by Liam Hayes.
For anyone interested in potentially starting a career in music, the most important thing is to work on skill constantly. Particularly these days, when much of the popular music out there can be credited to pop stars that seem interchangeable, or DJs who don’t actually play instruments, it can seem as if music comes second to celebrity. But the truth of the matter is that people who make it tend to have very strong backgrounds in music and even DJs and pop stars. Thus, the most important thing is still to perfect your craft, so to speak.
But at a certain point you will also have to worry about marketing and exposure. If you want to have a career playing your favorite instrument(s), singing, etc., you all need to gather fans, and not just in your hometown or on your college campus. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a hit song, it can take some creative publicity. And in this regard, it’s always fun to keep an eye on professional musicians to see what creative pursuits they’re engaging in to gain followers.
Here are a few interesting ways that musicians are engaging new fans today.
Social Media Engagement
Many of the best musicians, particularly among up-and-comers, are using social media to great effect these days. It’s a way to share music (or even brief clips of new tracks), engage with fans, and generally publicize their own personalities. Social media can turn a name into a real person, in a sense, as it gives fans a way to get to know the artist. As one interesting write-up said, modern musicians need to embrace the marketing tactics of a startup. That means a lot of social media activity. It’s simply the best way to stay relevant in fan’s lives, and to make musical content a ‘shareablea’ among those fans. This is why many if not most successful young artists today have noteworthy presences on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
This is a more obscure publicity concept than that of social media engagement, but it’s one that appears to be in the early stages of emergence. Basically, we’ve seen artists new and old allowing their material to be used either for themes or soundtracks in popular video games. Sometimes it’s classic, or even deceased artists. On the internet, slot machines have been among the first games to embrace musical themes, and in one case Jimi Hendrix is listed as a pop culture giant on even footing with Game Of Thrones, with a whole slot reel designed for the legendary guitarist. In other cases, the connection is more subtle. Plenty of modern musicians have lent their music to musical games from Guitar Hero to Magic Piano by Smule. If possible, young artists should attempt to follow suit, perhaps allowing independent gamers to use their sounds for soundtracks.
Needless to say, getting your music onto a popular movie soundtrack is one of the best ways to put yourself out there as an artist or a band. But that’s not usually something you can just do, unless you happen to have a handy connection to a studio or filmmaker (or you just want to work your way into a smaller indie project that might be looking to save money on music licensing). However, documentaries count for cinematic involvement as well, and seem to be getting more popular. There are terrific music documentaries on Hulu, and elsewhere as well, and they’re not always about major name artists. For instance, with some creativity and perhaps some help from a film student or two, you could craft a documentary about the very thing you’re doing, trying to gain an audience as an indie artist!
At any rate, these are a few things to consider. Some of them are certainly easier for established artists, but they’re all within the realm of possibility even for someone up-and-coming, and they can all make a huge difference. Remember, after mastering your craft, gaining a following is the most important thing!
Categorised in: Song Writing