Most DIY musicians are confronted with a multitude of Do’s and Don’ts when searching for music business insights. We gathered some tips that may help!
While setting up ground-rules and clearing pathways is an absolute must when navigating through the jungle of business related topics, structures are actually changing rapidly. It can be quite hard to find the one definite answer to any question at hand.
Even if knowledge is based on artistic experience, for example by peers, each musical endeavor is unique and should be handled as such. More and more artists are breaking seemingly rock-solid industry rules, gaining loads of momentum and exposure by going different, more tailored ways.
To get it straight – there is no formula to music business success. In this article, we want to show you 3 insights that we have gathered in our experience and exchange with players in the music business. They might be in line with the way you handle things, maybe even raise an eyebrow. Like everything in this area, if you get down to how things might work- you get down to your own subjective thoughts. Our goal in this article is to show you how these insights helped us along our musical endeavor:
1) You work with people, not companies
Especially when starting off with initial label-talks, try to keep in mind that you are working on building a team around your music. It’s easy to fall into the mindset of comparing and rating big companies and labels by the things they produce, the way they act, the artists they break etc.
There is a potential of leaning towards a company that reps artists that you dig, but you should always be aware of the fact that you’re dealing with people here. Your main priority should be finding people that believe in you and your music.
Its easy to feel flattered when the response after a certain release is beyond what you might have expected. Dig into these exchanges and try to identify the people that are really interested in your story and – most importantly – where you want to go from here.
Building a strong insight into human nature is a task most people rarely achieve. You can start off by holding on to the mindset of wanting to work with people, and not just names or brands.
It will also be a lot easier to conduct fertile conversations , if you are capable understanding what your opposite really wants as a person, and not just as a company rep.
2) Beat the Chicken-Egg dilemma
With Chicken-Egg dilemma I mean the cycle of music/album production & live activity inter-dependence.
Vast areas and of the live-music-market still depend on the release of full length LP’s, with bookers demanding at least a minimal body of work comparable to that of an album, in order to plan and set-up headline shows with local promoters.
While this has definitely worked in the past, it doesn’t necessarily work-well with more
contemporary forms of releasing, yet not at all less effective, like mixtapes or single-track releases.
Many players in the live-market but also media have not yet adapted to the extension of content-form, demanding more traditional forms and totally neglecting the way fast, flexible releases can create a great stream of content.
It is up to you, as an artist, to find a way of dealing with this. If you’re the type of creative inclined to just sit down and hack away a whole album – good for you. If you write track-by-track, adjusting things along the way while approaching each song as a singular universe – the live game might not be that easy. You’re either going to have to produce just the right track, gaining just the right amount of exposure, or work yourself into a mindset where patience becomes a very good friend.
The best advice I can give you in terms of dealing with this matter, is setting the music first, and aligning the periphery along the way. If the album isn’t there yet – it just isn’t. Cramping up and rushing through a production, just to finish some kind of body of work, will make you miss out on a bunch of important and enriching experiences.
3) Preserve your DIY mentality
Even if you managed to sail your ship into the harbor of a strong label or business surrounding, try to preserve your DIY mentality. Being able to go back to the grind of organizing stuff on your own, and dealing with a variety of issues is a strength you should try to keep and build upon.
Every label / management / booker will realize and respect a strong sense of artistic and organizational emancipation, engaging in a far more eye-to-eye level of discussion.
It also gives you a greater amount of leverage when negotiating serious matters, keeping your from rushing into decisions and choices that you may regret at a later instance.
Preserving your creative but also business-related freedoms should be one of the main things you have in mind when engaging in talks with various forms of business-players. Be aware that you are looking into working with outsiders that may help you gain some more professional momentum, but don’t be afraid to fall back and to carrying your own!
If you have any music business experiences as a DIY musician and want to share some insights with us and the community, feel free to drop a comment!0 be the first one to show some appreciation for this!