You want to start your musical career and you hope to become a professional musician?
So you’re probably wondering how to get started, as it may be normal not to know where to start.
To be honest, this is not, of course, a question that can be answered in a single article. The subject is vast and complex.
Nevertheless, I would like to come back with you to some of the key steps in launching a career through which each aspiring musician-entrepreneur should go through in order to become a self-employed professional.
1. Music comes first and foremost to the rest
Do not proceed to the other steps too quickly. If you want to have a sustainable and coherent career, you must start by producing professional quality music.
This means that you must perfect your art, compose, rehearse, write constantly, until you obtain a result that is equal to what can be expected from a professional musician (mastery, repertoire, stage presence, etc.).
Indeed, you can do all the other steps with perfection, if the music is not good, your results will be of the same level.
Of course this is something totally subjective, which is why you should ask as much feedback as possible from those around you and from potential fans.
Once your sound is ready, since we will try to evolve independently, my recommendation is to release an EP in order to test your market, your community and to have something concrete to offer later.
And for good reason, if you have absolutely nothing to sell or offer to those who want more, your marketing efforts will be in vain.
If this is your case, then think about your first outing before going any further.
2. Define your brand image
In parallel to the first step, you will have to seek to invest from the outset in your branding, an area that musicians too often neglect at the beginning of their careers.
However, your visuals, your colours, your message, your story, the emotions you convey and your look tell both professionals and fans a lot about your universe, but also about your ability to step back from your project.
Indeed, a neat brand image is often a guarantee of professionalism that will help you federate your musical niche and convince industry players.
This means very concretely that from the beginning of your career, you should consider investing in the creation of a professional logo, video clips or a photo shoot, in order to start giving visual coherence to your project, especially for your online presence.
I use the term “invest” here, but if you are able to do it yourself, because you have the necessary skills or you know someone who can help you at a lower cost, then it is quite possible as long as the quality is there.
3. Identify your ideal audience
Do you make music for everyone? No, I certainly don’t. So, you need to define what your ideal audience looks like.
Knowing who you are talking to will allow you to easily decide on which social networks you should be present, which influencers you should try to contact, which marketing tactics work best, and much more.
To do this, you need to analyze your music niche, the competition and your current fans.
Who are and where are your potential super fans?
4. Establish a content strategy
At this point, you will begin the connection process with these targeted potential fans.
And the good news is that there is a good chance that they will be present in large numbers on the Internet and especially on social networks.
So, first of all, you will make sure to set up your online presence in an optimized way: website, social networks and newsletter.
Once you have that, you can then go out and conquer your potential fans.
How to do this? Just be where they are and capture their attention with content created specifically to appeal to them, whether it’s videos, articles, publications or even advertisements.
And this content, you will have to share it regularly and over time in order to gain visibility and reach even more people.
This means that you will have to develop a coherent strategy that meets your objectives. What types of content should be shared, how, where and for what?
Only by doing this intelligently and over time can you hope to attract the thousands of potential fans who use the same platforms as you do every day.
At the same time, start working harder on your live shows and book your first shows in the region.
This will give you more content to share, if you make the effort to document everything from A to Z (backstage, stage, photos, videos, live streaming, etc.).
But most importantly, you will develop your fan community both locally and internationally.
5. Develop an acquisition and loyalty strategy
Capturing the attention of your ideal audience is good, but it’s not all.
You can’t be satisfied with just that. You cannot be satisfied with the simple consumption of your content by a potential fan.
When you think about it, even a simple commitment (like, comment, reaction, sharing) is not enough to help perpetuate your musical career.
In short, we will now have to think about acquiring these fans.
The best way to do this is to ask the most interested fans to give you their email address in exchange for exclusive content, for example one or more tracks from your EP.
You can do this online as a complement to your content strategy, but also offline, for example from your first concerts.
In this way, the fan is rewarded for his interest and thanks to your email software, you now have the possibility to contact him whenever you want.
This will eventually allow you to boost the loyalty and monetization of your fanbase, which is essential to professionalize yourself and make your career in music last.
Indeed, we will try to bring back one by one the people interested in our sound in our fanbase, in order to build the foundations of a true loyal and committed fanbase and therefore of a true musical business.
So make sure you treat each of your fans in the best way, especially when your community is still limited and you can interact with them personally.
After all, your super fan is your best ambassador.
6. Become a must in your musical niche
Whether it is with local influencers or other musical projects in the region, you must meet the actors of your musical niche.
And for good reason, your network will be one of the cornerstones of your career advancement.
However, in 99% of cases, the people who can help you will not take the first step and it will be up to you to contact them.
Don’t be afraid, take your chances and be prepared to face many refusals.
Indeed, in the music business, nothing is ever won in advance, but the fact is that you get nothing if you don’t try anything.
So start locally and aim small, if necessary.
Meet other artists and music groups, journalists, concert halls, etc. It is by becoming proactive and essential in your local scene that you will be able to boost your progress.
7. Form a team
Once your music business is up and running and already enjoying some success, if you want to aim higher and go faster, it is essential to call on others to help you manage certain aspects of your career: booking, press relations, merchandising, accounting, etc.
Indeed, the key to developing a profitable and healthy musical career is to delegate a minimum of tasks that do not directly require your involvement.
At this point, if you have put in place everything we have seen, the foundations are there and you can now focus more on the artistic aspect of your career and entrust certain commercial aspects to people you trust.
This does not necessarily mean that you have to organize yourself like a real company and that it must be expensive.
But over time, there will surely be people in your circle or network who are more likely than others to help you with certain tasks.
Partner, collaborate and move forward together.
Of course, we could have talked about dozens of other subjects related to the launch of a career as an independent artist.
But you have there the bases to launch yourself nowadays like a real musician-entrepreneur.