Social media is just so much fun. And it’s so easy to get people’s attention, right?
All you’ve got to do is post a picture of your butt in a thong, your enormous bicep, or your impressive guitar collection, and you get dozens, hundreds, sometimes thousands of engagements on your post.
Look, if this is your hobby, and you’re just testing the waters to see which ripple people are drawn to today, more power to you. But if somewhere in the back of your mind you think a dump truck is going to come rolling into your driveway to deliver the mad stacks you’ve earned on the back of your social media performance, you’ve made a grave mistake…
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.
Sometimes, the people who seem to be killing it are secretly broke.
And sometimes, the people who seem to be struggling are secretly killing it.
And nowhere does that apply more than in the online world. You would do well to remember that (especially before playing the comparison game).
Engagement does not lead to income. And I understand that more views on your YouTube video or Medium article might mean more pennies, but it’s kind of moot unless you can get people to stick around over the long-haul. And nurturing your audience is probably the hardest part unless you know what you’re doing.
Trust me when I say I did a lot of things that were supposed to help me build engagement with my audience long-term, and that didn’t make Music Entrepreneur HQ any less of a rollercoaster ride. The “hockey-stick” up and to the right growth chart is a myth so far as I’m concerned…
But what we’re really talking about here is protecting your assets.
My business coach, James Schramko, calls it owning the racecourse.
The idea is this. If all you own is the racehorse (social media profile), but not the racecourse (the social media platform), you can be taken out of the race at any time! And if you’ve got any kind of business savvy, you see why that’s a position of compromise, not of power.
More than ever, social media sites are eager to shut people down for saying the wrong thing, and I could give a damn what your opinion on that is, but last I checked it was a free world, and censorship violates the terms of what it means to be a social media site. If you’re going to pick and choose the narrative you want to push, you’re a publisher, not a public space for discourse.
I don’t know what clown makeup goof-off you’ve been learning from, or what their methodology is. If it doesn’t include building your own assets, you’re learning from a shill or charlatan whose knowledge of internet marketing is busted at the foundation. And as we’ve already looked at, foundations are expensive to repair.
If you’re smart about it, you will never need to lose your entire audience the next time the modern-day MySpace or Vine equivalent shuts down.
So, your music career plan needs to include your website and your email list. Prioritize it.
Music Entrepreneur HQ covers essential marketing, mindset, and monetization topics every musician must be aware of.
Ditto Music always has plenty of great advice for unsigned artists looking to build a profitable and successful music career.
DIY Musician Blog covers everything you could ever want to know about doing it yourself and making it happen as an independent artist.
Ditto Music gives you expansive reach and allows you release as much music you want for one, low annual fee.
CD Baby is O.G. music distribution and they are still among the best. For a flat fee (per release), your music will basically remain on mainstream music streaming sites and online stores perpetually. Releasing under many artist or band names is easier with CD Baby than just about anyone else.
DistroKid offers the same advantages as Ditto Music and is even more focused on distribution than many other companies that are constantly expanding their offerings.
The New Music Industry Blueprint Podcast gives you direct access to the former manager of Taylor Swift, Rick Barker. The show features great interviews, cutting-edge social media strategies, and mindset dumps you’ll find paradigm-shifting.
DIY Musician Podcast is a long-running podcast covering news, interviews, and the music business through the lens of the leading music distributor.
SiteGround is my recommended solution for 80% of users, because of how fast, reliable, and easy it is to use. You can install WordPress on your hosted domains without so much as a click of a mouse.
WordPress is still the best tool to build your central online hub on. But I do recommend the self-hosted solution, as that gives you more control than WordPress.com (also see the Web Hosting section).
Bandzoogle is an incredible alternative to WordPress, though it won’t give you as much control. If you want a simple solution that just works, though, Bandzoogle is killer.
Elegant Themes is the best provider of premium, customizable themes including one of my favorites – Divi Theme. Trust me, Divi Theme is incredibly easy to use, especially compared to the alternatives.
10XPro is my absolute favorite funnel builder (and it’s so much more than that!). It’s possible you haven’t heard of it yet, as it’s new compared to ClickFunnels. But I think it’s got considerably more to offer.
Music Industry Resources, Final Thoughts
To get to where you want to go in your music career, chances are you’re going to need to grow.
You will need to work on your craft and become a great musician.