This past week I witnessed it again. I saw a conversation go down between an artist and a friend about his next album. He's been working on the album for a couple years and is finally ready to put it out. The friend asked "what's the plan?" The artist said "put it out" and then he went on to say, "I am hiring a social media company to promote it, but I don't really know what they will be doing exactly".
I have witnessed this happen so many times over the last few years it's nuts.
As an artist, do you even know what you're doing? Do you even have a plan? Do you think someday you'll just make it? That you will just wake up and become famous? Do you think that aimless liking photos on Instagram will sell your album? Do you think touring is the answer? Do you think hiring a marketing team is the answer? Do you even know what a publishing deal looks like? You hate record labels but you want to sign a deal???? You hate Spotify and streaming pay out but you want to get on the playlists.... and the list goes on and on of things that make no sense to me that I hear people talk about passionately.
The majority of people I meet with have no plan. They have no clue what they're after and they have no idea where their resources should go. They have read countless articles that have popped up on Facebook on "How to get on a Spotify playlist" "How to get a labels attention" "Will streaming kill labels?" "3 things you're doing wrong" and the information overload continues. I hear artists talk about the 1 person who made it organically all the time, if there is such a thing out of all the millions of artist and they think that will just happen to them.
I just need to be real with most of you, that the majority of information floating around is not going to really help you. It's targeted click bait. It's pretty much useless, and if everyone on the internet has access to it, then you can be sure that a million other artist's are trying the same thing, using the same formula and template.. that just doesn't work for 99% of people out there. And to be honest, I've read almost all of them and tried them for years and got no where... but there is hope.
The best thing I can recommend is to actually make a plan and lay out what you want to accomplish as a person and artist. The majority of artists I talk with or help have no plan. They have some music and social media and then thats the extent. They play some shows and get a song on a playlist here and there and then that's it. Years of hard work fizzles after 48 hours. All of that can be good, but it's just the beginning of what it takes to be successful.
If you're an artist you should become an expert in business. You should have a business plan, you should have a budget, you should actually be registered as a company so you're legal. You should register your music and copyright it. You should have a purpose for why you're making music.
I see a lot of artist's run away from the work and responsibility that is required to become an artist that has a career. I am not an expert at being an Artist. I know it's hard because I work with a lot of Artists. I also know that Music Business is very much like any other industry. It's a service industry providing a product or entertainment for an audience. Within that there are all sorts of genres and niche of what people like, but if I have learned anything over the years, the more business things I learn the better my business gets.
As an artist you don't need to read another article on social media hacking or how to get on XYZ blog. You need to actually read a business book or take a class. You have to learn how to crawl before you can run. You need to build a foundation to then understand how to actually leverage social media. You need to understand what to do once you get onto a blog to keep those relationships growing and thriving.
As an artist, you don't have to aimless hope and wish that something will happen to your music. You can actually make a career if you take the time to invest into it. This is probably the biggest hang up with artist. They just want to make music. What they don't realize is music is 3:30 seconds long and then you have 23+ other hours in a day that you have to be building and investing into people, you're brand, and gaining wisdom... not knowledge.. but wisdom on what works and what doesn't work. If you find yourself scrambling and trying things and lost in the world of the music industry then I encourage you to take my advice, my wisdom, that was shared with me from wiser people, learn about business and apply that to your music. Soon you will be making progress. I promise.
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