Posted: 30 August 2018
The year is 2018 and it’s no longer just sisters doing it for themselves. Thanks to the rise of social media, there are people all over the world becoming self-made superstars. While it’s most commonly seen in the world of art and fashion, doing it yourself is becoming increasingly popular in the music industry. In a joint survey by Right Chord Music and Farida Guitars, 89% of the respondents were releasing music as unsigned or self-represented artists. In addition to this, almost half the participants revealed that they recorded their music at home and 87% did all of their own press and promotion. So with DIY culture on the rise, how can you get in on the action?
Some people argue that all you need to make a hit is a well written song and a laptop, and to an extent that’s true. With a variety of software available online, it’s becoming more and more common for bands to record music from the comfort of their own home. However producing a great recording isn’t just about having the best equipment. Having the skill is equally important. When you hear a song on the radio, you’re rarely hearing the sound of a band playing into a microphone. What you’re actually hearing is a track that’s been fully mixed and mastered, giving you a quality sound with all the different instruments at the correct levels. If you don’t already have sound engineering skills within the band, then you may need to consider different ways of improving your knowledge. Look out for Youtube tutorials, music blogs with top tips or even courses within your local community.
If you don’t have the confidence to record from home then going to a professional studio is also an option. People often associate recording studios with big artists and big record labels but working with emerging artists is the most common form of business for the vast majority of studios. Some studios even offer special deals or discounts for unsigned artists as well as assistance with songwriting or pre-production. If you’re working to a tight budget then it may also be worth approaching music students who want to record bands for college or university projects.
Once you’ve got your mastered track, you need a way for people to hear it. Most unsigned artists leave their distribution to aggregators. These are companies that supply your music to various stores and streaming services. With pages and pages of search results on the internet, it can be hard to know which company to choose. Some companies may offer more perks or faster services but ultimately there’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to aggregators. Keep in mind that for tax purposes, it may be easier to use a company that operates in your currency.
It’s no secret that marketing can make or a break a project and now more than ever there’s an expectation for bands to get involved in their own promotion. While some bands decide to get help from a PR agency, there’s an increasing number of artists choosing to do it all themselves. Social media is usually the first platform people turn to but as easy as it to use, many musicians struggle to get the most out of it. So here are some easy ways you can improve your social media:
If you’re going to be shouting out your social media handle at a gig or printing it on a poster then you want it to be short and memorable. Most musicians just keep it simple and use their band name or stage name.
There are few things more annoying than coming across a social media channel full of spam. Before you post something, think about why it’s going on your page and what impact you want it to have. This will help to maintain quality of your content and stop you posting too often.
Don’t let your personal channels ruin things for the rest of your band. Some people prefer to keep their profiles private and accessible only to friends and family while others want their profile to be viewed by fans. Either way, it’s important to remember that the content you put on social media now could one day be thrust into the spotlight and impact your musical career.
What constitutes as engaging is going to vary depending on your genre of music and the demographic of your audience. However for most social media channels it’s the visual content that gets the strongest reaction. Try to take as many pictures and videos as you can so you have a huge bank of content to choose from. This could include images of rehearsals, writing sessions, recording sessions, travelling with the band or performing at a live show.
The best place to look for social media do’s and don’ts is other people’s channels. It’s an easy way to get an idea of the type of content does well and get inspiration for your own pages.