Being a DIY artist can be hard these days. As record labels quickly minimize their artist development efforts, bands have to gain significant followings all on their own before a label will even look at them. Although some people want to be signed to one of the major music groups, and others would rather just stay independent, everyone could use some guidance on how to expand their audiences. These five tips can help push you towards your goals as a growing musician.
Let your music be available everywhere
For example, if you only make your music available on Bandcamp, the people who don’t regularly use Bandcamp aren’t going to go out of their way to listen to just your music. Listening to music today is all about convenience.
Have everything available on Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, everything. If for whatever reason people have to leave their normal circuit of apps, they may just lose interest in what you are releasing, and possibly even your band as a whole. Ensure that everyone has a chance to hear what you have poured your heart and soul into.
Build up a loyal, local fanbase
You need to learn who your target market is and perform at the venues where they are. Make sure you post even more on the social media where they are the most prevalent.
For actual concerts, if your target market is 18-25-year-olds, maybe don’t only perform at oldies bars. Go to where people of your genre are playing. In addition, make personal connections with your audience. Give away handmade souvenirs that they can only get at concerts, sign their merch, offer to play at their parties. Everyone wants to know a band, and no one ever forgets kind, talented, and humble musicians.
Have a strong social media presence
Post entertaining, relevant content on a steady schedule. Memes, gifs, updates on the EP; let them get to know you. Create a brand. Make good use of hashtags so people can more easily find your posts. Also, buy ads/sponsor your posts to reach an even broader audience.
It is more important to have fans in real life than just followers on social media. Although having a high follower count and becoming verified feels like an accomplishment, if no one is coming to your shows, it doesn’t really mean anything. Keep an eye on the average amount of engagement you receive.
Play as many local shows as you can
Know your worth, though. Don’t only play shows for “exposure” and guarantee your band gets paid.
Team up with other local bands so you can both grow your fanbases. Then, when you feel like you have the resources or you feel it is time to branch out, start playing in the tri-state area. Depending on how far you want the band to go and how much time you have in your schedules, go even further.
Make sure everybody in the band has a job
Everyone has to pull their own weight. You don’t have an artist’s team with agents and official managers and accountants. The band members have to handle everything internally, so find out what everyone’s skills and strengths are and capitalize on them. Each member will most likely have to double up on their contributions to the band.
Sign contracts and make sure jobs and songwriting ownership is in writing. Pick someone to be the social media manager, the agent, the tour manager, etc. Even though your band members may be your friends, being a musician is stressful, and the last thing you want is people taking credit for things that they didn’t do. Or even worse, having one person do all of the work.