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Table of Contents

7 Golden Rules To Be Successful in Indie Music

Welcome to the very first of many golden rules and advice to come! As it’s the very first blog entry, we wanted to focus on a topic that most of you will have in common: indie music. Well, it’s actually more than this, it’s about trying to answer the question, “Can independent artists be successful?”.

In the same way that this question is way too broad to answer in one single blog entry, it also depends on who is asking the question. So let’s first define what we mean by “successful” and “indie music artist”. By “successful” we mean achieving the goal you initially set out for yourself. By “indie” we mean any artist or band that is not currently signed to any major record label.

In this article, we aim to reach a common ground with you on what it means to be a successful independent artist and provide 7 golden rules that you can follow and that, so far, have worked with most artists we have had the pleasure of collaborating with.

How do I become successful in indie music?

As always, it’s easier said than done. As some of you may know, Distromono is a digital music distribution platform that is designed for independent musicians and bands. As Indiemono, we have worked with a wide range of artist profiles for over a decade, placing special emphasis on building long-term strategies for artists.

In simpler terms, we understand that success is never guaranteed unless you plan on working your ass off. We continue to collaborate with amazing artists that keep growing by the second but they are the first to acknowledge that what you reap is truly what you sow.

7 Golden Rules to Be Successful in Indie Music

These 7 golden rules are nothing but guidelines built on experience. Now, said in a much less posh way, they are the conclusions we reached after messing up many times. Whether you’re an indie musician or a band, we think these rules are something applicable to any situation.

Be Social

Whether your career is set in the music industry or not, at the end of the day, socializing is crucial if you plan on growing professionally. Now, if you’re part of the indie music community, this is one of the best ways to build your fanbase. More often than not, it’s the best way to understand how and when you’re having an actual impact.

  • Don’t forget that it’s you, the artist or band, that needs to go where your audience is
  • Don’t try to win over people for the hell of it, especially when it comes to something as subjective as music.

Be SpongeBob

Without getting into the whole spiel of “humility” or the cliché of “you only win or learn”, it is true that unless you have some form of self-awareness, it will be much harder to grow and succeed in what you do.

  • Be open and constantly ready to let new ideas in.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously or try to be perceived as infallible.

Be Unique

Like any other brand, you have to clarify this for yourself before you even attempt to describe it to anyone else. In other words, it’s one thing to be unique and a complete other to be unrelatable.

  • Define what “success” is for you.
  • Use concepts and descriptions that any human being could actually relate to.

Be Seen

No, we don’t mean that you should go out and party every day; but, hey, it’s one way of self-promotion. What we are referring to is the two ways of publicizing yourself, on- and offline. As for online promotion, the tendency is to create a profile on every social network you can think of. That’s not the best option.

  • Like any other business, you need to research your market (audience) and analyze where they need you to be.
  • Although it’s not mandatory, you can also think about the benefits of having your very own website.

Be Healthy

Don’t worry, we skipped the spiel on humility, so we won’t give you one on “you are what you eat”; by health we mean physical and psychological. How this would look in your day-to-day, will depend on the type of person you already are, but it’s definitely something that will have an impact on your music quality, as much as having the right equipment.

  • Stay active but always leave room for rest. It’s undeniable that our physical health is closely tied to our psychology.
  • Grow an interest in something other than music. As musicians, the amount of what you have to process in a day can be overwhelming. Switch it up.

Be a Team

Chances are, you won’t be the only person in the room to manage. Before you get to this point, we strongly recommend that you stick with the right people: building the right team is just as crucial as building the right artist.

  • Fact-check any information you are given or hire someone you trust that will apply the CYA method all the way.
  • Read up on any legal aspect. Yes, it can be tiresome, but you want to make sure that all your effort is being protected and that you have the right to your own success.

Be an Accountant

What? Yes, apart from legalese you’ll need – and want – to take charge of your earnings. Currently, distribution platforms are making it painfully easy for you to manage this aspect of your career (enter plug: Distromono). No, seriously, you’ll have access to all sales data in an intuitive and digestible way.

  • Find a distribution platform that offers tools to easily manage and monitor your sales with (Distromono has this).
  • Make sure that this platform offers enough support for any future issues you may encounter (Distromono has this too).

Golden Wrap

In this article, we’ve given you the 7 golden rules to find success in indie music. From defining who you are as a musician to finding the best tools that will support your day-to-day, we’ve definitely given you food for thought for the next few weeks.

We hope this article has been useful for you, whether you are an emerging or experienced musician or band seeking success in indie music, and we promise to give you much more Golden Advice!

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