How to Breakthrough and Thrive in Today’s Music Industry – Part 2

As artists it’s really easy to fall into the “let me just create” head space. We feel we don’t have time to do all of that “other stuff” in order to become successful at or craft. Last week we started the conversation, but let’s dig a little deeper this week as we talk about ways to make it in today’s music industry.

It’s really easy to paint broad strokes and simply try to encourage you to think differently when talking about the music industry of today, (which is what I tried to do on last weeks post.)

However, this week I want to get a little more specific and not just give you ideas, but tools and takeaways to get you started.

Even though this will still only scratch the surface on the possibilities, it will be a great start to moving your career forward.

Let’s get started…

1. Make it your mission to build an email list.

The number one thing that will allow you to become successful in today’s music industry is building a solid email list. This list allows you to connect directly with your fans that sign up and say, “give me more of you”.

There’s a catch though. You can’t get fans to sign up and then not use the list or just send out promotional material. This will guarantee low engagement and un-subscriptions. So when you set up your list here are a few things to consider.

  • Set up email list.
  • Give away something as a “thank you”.
  • Contact your list every week.
  • In your emails give your fans something. (blog, song demos, behind the scene videos, etc.)
  • Promote your products when necessary.

There are a lot of great tools out there to help grow your email list. Spend some time studying and find out what works best for you. Here are some great tools to get you started.

Email List Challenge:
  • Create email list using Mailchimp
  • Directly text or email your friends, family, and fans. (Tell them what you are doing and ask if you can add them to the list. Make your first goal 100.)
  • Send your list something as a thank you for signing up. (An unreleased song or a music video.)
  • Contact them once a week from then on by sending blogs, song demos, behind the scene videos or something they will enjoy.
  • Put a sign-up on your website to attract more followers.

2. Use the tools available to record at home.

Now, I’m not saying you have to abandon all recording studios, you just need to look at saving money this way. Maybe you record everything at your house and then have someone mix and master it. Maybe mic everyone up at a rehearsal and do a live recording. There are all kinds of ways to make a record at a discounted price now a days, find them and make them work for you.

When you decide that you are going to record at home consider looking at the way you approach your album. Instead of thinking of it as recording, look at it as creating. Use the sounds that you get in your bedroom or rehearsal space as part of the creative process. It doesn’t need to be “perfect”, it just needs to be you.

As always there are a ton of tools that will help you when recording at home, but here are a few that will help you get started.

Record at home challenge:
  • Figure out the gear you want/need.
  • Record your first demo.
  • Watch YouTube videos when needed.
  • Post your first song for us to hear (even if you feel it’s not “perfect”)

3. “Window” your next record.

One of the best ways to actually make money on your record, something you spend months and months getting right, is by doing something I’ll call “windowing”. Windowing is something the movie industry has been doing for years and something the music industry is just starting to catch on to.

When you window your record it means that you first release it at your release party and on your website (only). Once the demand has died down there, move it to other online stores like iTunes, CD Baby, etc. Ride that wave few a few month, then add your album to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. Make sense?

When you do this it allows you to ride the wave of demand for maximum impact. Some of your fans are early adopters and want to support you right away. Others will only stream your music. Neither is wrong for your fans so instead of getting upset that “no one buys music anymore”, set it up to work in your favor.

There aren’t many tools for this once because it’s more of a way of thinking. So when you decide to window your album think of it like a movie…theaters, DVD, streaming services, TV.

Windowing Challenge:
  • Pull out a calendar and write out your windowing plan.
  • Share it with those close to you.
  • Let us know how it goes and if you feel it was worth it.

4. Try putting on an online house shows.

Now a days doing house shows is all the craze. Instead of packing out the local venue, artists are choosing to be a little more musically intimate when their fans. It’s a great way of building connection and allowing for fans to have more access to you personally.

With that being the case (and technology being what it is), why not do an online house show. As you can probably figure out, you are able to save a ton of time and money by doing an online house show. And it’s kinda cool too! It might sound crazy, but it’s been working really well for a lot of independent artists.

Here are some tools for you to check out:

Online home show challenge:
  • Research how other artist have made them successful.
  • Set up a show using
  • Promote to your fans.
  • Tell us how it goes by posting it online.

5. Build a product line more than just your music.

Last week I wrote about how you can’t afford to be a one-dementional artist. To only record and sell your albums and a couple of t-shirt designs is not going to cut it anymore. You have to use your full creative expression and offer it to your fans.

If you love writing poetry why not put a book together of your best work and sell it alongside of your music. Maybe you enjoy writing books or doing wood work, don’t be afraid to use your creativity (beyond your music) to build products for your fans. Allow your creativity to flow.

In order to make it today, you can’t stay one-dementional.

Considering this is more of a way of thinking I don’t have a list of tools, I just want you to think outside the box.

Product line challenge:
  • Spend some time brainstorming product ideas.
  • Choose one and create it.
  • Present it to your new email list.

Over the last two weeks we have discussed some basic but profound ideas and have been challenged to figure out new ways of  making money in today’s industry.

I hope they have helped you think outside of the box and given you fuel to kick fear in the face in 2016.

I believe in you, now believe in yourself.

As always, if you need any help or want to discuss ideas, feel free to contact me HERE.

Question: Which one of these ideas/challenges will you be trying out? Post your thoughts below.


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