Anyone who is in a band knows that there has always been a set way of doing things. There are those steps that you have to take in order to progress up the ladder and reach a bigger and bigger audience until you finally, officially make it. But a lot has changed in the last few years. Even before the pandemic, many of the more established routes to success were being eroded. Back in the day, if your demo got on the radio, you knew that it was being listened to by an awful lot of people. As recently as a few years ago, you knew that if you got a good review in a print music magazine, then you were well on your way.
People still listen to the radio and there are some people out there who still read print magazines, but things have definitely changed as we saw last year with the UK’s Q magazine closing its doors. The playing field has been levelled in a lot of ways by the fact that anyone can put their music online and reach an audience. On the other hand, that is exactly why the landscape is so flooded. That is why you need to look for ways that you can continue to hone your craft while getting your name out there. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Commit To The Process
Let’s start with something that you are not going to be able to do without: commitment. We would not want to make assumptions about your band, but it seems fair to say that most up and coming music acts have at least one person in the group who is a little less all-in than everyone else. In part, that is because a lot of young music acts come together through convenience as much as they do through a shared vision.
If you are going to take your band to the next level, you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page. This is going to be a process that requires hard work and flexibility, being willing to jump in at the last minute to fill an empty slot and dedicating time to making sure that your online presence stays active (more on that in just a moment). You might not need to have the difficult chat with anyone just yet but be prepared to.
Keep Your Online Presence Going
No one in an up-and-coming band can afford to make it their entire life 24/7 when they are just starting out. If you aren’t studying, then you are at least working part time. Looking for ways to make cash has been particularly tough during the pandemic and we have all had to make sacrifices. Because of that, it can be difficult to give your online presence the time and attention it needs. The brutal fact is that people have short attention spans. If you don’t capitalise on gaining traction as quickly as possible, then you risk slipping off the grid.
How do you keep people interested? By not letting them forget about you. If you put a song on YouTube or Spotify and you notice that people are actually listening to it, you need to have a follow-up ready to go as soon as possible. If you notice that you are getting some attention with a certain audience on Twitter, make sure that you engage with them. Answer questions, talk to other acts, and never be shy about promoting new songs or upcoming appearances. You have to keep hustling if you want people to stick around.
Invest In Your Music
One of the great things about the technology we all have at our fingertips these days is that anyone can record a song wherever they are and upload it for people to listen to in seconds. However, there is still a big difference between you and your band gathering around a couple of USB mics in a room that you have almost soundproofed and going into a proper studio to lay down and mix your track to a professional standard.
Yes, booking time in a studio costs money but the difference will be immediately apparent to anyone who has spent any time in the industry. It will also give you the freedom to create in a space that has been specifically designed for that purpose. You don’t just have to go in, record and get out. You can use professional equipment to play around with it and see if there is room for improvement. Making your own song is a completely different experience in a recording studio. To learn more about how to create a great track, check out Pirate’s blog and look at the spaces they offer.
You May Need To Talk To A Professional
A lot of what we have talked about so far in this article is about how the music industry has been democratised by changes in technology. However, when it comes to taking the next step from people listening to your music to actually making it as a band, there will come a time when you need to seek professional advice. For example, everyone has a friend who knows someone at a venue and promises that they can talk them into giving you a slot late in the evening. Does that friend know how to consistently book you in at live music venues and get your name out there? Don’t stick with that buddy who has decided that they are your manager, talk to someone who has done this before.
The same goes for your PR. A good music PR will listen to your music and understand which the best sites are to send your stuff to in order to give you the best chance of being heard by your target audience. They will help you to build your brand in and they will listen to your input. The music industry has been changed pretty drastically by the pandemic and having a professional by your side to navigate it will be crucial. However, it is very important that you take the time to find experts who understand what it is that you are all about and where you want to go. That way, you know that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal.