4 Pillars Of A Successful Indie Musician Career
There’s no magic bullet when it comes to building a successful music career these days. It’s incredible just how many different strategies and approaches artists are taking. Some bands are finding success on YouTube, others are gigging almost every single day, and some are developing completely new models like house concerts.
Guest Post by Dave Kusek, Founder & CEO of The New Artist Model
Musicians who follow these different strategies are successful, but each in their own way. So, instead of searching for one strategy that will bring you to a successful music career, build a solid foundation and find your own way. No matter which path you take, every single musician is being held up by four pillars that serve as the foundation of their career: a community of fans, meaningful experience for those fans, a web of connections, and the ability to monetize all of that.
Keep in mind that there is another pillar you need before you start any of this – quality. If you want a fanbase to start developing around you, the quality and creativity needs to be there.
1. Create a Community of Fans
The first step to developing a successful career is to have a strong foundation of fans. For the most part, you cannot be a musician without a fanbase. If you want your fanbase to grow, you need some way to capture new fans. This is going to be different for everyone depending on what path your career takes. A songwriter with daily gigs in Nashville bars may use her live show to collect new fans. A cover band could use YouTube to draw in a new audience.
Next, you want to have some way to connect with them again, be it on social media or via email. Those impressions aren’t worth much if you never see them again. With that in mind, you need to make it easy for them to connect. Walk around with a clipboard after your show to collect email addresses, and link to your social media channels from the YouTube description box.
If you’d like to learn more about growing a fanbase, check out this free video lesson series.
2. Develop Meaningful Experiences
Once you’ve created a group of fans, you need to start developing a relationship with them with experiences. And if you develop different tiers of experiences they can serve as a stepping ladder to create superfans.
Start with social media. Use it as a channel to talk with your fans – ask them questions, get their opinions, and let them help make decisions like which song to cover next. After that, you’ll want to offer some low-end experiences like house concerts and private streamed performances. Lastly, you’ll want some top-level experiences like a meet and greet or VIP package.
If you want to learn about even more incredible experiences you can offer your fans, be sure to check out this free video lesson series.
3. Network to Opportunities
You’ll no doubt get some opportunities just by growing and developing your fanbase. But, for the most part, your connections in music will lead to more opportunities than anything else. You need to make it your mission to know as many people as possible. You may not know top-level music business executives, but incredible opportunities could come from a connection right in your hometown.
The best way to start growing a network is to just do it – start small and work your way up. Go to any and every music event in your hometown, and above all, be present. It’s also important to distinguish the difference between networking and promoting. You don’t want to push your music in people’s faces – you are trying to form a mutually beneficial relationship.
If you want to learn more networking strategies and how to turn your connections into opportunities, be sure to check out this free video lesson series.
4. Monetize Your Audience
The last pillar is monetization. A lot of musicians don’t like talking about money, but the fact of the matter is if you want this to be a career, you need to be making money. With monetization, there are two things you want to make sure you’re doing – developing a constant source of revenue, and tiering your offerings.
The traditional artist revenue stream has peaks and valleys that coincide with album releases and tours, but when you’re an independent artist, it’s much better to have more constant revenue streams. Next you want to make sure your monetizing all different kinds of fans – your superfans will pay more for top of the line products and experiences if you give them the opportunity. Platforms like PledgeMusic and Patreon can help you do both of these things.
If you want to learn more about how you can be monetizing your audience, be sure to check out this free video lesson series.