Tips for Indie (Independent Artists)

Well it has been a while since I have posted a blog, so I have decided to encourage my indies (independent artists). An independent artist is simply an artist who independent from a major record label or company. Thanks to the internet, artists are now able to be successful in their careers without the backing of a major record company. What record labels once achieved can now be achieved through social sites like Facebook, Youtube, Reverbnation, Sonicbids, and Artistdata just to name a few. So here are a couple of tips that I have learned (and still learning) along the way that would benefit any indie artists (no matter what genre) in a successful career.

Rule #1: Get Your music right. Quality is paramount. Don’t brag about the dozen divinely-inspired songs you’re able to write in one sitting. ALL good writers/artists are capable of doing exactly that. Arrogance and ignorance can negatively affect your career.
1. When writing, be yourself!
2. Feel it, understand it, execute it well, perfect it, even if it takes you weeks. Ask yourself, “does it have the best quality I’m capable of?”
3. Know what your music means and how it adds value to the lives of its listeners. If you set out to make meaningless music, you will have a meaningless career. This doesn’t mean you can’t make “light” music.
4. Ask yourself, “how exactly does your music add value to your listener’s life?” If it doesn’t add value to your life, then it probably won’t add value to your listeners.
5. Does it entertain, uplift, empower, inspire? Or does it bore?
6. Will people travel for miles just to hear you?

Rule#2: Get your music business right. Music Art is linked to Music Business- Always has, always will be. Without the two, you would never have of any of your idols. Neglect one and the other suffers.
1. Be an idealist, but also be a pragmatist. You don’t to micromanage everything in your business. But you have to have enough vision to be able to build an organization around you and have your team members do things for you which you can’t do as well, or don’t have the time to do. You need a team– don’t do everything yourself!
2. Think in the long term first. Then medium term. Finally, in the short-term.
3. Build a complete support team (who does what, how will they be rewarded (profit shares?), etc).
4. Build honest relationships with everyone you meet.
5. Organize your company (make a budget for 1 year, keep costs down, set achievable goals, and remember that you will have to invest in your future – just decide how much).
6. Plan your first year (know what you would like to see happen and when – don’t dream: plan, use solid techniques to achieve goals). Write those goals down!
7. Prepare for success. Don’t get caught without promo materials or cds, build a great website , have (professional) business cards printed.
8. Recognize opportunities and learn the rules of the jungle – both the web and the real world. And plan who will do what.
9. Always think, “how do you and your business add value to people’s lives?”
10. Get to know your fans and followers.

Rule #3: Stick to these Do’s and Dont’s:

Don’ts
1. Don’t be a naive fool.
2. Don’t dream – plan.
3. Don’t be sloppy or lazy.
4. Don’t be impatient - you’re in this for the long haul.
5. Don’t be shallow - educate yourself.
6. Don’t be careless - be meticulous.
7. Don’t complain - ever. It just drains you and redirects your precious energy to wasteful things.
8. Don’t be long-winded and boring in your presentations (be it your music, or your business).
9. Don’t party (or overdue) too much
10. Don’t boast, over-promise, under-deliver. If you talk the talk then walk the walk.
11. Don’t push your music on people.
12. Don’t claim you’re unique or don’t fit any genre.

Do’s
1. Do enjoy the ride. Love the whole process!
2. Do focus: don’t try to be 50 different things!
3. Do know who you are as an artist – what do you sound like? What is your niche?
4. Do understand your niche thoroughly. BE your niche!
5. Do have a grand vision and an actionable plan.
6. Do learn all you need to learn about the resources available to you.
7. Do learn to leverage your talents in exchange for business deals.
8. Do make friends - always be courteous, be considerate. Always give credit to others, even when it’s less-than-deserved.
9. Do always put your best foot forward. Write good copy on your website and always offer great value.
10. Do be humble, but also supremely confident.
11. Do associate yourself with winners, people who are better than you – you can’t expect to fly with the eagles if you peck with the turkeys!
12. Do follow people who are relevant, emulate them but don’t copy.
13. Do get reviews and learn from them – accept critiques graciously and gratefully, even if they’re negative.
14. Do play live as often as possible, even for free.
15. Do look after your health!

Courtesy of Indie Artist Survival Handbook

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