Building a Solid Foundation for Your Music Career

Building a Solid Foundation for Your Music Career

What is the most important part of a building? The foundation.

It’s the same with music careers and businesses. If we want to grow, we need to build a solid foundation.

And this usually takes some digging. It requires some hard intellectual work and research. It doesn’t just come together in a vacuum or by accident.

Extending the analogy further, the part that usually takes the longest to build with any building is the foundation. After the foundation is in place, the rest of the building comes together much faster.

First, we need to know what we’re building towards. We need a blueprint. Otherwise, we don’t know how deep or wide to dig.

And that depends a lot on the type of career you want to have, whether it’s being a songwriter, a touring musician, a work from home music producer, or whatever else you might have in mind. You can create whatever you want, but you’re going to get more assistance from others and the universe if you’re clear on what you want and can stick to your guns.

Starting with the end in mind is an exercise a lot of people don’t do. So then, their building efforts are haphazard, and they end up having to repair their foundation later. It usually ends up being costly and difficult. Much more tedious than if they had started with the right foundation in the first place.

To offer an example, Music Entrepreneur HQ’s most visited blog post is a book review of Dr. Joseph Murphy’s The Power of Your Subconscious Mind.

At first, we were excited to see all that traffic come in.

There was one problem though. The people who came to check out that post? They were mostly interested in Dr. Murphy or his book, and not at all in music or building a music career. We thought we’d found an intersection of interests, when in fact we’d ended up attracting a different niche crowd altogether. So, we grew a lot of traffic and email list “bloat” that was never going to be good customers for us.

The sad part is that it took a couple of years to sort this all out. And my solution was to create an entirely separate email list for these people, in case I ever decided to take the niche more seriously and had other recommendations to send them.

Music Entrepreneur HQ still benefited from having a highly trafficked blog post. “A rising tide lifts all boats,” as they say. But what we learned from this experience was that we had to be a lot more careful about the content we published on our site. We needed to be sure that it was a good fit for our target audience if we had any intention of selling to them.

It’s often been said that if you lead with your interests, your audience will follow you. But sometimes this just isn’t true.

So, let’s start with the end in mind. What is it that you want in your music career? Be as clear as you possibly can. Don’t rush the process. Don’t get frustrated with it. Brainstorm. Speculate. Think about it. Talk about it. Discuss it with your mentors and people you trust. Journal about it. And let the picture form in your mind.

Once you know where you’re going, it’s all about unfolding the journey. The details start to take care of themselves. Instead of “working towards” something, you’ll be seeing the goal as a “done deal.” Then you’ll be unfolding it a day at a time. That’s a journey full of freedom and ease.

Don’t make up the blueprint as you go. Start with the blueprint.

For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.

Weekly Digest: September 25, 2021

Weekly Digest: September 25, 2021

This quarter, in the leadership program I’ve been taking, I’ve taken on being the point person for organizing Saturday clinics. In these clinics, participants are trained on the technology for accomplishing desired outcomes in their respective projects.

I never would have anticipated that this would be a vehicle for personal transformation. While organizing the clinics, I have been triggered. Past wounds and hurts have been driven up. Specifically, I have felt as though I don’t matter. So, reaching out to book hosts and promote the event has been confronting.

Today, even though I was able to book the hosts (at the last minute), no one showed up to the event. Not surprisingly, the hosts had something to say about that. And that was confronting too, though it ultimately ended up being a great opportunity to connect with the hosts (as they say, there are no coincidences, right?).

Some part of this will likely be familiar to you, as well, whether it’s booking gigs, applying to be in a festival, or joining a competition.

It can be discouraging when no one shows up to your gigs, despite your best efforts to promote them. When your festival application gets rejected. When your “baby” doesn’t win the competition.

It would be easy to insert some inspirational quote here about perseverance and we could all feel good about it.

Instead, what I will offer is this.

When you’re confronting something, it’s important to realize that it’s all made up.

“I don’t matter” is completely made up. It’s merely what I made past events mean.

