Breaking through in the music industry has never been an easy task and the means to get yourself in a position where people know you exist has changed in many ways over the last 2 decades. The means are many and yet I believe that there is one single factor that can assist you in making a living from your musical pursuits. The fact remains that you have to be multifaceted in your approach to success as a musician and extremely hard working.
Gone are the days where a crudely recorded demo tape will be sufficient to capture the interest of an A+R man. Your competition for being signed to a label, or even people taking interest in your music has probably increased by a factor of 10. The internet is a great way to proliferate your work but you should always do so with a plan of action even if that plan does not initially succeed. Every aspect of your self promotion and music needs to be worked on harder than your competition. Mark my words, this is the only way you can make any impact via the internet as music online reaches a saturation point. It would be a very good idea to sit down and make a provisional plan as to how you will approach your music making, sound engineering and promotion, including a budget. This plan can be adjusted and revised as you proceed to ensure that it is effective and well targeted. I recommend the following aspects that need to be worked on in order to maximize your chance of success.
Are you constantly striving to be a better player, more inventive, creative, original or simply become perfectionist with your core musical skills? If you are not, someone somewhere is, so step to it and ensure you always put every thing you have at your creative disposal into your end results.
Professional Audio Quality
When people hear your track for the first time they will be expecting a certain level of audio quality and fidelity. As a musician working at home you need to ensure that your productions are well recorded, mixed and present the musical content in the best possible way for that all important first impression. Did you get your track mastered? Why not? Mastering is possible to obtain at lower prices that ever before within the music industry. It has evolved as a procedure and now many experienced engineers will include valuable feedback on your mix to obtain even better results. Even if your music is presented as a low quality MP3, as a taster, it needs to be well mixed, arranged and capture the listeners attention the first time it is heard. A weak mix without impact will not be able to do your melodic work justice.
Are you up to date on the most popular online means of promoting yourself and your music ? Keep your ear to the ground as to what websites are the best for showcasing your music. There is no point spending lots of time updating a page that has very few visits. Work smarter and put the most effort into pages that get traffic. Time is valuable and it should be spent wisely where the best return can be made in: listens, exposure, and earnings.
Music Website Ownership
Irrelevant of who the best third party sites are, you need your own website. This is your own personal portal that demonstrates a level of seriousness to every visitor. A third party music hosting page does not create the same impression as a website with your own URL. Here you can connect with fans and global traffic in a very personal way. Ensure you take a look at search engine optimization basics and tune your sight for your genre, your fans, key words related to your musical niche and build a search engine page position that means you will be visited more often than others. There are many online tools that can assist with optimizing your website and targeting effective key words to maximize web traffic.
Rome was not built in a day and it is naive to think that success can be achieved within a very short space of time. Two years is a realistic span of time when using constant means of promotion to obtain some penetration within any given market or scene. People do not identify with a brand or band name until they have seen it 3 times on separate occasions. So make sure you keep your foot on the pedal for as long as you can to try and break through into spaces where you need to be seen and noticed.
Despite the obvious importance of online communications, there are many novel means of communicating that exist other than those online. Look at promotional material companies for ideas and look into sending out free promotional items featuring your band logo. This will need careful planning to ensure any promotional media gets to the right people and provides a return on investment.
Pushing your Comfort Zone
Most important of all is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Try new musical techniques, push your mixing and technical knowledge and do not be afraid to put in the extra hour or two on top of your normal work schedule. Musicians often sacrifice a lot of other things in life and dedicate themselves to the cause of musical creativity and self promotion. Sometimes it can be tough but will often manifest in bringing you the edge that sets you apart from others.
If you are work shy it is going to be disheartening, if not it is going to be exciting, inspiring, challenging and rewarding. There are a lot of bands, producers and musicians seeking attention and you will have to think carefully how you can work harder and smarter than you have thus far. This is required in order to get the exposure and attention you need to take your plans to the next level. It can be done, there is no doubt about that, so re-double your effects, knuckle down and get productive. Success or failure really can be a matter of who works hardest.