In my job, I get to speak with many indie artists who are at different points in their journey. They consistently make these common major mistakes. Changing your approach will change your career. I made this personal to drive the message home.
1. Your Songs Suck – Consumers will instantly click past a crappy song to thousands of online radio stations till they find a good song that really moves them in the first 10-20 seconds. You better have GREAT songs. It’s a CRAFT; it always has been. Treat is as such. You need to seek out a few mentors to teach you what they know about their CRAFT and apply your unique vision and perspective to that knowledge. Easy to do with all the online writing societies.
2. You’re Producing Yourself – Have you ever wondered why a record label would NEVER let you or your friends produce your own record? Have you ever wondered why most of the iconic Superstars STILL use producers? Why aren’t they saving money by producing themselves? Surely a producer at that level is pretty damn expensive! Get it? Just because you can work Pro-Tools or Logic doesn’t mean you can or should make a record. The label would put you with someone who is not only experienced at the entire process of making records, but a way better musician than you. The smart artist always thrives being around true pros that are better than them to soak in the education and grow to a new artistic level; fearless of the journey. Most artists will tell people why they can’t or won’t afford a producer and spend their money on their 25th guitar and new plug-ins for the home studio; avoiding the journey. Do you want to make great records or collect gear?
3. You’re Not Marketing…At ALL – Putting your music on iTunes, Spotify, CD Baby, ReverbNation, etc. is digital distribution NOT marketing. Marketing is the art of influencing buying decisions. Having your CD available for purchase “wherever it’s sold” isn’t influencing buying decisions. Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Live Shows, Music Blogs, Indie Radio, Internet Radio, and PR are the marketing tools you need to master. These tools create awareness and drive traffic to your squeeze page where you get the consumer’s email address. It’s through their email that you will influence their buying decisions.
4. You’re Operating With An Out-Of-Date Business Model- You are still trying to cut cheap demos to shop to a record label to try to get a deal. You still think radio is the key to marketing your music. You still think that radio will be a powerful marketing tool when you do get your deal. You still think the labels make money selling records. You still think that if you get a deal that’s when you’ve made it. Wake up, that ship sailed a decade ago; you have to develop yourself, today.