Blog Written By: Intern Taylor Bush
Deal or no Deal:
How to Elevate your Music Career without Being Signed to a Label.
Every artist dreams of having all of perks of being a world class music star. The money. The cars. The adoration of millions of fans worldwide. The spotlight that comes from being one of the most talented people in the world. What if I told you that YOU have the power and ability to get these things? Or that YOU can reach your zenith of creativity while being your own BOSS?
With the growth of technology and the presence of social media, artist today have found a way to capitalize on their own talents without having to compromise any of the ingredients that makes them the person that they are. While this trend can be seen as both a gift and a curse, you must be willing to take the risk that comes along with letting the world into your mind and intellectual gifts. We’ve seen some of the biggest modern artist use the ability to remain independent and put out their own content become successful, Chance the Rapper for example. However for every Chance the Rapper, you see countless artist fall victim to their own successes. I’m here to help you understand the dos and don’ts of being an independent artist in modern times. Here five keys to becoming a budding independent superstar.
First separate yourself from the pack, which means brand yourself as an individual that can be imitated but never duplicated. Create trends don’t follow them. For example, Childish Gambino is one of the biggest artist out right now, and no one has the same sound as him. With Gambino’s hit song “Redbone” from his third album “Awaken, My Love”. He uses a soulful beat and electric voice that strays away from his previous releases. As a part of being an artist who starts their own sound, you must be willing to challenge the norms of both your music and the sound of popular music.
Second, Find different outlets to get your music to the public. There are many different platforms to release music from streaming services, social media sites, and YouTube to name a few. Chance the Rapper releases all of his music for free and still makes great money which I’ll talk about later. The goal is to reach as many people as possible which leads us into third step which is to BUILD YOUR FANBASE.
Social media sites like, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, and Snapchat bring artist closer to their fans. Artist are able to see what the consumer wants/likes and use this information in formulating their plans for success. It is important to understand that with this accessibility comes great responsibility. One bad incident can lead to the end of a career in the public’s eye. Like the old saying goes, bad news travels faster than good news. With the growth of technology, this news travels at the speed of light.
Fourth, strategically map out how put money in your pocket. In 2017, P. Diddy topped the list of the richest celebrities in the world with $130 Million. Though known as a music legend, a majority of the money he made came from dealings outside of the art of music. Diddy serves as a blueprint for the modern musician. Artist are now brands that expand outside of the music world. Many artist use merchandising and other items/services to create multiple avenues for revenue. The biggest artist tend to master the art of turning their passion into new avenues of revenue. As mentioned before Chance the Rapper releases his music for free but continues to bring in revenue. He does this by selling merchandise and going on tours. If you’re not making enough money right now start thinking about creating merchandise that is appealing to any age, race, and or body shape. “We have to get money. We have no choice. It cost money to eat.” said the great DJ Khaled.
Lastly, the most important step is investing in yourself. If you really want to succeed as an artist, it’s going to take time, dedication, consistency and sacrifice. Investing in things like visuals for your music, studio time, merchandising, and booking venues for shows. Today a lot of local artist believe that once you reach a certain status in their city the shows and money will start rolling in. However the ones who create a lasting legacy and impact, understand the more you invest in your craft may reap the larger scale of opportunities in the future.
If you follow these steps, you will begin to see growth in music career. Remember this fact, that YOU can take control of your future and be your own label.