Want to be a successful indie musician? We can help you!!


We have compiled a huge list of tips and advice that will prove indispensable for any musician or band looking to make it big in the music business. Follow our guide and get on the road to the success that you deserve and experience the warm glow of affection from your swollen fan base. Rock On, Dude!

01 Believe in the product you are selling – you are your music. Imagine you run your own business, I’m quite sure your main objective would be to place your products successfully on the market, wouldn’t it? However, in order to achieve this lucky situation, one of the most important things is that you really believe in your products. Your products should reflect your personality and your passion. And so it is in the music business. If you do not like what you do and are not completely convinced of your music, your style, your genre, and your final cut you will never earn the success you are aiming for.
02 Spend more time on the music than on the marketing – you cant polish a turd.It is good advice to make sure, before launching your product on the market, that you have good reason for producing it. Because you can is never the best reason. Nowadays it’s quite often that the music shelves are jammed with CDs, which makes it more and more difficult for the customer to decide whether it’s worth it to buy your CD, especially from an alleged “new born star”. So always ensure that your final recording is produced to the highest possible standard that is possible. Don’t leave those who are willing to part with their cash, and buy your music disappointed. Let’s not forget that most music consumers like free music and most music that is consumed is acquired without cost. So when someone does pay make sure you exceed their expectations, whether as download or physical product.
03 Time to search for a manager – music is a business, get a good manager.Ensure you are equipped with the “basic kit” a musician needs before searching for a suitable manager. Among others, you should have a FaceBook page to build some social leverage, a domain name that reflects your Bands brand. Probably you don’t need rich content on your own website at this early stage, but you should make the most of opportunities to capture your visitors email addresses, since these are your fans. You should also have contact details on your site, some press shots, links to some music downloads, links to some performances on YouTube, a biography and of course a presence in the other social networks. These are just a few things which should eventually help you to gain a foothold in the music business in order to be booked more frequently. Your manager needs to feel like your number 1 fan. When he first experiences your band or concept he/she will most likely need to see the global appeal of your product while listening to the sound of cash registers ringing. Think Arctic Monkeys.
04 Google Alerts and TweetDeck will help you – be empowered by technology.Google Alerts can be used as a good possibility to be kept informed about your own market value. Google Alerts will send you an email on occasions, for example every time the press writes about you or your fans talk about you online or the name of your band or artist is mentioned on the web. You can fix your settings in advance and therefore decide by yourself when you will be emailed. It’s a good way to be up to date regarding your album reviews, statements about you and your own current popularity. This is subject of course to the websites, platforms and blogs your fans are using to talk about you being regularly indexed by Google. Similarly TweetDeck can be configured to offer similar alerts based on the data passing through the Twitter network. Are you trending on twitter? Other tools like Google insights and Google trends can also be useful.
05 Keep practising – music isn’t about perfection, just do what you do, but better.As a musician you might already be aware of the fact that practising is absolutely vital in order to be a good singer and performer. However, bear in mind that you shouldn’t practise those things your are already an expert in (that will just feed your ego) but practise those things you really need to improve. Keep your aims reasonable before each practice session, which should be around 10 minutes, in order to make sure you achieve the best results. Even more important, change the way you practise every day. Remember, Only practise makes perfect.
06 Short-term releases – keep the fire burning and the fans yearning.It might be worth thinking about whether releasing your songs in short term periods,
like 8 or 12 weeks, or waiting one year until a new release. Well, I’m sure your fans would be extremely pleased if you offer them regular releases, which will keep then hungry for more but, if you have limited material this may undermine the value of a more significant release. Certainly when it comes to the time of placing your new album on the market it would certainly be worthwhile having already benefited from the publicity of having of two ore more single releases (white label discs/downloads/YouTube Videos) up your sleeve in order build demand and heighten expectations for the BIG release.
07 Promoting your products – these days it’s all about the merchandise.Which target audience would you like to address? Of course, the fans who like your music most, but what kind of people is your music actually designed for? Try to figure this out and put your adverts in places where your are sure they will get the attention you require. In these days this could appear to be quite difficult due to the crowded music websites, however, if you place the adverts for your music that fits a specific genre and is target towards a unique group within that niche and you focus your advertising on websites that attract those listeners/fans/genre followers then your advertising will morel likely yield good results. Know your audience and target your marketing to them directly.
08 Essential! write a set list – save yourselves from awkward moment on stage.Generally said, it doesn’t make any difference where you actually write your set list, just so long as you write one. It always creates a bad and unprofessional image when after finishing a song, every member of the band turns around looking desperately to each other wondering which song will be the next one on the play list. A good and thoughtfully written set list can avoid such unpleasant situations, which quite often can ruin the whole show.
09 Let your fans be a part of your album – let them join your circle of creativityIn today’s life more and more fans appreciate being a part of their favourite musicians new album. Regardless of whether they can contribute their own song, participating in creating the album’s cover or doing something else, at least they can be a part of the new album.
