8 Tips For Singers And Songwriters: Techniques, Ideas & Inspirations 2021


Focus On Your Fans First

I know it’s tough out there if you’re a musician. Especially in today’s do it yourself world never mind the economy!

Digital Music News had an interesting article last Friday called The 20 Most Profitable Pieces of Merchandising Products. It shows a fairly complete list of the different types of merchandise that you or your band can offer your fans and then compares the profitability for each type.

Here’s the deal.  Focus on your fans first, then focus on profits. If you do a great job at giving them what they want, the money will come.

Be Informed About The “Music Business Industry”

Many people ask me where to go online to find good information about the “music business”. There are many blogs, musician and business organization websites, forums, and professional groups that have great information related to creating and marketing your music. One of my favorites is musicthinktank.com. It’s a good place to read different posts and articles from people who live and work in various areas of the music industry.

You’ll find information (and opinions) on everything from how to market yourself, how to do crowdfunding, get proper legal advice, write songs, sell your music, understand the business, and everything in between. Some of the articles are pretty light reading but some of them are pretty in-depth and might lead you to some career-shaping decisions (and people). Check it out when you get the chance. I think you’ll be glad you did.

And feel free to let me know which are your favorite sources for all thing things music related too. I’d love to hear about them!

Learn How The Album Was Actually Recorded

Have you heard about the book by music producer Ken Caillat called Making Rumours, The Inside Story Of The Classic Fleetwood Mac Album? Caillat includes behind-the-scenes material about the making of Rumours, the band Fleetwood Mac, and what it was like back in the glory days of major label-funded music recording. To me, however, the best thing about the book is the amount of information on how the album was actually recorded including the techniques and creative processes involved in putting it all together.

But before you go out and buy the hard copy I suggest you buy the e-book instead. Why? Because the digital version has real audio snippets from the recordings themselves as well as the text. You can actually hear the individual tracks, instruments, and mic techniques used as you follow along in the book. Pretty cool stuff!

Get Contact Lists, Network, And Be Part Of The Community

I’m not always a fan of industry database services but hey if it helps you succeed in this crazy business of ours go for it! The folks at recordexpress.com offer several music industry contact lists that are available to buy. Who knows, maybe you’ll make a great connection with one of the thousands of music industry professionals listed in their database.

Or another option is to join LinkedIn and try to connect with other people in the industry, both amateur and professional. Be sure to check out the different groups you can join that focus on your particular area of interest. We particularly like Project Studio Network and the Music Producers Forum.

Pay Attention To Contracts To Protect You/Your Business

Seen The Lee & Thompson Guide to Music Industry Agreements yet? It contains examples of recording contracts, management contracts, and producer/publishing contracts. Although Lee & Thompson is a UK-based company you’ll still find a lot of helpful info. And best of all you can download it for free!

Know Social Media “marketing” For Musicians

If you’re a musician you already know what it’s like to fail. You already know what it’s like to put your heart and soul into something and have someone come along and flame you big time. And you know what? That’s OK! That’s how you learn. That’s how you know you’re going to succeed! Whether you’re a musician, a comic, an artist, an actor, or a small business person, that’s how you learn your craft. And for every person that hates you, there’s another that loves you. They just need to find you.

That leads me to that whole “marketing” thing you’re supposed to do now. You know, that whole social media marketing thing the “new music industry” demands. Do you hate it because it’s so personal? Are you afraid someone won’t like what you say? That you’ll fail? Turns out you’re doing the same thing every night when you go on stage. Or every time you post a video on youtube or a song on SoundCloud. You are declaring who you are. Sometimes it works some times not. Some people like it, some people not so much. But so what. if you’re not failing, you’re not succeeding. Think about it.

What does this have to do with social marketing? Because it’s really just declaring who you are. It’s not selling or promoting anything you’re not. It’s just being yourself. Some will love you, some will hate you. The thing is don’t fear it. Don’t avoid it. Accept it.

Need more convincing? Watch this video interview Ariel Hyatt of arielpublicity.com did with Seth Godin. Be weird. Be yourself. Be authentic. The next time someone boasts you on stage, don’t say screw you, say thank you!

Set A Marketing Action Plan And Stick To It

If you’re a small business owner like me, you know how important your marketing efforts are to the success of your operation. Fortunately, there’s a ton of free (or nearly free) marketing tools available on the web. The challenge is to find the time to sort through them all and incorporate them into an easy-to-follow marketing plan.

Luckily, Oli Gardner from unbounce.com has done exactly that with The Noob Guide to Online Marketing (With Giant INFOGRAPHIC). It’s more than a guide though, it’s really a six-month action plan for online marketers. I’m several months into it and it’s been a real help for a time-challenged small business owner (i.e. head go-fer) like me. Check it out and see if it helps you too!

Avoid Too Much Gear Syndrome

Have you seen this post by Seth Godin Tools vs insight? Food for thought next time you’re lusting after another piece of home recording studio gear. Make sure you know how to use what you have before jumping into something new. That next new interface or mic or set of monitors might just solve all your problems. Or it might not. First things first. Get solid advice, practice, get more advice, then practice again.

Be just careful out there or you may find yourself afflicted with TMG (Too Much Gear) Syndrome. And as all us home recorders know, (thankfully) there’s no cure!

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