There’s no better time to kick start your music career than now. Since there are so many marketing options to share your talent with the world, it has become easier for indie musicians to get started in the industry.
On the flip side, the platforms used are incredibly saturated, which makes it difficult to choose one.
As an indie musician, your goal should be to attain long-term success by sustaining your fan base and staying relevant. So, here are 10 success tips for indie musicians that you need to follow.
1. Connect With Your Fanbase
Social media is the best marketing tool for this. You can use social media platforms to connect with your fans, respond to their queries and concerns, roll out updates and concert details, etc. It doesn’t matter what platform you use, but you should ideally focus on the one that your fans prefer using.
Hence, it’s better to have 100,000 fans on Instagram rather than none on Facebook. A bigger social network doesn’t always guarantee the biggest fan engagement. Take the example of Dorothy Miranda Clark or “dodie”.
She’s a musician from England who has managed to use Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to build her audience.
Her fans have helped her write songs and fill out stadiums. She keeps posting songs on YouTube, updates on Twitter, and photos of herself and her friends on Instagram regularly. This strategy has worked for her since she’s become a very well-known indie artist.
You need to figure out how to be a successful indie musician by yourself on social media. You may have to experiment a lot, but it’ll pay off in the long run.
2. Focus on Your Strengths
They say you should always play to your strengths, and it stands true for indie musicians too. These strengths can include the instrument you play, the genre you’re most comfortable with, your personal brand, and so on.
So, if you’re only comfortable playing the guitar or the drums, or the saxophone, stick to that. If you’re comfortable singing rock and roll, or pop, or heavy metal, stick to that particular genre. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try to learn a new instrument or test your limits.
Your strengths could also be playing on stage and performing live, or simply playing in front of a small crowd. Neither is good or bad; it’s all simply a matter of your preference. Do try to break from the monotony once in a while, but not at the expense of quality.
3. Brand Awareness Is Everything
Everything from your social media posts to your music and the instruments you use play a key role in building your personal brand. Keep in mind your audience perceives you in a certain way, so don’t try to force anything.
If your audience likes something about you or your music, it’s better to lean in. Try to develop a unique selling proposition for your brand that people will know you by. It will help them recognize you in concerts, remember your album covers and your songs.
4. Don’t Wait For a Record Label to Approach You
There are enough people defying that all the time. Look at Billie Eilish; she appeared on SoundCloud with Ocean Eyes a few years ago and today, she’s one of the most successful singers in the world.
Hence, if you want to release a song or make a splash, upload it on YouTube, Spotify or Soundcloud. Don’t wait. That’s one of the most important success tips for indie musicians, which has worked for thousands of musicians since the days of Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong.
5. Don’t Ignore Streaming Platforms
Streaming platforms have taken over the music industry. YouTube, SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, etc. are the future. Hence, getting an account with a streaming platform is the best way to get more exposure and revenue.
Don’t start from a paid music platform first. If you want, you can opt for SoundCloud or upload your music to YouTube. Once you get the exposure you need, you can go after the big fish like YouTube Premium or Spotify.
6. Focus Is of Paramount Importance
Breaking into the music industry is hard at the end of the day. You won’t have overnight success and you certainly aren’t guaranteed mainstream success even after a decade in the business.
For example, Ani DiFranco is one of the greatest legends in indie music, but she’s yet to enjoy mainstream success. On the other hand, some people luck out, such as Macklemore, who has established mainstream success thanks to his single Thrift Shop that was released in 2012.
He had been in the business for more than a decade before that.
7. Don’t Splurge on Expensive Gear
The most expensive music recording equipment doesn’t guarantee you will produce the best music. Getting the best microphones and headphones will not teach you how to be a successful indie musician.
It may make your recordings sound better, but not your music. Save money and spend it on the essentials. Don’t splurge on unnecessary equipment. Get a new mic or guitar if the old one is busted. However, your purchases shouldn’t go far beyond that.
8. Invest in Quality, Not Quantity
Learn this rule now so you don’t regret it later. Making fewer high quality songs is always better than pumping out garbage. Invest in the quality of your music, not the number of tracks you release. This one is simple. Just make what you want and not what you’re forced to.
If you’re coming out with an album that has fewer tracks, so be it. Don’t sacrifice your integrity and talent for more revenue. Overtime, you’ll thank yourself for it.
9. Never Stop Learning
All this will help you explore new avenues as a musician and evolve as an artist. If you don’t experiment and learn new things, your sound will become stale after a while. For long, sustained success, you need to be inventive, innovative, say something new and revolutionary.
That’s what an artist is at their core, a revolutionary. When you stop being that, you’re nothing but a minstrel in a medieval court who is pandering to the crowd.
10. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
You are a human being and you are not perfect. If someone makes a joke about you or your music, don’t react. Always stay true to your art.
Do your best to avoid mistakes, but do learn from the ones you make. Don’t let the success you achieve go to your head. Hold your head high but stay grounded. That will not only show your fans you’re human, but they will admire you more for your humility and reliability.
Following these 10 tips will help you sustain long-term success as an independent artist. Good luck!