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How to be a successful independent artist

How to be a successful independent artist

By Maxence Pepin
05 July, 2022

Many amateurs dream of writing and performing their music and becoming successful independent artists.

Though it may sound romantic, it is certainly not always practical and not easy.

Propelling yourself to the professional level requires more than just a dream and talent. A lot goes into creating a successful independent artist.

This article is an attempt to understand all the ingredients, steps, methods, and tools that can help one become a successful independent artist.

Advantages of being an Independent artist

1. Freedom from obeying the workings of a label or music company.

2. Access to the entire amount of earnings, since you do not have to share it with anyone.

3. More flexibility while composing your music or songs.

4. Only your name and effort are applauded and paid for. You don't have to share your recognition with anyone.

Following are some steps that go into the making of a successful independent artist:

1. Write

Writing new songs, and creating new music will never go out of trend. It is very important to have new, fresh and original ideas before you even aim to become a successful independent artist. Make a habit of jotting down any new idea, music tune as and whenever and wherever they pop up in your mind. You can polish them later on. But saving and storing them in your memory is very important. Critical reviewing your song or idea is equally important to remain afloat in this competitive world.

2. Practice

This is the next important step. Ironing out any defects in your songs and music can be achieved by continuous and correct practicing of your songs or music using the right techniques. In case you are part of a band, then getting together and practicing together as a band is very important. This will create bonding as well as it will help you grow as a group. Understanding each other's strengths, weaknesses, styles, body language, methods, etc. is imperative to achieving commercial success.

3. Gig on

After fine-tuning the songs and polishing and practicing them, it is time to get gigging. This experience will aid you in your future endeavors and has to be taken seriously though they may be performed at local fairs and other such venues.

4. Network

This is extremely important to promote your song and music and make it popular. Hence, attending music events, connecting with organizers, financers, etc. is useful.  

5. Managing your concerts or band

This is another important aspect to become a successful and independent artist. Organizing music events, concerts, booking slots, gigs, advertising your event, coordinating with the other band members and behind-the-stage artists, meeting up with producers, financers, etc. are all the activities that need to be done to make an event successful.

6. Social media

Social media is all around us and one cannot ignore its impact and importance when it comes to establishing oneself as a successful independent artist. You must be able to make the most of the reach and exposure that it offers by drafting your band profile and expressing yourself and your music through this platform. Interacting with your fans, creating a loyal follower base, posting interesting and exciting posts related to your work, replying to the queries of your fans, and keeping them hooked on and interested in you and your work are essential to marketing your music and songs. You can also make use of popular polls, quizzes, and riddles and even give away coupons or trendy gifts to connect with your followers. Your online presence and your equation with your band members will pique interest in you, your music, song, and band and will contribute to building your brand as a successful artist. Setting up your website, and paying an expert to write posts, and blogs for you is another way to increase your visibility.

7. Online resources

Making use of online resources and inexpensive techniques used for recording your songs and music is another way to become an independent and successful artist.

8. Releasing and Sharing Music

Can be done very easily these days. Soundcloud, Bandcamp, YouTube, etc. are various sites where you can upload your music or songs and reach out to millions of followers around the world. Since our target is to achieve our success independently, we cannot hire a PR. Instead, we should have a proper plan to promote our music and song on our own. Following are some steps for the same:

a) Your best possible music or song has to be released.

b) Create a hype amongst the followers by releasing only a few lines of the music or song at first, popularizing it, and creating a curiosity for the entire song or music. Then after an interval of 2 to 3 months, release the entire music or song at a pre-determined date, which you had previously shared with your followers.

c) Publishing and releasing music is important since it helps one to collect money through royalties. Sites such as Sentric are ready to publish your money for a certain percentage.

d) Promotion of your music can be done by distributing it digitally on sites such as Spotify, Apple Music, etc. will help the music reach a larger fan base.

e) Promotion activities like releasing teaser videos, and audio clips are necessary to create a buzz amongst lovers of music. This has to be done 2- 3 months before the release of the complete music or song. Encourage people to send in their feedback, suggestions, etc. Promoting through blogs, posts, etc. is another method.

f) Release Event: The music or song should be released grandly in an event that is bound to attract attention. A bit of glamor always helps in selling the product. Try to make the release event of your music and song as unique and exclusive as possible. Try to release only a few physical copies of your songs so that it leaves people pinning for more.

g) BBC Introducing Uploader helps your music or song reach a wider audience. So sharing your music through it makes commercial sense.

9. Make money: Streaming, and airplay your songs or music will ensure that you get some money too for your talent and effort.

Some more aspects that will help you to become a successful independent artist:

1. Enthusiastically promote and popularize your music or songs. Marketing your music or song is extremely important since that is the only way to make it more visible and available to people.

2. Make your music or song accessible to the public by making it available on iTunes Store, CD Baby, etc.

3. Having a prominent presence on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are vital to reaching out to millions.

4. Play gigs at clubs, events, fairs, festivals, colleges, schools, etc. to promote your music or songs.

5. Learn from other amateur or established singers, songwriters, and musicians for more inspiration.

6. Always have an independent and unique quality in your music or song that will be your signature.

7. Make use of a powerful logo to brand your music or song. This logo should be easily recallable and has to be consistent in posters, CD covers, pamphlets, business cards, etc.

8. Be patient and confident. Trust yourself and your art.

Releasing your music or song independently

Though you would love to do everything from writing the songs to composing the music to singing the notes, to promoting, advertising, distributing, and releasing your CDs by yourself, and selling your product, it is not practical as it seems.

In that case, it may be advisable to collaborate with experts. Taking the help of producers, songwriters, graphic designers, and distributors of your music makes sense at some point in your musical journey.

Distributing your music

Distributing your music or song is the next big step. You can take the help of the following most popular distribution companies for the same.

1. Releese: The best toolkit for independent artists, featuring landing pages, pre-saves, expense tracking, low commission, and fast streaming platform uploads.

2. DistroKid: is a good bet because it offers unlimited uploads that too for a single price. It promises to place your music on streaming sites at a much faster rate than other companies.

3. TuneCore: This is another major music distributor and they offer 100% sales revenue to the artist.  They even provide provisions to earn revenue from YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. They also provide songwriter support if you pay them. They provide for both physical as well as online distribution.

4. CD Baby: Does not charge an annual fee and helps in promoting your music or song by providing promotional services. CD Baby is also a partner of Apple Music as well as Spotify. However, they charge a commission on the artist’s royalty.

Publishing your music

In case, you want the help of professional services like songwriters, or producers, in your journey of publishing your music or songs, you can make use of the following sites:

1. Releese: Share metadata, recordings, assign royalty splits and share analytics in one convenient dashboard.

2. Kompoz: It helps artists around the globe collaborate to create music online.

3. SoundBetter: Have a huge team of professionals across the world who will aid you in collaborating with musicians around the world.

4. ProCollabs: They provide access to expert songwriters, musicians, etc. around the world online and provide effortless collaboration with them.

Thus, in this article, we have seen the entire process with the help of which you can become a successful independent artist.

Maxence Pepin profile picture
Maxence has amassed over 50 million streams as an independent artist before working as a business development manager for an indie dance record label.

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