When we’ve distinguished what we’ve made past events mean, there’s an opportunity to create new meaning. It’s all made up anyway. After all, the past is but a memory now, and the only thing that keeps bringing it back is what we say about it.

I could say, “I’m bold, courageous, connected, and I do matter. My requests are heard.” And it would be just as true as anything else I’ve said about those events.

What is something you’ve been stuck on? What have you made the past mean? What new meaning could you bring to the story you keep telling yourself about your past?

New Value-Packed Blog Posts & Podcast Episodes

Here’s what I created for you this week. Click on the headlines that pique your interest.

Must-Have Resource

There’s a personal development program I’ve been through three times, and each time I go through it, I learn more about myself and what matters most to me. I’ve also been able to improve my health, grow my business, and challenge myself intellectually.

The name of the program is The Gold Within.

Any artist looking to get clear on the impact and difference they want to make in the world (their brand) should go through The Gold Within program at least once.

The Gold Within

Final Thoughts

Thank you for your creativity and generosity. I’m rooting for you.

My Best Articles from 2020

My Best Articles from 2020

In late December 2019/early 2020, I started reviving

It was never entirely “dead” per se. I continued to update it with my latest music and shows through the years. But something inspired me to pick up the slack and start building out the site again.

That is another story for another time, but suffice it to say, 2020 was a big year for my personal website and blog. Especially since I started publishing daily towards the end of July.

Here, I’d like to share what I think are my best articles from 2020.

What is a Personal Assistant?

Read What is a Personal Assistant?

Early year, I started receiving a variety of questions relating to entrepreneurship and business. So, I started answering them on my blog. If people were asking for it, then there must be a demand for it, or so I thought.

And with this article, I felt I was able to answer the questions thoroughly and concisely.

How to Generate More and Better Ideas

Read How to Generate More and Better Ideas

It’s not about how good ideas are. It’s about how well you execute against them.

This is true, and there’s no value in just being an idea person. At the same time, ideas can foster inspiration. And that can lead to breakthroughs in your work. So, you can’t underestimate the value of ideas. Just remember to store them or use them. Otherwise, they’re of little use.

Why You’re Not Achieving Your Goals

Read Why You’re Not Achieving Your Goals

A simple, concrete, hard look at why people don’t achieve their goals. Hint: It’s not because they didn’t set SMART goals.

First, you must set your goals. Second, your goals must be written down. Third, you need to create a strategy to accomplish your goals. And finally, you must action your strategy.

Have a read through the article for more detail.

Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi & Robert Rose Book Notes

Read Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi & Robert Rose Book Notes

I do quite a bit of reading, and one of the ideas I was beginning to explore early year was publishing my book notes. Based on how this piece turned out, it makes me think I should do it more.

Killing Marketing was an interesting read. Mainly because I didn’t find much value in it until I reached the middle chapters. Which makes me glad that I started speeding through the introductory chapters to get to the better ones.

First Step to Building Excitement for Your Music Release – Issuing the Release

Read First Step to Building Excitement for Your Music Release – Issuing the Release

This post was an outgrowth of my interest in project management. And even though I’m not sure all musicians understand just how useful and powerful issuing their release is, if they want to learn the ins and outs, there’s always this article.

How to Make Viral TikTok Videos to Build Your Music Career

Read How to Make Viral TikTok Videos to Build Your Music Career

You’ll often find me experimenting with social media. That said, I rarely deviate from my core focus, and this year, that’s Medium, Twitter, and to a lesser extent, YouTube.

Still, I felt it important to cover this timely topic for musicians, especially while I was still publishing my experimental newsletter, Music Career Tips Weekly last year.

How to Get Your Live Streaming Concert Game Down Pat

Read How to Get Your Live Streaming Concert Game Down Pat

This was another timely piece aimed at musicians. Since the live music industry was (and continues to be) affected by COVID-19, I felt it important to highlight tactics musicians could action to grow their music career, even in 2020.

Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing for Musicians

Read Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing for Musicians

As creators we’re often quick to say, “the money doesn’t matter.” But when push comes to shove, we quickly come to the realization that making a living from our passion is not a sin.

