Like any business, there’s a right way and a wrong way to market what you’re selling. In the music world, it starts with the excellence of your songwriting. Excellence in anything begins with a solid grounding in the basics. That’s what “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle gives you. Discover the secrets of creating chord progressions, writing better melodies and lyrics, and much more. Read more..
It’s not uncommon for me to get emails from songwriters asking for advice on how they can peddle their music. The truth is, music on its own rarely makes any kind of impact at all. It’s not music that affects people, after all: it’s people that affects people; music is simply what they use to make the connection.
It’s pretty clear that if you’re a serious songwriter, your main job is to build an audience base. Most of the time, you’ll be the singer of your own music, and so from that point of view, your performance abilities are easily as important to your career as your songwriting chops.
And even there, simply singing your songs well may make little to no impact at all. It’s possible to go through life writing excellent music consistently, and singing well, and have it all pass relatively unnoticed by the industry. Because even though it’s vital to write excellent music consistently, and perform it well, it’s all for naught unless you’re building a fan base.
And how do you do that? No one blog post can do justice to that important topic, but here are a few thoughts that can at least get you going in the right direction.
- Regularly perform live. A person in front of an audience will make a stronger and more long-lasting connection to people than the attempt to do it online only.
- Work to improve the quality of your songwriting. This means studying songwriting as a craft, setting a daily schedule of writing, and taking it seriously.
- Be sure that any and all recordings you make are well-done, professionally if possible. The days of scratchy, low-quality demos has long passed. Even demos need to be well-performed and well-recorded. If you can’t afford a production team to do this for you, there are students who are learning this craft who can and will do it for the experience. And regarding funding, these days new possibilities are out there, including crowd-funding.
- Think of ways to make your music unique. Don’t go overboard with this tip, but consider ways that your music will stand out from the crowd. Try unique instrumentation (adding strings, flute or other acoustic instruments), unique song forms (songs with longer instrumental intros or unaccompanied 4-part harmonies… that sort of thing), and anything else that makes you sound different without sounding overly strange.
- Provide (stream, sell, etc) recordings from your professionally-designed and maintained website. Just because you can design your own website doesn’t mean you should. And again, if you can’t afford to hire a professional, there are young designers out there who are on their way to developing great designer chops who can do a good job for you.
- Keep all online sites up-to-date. Nothing is worse than going to someone’s website and seeing last year’s concert schedule still up. If you don’t have time to update it yourself, get someone else to do it.
- Provide information to fans in the form of videos, chats, etc. And do whatever it takes to make your fans feel like a community: give away tickets, run contests… and as much as possible, get personal with your fans. Treat them like friends you’ve not met.
- Make use of social media. And not only make use of it, but be up-to-date with the latest and best ways to stay connected to your fans.
It’s common to think that the best way to jump-start your career is to peddle your music to other more famous singers, but that rarely works, and especially doesn’t work if you’ve done nothing to build your own fan base. In fact, it’s practically impossible to contact professional top-level singers directly. Contacting labels is possible, and you’ll want to get a copy of Songwriter’s Market for ideas along that line.
But by far, the best way to make a songwriting career even possible is to market yourself. The truth is that the labels need to know that you’ve got the ability to create a community of fans that love you and love your music. Once they see that in action, they’re more likely to take a chance with your music. It all starts with your own fan base.
Written by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.
“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle looks at songwriting from every angle, and has been used by thousands of songwriters. How to use chords, write melodies, and craft winning lyrics. $
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