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The challenges artists face when launching a music career

A musician follows his/her heart and passions and creates music for the love of it. However, it is also necessary for a musician to understand the business of music and how to launch themselves successfully, so that they can turn their talent into a lucrative career.

As part of the process to go “pro”, one must master nuts and bolts like marketing, social media, organizing shows and technical requirements, engage with fans, design and branding, and finance management.

To be successful, an artist needs to possess the drive to succeed and do whatever it takes to rise above the obstacles.

Here are some challenges faced by Do it yourself artists and musicians, and ways to overcome them.

1: Funding

As an independent artist, you must fund your first single and usually even the first album yourself.   Identifying the right recording studio and sound engineer is critical to the way your song gets mixed and mastered.  Then you must make a video for this single as well, as everyone needs to see the face behind the voice.  If you are lucky, you might find amateurs who charge less than the pro’s, however, there is no guarantee that the product will sound professional.

The solution:

Live gigs are one way of generating funds, fans and contacts.  Many restaurant, hotels and café’s welcome new artists to perform live unplugged sessions.  Money generated from live gigs can be set aside to pay a good recording studio.  These sound engineers have contacts with record labels and important people in the music industry.

A great app is going to be launched early 2018 for ios and android called Vocsta. A platform for artists to gain international recognition and even funding if they get voted for and liked. Superb to leverage friend networks on social media to generate votes and recognition.

2: Selecting a Band

If you are an artist that needs to have session musicians, then finding the right people to join you on your musical journey can be a huge challenge, as most musicians have wild and eccentric personalities.  Finding the right match to make music with you, can almost be like finding a marriage partner. If you are a good energetic fit, the journey can be a long and productive one together.  If not it is likely to end in divorce.

The solution:

When you are selecting band members, you must feel their energy.  Listen to your intuition here.  If a musician is being too much of a diva right from the start, chances are you will be managing their ego for the rest of the journey.  Band members must share similar goals, they must be team players that want to establish a long working relationship and must be willing to put in the hard work required to establish the band.

Once you have the right people on board, keep your communication open, honest and respectful always.  Talking about key decisions are important as well so no one in the team feels unheard.

3: Multiple hats

In the beginning of your DIY music career, you have no choice but to do everything yourself, whether you know how to do it or not.  This includes managing your gigs and technical requirements, finding and managing band members or session musicians if required, public relations, and most of all the motivation to network for getting new shows.  It can be daunting for a musician to wear so many different hats when all he/she really wants to do is just make music.

The Solution:

Everything doesn’t necessarily have to be done single-handedly.  If you are a solo artist, then manage your time daily in a way where you can designate a certain number of hours a day to tasks like social media, research and networking and PR.  It’s easy to find which venues welcome new artists so don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call the managers yourself to make initial contact and introduce yourself.  You may need to send them a demo of yourself and any publicity material you have.

There are many online tools to create posters and flyers for marketing.  Learn, get help if you need and do it yourself.

If you have band members then you could delegate and share tasks with each other, just identify what needs to be done and how to execute it efficiently as a group.

4: Motivation

As a performer and musician, you are also an entrepreneur.  Your art and talent is your business, and what you are manufacturing is music.  The main challenge is having the drive and motivation to create legitimate support for your venture, plus the creative energy to make great music.

The Solution:

Don’t lose focus on the end goal.  Create a vision board of what you want to achieve in 2 years and then 5 & 10 years.  Always keep that vision in front of you. Make sure its visible to you first thing in the morning.  This vision is what will motivate you to make the magic happen. If you have other members of your band, then share this vision with them and reiterate it together to see how you can all support each other to get there.

5: Audience

People have varying musical tastes.  Don’t expect everyone to want to listen to your music. When starting a business, it is very important to understand who your target market is.  So, as a musician, it is equally essential to know your audience.

The Solution:

To know your audience, you first need to understand yourself, your style, genre and who it is that likes what you are creating.  Once you have a good understanding of who you are creating your art for, then it will help you to better promote yourself to those audiences.

6: Criticism

Criticism can kill a performer’s self-confidence artists are sensitive souls usually.  People find it easy to criticize new talent without realizing the damage it can cause.  Sometimes, seniors in the music industry can be tough and ruthless. You could write the greatest song in the world, and there would still be a percentage of people who wouldn’t like it. They may not even have a reason for not liking it. No matter how thick your skin, rejection is always a tough pill to swallow.

The Solution:

Look at critics as people who are there to help you improve. Don’t get discouraged, also it is important to remember that not everyone will love your music.  Identify who you are making music for and engage with them.  Remember, success is born from failure. Take on criticism constructively, sometimes it is not about what is being said, but rather how you respond to it.

Learn from your mistakes, and better yet, learn from other people’s mistakes and move ahead.

The key is to accept failure as a learning curve and work hard in the early stages of your career.  Stay determined and focused on the end goal and you will begin to see the magic happen.  It takes a little patience and effort, but turning your passions into a career is totally worth it.

We invite you to use www.vocsta.com and work together to launch your career, you bring the talent and we will do our best to give you exposure and funding. Write us to learn more!