Music fills our lives. It is the backtrack to our shopping sprees and commutes. It brings stories to life in our favorite films and shows. We can compile playlists with our favorite tracks on Spotify and watch content creators become full-time, professional musicians.
Listening and downloading songs is easier now than ever due to the vast number of streaming platforms and social media sites. Musicians who used to perform solely for family and friends have found massive success by posting their work on YouTube or TikTok. Gone are the days when you needed representation to establish a large fanbase. What does it take to become a great music performer in this environment?
Every artist’s music is more accessible with online streaming. With luck and marketing savvy, it seems anyone can turn into a music sensation. While an encouraging reality, it can also be intimidating. After all, if millions of people can post videos of themselves singing and playing guitar on social media and share their songs on Apple Music, how do you stand out from the crowd? Consistent music distribution, name recognition, and a clear, compelling brand are key.
The more songs you share, the further your reach (and, likely, the higher your revenue). Luckily, there are affordable music distributors who can upload your music to iTunes, Pandora, Amazon, and more. They can also get your albums and EPs in stores quickly. Sales at physical retail locations remain relevant, especially with vinyl’s comeback in popularity. While sharing your music is the first step, you must be intentional about how you do it. As with all business ventures, finding your target audience is crucial.
Streaming platforms and social media outlets run on algorithms. While imperfect, they help people discover music and content creators based on online behavior. You must use the appropriate hashtags, schedule your posts, and engage in trends to ensure your music pops up on your target audience’s “For You” page. Make sure you use keywords in your Spotify and Apple Music biographies to appear on listening recommendations based on the genres and artists your audience likes.
Posting your music isn’t the only way to help you and your band become household names. Being a performer goes beyond excellent musicianship. You must consider your brand. Knowing who you are and how you want people to perceive you as an artist will influence your marketing strategy and messages. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to separate the artist from their music, and when your followers connect with your music, they want to resonate with your story.
Cultivating a relatable brand and consistently sharing your songs are the pillars of building your fanbase. However, there are other courses of action to help improve the chances people will discover your content. For example, you can send previously unreleased songs to Spotify, and the editorial team can determine if they want to share them on popular playlists. You can also create playlists featuring yourself and other artists and incentivize listeners to share them on social media. You might also reach out to music blogs and appear on podcasts to increase your band exposure.
Solidify Your Support System
Being a musician for a living may be fulfilling, but it’s not always easy. Everybody needs encouragement and direction from people they trust; the same is true for people seeking to become great performers. When you write and produce songs, ask for feedback. Become familiar with how your music makes others feel. It will enable you to focus your sound and authentically reach your target audience.
Practice may not make perfect, but it certainly makes progress. Try practicing your performances in front of your support system. Nerves are normal anytime you’re in front of an audience. Recording yourself and posting it on social media may be just as intimidating. If you can work through some of these jitters (or fears) by performing for your loved ones, you’ll become more confident each time you take the stage, physical or virtual.
Your support system can also open up opportunities. Utilize your network to perform live at events or create music for their projects. You never know who might hear and fall in love with your sound!
Make Yourself Accessible
What happens after people discover one of your songs while playing their Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify? When they look up your band online, what appears? You can establish a loyal following if you create a website and social media profiles where you post your music, live performance dates, merchandise, and updates. These tools allow you to collaborate with other musicians (professionally or casually) and share visual content. You’ll combine your audience, captivate their attention, and increase their excitement for new projects.
The greatest performers understand that their relationship with their fans is reciprocal. You can show appreciation for their admiration and support by reposting fan-generated content and interacting with them on social media.
As a musician, you’re already aware of the necessity of honing your craft through practice and identifying the impact you want your music to have. Combined with a strong support system, branding, and accessibility, you have all the know-how and resources to make yourself known as a dynamic performer.