In the simpler times of music, when labels held all the power and independent artists were few and far between, artists would get all the development they needed only after they got officially signed. Nowadays, it's on the artist themselves to be able to have the connections and the budget for artist development to happen before they get signed, if ever. Don't know what artist development really entails? It's not common knowledge. Many artists actually don't know, but today's a good day to learn and be ahead of the curve.
Artist development is the entire process of developing your skill, sound, and image to succeed in the music industry. Since we aren't in the age where labels run the music world anymore, on top of developing yourself, you'll want to add brand promotion into the artist development pool. There are five loose categories when it comes to developing your musical artistry: practicing, creating the audio and visual aspects of your music, performing your songs, promotion/marketing, and the business side of your career.
What's your story? What's your style? What's unique about you that will draw in new fans and keep the old fans coming back for more? In the development phase of your music career, you should first figure out your brand image. Dig into your likes, your passions, and the style that you want to create around you as an artist or a band.
The more authentic your brand is, the more people will love you. Fans really cling to people who seem to be staying true to their authentic selves instead of putting on heirs to get exposure. You may not be ready as you are now and need tweaks to come up with a good image, but you're probably more ready than you think.
This part of artist development is pretty simple and self-explanatory. You also won't need much help with this part since it's really up to you and your work ethic alone to make or break your progress. This is where you'll want to get your 10,000 hours in at singing, rapping, creating beats, playing your instrument, recording, or whatever else may be included in the skill set you will need for the future of your career.
If you're really new to the game and don't have a ton of experience with your instrument, lessons are a great way to go. Both in-person and digital lessons can provide great results if you can find a teacher who fits you well.
Try not to just stick to one thing when it comes to practicing. For example, if you're a singer, don't limit yourself to only practicing your singing skills. Practice your people and presentation skills in general as well. If you plan to get really active on social media, you will need to practice all that is included in your social media presence.
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Your creative process will likely need to include outside assistance. Suppose you, for example are creating songs in your home studio. In that case, you should still consider hiring a mixer and audio engineer to polish your audio unless you have professionally developed that skill yourself.
The entire creation and release process includes songwriting, singing, recording, mixing, mastering, cover art, and music videos. The more you are able to do for yourself or learn to do for yourself, the more you will save money. But in the same vein, don't try to force yourself into being good at something if you just don't have it in you. I for example, have no business trying to create my own cover art, even though I still do make attempts from time to time.
Many parts of the creative process can be managed by freelancers on sites like Fiverr and Upwork for prices that are more affordable than you would think. Just be sure to do your due diligence in the research arena before spending crazy amounts of money.
Similar to practicing, performance is a huge part of the musical journey that you will not want to skimp out on. For this part of the development process, you may want to look into hiring a booking agent to get local gigs for you to boost your performance skills over time.
If you are feeling really unsure about this part of the development, start small with family and friends at home, and be sure to encourage them to give you detailed, unbiased feedback. Live performances and uploading social media videos often overlap, so consider doing performances to your online audience if you're unable or not ready to secure a manager or booking agent that can connect you to in-person performance opportunities.
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This is often the most important part of the process that artists and bands lack. If a song is released in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a noise? No. The song might as well not even exist, to be honest. Without promoting your creation, you will be stuck and stagnant in your career.
This is the part where you'll really need to start spending some money to get the ball rolling. Consider submitting your material to reputable PR and marketing companies in the music world, or consider going it yourself with a platform like Facebook Ads and the help of paid influencers to get your songs out on social media.
There are so many options when it comes to music promotion that it can really get to be overwhelming. From Spotify playlist promotion, blog placements, radio promotion, and Youtube ads, it's great that we have a lot at our disposal, but it's almost too wide open. Try focusing on one or a small number of methods at a time, see what works, see what doesn't, and slowly expand.
This is often the most overlooked part. Hopefully, you'll start growing your career at a coming stage to the point where you're making and spending money. You will likely need a music or entertainment lawyer, an accountant, a personal assistant, a web developer, and much more to keep your brand thriving.
These are things you will definitely not want to try and go on your own with, but it will help to take some music business classes to make sure you're in a position where you know the basics of everything and won't get taken advantage of.
Artist Management for the Music Business gives a comprehensive view of how to generate income through music and how to strategically plan for future growth.
Updates to this new edition include the importance of online streaming to music careers, how anyone can effectively network, tools for successful negotiation, ways to identify and manage income sources, and guidance on the ever-changing social media landscape of the music business.
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
If you are ever in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services for your music project or brand, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her song services page. As an Amazon Associate, Yona Marie earns from qualifying purchases. Amazon and other affiliate products are recommended to genuinely help readers and keep this site up and running as well.