To the quiet musician, the music business seems like a dark cloud rolling in. The hardest part of being an artist is having to sell yourself to other people. This is daunting because artists often feel it may inhibit their personal authenticity. Having to convince others that you are worth their attention hurts our relationship with ourselves. After all, can’t I just make music for myself? Why yes, you can! But If you want to become an independent artist, and get paid to do it, you’re in luck, because the digital age is here, and anyone can make a living doing anything. With some basic tools, dedication, and a creative vision, you can share your message and find a fan base of supporters who enjoy your music just as much as you enjoy making it. Read on to find out all you need to know about the music business and how Atlas Vision can help you be successful independently and while staying true to your values as a musician.
The Traditional Music Industry
The old music industry required being discovered by a major record label and then hiring an expensive team to market and discern the direction of every song and album release based on principles that have proven to be most efficient for making money. Not for creating quality music, not for innovating, but for attracting the masses, the lowest common denominator.
The Major label industry makes you feel like a star and gives you plenty of money up front, but ultimately artists become indebted to the label for the rest of their careers. You might as well sell your soul to the devil. Signing to a major label is for those only with dreams of getting famous, while being an artist that makes a living doing what they love (Sharing the love, through music!) is more like being an entrepreneur.
Some Music Business Vocabulary:
Copyright: A copyright is a legal device that gives the creator of a literary, artistic, musical, or other creative work the sole right to publish and sell that work.
Royalties: A fee that one receives in exchange for allowing another party to use and profit from one’s property.
Indie labels: Self-funded labels not tied to any major label.
PR: Press Relations
Session musician: A musician who contributes to a recording or a live performance but is not actually a full-time member of the band.
Advances: An advance is a type of loan that serves as income for the artist or songwriter as they record or write songs and wait for royalties to generate revenue. These advances must be paid back to the label.
Manager: A music business manager handles an artist or songwriter’s finances and other logistics, typically without touching their personal lives.
The Modern Music Industry
There has been an artists movement that supports the right for musicians to create authentically, and establish a genuine connection with fans. Luckily with the rise of social media, you can talk directly with your fans. You can create your vision with a phone camera, some editing skills, and a laptop! You can read business and marketing books on your own, and you can be your own music producer!
Nobody can take better care of you than you, but it helps to have a group of family and friends that can support you and your emotional needs when things get tough. A friend with great connections, or one who is great with a camera never hurts! This article by Forbes is a great resource for musicians trying to market themselves.
Some recommended books and courses for learning marketing and the music business:
- Essential Guide to Songwriting, Producing and Recording by Darryl Swann
- The Craft and Business of Songwriting by John Braheny
- How to Make it in the New Music Business by Ari Herstand
- All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald S Passman
- The New Music Industry: Adapting, Growing and Thriving in The Information Age by David Andrew Weibe
Taking Responsibility For Your Career
So many artists stagnate once they get tired of playing at the local bar and never getting any recognition. They hate on other artists who are actively trying to make a name for themselves, and doing a good job. They claim that the music they make is no good, and that only the bad musicians get rewarded. Well the fact of the matter is that music is only about 10% of your career as a musician. You can still make your own unique music, but you also need to be your own manager, your own producer, marketer, and everything in between. Every second of your day needs to be dedicated to your vision. Your music is just a part of that vision. Being an artist means sharing the world as you see it with others. Your world can be an escape from the mundane for your fans.
No artist is just a musician. If you just make music, you are giving the fate of your career to the chaos of the universe, or worse, the hands of other people, where you will have no control. It is your responsibility to make sure your music reflects your inner vision, and to make sure that it is heard by more than just your girlfriend or the guys at the bar.
Feel the sting of taking responsibility for the actions and in-actions you took within your career. Then grow, thrive, and realize that the answer was within you all along.
A Professional Musician Needs a Professional Online Presence
A musician is an entrepreneur. And every respectable business man or woman needs her own website. It’s the modern resume. One where they can dive deep into your aesthetically pleasing ecosystem and be a part of it. One where you put your artistic vision on display for others to understand who you are and why you are important.
Your artist site should act as your online home-base. It should host your social media links, a biography, photos, your merchandise and your music! Most importantly, it should be easy to navigate!
Atlas Vision specializes in making your websites reflect the best aspects of you and your brand, for the music and e-commerce industry. By giving your prospects a positive experience on your site, they will want to come again and again to experience your unique universe. If your music career is a castle, the website is the land you build it on. When you have a website built for success and stability, nobody can take that away from you. Not an algorithm, not a corporation, not the government. Here’s how Atlas Vision’s services can make your website have a strong foundation!
SEO Content – Helps you get found on google & other search engines. This means that your links will appear at the top of google search, so that fans and soon to be fans can find your music!
Copywriting – Great copy can help get you more sign ups for your mailing and other things such as helping you sell more merchandise, among many other things. We will always write your copy to reflect your personal brand values. We won’t just sell your shirt, we’ll start a fandom!
Email – Gives you another avenue to connect with your biggest fans & is often overlooked in favor of more glamorous avenues such as social media. Email marketing gives the control back to you & keeps you a click away from talking directly to your listeners. Keep your most loyal fans up-to-date with latest ticket sales, merchandise, and album drops!
So there’s a basic rundown of music industry terms, and what it really takes to be a musician. Knowledge is power, my friends. Atlas Vision offers services like webpage optimization and copy that will boost your image as an artist in a way that’s appealing for fans, and potential collaborations. We will see to it that your site makes you stand out and that you and your music get the respect and recognition you deserve. If you’re ready to invest in your artist website, contacts us today!