There can be several reasons for managing your own music career. You may not have the budget to hire a professional, you may wish to have full artistic and practical control over what you do, or you may have a flair for admin, organisation and self-promotion.
Read on to find out how to succeed by yourself. As well as the steps you can take towards gaining autonomy over your work.
As a musician, you have to be many things. Until you gain enough recognition – and make enough money – to hire a team or sign to a label, it’s all up to you. We understand this. It’s why our advice pages are packed with practical information on the various elements involved in making it as an artist, as well as articles about the creative aspects of music.
Managing your music career, at first at least, will not be a choice. You’ll have to do it. And the better you are at it, the more your music will spread and become known. It might be the very best thing you could do for your career.
To begin managing your own music career, you’ll need to know what’s involved. And the specifics will depend on the rung you’re on, on the musical ladder. But an overview of tasks you’ll need to do is:
• Liaising with event promoters, publicity agents and talent-booking agencies
• Generate, find and book gigs
• Come up with a career strategy including which songs to record and release
• Develop a brand, including graphics, logos and the artist or band’s look
• Deal with the media
• Identify and contact influencers – big promoters and broadcasters and record companies
• Run and manage PR campaigns (including social media)
With the advent of social media and streaming, self-management as a musician became easier than ever. Any manager taking on a new artist would want to get a really good understanding of their branding. And if you’re doing the job yourself it’s no different. You must consider factors such as which genre you fit into it, who your audience is, what kind of image you want to project and what name you’ll record and release under.
How do I manage my music career?
Get a plan. Spend some time working out where you are and where you want to be. Write it out and formulate steps between the two. Identify what resources or the help you need to take those steps. It may be you need to design your graphics, record an EP, collaborate with an exciting new act, write some new songs, change your image, or secure gigs at bigger and better-known venues. Each artist’s journey will be slightly different. So your individual plan will be bespoke to you, based on what you’re doing and where you’re going.
It takes a lot of hustle to get your music heard and keep your career on track. You must think like an entrepreneur — which means you might feel like two separate people: an artist and a businessperson.
Luckily, it’s possible to bring your left and right brain together to create the foundation of your dream career. To get the recognition you deserve, start with these three steps. We call them the three pillars of success.
Pillar #1: Clarify your long-term career strategy
Most performers have a very narrow view of success. They envision performing at specific venues, collaborating with specific people, or touring for a specific amount of time.
It’s not that you don’t need a clear, specific vision — you do! It’s that, when you focus on those external factors, it’s easier to fall into the push-push-push mentality of going after something you think will make you happy.
But there’s a better way.
Instead of only being satisfied if you meet certain, external criteria, think about how success feels to you.
To do this, you must know what really matters to you in life — not just as a musician but as a person.
For example, fame and fortune might not be what you truly desire. You might feel more fulfilled by having ample time to explore creative ideas. Or success for you might be connecting to audiences in person, no matter how big or small. Or it might be about contributing to the larger good of humanity.
When you see success through this lens, you get less caught up in how successful you look on the outside and more in tune with your inner motivations.
Once you’re clear about what success means to you, you’re then able to take steps toward your personal vision of success, which leads to a much more fulfilling career — and life.
Pillar #2: Accurately portray who you are as an artist
Knowing who you are as an artist is an important part of your brand. When you’re clear about how you want to be perceived and what types of audiences you want to attract, you’re able to get more done in less time (because your energy becomes highly focused).
We recommend rooting your brand in your personal values. For instance, if you value philanthropy and giving back, you can use your brand to support those values.
When your brand is aligned with what matters most to you, you’ll feel more passionate when promoting yourself, and it will be easier to stay motivated as you pursue your career goals.
Pillar #3: Actively book engagements and performances
It’s crucial for you to take control of your career. Even if you have a manager or agent down the road, you’ll still be required to play a role in getting the word out about your performances, and packaging yourself in a way that stands out.
It’s important to think like an entrepreneur and create opportunities. To take this a step further, you can even look for ways to create opportunities for others. This will establish you as a generous, helpful person — which is always appreciated in this industry.
Some musicians trick themselves into thinking that they’re doing everything they can to promote themselves. But often, they’re putting their energy in the wrong places.
Your job is to get clear on the first two pillars, then take that information and communicate it clearly (and consistently!) to the rest of the world. You can do this through your website, crowdfunding, touring, or performing locally.
Learn more via the video below;
Follow @urbangospelblog for more updates and exciting content. Stay blessed.
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