How indie artists should plan their music releases this 2023
2023 is already proving to be the year of artist independence. With independent artists and calls for a more artist-centric industry making headlines, the time is ripe for artists to release music independently. Here are a few tips on how to go about it.
by Janelle Borg of AmplifyYou
Apply for funding opportunities
Depending on where you are based, you may be eligible for funding opportunities that can help propel your career. There are various public and private institutions, such as your regional PRO, that offer funding opportunities to emerging artists.
In the UK, institutions such as Help Musicians, PRS, Creative Scotland, and Arts Council England have various opportunities that are open to UK-based artists. In the US, New Music USA, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and New York Foundation for the Arts are some institutions supporting emerging artists.
Just a heads-up – these funds are very competitive, so it is highly recommended to do your research before attempting to apply. Due to the competitive nature of these grants, it is essential to provide a detailed description and budget of your project. Having a clear idea of what you want to create and accomplish is a must to stand a chance.
Surround yourself with people who believe in your project
Building a strong team of people who believe in your project is important, especially as it can sometimes be challenging to release music independently. If you go the DIY route, get some talented friends together and come up with a concrete plan of who will care for what. However, while passion and talent go a long way, involving professionals is a must to give your project the best chance of success.
Come up with an engaging social media strategy
As we have discussed countless times on AmplifyYou, a good social media strategy is extremely important. Social media is not only a great networking tool but also an indispensable tool to reel in new audiences.
One of the top things to consider when creating an artist social media profile is your brand. Make sure you know what your brand is and that your branding is consistent across all platforms. This can be as simple as ensuring that your handle is distinctive and consistent.
Social media management is always a case of trial and error. See what works for you and what your audience likes, and tweak your strategy along the way.
Build a Strong Community
According to Kevin Kelly’s popular 1000 true fan strategy, a community of true fans who are there to support you is better than passive followers who do not really care about you. Building a community of dedicated fans and using community-specific tools such as Discord, Whatsapp Groups, Patreon and Twitter Communities is a great way to interact with your true fans through exclusive content. In turn, your community can help you when you are about to release music independently through crowdfunding, a simple share on social media, and, of course, word of mouth.
Work with a label services company
Let’s face it: dealing with distribution, marketing, manufacturing and all the things that need to be done to release music independently is a lot. Opting for a label service company is a good idea if you want additional support in processes typically handled by a label.
Reputable label services companies have the ability to handle everything from digital distribution to royalty accounting. By working with a label services company, you can take your music to the next level without giving away the rights to your music.
Release music on Web3 streaming platforms
An alternative – or adjacent – way to release music independently is to release your tracks on Web3 streaming services or as NFTs. Web3 streaming services such as Audius offer an alternative to traditional streaming platforms, as they do not take a cut of artists’ revenue and are powered by a token economy.
Creating limited-edition NFTs is a good way to promote your upcoming track and give your top fans the opportunity to listen to it before its wide release. Moreover, packaging your music NFT with exclusive artwork, demo or B-side is a good way to ensure your NFT is good value for money.
Janelle Borg knows a thing or two about the music industry. Having been involved in the industry since the age of 13, she’s now involved in a variety of music-related projects and is always keen to share industry tips ‘n’ tricks with fellow musicians.