10 What about co-writing? – avoid John and Paul moments with legal documentsHave you ever thought about co-writing? Most musicians are really keen on writing their own songs as well as on coming up with the suitable melody. Just imagine you had the idea for a profound song text, wrote it down but discover that you don’t have the technical skills to turn these words into lyrics that will make a great song or nice tune. A good co-writer would be able to give you the support where its needed, helping you turn your lyrical musings into a potential number one hit.
11 Managing the public persona – your’re a diamond edged star! Keep it that way.You are famous and popular and you are possibly loved by thousands of people, so you need to be sure to focus on ensuring the credibility of your public image. You are a role model for many and your actions will likely be an inspiration for the lifestyle choices made by your fans. So, if you have any family, financial, personal or medical problems, don’t broadcast it, but keep them close to your chest in order to maintain your own image as an enigmatic untouchable shining star. Unless of course your name is Pete Doherty.
12 Make the most of your spare time – doing the band housekeeping is rewardingIt’s not uncommon that you will spend many hours driving on the road on the way to either a new show, back home or to a meet and greet your fans. It’s important to use such time productively. If it’s not possible to spend the time creatively then you will find you are never short of other tasks to do that will keep the momentum of your bands world domination moving. You could be responding to fan email, adding content to your website, reporting about recent shows or dealing with other administrative matters. It will help you by keeping on top of some less fun aspects on the business, and will help you deliver the best experience to your fans.
13 Ensure the success of your release – make sure everything is in placeDon’t announce the release date of your new album too soon. You possibly intend to promote your new album on the radio or in an press article and therefore it’s quite advisable to postpone the official release date to approximately 8 – 12 weeks after you actually have received your CDs, which will allow you to have enough time to get them delivered to the several advertising institutions.
14 Be familiar with your location before starting recording – pop, hiss & crackleAre you ready for recording your music? If so, please make sure you have found the perfect location for it. There are a few things which should be taken into account: Where are the electrical outlets? Is it even quiet enough for recording music or do you have to eliminate any annoying noises like air conditioners or buzzing lights? Furthermore you should check in advance where you can set up your equipment and, of course, do your “inspection” of the venue when it’s quiet there.
15 Get the best publicitiy – think radio airplay, XFMIt might be the best idea to send your CDs directly to the person at the Radio Station you would like to talk to or to whom you would like to present your music. Be sure the CDR you send them is not a dud and plays in CD players not just on a PC. Make sure it is clearly labelled with track info your band name and is accompanied by some biog info and contact details. Find out who is the best point of contact at the station. There may also be certain programs for people like you, a kind of “Newcomer Show” every Friday evening for instance. With any luck the producer or the DJ might give you some airtime and a plug on the show. Be sure to have Facebook, twitter and some YouTube content live prior to this event. You may only get one chance.
16 Do you already use Facebook properly? – it changes livesAs already mentioned a few points above, it’s quite important to let your fans or friends be a part of your music and life. Therefore bear in mind when writing a new status update or any exciting news on Facebook to add either your friends name or the name of a group or even special events in order to make sure everyone keeps being informed. This process is quite easy. Just put a “@” beforehand, then a drop-down menu will open and you can chose the suitable names.
17 Don’t put your whole repertoire on your new album – hold something back.How long do you think people sit and enjoy listening to a music album on the trot? Possibly not longer than 45-45 minutes. The concept of the album has changed fast and todays fickle consumers are very fickle. Unless pitched clearly has a concept album where extended play is part of the experience, an album longer than 45minutes might prove to be too much of a good thing for many listeners. Even worse, the listener could get tired of listening to your music. You could make your album a mixed media experience by including videos, studio out-takes, pictures, gig posters and flyers showing you and your band or maybe even some press reports? Be imaginative.
18 Enhance your revenues through merchandise – it may be your only income streamMerchandise is now a very large part of the revenue attained by a label or artist. It goes hand in hand with record sales and gig tickets. In fact much music now is seen as a marketing tool to sell tickets that leads to subsequent merchandise sales. Who doesn’t want a momento of that awesome gig? Include as many products as possible to your range. On the one hand it’s a really good way to earn a little bit of money on the side in order to maximise your revenue and on the other hand your fans can be equipped with posters, sweaters, CDs of course and other articles produced by their “star”. There may be some inventory costs at the beginning, but once you they start selling you will soon see the rewards as you make more money and your fans promote you by wearing your colours on their back.
19 You need help? – Gonna call GhostBusters? Nah.. call on your fans.Once again your fans can play an important role in your music life by supporting you when assistance is needed. Help could be needed on several occasions, therefore it might worthwhile to be always in touch with your fans and to know where they actually live. They may have valuable contacts to certain Radio Stations, which could facilitate you the entry into the market there, or they might be an expert on the subject of building websites. Surely, it will be a pleasure for them to help you with the added bonus that they can build their careers by getting good work experience and improving their portfolio.
