Publishing music without labels will be a challenging thing to do. The creative industry is full of cunning producers, authoritarian labels, and unpredictable trends. No one had ever predicted that Big Shaq’s Mans Not Hot could be viral and hit 288 million viewers in less than a year. The Internet has changed everything that we knew about selling music.
However, staying in one path and being determined with the art is an honorable decision. Indie musicians, like Bjork, Shia, Fever Ray, and Grizzly Bear are the foundation of originality. And if you feel inspired by their movement, this article is intended for you.
Becoming a Jack of All Trade
As an indie musician, you are responsible for creating your own market. To be against the mainstream trend is to create a counter-trend. You have to find people who can appreciate your music, and you should nurture them. Therefore, in this sense, you are turning yourself into a salesperson for your work.
Digital recording programs are plenty these days. You can get Nuendo, GarageBand, Audacity, ProTools, and Cubase to cut off the recording budgets. The result may not be as good as if you rent an analog recording studio, but the programs can facilitate you to keep on creating new materials. Therefore, you must be your own music producer and arranger.
Once people know your music, you are going to get gigs. And before you agree to perform in one, you have to calculate the travel expense, consider the gig’s reputation, and think about the future benefits of the gig for your fame. This task makes you your own manager.
Indie musicians have more freedom in creativity than entertainers. But with that freedom comes great responsibility. Otherwise, you may not survive with your music.
Building a Public Image
The best way to boost your popularity is by joining social causes. But not all public issues are worth your participation. For instance, you must not associate yourself with a political party and their campaigns. Indie music embraces freedom in art. And mixing music with politics is to eliminate the music’s artistic value and transform it into a tool of practical politics.
The causes worth fighting for are the environmental campaign, AIDS & HIV awareness, Cancer awareness, and Gender Equality campaign. Philanthropic concerts are also a good choice too. And if you want to get professional advice on this subject, you can work with a communication company. As an example, Rush Communications was established to facilitate creative workers from the Hip-Hop community to build their brands by linking them with social empowerment causes. Russell Simmons founded Rush Communications in 1992, and so far, the company has worked with notable clients like Def Jam Recordings, Global Grind, and Hip Hop Summit Network.
Creating Engaging Contents
Selling physical records (cassettes and CDs) are still the sacred ritual of musicians. But if you depend solely on them to generate revenue, you are doomed to failure. The era of record sales has long gone. Today, your best partners are content-hosting platforms like YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify, etc. They pay content creators as much as the creators’ ability to engage viewers.
If your music is too underground and market-segmented, then you should create educational contents instead. Show the public how to perform your songs. Or, you can tell your audience the journey of your creative process. Transforming or collaborating your song with other artists is also a selling idea. For instance, you can partner up with a one-stop-motion artist to create a music video.