Artists, Don’t #CoronaAndChill. #CoronaAndBuild Your Music Business
While most music business events have ground to a halt, that doesn’t mean your career development has to as well. Here we explore how artists can take this industry downtown as an opportunity to build their music business.
By Bryan Calhoun from the Music Business Toolbox
By nature or because of business, most of you are social. You perform live in front of audiences, collaborate with other artists in the studio and attend education and networking events. All of those things have come to an abrupt halt. But, it doesn’t have to be the end of your progress. I’ve outlined a few ideas for how you can take this time while you are stuck inside, to move your business forward by considering the digital or virtual version of all of the things you would otherwise do in public. Now is the time to get creative. Read on to see how you can continue to connect, collaborate, educate and more.
CONNECT AND ENGAGE
Certainly, one of the best ways to connect with your fans and develop new ones is through live appearances – shows, meet and greets and other in person events. Of course, now clubs and venues are closing and gatherings of every other kind are being cancelled. Your fans are stuck at home just like you are.
You can still reach your audience. , Try live streaming events using platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch and Twitter. Since you can’t be there in the room, set up at your apartment and give them a show. Set the stage and create a backdrop that pops, put up some posters, set the lighting. Make your space unique and different. There are even tools now that allow you to simulcast or multicast your live stream on multiple platforms. It’s also a good time for artists who have already created live virtual reality experiences on platforms like Melody VR to promote those shows.
You could also do a Q&A session giving you the ability to engage directly with your audience, media outlets, other artists, DSPs and more. Join existing conversations. Try responding to people on your social channels and commenting on the social channels of others in the community. There are lots of groups to join on Reddit, Facebook, hashtags you can follow on Instagram, Twitter and more.
While being in the same room with other writers and performers can be where the magic happens, you can still collaborate using tools like Google Hangouts, Zoom and Skype. They allow you to sit in a virtual room together and create. When it comes time to share files, platforms like Dropbox and Google Drive make it easy to send and receive stems and sounds. If you want to take it a step further, try online collaboration tools created just for musicians like Splice.
My friend Ray Daniels suggested this: If you always wanted a feature from another artist, now may be a great time to hit them up since their live performance income is going away for a while.
I applaud artists for attending educational events to broaden their understanding of how this complex industry works. Cornerstones like SXSW and the ASCAP Experience aren’t happening right now and neither are the many small local meet-ups and other events. But your chance to learn about new tools, industry trends, strategies and more are only a few mouse clicks away. Here are just a few great resources for continuing your education virtually:
- Music Business Toolbox
- Disc Makers Indie Music Minute
- Ditto Music Blog
- DIY Musician
- Music Ally
- Music Think Tank
- Tunecore Blog
DATA & DSPs
Many of the digital streaming platforms offer a way for you to look at how your music is performing and some offer you the opportunity to take action with marketing tools to promote your music right on the platform. It is a good time to:
- Audit your accounts. Make sure all of them have the right profile picture, links and bio
- See how your music is performing. You might be surprised by how certain tracks are performing, markets where you have spins, other music your fans like and demographic information on your listeners
- Familiarize yourself with the tools the DSPs offer
This time to yourself can be the space and solitude you need to not only write new music, but to create other content. I always tell artists, “You are not just a musician. You are a multimedia artist.” With the amazing camera on your phone, shoot your next music video (after looking at your data, you may discover a song has some traction, but needs more support). You can send the files to your friend(the editor who is sitting at home right now trying to figure out what to do, too) or edit it yourself.
Some other content ideas:
– Send an email to your fans (you may not have done that in a while)
– Do a photo shoot with your camera phone and use it for content later
– Sketch out the design for your next single, album cover or merch item
– Learn a new skill – teach yourself how to use editing or graphic design software so you don’t have to rely on others
– Practice – spend time perfecting your craft, whether it is guitar, drums or didjeridu
– Reach out to social media influencers (YouTube, Influencers and TikTok) – make sure your music is available for them to use in their content while making sure they credit you by linking back to you