The internet has created a landscape of huge potential for aspiring musicians. There are lots of sites purporting to exist to help you claim your spot in the pantheon of your heroes. So why aren’t you selling millions of albums a year and wondering if it’s blasé to put your 20th Grammy in the downstairs toilet?
The internet offers some great tools to independent musicians (i.e. those without major-label contracts), but they are only tools. It’s up to you to pick them up and get to work.
The (really) bad news is that success requires hard work. Talent helps too, but hard work is vital. Another piece of bad news is that if you are trying to make any money from your music you are in business.
The internet offers you many opportunities to publicise your music and to learn about your fans (should you be fortunate enough to have any). The major change of all this technology is only that your reach is wider and that you can do much more of your job (never forget this is your business) from your own home in your pants if you so wish.
There are several folks out there giving some great advice on how you can do this magical music career alchemy. In my opinion the best starting point is Andrew Dubber’s New Music Strategies. This is a free 96 page e-book full of advice and perhaps more importantly a framework for thinking about how you can use technology to further your career. There are lots of great posts on his blog too. It’s well worth reading through and subscribing to the feed.
I feel that the most valuable thing you can do at the start of your musical internet adventure is establish your brand (that’s brand not band). People need to know who you are and what you do before you have any hope of selling them anything. Be prepared to give lots of stuff away, your time, your attention and even your music as free downloads.
If you are brave enough to embrace this as a business read Seth Godin’s blog. He writes brilliantly on marketing, branding and technology. This is the key to success. You need to use the potential of the internet as a publishing/broadcast medium to let people know who you are and what you do.
It doesn’t all have to be drudgery though. There are fans out there who will love your music (as long as it doesn’t suck too hard) and some amazingly generous folks who will help and support you.
The only thing that is certain is that no matter how good your music is if no-one knows about it you’re going nowhere. Get out there and tell folks about you and your music. You have nothing to loose apart from a bit of time.