Making a living from your passion is not a sin. Share on X

In this guide, I share a simple, integrated way musicians can start making more money from activities they’re already engaged in.

You Were Only Ever Meant to be You

Read You Were Only Ever Meant to be You

In this short piece, I share a simple message on being your fully expressed, authentic self.

How to Create Systems as a Creative

Read How to Create Systems as a Creative

SYSTEM stands for “Save Your Self Time Energy and Money.” It’s a reality artists often aren’t too quick to embrace, but if they do, they’ll find themselves with more time, energy, and money to work on the things they care most about.

Alternative to Bandcamp, Nimbit & Gumroad?

Read Alternative to Bandcamp, Nimbit & Gumroad?

An article in which I highlight the value of Sellfy of which I am an affiliate. But honest to god, it’s an easy-to-use eCommerce platform for all creatives and creators.

How to Get a Booking Agent

Read How to Get a Booking Agent

After my podcast interview with Jack Forman of BiCoastal Productions, I put together this piece to highlight his and my perspective on getting a booking agent. It’s mostly written with musicians in mind, but even if you’re a dancer, actor, public speaker or otherwise, you will find this valuable.

4 Insidious Music Entrepreneur Myths Debunked

Read 4 Insidious Music Entrepreneur Myths Debunked

Here’s a post with a lot of attitude. I wanted to address some of the naysayers who don’t properly understand music entrepreneurship, which is exactly what I did in this popular piece.

Productivity in Music – Does it Matter?

Read Productivity in Music – Does it Matter?

At the time of its publishing, I boldly declared that this was the best piece I’d ever published on productivity. And you know what? I still stand by it!

Setting Goals for Your Music Career

Read Setting Goals for Your Music Career

A piece about the importance of setting big goals and how to make them a reality.

The Shiny Object is Often Just a Distraction in Music Entrepreneurship

Read The Shiny Object is Often Just a Distraction in Music Entrepreneurship

In this article, I share some of the most critical things a musician should know about money. These lessons were hard earned.

Why I Don’t Think 1 Cent Per Stream on Spotify is Going to Save the Music Business

Read Why I Don’t Think 1 Cent Per Stream on Spotify is Going to Save the Music Business

The title kind of says it all. But I cover several things that appear to be coming down the pike that creatives may not even be aware of.

Should I Start with a Single, EP, or Album for My First Release?

Read Should I Start with a Single, EP, or Album for My First Release?

There are certainly more than a few voices covering this topic. And opinions are quite diverse.

Here I share what I think is the best way for musicians to get started, because it creates more opportunity.

4 Myths That Stop Musicians from Building Their Team

Read 4 Myths That Stop Musicians from Building Their Team

I’m sure I’m not the only one that is sometimes stopped by the prospect of building a team. I’m a Sigma male through and through, and that goes a long way towards explaining my lone wolf tendencies. But I know I’m not alone.

This piece got quite a bit of traffic throughout 2020, and I think it’s a great tool for discovering where you might be stopped in collaboration and working with others.

The 4 Pillars of Success

Read The 4 Pillars of Success

This article will probably live on as an underrated, “oh that’s so obvious” kind of resource. But I still believe 100% it was divinely inspired. Spirit showed me what I didn’t understand about success. And I continue to return to these pillars when I feel lost.

Do Musicians Still Need a WordPress Site?

Read Do Musicians Still Need a WordPress Site?

This article is basically about sales funnels and tools you can use to build them. But the key takeaway here is threefold:

  1. Having a centralized website (funnel hub) that leads to all your funnels is still wise.
  2. Funnels don’t serve every type of customer. Some are even turned off by multi-step sales funnels that keep throwing more and more bonuses at them.
  3. Don’t just create funnels. Create products too. And sell them in a genuine, authentic, value-adding way.

What’s the Best Way to Get My Music Videos on Vevo?

Read What’s the Best Way to Get My Music Videos on Vevo?

Music videos aren’t just a great promotional tool. They can also help musician make money – directly, and indirectly.

