The internet has been a bit of a double-edged sword for the musicians and artists of today. No, we’re not talking about all the arguing over piracy and streaming. We’re talking purely about getting your music heard. There are a lot more people you can potentially connect to, yes. But there are also a hundred different ways to listen to music and thousands upon thousands of musicians looking to do the same as you. So how do you stand out?
Make a new sound
When we talk about the ‘sound’ of an artist, we’re not talking about physically making a note that no-one’s ever heard before. Artists like Skrillex and Tokimonsta aren’t doing things that no-one has ever heard. They’re putting their own spin on what they use. You don’t even always have to use your own material to make a new sound. When a Korean jazz band does a Nirvana song, it makes waves. When Madeon makes new music solely sampling pop culture, it explodes. Use whatever tools you can to make your own sound.
No, the garage vibe isn’t enough
That said, don’t believe that recording unprofessionally is a ‘sound’. No, it’s not homegrown or organic. It’s amateur and people can hear it. When people listen to music, they want it in the best possible quality they can get it. If people had the opportunity to not buy high-quality headphones and just get music beamed directly into their head, they’d take it. So take a shine of professionalism to your music. Find the right recording environment. Master your tracks with help from services like Nationwide Disc. Take time to perfect your material, don’t just throw it out there.
Have a presence
As we’ve said, the internet has a lot of different ways to listen to music and find new artists. These are not only ways you should be reaching audiences but how you should be benefitting from the social art of making music. If you have your tracks on Spotify or Youtube, you’re giving room for a conversation to go along with the music. Word-of-mouth is the most powerful way of making an artist. Make sure that you have the presence in the kind of places that allow you to grow that word-of-mouth.
Be your own hype
At the same time, you shouldn’t be waiting for word-of-mouth to have its miraculous effect on you. You should also be doing your best to get your music out there. Hunt for gigs, if you’re the gigging kind of musician. Send your music to all the journalists who are likely to pay attention to the kind of music you produce. Put your foot in some doors and shake some hands. No-one’s going to give you anything for free, you have to do the legwork yourself.
In the end of the day, it’s about commercialism as much as it is about craftsmanship. You need to have both working at full throttle if you want to get heard nowadays. Or you can have neither and hit whatever weird kind of demographic Honey G is supposed to hit.