It’s a pretty well-known fact that being a musician isn’t the most lucrative of career choices – not unless you make it really big. After all, the term ‘struggling musician’ was coined for a reason! Maybe you have been working a musician for some time, but you feel as though you are not progressing in the way you would like to. Of course, it will come as no surprise to most of us that the industry is incredibly competitive, and it can often take years to get any level of recognition at all – let alone money and fame. But as any successful musician will tell you, you need to be in it for the right reasons, and money isn’t a particularly common motive for most artists (initially, anyway!). However, we all have bills to pay – and if you really do want to make music your career, you’ll have to be willing to indulge in at least a little bit of marketing. Self-promotion can often feel a little narcissistic, but if it gets results, you will certainly feel the benefits. Here are a few things you can do to promote yourself as a musician, and the people who can help propel you to success.
Focus on your genre
Every artist needs a USP – something that defines them as a singer/musician/performer. This selling point needs to be strong and bold so that your audience understands what you are about on a first glance. It’s all well and good being into all different kinds of music, but if you alternate between playing an electro gig one night and a folk one the next, people are going to have a hard time understanding your brand. Promoters, venues, and other bands will also have a hard time working with you for this reason too. Find a genre you love and hone in on it, and then seek out venues who put that kind of gig on.
Get a manager
If you’re just a small-town musician, you may think that a manager is a bit unnecessary. But this is where you could be wrong. However great an artist is, they are only ever as good as the management team behind them. What Coran Capshaw did with the Dave Matthews Band is pure proof of that, and those guys are still going strong today. Hiring a manager can also be very useful if you still have to work a full-time job along with your music, as then you won’t have to worry about finding the time to promote yourself.
Embrace social media
There used to be a time where people would find out about gigs from word of mouth, or from posters or flyers that littered the streets. These days, however, people are much more likely to find out about shows and artists through social media. Build yourself a strong brand online – it’s relatively easy to do. Upload your demos on Soundcloud or Bandcamp, make a Facebook and Instagram page for your project and upload like crazy. Once you’ve built a bit of a following, you will soon see your bookings explode.