Vevo is a well-recognized entity in the music video space, so it’s no surprise musicians want to know how to get their videos on Vevo.

YouTube Marketing for Musicians: An Up-to-Date Guide

Read YouTube Marketing for Musicians: An Up-to-Date Guide

I am sometimes asked what my best tips for YouTube are. I have a few channels with small, engaged followings, though I certainly wouldn’t say I’m the king of the Tube.

Still, my best advice for today is summed up in this guide, and it was inspired by people who are doing far better on YouTube than I am.

Getting Your Music Featured on Spotify Playlists

Read Getting Your Music Featured on Spotify Playlists

The mere mention of Spotify lights up musicians everywhere. And the fascination has a lot to do with widely publicized success stories (rare) and algorithmic exploitation (Spotify will be putting an end to that soon, if they haven’t already).

But getting playlisted is still worthwhile, and in this guide, I share some unconventional, outside the box techniques.

Making it to the Next Level

Read Making it to the Next Level

It’s human to want more. But the question that follows is, “how do I make it to the next level?” That’s what I elaborate on in this piece, from a spiritual perspective.

Stop Reinventing the Past

Read Stop Reinventing the Past

As creatives and creators, we tend to make ourselves look as good as we possibly can. We sugarcoat the past and glorify the present. Which is almost always coming from how we listen to others and wanting to look good or avoid looking bad.

I still contend that you can be successful in your chosen industry or niche by being fully authentic and genuine. There’s no need to constantly remind yourself of a horrific past, and the future is whatever you want it to be.

How to 4X Your Medium Traffic in 80 Days or Less

Read How to 4X Your Medium Traffic in 80 Days or Less

As noted earlier, Medium is a core part of how I’m building engagement right now. And in late October/early November, I started to see huge growth in traffic to my Medium articles. While this sudden surge didn’t last, I have held steady at about double the traffic I had before it happened.

So, in this article, I talk about several things you can do to grow your Medium traffic faster.

I’m Worried About Posting Too Often

Read I’m Worried About Posting Too Often

When I talk about publishing daily, inevitably there are those creatives and creators who feel like they would be overwhelming their friends, followers, or audience by posting so often.

Now, right now I can tell you that I probably tweet 30 to 40 times per day on Twitter. Not daily, but even on lesser days I probably tweet at least 10 times. So, that should tell you something.

Anyway, if you need a little perspective on this, have a read through this piece.

How I Accidentally Weaned Myself off Social Media

Read How I Accidentally Weaned Myself off Social Media

Now, in some ways this is the opposite of what I just said about posting more often. But the truth of the matter is that this is more a lesson in curating your social media feeds (a topic I promised to elaborate on in the future) than anything.

What’s the Best Funnel Builder?

Read What’s the Best Funnel Builder?

The best funnel builder, in my opinion, is the one that allows you to build an all-in-one website, membership site, course platform, forum, and more. Have a read through this article to find out what that is.

How Dare You Call Me “Unlimited”

Read How Dare You Call Me “Unlimited”

“How could you possibly say that I’m unlimited when everything is going wrong for me?”

It’s an odd question, and I’m not even sure it was sincere. But in this post, I look at how this is true, at least from a spiritual perspective.

Do You Still Make Music?

Read Do You Still Make Music?

Apparently, some people thought I was becoming all about my books. So, in this article, I wanted to address that.

But people found this commentary especially interesting. Maybe because it’s not the type of article you often see out there. Either way, that’s why I included it on this list.

Meditation – What Works for Me

Read Meditation – What Works for Me

Meditation became a major focal point for me, especially in the last few months of the year. So, I thought it prudent to cover my discoveries and thoughts on meditation at length.

The Mirror Principle

Read The Mirror Principle

The mirror principle is always at work. It’s the idea that our outer world is always a reflection of our inner world. Understanding this at a deeper level allows you to navigate life’s challenges with greater ease.

