The music industry has changed a hell of a lot over the last century, moving from an exclusively live experience to the advent of home media. Now it is possible for anyone with access to a computer to produce music on their own and distribute it online, however this lower barrier to access is a double-edged sword; with more and more bands and artists self-releasing material it’s become harder to be noticed. So to help you out, here are some tips for making your project stand out amongst the rest.
Social Media Presence
May seem an obvious one but, having active Twitter and Facebook accounts dedicated to your music will allow you to communicate easily with fans and with other artists. Networking has always been an integral part of the industry, allowing artists with similar fan bases to promote one another and play gigs together; social media makes this easier than ever. And as much as we all hate to admit it, those numbers do matter so rack them up the best you can as people still do judge a band by their numbers before they even hear your music; sucks I know! Just don’t buy them, that’s stupid!
The cost of producing merch for your project is no longer prohibitively expensive. In fact, it’s possible to sell your bands t-shirts through websites who will print your design and ship products to order, giving you a cut of the sale, all you need to do is come up with a design! It’s also still worth offering your music on physical media in addition to mp3 or streaming as well. Short run cd duplication is ideal for those who can’t yet justify ordering several hundred copies of their CD. This is still a great way to get your music out there to people at your live shows for them to rock out to on the car journey home. Or even go for a vinyl release as people are still lapping them up. We haven’t quite got the point of giving out tracks on USB sticks quite yet.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Of course, you can be the most media-savvy graphic designer with a stellar website and a bunch of awesome merchandise but it means nothing if your music isn’t up to scratch. Regular practicing should involve so much more than just brushing up on your skills, it’s the place where you can experiment freely and where the seeds of new ideas will take root. Whether you practice alone or with your bandmates you should aim to make it a routine and stick to it. The more serious you are about your music, the more regular your practice should be and if you’re hoping to stand out amongst other musicians who are equally driven to succeed you need to be offering a better product than them.
Be Prepared to Invest
Gone are the days when a record executive or talent scout would take a punt on an artist based on a low quality home demo. The good news is that the tools to produce professional sounding music are now easily available to anyone and you can get reasonable results for a very small investment. You should view your spending as just that; an investment. Be willing to not only upgrade your own equipment but to rent out studio time and work with a professional producer. You simply cannot put a value on professional expertise and a good producer will find a balance between what you want and what their experience tells them is best. As much as paying your mate who has a pirated copy of cubase seems the easy option, unless he’s insanely good, you are usually just going to end up with a mediocre sounding demo that’s not going to do you any justice.
Now get out there and kick some ass and hopefully we will be writing about you in a few months time. Either that or you’ll break-up, your bass player will have a drug habit and your drummer will sleep with your girlfriend. Good fun either way though right? Hmm!