20 The first impression counts – all press is good, but good press is much better.It could happen nearly everywhere, after a show, during an event, even on the street, you get involved in a conversation and afterwards you are being asked for your business card. You should at any time be prepared for such situations and have a business card available at a moments notice. For any notes you might have to take, for arranged meeting or contact details of your conversational partner for instance, also carry a pen and a notebook with you. Or of course just use your smart phone for both of the above.
21 Stay in control of your online image – don’t over extend yourselves on the web.It’s quite likely that you will run several websites or be a part of different online social networks. First of all there is your official band website, then there are sites like Facebook, Twitter and other community networks and maybe even online stores. Make sure they are being maintained regularly, however, if you cannot ensure a thorough maintenance of these sites, cancel the less important one and keep being concentrating on the essential ones. Less can quite often be more.
22 Create your own email list – email isn’t what it once was, but dont miss a trick.As a recording artist you have trying to make it or break it you really have to use your initiative at all time. This can mean, among other things, the collecting of the contact details and email addresses of your fans. Try and concentrate on the details of “sincere” fans, who really enjoy listening to your music and who you consider add value to your band brand concept, otherwise it won’t be a useful fan list. Don’t force anybody into giving you his contact details just in order to extend your list. Its all about quality rather than quantity. A nice shot of bourbon hits the spot more so than some nasty watered down beer.
23 Are you aware of your goals? – without goals your achievements will be lessHave you already written down your goals? If not, start right away. According to various researches it is fact that you will be ten times more likely to reach your goals when they are actually written down, however only a small percentage of people already do it. So, given the fact that this will maybe take you about half an hour, it will certainly be time well spent.
24 Be careful with your ears – always use protection.Never disregard the importance of your ears when working in the music business. It’s not only the singers who can be affected, but its also the sound crew and recording engineers who can suffer the damaging effects of loud music. How could you be a successful musician, if you had a hearing loss? Just look at Will.I.Am he suffers (like this author) from Tinnitus. So clearly it’s very important to wear a hearing protection to prevent permanent damage from the long term exposure to high audio levels. Unfortunately many musicians don’t buy into this idea until its too late and the damage has been done.
25 Master the art of subtlety – nothing appeals less than desperation. It’s good advice not to lure customers to your stall at a show by telling them how many other people you have already seen buying CDs or T-shirts at your booth. Rather tell them to simply stop at your stall and have a look. If they like it, they will buy it. If they buy it and don’t like it you can bet your bottom dollar they will tell all their friend about a bad your music is.
26 Home recordings – modern technology make it easy (you know that).At the beginning of your career it’s quite likely that you will be doing your recording in a home studio. Don’t try to achieve the impossible, but make more than an effort to create a presentable final product in order to possess a basic demo. Later on you will have enough time to adjust and extend your recording knowledge and skills. Obviously home studios today are very much the norm and have born some of the finest sounds in contemporary music. Just don’t over produce – unless of course it’s a style or genre thing. Great vocals and instrumentals will soon be lost in a haze of white noise if you can keep your fingers off the effects dial. Remember KISS – and just Keep It Simple Stupid.
27 These days the entertainment industry is very competitive.Increasingly celebrity status and fame drives the aspirations of the young. So getting yourself seen and attracting an audience can be harder than ever. On any given weekend in any town there are scores of venues and events all competing for your custom. Therefore it’s even more important to draw people’s attention to the important gigs, more precisely, to your gigs. In order to make this possible, create your own flyers and leaflets, be creative, but stay focussed on the main details. Finally have them printed by a professional printer’s shop and there you are, spread them out before your next gig.
28 Free mix-tape (CD ahem’) distribution – develop relationships with fans.Your music is your vehicle on the road to fame and riches. If you don’t have a distribution then look toward distributing product yourself. Find a place of which your are sure about there will be many passers-by “waiting for you” and then let’s get started. A great place to do this would be outside the venues where like minded bands are playing. Distribute to the queue or try and catch people as they leave. Don’t be too offensive, however, bear in mind that in order to promote your music successfully you should try to distribute as many of them as possible, but due to costs involved with manufacturing try only to distribute to potential like minded fans.
29 Contact local pubs or even clubs for promotion nights – the doors will open.Another tip for promoting your music is to come in contact with pubs and clubs, respectively, especially with the local ones. Select the locations carefully, try to find out which pubs or clubs suits best and in which ones you may possibly have the advantage of being a regular guest. Just ask them for help, they might be prepared to offer you special promotion nights, which will be designed just for promoting your music.
30 Keep it real with Rough Cuts – YouTube, SoundCloud, Facebook, TwitterWhile practising your most recent tunes at home, why not record it at the same time? Make yourself feel comfortable, put the camera in the right position in front of you and start recording yourself and your music. Make, if necessary, some adjustments and eventually upload your “masterpiece” to the appropriate website. And of course, up to date your followers. Think YouTube and SoundCloud.