A Powerful Morning Routine I Stumbled on

Read A Powerful Morning Routing I Stumbled on

Although it’s fair to say I don’t follow this routine to a tee anymore, I still live some variation thereof. I have found exercise, meditation, and reading to be valuable in any routine I live out.

5 Simple Habits to Support Your Creativity

Read 5 Simple Habits to Support Your Creativity

This one ended up becoming a bit of a favorite too. Maybe because it’s a listicle?

But honestly, there are some good tips here. Have a look for yourself.

How to Get Your Side Hustle off the Ground

Read How to Get Your Side Hustle off the Ground

It’s not as complicated as you might think, and in this article, I cover exactly what’s involved in starting your own digital side hustle for some extra dough.

Priority vs. Productivity – Which is More Important?

Read Priority vs. Productivity – Which is More Important?

It’s possible to get many things done in a day. But what’s the point? If you can’t answer that question, then all you’re doing is getting things done.

But if you prioritize and put first things first in your day, you will achieve more of what’s important to you.

How to Boost Your Creativity with a Journal

Read How to Boost Your Creativity with a Journal

There is more than one way to use a journal, and it can be a powerful tool for boosting your creativity too. Find out how.

3 Ways to Stop Frustration & Keep Growing Your Business

Read 3 Ways to Stop Frustration & Keep Growing Your Business

When you become frustrated, it’s easy to stay frustrated. So, how do you get out of that harmful, unproductive cycle? That’s what I look at in this piece.

Why Blog? Here Are My 31 Reasons

Read Why Blog? Here Are My 31 Reasons

Seeing as how I publish daily this question is sure to come up sooner or later. I thought I would address it early.

How to Create an Irresistible Offer

Read How to Create an Irresistible Offer

There are offers and then there are irresistible offers. In this post, I cover several ideas that will help you make your offer more attractive to your audience.

7 Recommended Books for Self-Improvement

Read 7 Recommended Books for Self-Improvement

Self-improvement is an area I’ve been focused on since 2009. Naturally, I’ve read my share of books. In this post, I cover what I think are some of the better ones.

How to Overcome Perfectionism in Creativity

Read How to Overcome Perfectionism in Creativity

Something virtually every creative wants to know. Maybe some of my tips will help?

Final Thoughts

When I started rebuilding my website in 2020, I had no idea what it would grow into. But as I started gaining clarity and momentum, it became more obvious. And you can see from the about page as well as the projects page that I’ve been able to fill in the blanks along the way.

I’m excited for what 2021 holds, and the ways in which the site will continue to grow.

Which article was your favorite? What would you like to read more about?

Let me know in the comments.

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.

Get your copy of The Music Entrepreneur Code.

5 Ways to Get Musical Inspiration When Songwriting

5 Ways to Get Musical Inspiration When Songwriting

Working in the creative industry is exciting, but sometimes it can be difficult to maintain enthusiasm or a constant stream of inspiration.

Writing is a lonesome job; it gives you many emotional ups and downs. Our hard work is not immediately visible as it is with some other professions. On top of that, the whole process is often full of creative crises and eternal doubt about the quality of the work itself. In this post, I decided to share with you a variety of activities that can improve songwriting, eliminate or at least minimize creative blockade, and add a dose of self-confidence to your work.

1. Write every day

Yes, it can seem like an impossible task, especially on those days when you have a lot to do and when the inspiration is an almost unknown concept. But the point is you don’t have to write something perfect, but it’s important that you write.

Being a songwriter is foremost a talent, but this talent like any other is worth nothing if you don’t train it. Practice your mind. In one of these everyday scribbles, something good will come out. And that again is far better than sitting at a laptop for hours and saying, “I can’t. I have no inspiration today.”

Every time you think you can’t write because of a lack of inspiration, you need to remember all those moments where the inspiration came, was there and left without clinging to the whiteness of the paper. If you ever find yourself in a situation where a daily (at least five-minute) writing session doesn’t greet you with an idea, open the first book or newspaper you have on hand and choose three random words. The muse will quickly learn to come to those scheduled appointments.

