If we learned anything in 2020, it was to expect the unexpected. We also learned that an artist will stop at nothing to make sure people hear their music. With these two things in mind, how can musicians be ready for 2021? Read on!
The state of touring is still in flux, even with a vaccine available. WHEN people will be able to be vaccinated is another story all together, and younger people seem to be at the end of the long line. Therefore, live events may still be hard to come by in the first 6 months of the year. Prepare yourself for 2021 by continuing to do livestreams on your social media channels or hosted sites, and looking to partner with a sponsor, or even another artist, to generate interest by broadening your potential audience. Perhaps change things up by offering an “all request hour” where your viewers choose which songs you play so they feel like they’re a part of the show. When a fan becomes invested, they’re a fan for life.
Now also might be a good time to put out that EP you’ve been thinking about. People will still be looking to listen to new music and discover new artists, and a 4-song EP that you give away for free will make people more inclined to check out the cool stuff you’re doing. Another thing we’ve seen some artists do, along with putting out great music, is offering lessons or tutorials online. Some are paid for, others are given for free or by donation, but either way, it keeps you and your music in the public eye.
Also make sure you are creating new playlists featuring your favourite artists mixed with songs of your own and similar artists that are more well known, and sharing those wherever you can. If there are other developing acts you’re aware of, in your genre, reach out and ask them if they wish to cross promote, where they share some of your new music and the playlists you’re a part of, and you do the same for them. As they say, sharing is caring, and it’s a win-win if you can both expand your audience. Hey, maybe it will eventually lead to playing shows together when live shows are a thing again. Even if it’s simply a tag or a mention, it’s still a way to keep your music moving forward.
Or how about giving your music the best chance for success this year and get it into the ears of key decision makers. Whether they be bloggers, music supervisors, media, radio programmers or curators. With Play MPE, indie labels, artists and promoters can reach music influencers directly with global music promotion distribution tool, Caster. If you haven’t been ready to take the plunge yet, 2021 is as good a reason as any to go for it. It’s as easy as creating an account, uploading content and drag & dropping an impactful promotional email to distribute music to Play MPE’s vetted distribution lists. Top tastemakers around the world access the latest music in Play MPE’s secure Player (membership required). Maybe it’s time your music was in the Player too?!
Lastly, even if we only have three more months of down time, it may be the RIGHT time to brush up on your understanding of the music business. Delve deep into learning about distribution deals, publishing deals, synch rights, mechanical royalties, 360 deals, etc. Really knowing these aspects of the ‘business end’ of music will help you grow as both an artist AND a performer. And don’t stop at just learning the business end of things, make sure to brush up on your marketing skill set. Until you are ready to expand your team, if you are doing everything yourself, really learning how to best promote yourself is going to be key. Taking an online digital marketing course, or sign up for webinars aimed at artists to learn from industry professionals. To get started check out some great ones here and some cool upcoming events from Music Business Associates.
And if you aren’t already a part of music associations, find out which ones are local to you and see what they have to offer. Some of these associations have special events for members that may be educational and/or connect you with people that can help your career. Look into artist funding opportunities too, often there are music grants that could help you make that anime music video you had your heart set on or take your website up a notch. Here’s a great list of Associations put together by the RIAA.
When the world opens back up, think of how much more knowledge you will have to be able to navigate all the amazing things coming your way!
By contributing writer Katy Krassner
Photo by Wes Hicks