How To Build Your Personal Music Career

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

Today’s flood of independent creators has demanded an equal influx of digital products, services and intelligent music tools that saturate our market. How do you navigate the complex educational path to a successful and holistic music career? If you’ve been researching for a while you probably know it can be ideal to expand your own abilities, and not rely on larger entities to come and alleviate your struggles.

Is it possible to be signed to a writing team, work for a label or management company, get scouted by talent seekers and more? Yes. Even so, artists often rely on multiple streams of income to fully support their endeavors. Most artists relying on a centralized system are giving away much more than they get in.

Individual growth occurs when the central artist/s operate all aspects of their own brand, and can get attention on their songs or other assets. The more you can do alone, the more you can pay yourself.

Where Does The Money Come From?

Today’s income streams for music creators are fairly diversified. They range from selling digital and physical products/merch, services, event tickets, streaming, sync and other licenses, YouTube monetization, branding and influencer deals, publishing deals, performance royalties, and more. Each one of those can take a whole field of expertise to accomplish. However, thanks to consumers driving technology prices down and spreading free information, anyone can travel these lanes relatively quickly, and pick up skills.

So what's the secret? Diversified income, content consistency, and fundamental marketing knowledge. The way you deploy these tactics depends on your goals. Building direct fans might require you to showcase personality and aesthetic, whereas an artist providing lessons and services is going to want to showcase social-proof and results. Both will need to show musical talent but the way they communicate directly to their audience might differ slightly.

You need to focus on how you're communicating and be results driven. Think like a business, and practice growth hacking to find your most successful grooves in every area from targeting ads to expressing content. It's also important to focus on what YOU love to do. You want to create what people like, but you also want to attract your personally desired audience.

Omnichannel and Multichannel Planning

We should understand that in today's world, attention = currency. We're often told we "need" to be on this platform or that platform, but truthfully, you may want to consider focusing on the best channels for your natural communication style.

Omnichannel planning is where you post everything to every platform possible, and while this is ideal, the tone and media type don't always align from platform to platform. Multichannel planning is where you focus on particular results on specific platforms. Concentrating on your best channels with a multichannel approach can help to avoid burnout.

Here's a great formula to simplify producing content for an omnichannel approach:

Start with a long-form video (1-3 mins). Try to shoot in a way that allows you to crop the video in all dimensions - 1920x1080 (YouTube) into 1080x1920 (TikTok and IG Reels) and 1080x1080 (IG posts). Repurpose the audio from the footage on Twitter and shorter video clips–pretty much anywhere nowadays. You can even take screenshots from the video, and new apps are making it easier to stay on your phone for creative editing.

Artists are getting maximum plays today showing ads directly to their future fans and offering links to stream their songs. They also use their social channels to turn those listeners into super fans, so the two are symbiotic. A goal to consider is recurring revenue which targets repeat purchases; streams, direct sales, etc.

But how do I advertise? There’s a ton of great resources to get educated on this. Here’s the best one we’ve found so far:

Strategy and Clear Perception

You’re going to need an investment strategy and a content strategy. You could start by choosing result-driven goals and set aside pre-planned amounts of time and money to invest. Partnering with someone who has resources and connections is without a doubt potentially beneficial, but it's also become popular and attainable to fly the ship yourself from early stages. From here you can make the best choice for you if a choice appears.

Now the question comes up, what are my strengths? How do I make them work for me in the best ways possible? How do I get people to know me and want my work? This goes for studio engineers as much as it does any bedroom musician selling sample packs off their acoustic guitar. Again, you have to hone in on your special features, but you also don’t have to beat anyone else’s or compete to be the most special. There‘s actually plenty of work to go around and there always will be.