2. Exercise, meditate, run, or take a walk

Physical activity, just like a creative one, is very important. If you are like me and you despise exercise, there are many other activities that can help you improve your physical health and get a clear, focused mind.

Take a walk, ride a bike, go for a run, anything that will help you refresh your grey cells laden with the overexposure of laptop light, and burdened with ever-growing pressure to produce something good. Running is irreplaceable because it stimulates circulation, which gives more oxygen and blood to the brain. It also relieves the body of the accumulated stress by putting all the muscles in motion.

If you run outside, your mind wanders across scenes near you and your thoughts play with the feelings, things and people you come across. The inspiration is there somewhere. The mind cannot create in a body that is closed, blocked, and dormant. Meditation is also a very effective technique for achieving peace and balance in just five minutes a day, every day.

3. Understand that you don’t have to be perfect

The moment you start writing with the thought of pleasing others, you are burdened with other people’s opinions, expectations, possible criticisms, and your writing becomes artificial, the words or chords get messed up. And that’s what people will feel in your music. This is very important.

The more you feel the need to write the perfect lyric, the greater the likelihood that you will be completely blocked and unable to write anything. Write as if you were writing only for yourself as if no one would ever hear it, and then you will be able to open yourself, to write from the soul. And that kind of writing makes people truly feel your work.

4. Newer stop reading

I don’t think there is a word that could emphasize how important reading is to any type of writer. In addition to helping you get your inspiration, it also helps you look at things from different perspectives; it stimulates imagination and expands your vocabulary. This is no different for songwriting.

Talent is always the same, but your ability to express it will change and evolve. Reading and listening will help you see how others deal with various emotions and situations, and how they filter them through their creativity into the concrete piece of art.

5. Decrease social networking activities

Excessive exposure to social networks can cause a counter-effect. One reason is that you unknowingly spend hours scrolling through Facebook, filling your mind with unnecessary information that can indirectly affect the quality of your work.

The other dangerous thing is that you don’t want to start comparing yourself to others because realistically, social networks are a place where everyone presents themselves in the best light. We do not see the other side and suppose that others live ideal lives and achieve success in ideal conditions.

And last but not least, they take away valuable time that you could spend in a much more productive way, e.g. reading, meditating composing.

5 Skills All Successful DIY Musicians Share

5 Skills All Successful DIY Musicians Share

While the foundations of DIY music may have been laid by bands like Fugazi back in the 1990s, the music industry landscape in 2019 has changed so much that, rather than a radical decision, choosing to be independent is often the most profitable, sustainable way of earning a living from music. 

The internet has given artists direct access to their fans, and has toppled record labels and distribution companies as the industry gatekeepers that they were 15 years ago.

However, while releasing your music independently has never been easier, there are still a number of essential skills you need to hone if you’re going to give your music the platform it deserves and make sure it reaches your fans. 

They Know the Value of Their Music

If you’re going the independent route, you need to become a businessperson as well as an artist. It’s important to recontextualise your music and think of it as a product, just like any other business does.

This is where the music industry has traditionally differed from other industries. When they sign to a record label, artists sign away the licences to their masters (and often publishing rights) in return for an advance and a smaller share of royalties, as well as the reach, connections and platform that a label provides.

However, since traditional distribution channels have declined, the function of labels has shifted to a being more of a marketing and promotion role. Despite the role of labels changing, the deal structures remain the same—something that doesn’t make a lot of sense for most musicians in 2019. 

In no other industry would a business sign away the rights to its product to a media or marketing agency in return for 20% of net profits. It’s unthinkable that Nike would give away the copyrights to Air Jordans to a media company in return for exposure, yet this is what most artists do.

Going independent means that, while you don’t get the support and industry connections of a label, you get to exclusively profit from your music, keep the rights to your masters and control your own sales channels.

Once you begin to build a dedicated fanbase, this is a very powerful asset and is often a more sustainable, long term source of income than going with a label.

They Know How to Run Successful PR Campaigns

Without the backing of a label, getting your music in front of your target audience becomes much more important. 

However, you don’t need large budgets to run successful PR campaigns, with a little skill and effort you can get your music in front of the right people using just an email account and some tenacity. 

