10 tips for music artists starting out

It can very depressing for a music artist trying to get their creative message out there but feeling like no one is interested or listening.

So here are 10 tips drawn from my personal experience which I hope not only inspire you to get out there and do it but will also act as a little plan that you can work to. And this leads us straight to Tip 1....

Tip 1....Have a plan....

You need a plan, without one you are just thrashing about hoping something will happen. To gain control you need a plan that lets you focus on the stuff you can control and stop you getting depressed about what you can't. So let's do just that.

Tip 2....Write lots of material...

The first thing you need to do is write and write and write. Don't worry about doing anything else. Don't book gigs or set up a Facebook page for the band. There is no point as you have no product. You need to create your product and you need to make sure it's good as everything else you do will depend on this. So you need to give this your full attention. Write lots of stuff but set yourself a time limit.

Tip 3....Record your music...

You actually need only one decent song to be up and running so pick three or four of the best from what you have written and get them recorded. You now have two choices, either record it yourself in your bedroom or go to a studio and get it recorded properly. If you are not great at music tech the second choice may be the best solution. If you go to a really good studio and record everything and mix it all in a day or so it will cost you a few hundred quid but you will have got this stage done very quickly, and you won't have to spend months agonising over mixes and recording techniques. If you do record in a proper studio make sure to photograph and film this experience as this will be really useful later when marketing your music.

Tip 4....Get your music published...

Get your songs published very easily by publishing them on a website like https://sentricmusic.com/.
Once your music is published you know it will make you money when you start performing it or if it gets played on the radio, These sites will also help you to place your songs on adverts, films or other outlets that may make you money. In reality this may be a few pence but by getting your songs published early on you can learn how this part of the process works so if you do find yourself with a hit on your hands you won't lose out.

Tip 5....Release...

The best platform out there for artists is https://bandcamp.com/. And set yourself up as a listener as well as artist. By supporting other artists similar to you you will build an audience for your music.
The problem with Bandcamp is that not everyone uses it. If you want to get your music out on Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer etc the best way to do this is to pay a small fee and release through a site like https://spinnup.com/gb/ or https://www.tunecore.co.uk/ But only put a few songs up on those sites and try and lead your listeners to Bandcamp.

So you now have a product out there so you need to market it which means setting up your websites, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram etc. You should have lots of pics and video stored up and product to point your fans at. So now it becomes more difficult, you need to build a fanbase. In the old days that meant that would mean gigging and radio.

Tip 6....Get your songs on BBC Introducing....

We are very lucky in the UK as we have BBC Introducing. If you get your songs on there you have a good chance if your songs are great of getting them played on the radio. BBC Introducing works really hard to find and develop new talent so this is a good first test of your songs. And by listening to the show you will learn about your local scene and what are the good acts out there.

Tip 7....Gig....

Firstly...don't play to your mates. They are not your fans and they never will be. You need to go out and find your own audience. Go out and watch some other local bands that are doing well. If you listen to BBC Introducing they will tell you who is making waves in your area. Then track them down and find out where they are gigging and then go about trying to get some gigs at the same venues they are playing. Try and make friends with them and they may offer you a support too. Don't play for nothing unless there is a definite audience there that will like your songs. Make sure you have physical copies of your album/EP to sell and get some T shirts made. Badges to give away are a good idea too. Start building an email list of people who buy anything or express an interest using a site like https://mailchimp.com/. (this subject probably needs it's own post)

Tip 8....Make a Video....

This where it gets hard. Nowadays many bands will come to the attention of the wider world through a music video on Youtube or Facebook. But most bands or artists are not video makers and so it is really hard without spending lots of money to get a video made.
My advice is to not try and make the video high quality but make sure the music is high quality. If you have spent the time making the songs sound good it simply means setting yourself up in a good environment and miming the song to camera. You don't need to have fancy costumes or lighting.
Film it all in one take so you don't have to edit and film hand held. If you are in an interesting place (a zoo or cupboard) and there is a good performance and lots of camera movement you will have a nice little video. Film it a few times and then simply match you best take to your audio with some basic editing sofware and the job is done.

Tip 9....Spend some money boosting your video

Once you have your album on Bandcamp and your mum and auntie have bought it you will have a little bit of money to spend on Facebook ads. Facebook is frustrating as it actually witholds your posts from your prospective audience because they exist in the hope you will send some money  boosting you post. If you do spend even a few pounds you will be surprised how many people you will reach. Make sure you get your demographic right but there is stuff in Facebook that will help you do this when you set the ad up.

Tip 10...Repeat ad nauseum....

Once you have your songs out there, and you are gigging them you should start building a small fanbase. The key is then to keep going. Your audience grows exponentially which means one fan gained now spreads the word and gains you four, then sixteen, then sixty four, then two hundred fifty six etc. so you must keep going!

The goal of any artist is to be able to sustain yourself, in other words to keep going. If these ten tips help you to do this then you will be able to call yourself a successful artist.






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