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Indy Music Marketing

The Indy Artist Marketing approach combines some of the traditional music approaches, such as gigging, pitching your music, creating a fan base, whether online or in-person, and having CD’s to sell, with new Digital Marketing, approaches.

The term Indy 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 bands who recorded and released their own records independently of the music moguls.

The Indy Artist Marketer

The self-motivated Indy Artist doesn’t wait around for someone to tell them what to do or how to do something. The Indy Artist is a person with a Do It Yourself (DIY) attitude. They will employ the Indy Artist Marketing approach, take marketing matters into your own hands and getter done.

The Indy Artist isn’t one who will send out CDs or MP3s then wait for an email or a letter in the mail. CDs and MP3s are sent out while they are busy playing gigs, setting up their online presence, writing, or recording their next song. The artist is busy creating a website or getting someone to design it for him/her. At the same time, they are submitting their music to streaming companies like Spotify and Reverb Nation and putting a bio with music up on Bandcamp and anyplace else available. They embody the Indy Music Marketing approach to the fullest.

Goal-driven Indy Artists know where they are going and create a plan to get there. Quitting when the going gets tough is not an option. Indy Artists create their own 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 happen as often in the age of the internet. Music Moguls are not the career makers like in years past. With the internet and modern technology, Indy Artists retain more control over their career and put more money back into their pockets.

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

Gigging in Music City

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.

Some think it is impossible to make a living as an Indy 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 Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide states that most musicians that play in the clubs receive $20 to $50 base pay plus tips. 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 places to play and hone your craft. An important fact that you must know before moving to Music City. Every other musician who wants to make it in the industry is looking to move to Music City. Check out the Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide before you go. More often than not you can get your music heard right where you live with much less competition, while you’re working the online market.

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 a very 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.

Be An Indy Artist Marketer

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

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.

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

Be Creative

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. Check out

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

To Succeed – Apply

Today, the Indy Artist that succeeds applies shoe-leather to his/her 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 Indy Artist Resource has information to help you get started.

by Dena Warfield