By: Shaun Lee
The music industry is saturated with a multitude of talented bands. I tend to wonder if the major players in the industry really are the most talented and how much luck is truly involved. Some of the best bands I listen to are fairly unknown. They may never make it big and their level of talent is most likely going to have nothing to do with it. As a result of this realization I decided to do some exploring through Spotify with the goal of seeing how many bands I could find that have over a million streams that I have never heard of. This quickly became a mute point. There are thousands and thousands of bands that have over a million streams.
How are these bands going to truly make it in the music industry? Is a million streams on Spotify really all that meaningful? What do they have to do to take the step to the next level?
I decided to make a top 5 list what it takes to get started on the road to a successful music career. I based this list on discussions I have had with my music industry friends and colleagues as well as research I have done on the current climate of the industry.
1. Gig, a lot
First and foremost as a band/artist you have to gig and play as many shows as you possibly can. It will go a long way to build a following in your community and by taking advantage of that community it help you expand into other markets.
2. Write your own songs
You may be one of the most talented singers or musicians out there but if you don’t have original music and continue to play covers you are going to be stuck gigging in the same dive bars and local venues.
3. Record, a lot
Along with writing your own songs, you have to actively record them. In this digital age we live in, you have to have recordings ready to go so that you can distribute them online.
4. Social, Social, Social
Great now you’ve been gigging, writing, and recording. You’re gaining a local following and have the tools to grow. You have to have a robust and active social media presence. Posting videos of gigs or links to songs is crucial in getting your sound out to a larger, more global community.
Alright now you’ve got your social media presence growing and you are posting great, original content frequently. Where are going to drive your new fan base? Your website. As an aspiring artist you need to have a website where you update your gigging schedule, drive email sign ups, post special news updates and, when the time is right, sell your merch!
There are obviously a multitude of other things that artists/bands need to do in order to succeed. However, these 5 items are crucial first steps that will set you up for success as time goes on. When you start to make some progress and are ready to really take advantage of your momentum you are going to want to have taken these steps to success.