It’s becoming more and more important these days to rely on yourself to get things done, especially if you have strong ideas about how you want your music to be packaged, branded and promoted (which you should!). We all dream of others taking care of the smaller things for us whilst we just cruise around various countries performing in the evenings and sight seeing in the days, but this is not realistic – at least not to start with anyhow. It really helps to approach all tasks – big or small- with as much enthusiasm as you can muster, and then the results will speak for themselves. Once you become successfully self-sufficient (try saying that after a few) people will be much more interested in working with you and developing you as an artist.
1: You need a team! If you think of all the different jobs that need doing outside of writing and performing your music, they will fall roughly into the following categories: art & visual design (including filming and editing videos and photos), social media, tour management, production and recording. If you are in a band, and all the members are passionate about your project, then it should be easy to convince them to take on some of these roles. If you are a solo artist, you might want to find someone you can share the jobs with and take on the road with you. All these roles would cost you a lot of money if you were to hire someone to do them for you.
2: Money is precious and you’ll need every bit you can get your hands on. If you are paid well for a gig – don’t spend it all in a bar the next night, save it and put it towards something that you need such as flyers, posters or travel/food money for touring, or WEBSITE! Treat yourself and your music as the business that you want them to be.
3: Make your website cool and innovative. Make it easy to understand and navigate. This is the first thing a lot of industry people will look at, so you want to make a great first impression. Find someone who is studying web design and will make it at a cheaper rate than anyone else. Have a clear idea of what you want it to look like before you approach anybody or meetings will be a waste of time for all involved. Put in some research; find some band websites that you like and take the best bits from each of them.
4: Try to create a lifestyle that allows you the freedom to do all the things you need to, for example – live the cheapest way possible – with lots of friends, and cheap rent so that you can afford to work part time hours and focus on music more than anything else. Perception is everything, so you want to be seen to be a hard working musician for people to take notice of you. The more you work on music, the more it will take over your life and you can kiss goodbye to the grindstone.
5: Network. This isn’t easy for everyone, but it is so important! You must see it as your duty to connect with everyone musical that you can, as more often than not this is how opportunities come your way. It is a skill that will improve with practice, and before you know it you’ll be targeting the hot shots and moving in the right circles. Again – think with your business head – who would you benefit from meeting and hanging out with? Who’s your competition? With your ear to the ground and your fingers in all the pies (too British?), you will know everything that is happening and won’t miss a trick.
DIY is where it is at these days. Why pay someone else when you and your friends are perfectly capable of working most things out yourselves and reaping all the rewards? If you are more of a lone ranger then it’s time you put any spare hours and money into new skills and furthering yourself as much as you can. It’s an exciting time with limitless possibilities so make the most out of your awesome selves and get creative!