The Indie Musician

    Larry S. WarfieldThe term Indie Musician or the DIY Musician, as described in the first article, was coined in the 80’s short for “Independent Artist”. They were usually singer-songwriters or band who recorded and released their own records independently of the music moguls.

    The self-motivated Indie Artist doesn’t wait around for someone to tell them what to do or how to do it, a person with a Do It Yourself attitude.

    The Indie Artist isn’t one who will send out CDs or MP3s then wait for an email or a letter in the mail. They may send out CDs or MP3s but they are busy playing gigs, setting up their online presence.

    Goal driven Indie Artists know where they are going and create a plan to get there. Quitting when the going gets tough is not an option. Indies create their opportunities.

    The Music Industry Today

    Today’s success in the music industry is much different than just a few years ago. Sending CDs, gigging, and perhaps touring does not guarantee success with the music moguls. It doesn’t have to happen as often in the age of the internet. Music Moguls are not the careers makers like in years past. With the internet and modern technology, Indie Artists retain more control over their career and put more money back into their hands.

    In the early 2000s, Indie Artists began seeing success and making an income by creating a fanbase online. As technology expands there will be even more opportunities for the Indie Artists.

    Talent Still Required

    Success today still requires talent and hard work.  Remember when your teacher or your mother used to say – practice. Well, practice is still the most important element of success.  Remember the old adage – Practice Makes Perfect.  The artists that dedicate themselves to perfecting their craft will go further than the others.

    On the music scene, you will find very talented artists and some mediocre talent all trying to achieve success. Some are looking for fame and fortune. Others want their music heard.  Talent is not required to be noticed. But, you do have to be able to carry a tune, or write a good song, or play an instrument well.

    Playing every night in Music City is not a guarantee that you will be discovered. In days past that might have been true.  Artists could play at a club, be seen by an A&R rep scouting for the next artist to hit the Top 10 and be taken to the CEO’s office to sign a recording contract. That doesn’t happen much anymore. There isn’t as much money in the music industry as in the past.

    If you are waiting for someone to discover you and make you a star, it probably won’t happen.  Don’t put your success in the hands of someone else – make it happen yourself.

    Your career and the path it takes are in your hands. If you want to be a big star touring the world, set your course, find out what it’s going to take to make it happen, and design a plan. If you want a career in songwriting or just playing your music, make it happen, book the gigs.

     Create Your Fanbase

    Many think they have to be the best before moving to Music City – not necessarily true. Music City is actually a good place to get started. There are a lot of opportunities that will help you perfect your skill: workshops, learning opportunities, people to learn from, and place to play and hone your craft.

    While you are learning and preparing, start developing your fanbase online and in your hometown before moving to Music City. Start a website, put your music on Youtube, and other Social Media Sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter. Create your Brand. Get your name and music in front of potential fans. Every little bit helps to push your career forward – fans are fans.

     

    Working in Music City

    Some think it is impossible to make a living as an Indie Artist because playing in Music City is for tips or free. For paying gigs, you have to get creative. Be ok with tips, or start booking out of the area.

    The Indie Artist must market by selling CDs, MP3s, putting their music and merchandise online, advertising their name, creating their brand.

    Some artists become licensed, others write for more popular singers, some play in bands or sing backup for different artists.  If you’re a good songwriter look into writing jingles for advertising or songs for television shows.

    Be creative.  Keep your eyes and ears open.  Go to auditions.  Promote yourself.

    Today, the Indie Artist that makes it applies shoe leather marketing. By that I mean, you go door to door promoting yourself. You audition, go to meetups, look for opportunities to get in front of an audience or to get your songs in front of potential artists to sing them.

    If you do apply shoe leather and if you’re good, there is a chance that somebody that matters will hear you. Still, you may need to earn a living in a different field while you perfect your music skills and applying shoe leather marketing.

    Don’t give up. Keep working at it. You have a much better chance of succeeding today than a few years ago. The Indie Artist Resource has information to help you get started.

    by Dena Warfield