Knowing how to put together a good press release that looks professional and captures the attention of industry figures is paramount. You need to not only sell your music but also give compelling reasons for them to feature you.

Make sure that you target only the bloggers and journalists that really care about your genre. One good way to get ideas is to look at the coverage similar bands in your genre have got.

Often, hyper-targeted niche specific blogs will have more of an impact than larger, more generic blogs and magazines, so don’t neglect them. 

Take the time to personalize your outreach to each writer. This not only differentiates you, but also demonstrates that you and your music is relevant to what they write about.

Be patient. Media will always dedicate more coverage to bands that already have followings, as that brings more readers and clicks. For that reason, getting coverage early on can be difficult, but good PR is about more than just coverage—you’re building relationships and recognition with important tastemakers that will be useful in the future.

They Control Their Distribution Channels

While the majority of music is consumed digitally, there’s still an important place for physical releases and for many artists this can be the most profitable revenue stream. Vinyl sales have been on the increase, while CDs still represent a small but vital slice of revenue for many artists. 

Therefore, knowing how to best distribute your physical music is hugely important for DIY musicians.

While distribution networks such as Plastic Head can get your releases into record shops, this massively cuts down on your profit margin. In addition, less people are buying their music from brick and mortar shops than ever before, which often makes traditional distribution channels costly and ineffective for independent artists.

For most DIY musicians, direct to consumer sales from the internet represent the bulk of sales, and for this reason it is essential that you make sure your distribution channels are set up and accessible before you begin releasing music.

Options like Bandcamp and BigCartel make selling physical releases online very easy, with no knowledge of websites or eCommerce needed. In addition, such platforms tend to be very SEO friendly, so that your fans can find and buy your music when searching for it online. 

However, as your sales and profile grow, most artists invest in their own websites and eCommerce platforms, as this gives them much more control in terms of paid social media advertising and data collection.  

They Have a Fulfillment Process in Place

Once you begin selling merch and physical copies, this presents a new challenge—fulfillment. 

The internet has globalized your reach, which means that you’ll have fans all over the world wanting to buy from you. Therefore, you’ll need a network in place that allows you to ship product internationally with rates that your fans can afford.

At the beginning of your career, you might not be selling large enough volumes to justify bringing a fulfillment partner on board, which means you will be handling postage and packaging yourself. 

Research the best international postage options before releasing pre-orders. Speaking from experience, I’ve undercharged vinyl delivery in the past, resulting in losing £1000s in international delivery costs.

As you grow, the volume of sales and international orders will make a fulfillment partner necessary. When choosing a fulfillment partner, research all aspects of pricing as you’ll not only need to pay for packaging, postage and handling costs, but also inventory checks and warehousing. These “hidden costs” add up quickly and can seriously eat into your profit margins. 

Don’t solely look into music fulfillment companies, as often they charge more than generic eCommerce fulfillment.

If you have a very international audience, look into fulfillment companies with global networks, as this tends to be much easier to manage than various different companies based in different regions.

Know When to Get Industry Support

Just because you’re an independent artist, it doesn’t mean that you can’t work with industry figures as well.

By investing in experienced professionals, you can build a platform similar to what a label provides, but on your own terms.

At a certain stage, you’ll need the clout and contacts that come with an experienced, well known press and publicity firm. While good music PR companies can be expensive, it often more than pays for itself in the long term, as they’ll be able to secure you better exposure than you could yourself.

An important caveat is that you should already have some existing profile, earned with your own DIY PR efforts. Even the best PR company will struggle to get you significant exposure if you don’t already have a good foundation of coverage and an active fanbase.

Booking agents are another important partner for many DIY musicians. While you can have great success by booking your own tours and shows, booking agents can help secure you better support slots and festival appearances. Most booking agents will take between 10 and 15% of the fees from gigs they secure you, which is a very good trade off for the exposure it can bring.

By choosing to work strategically with music industry partners, you can raise your profile and get bigger opportunities, while still retaining control of your music.