Having a career in music is easy. You basically only need to do two things.
Number one is what all aspiring artists want to do. Number two... not so much. But in order to make a living at it, you need to be able to do both. (Or know when you need to hire someone to do it for you.)
So let's break it down. What does these two things really entail?
1. Making Music
Making the music is the easy part:
- Write the songs
- Rehearse the songs
- Record the songs
- Design and create a tangible, sellable product.
There are many ways to go about this, but for a starting band there are basically two outlets to focus on.
(The third would be retail distribution, but I wouldn't advise spending any time on that until you've gotten your feet wet in the first two.)
Touring can be a real effective way to sell product, and it's fun (most of the time). But how do you set up a tour?
- Plan it
- Book it
- Promote it
Start small. If you've been gigging in your home town and are able to pack the house of your favorite venue, look for smaller venues in your neighboring towns. Start building a database of venues and plan your route. Your first tour doesn't have to be much longer than a week or two. As soon as you have gigs confirmed, coincide with the venues to promote each show. Contact local media and radio in each town you’re playing in. Use your social media presence to get the word out. Bonus advice: Don't over play the same venue in a town too often. In other words, don't expect your fans to attend 4 shows a month in the same town or at the same venue... spread it out, make them crave you!
In addition to touring you should build up a presence online. It's easy to get confused and discouraged when starting to look at all the different options, but start with just these:
- CD Baby
Have your own website so you have complete control over the design with a good looking place to direct professional contacts like club bookers and promoters. Blog frequently to keep the content fresh. If you don't know where to begin, or are website handicapped, try Weebly out... it's a great, professional web builder that a 3 year old can use... seriously.
Facebook is the biggest of the social networks, so if you are to choose just one, they're it. There's also Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. But it's important to stay focused and consistent so don't bite off more than you can chew. If Facebook is all you can keep updated on a regular basis to truly interact with your fans, then stick with that.
Get your music on as many online stores as possible.
We've put together this simple infographic to illustrate the steps of a music career. (Feel free to share or download)
Seems simple enough?
In the coming issues of this newsletter we'll explore each of these topics in more detail.
Please comment below if you have anything to add or if you disagree. We'd love to get your opinion on this!