world! If you don't have a job get one. If you want to get out of your day job you have to invest into something you know will make you money. If that be your music (which I hope) then awesome! If you don't have enough faith in yourself to be willing to spend some money that you can get back from selling product if you soak up these ideas in your head then I'll tell you now not to waste your time, Music is a business, your band is a business, you are a business and if you plan on getting to that next level you have to be willing to invest into it.
One tip I want to throw in... Scheduling. Create a schedule for yourself from when you wake up to what you gotta do for the day. Remember since the point here is to run your music like a business you can't just wake up at noon expecting things to get done. You don't get to wake up for work when ever you feel like it, there are schedules you have to follow so don't be any different to your music.
Being an artist is no different then being a business. I encourage you to research what it takes to run a business and see if you really are ready for it. Really learn and implement a business mentality into your band and don't sit around and wait for it to come to you because it won't. Don't say "if only someone gave me a chance Id make it" because here's your chance to wake up and realize you have all the power to make it happen. Lack the resources? Im here to help anyway I can. My resources are your resources. Just be ready to invest back into yourself, your music and carry a mountain full of determination to propel you higher then you ever expected.