How to be Successful as an Independent Musician
By Nick Venturella
Decide what your definition of success is
To have any success in music, or anything in life, you have to have an understanding of what success looks like for you. It will be different for everyone. So, if you want to win a Grammy, be famous, earn lots of money, or simply play a few gigs a month, define that for yourself and don’t lose focus of your end goal.
3 elements of success
I’m a firm believer in the idea that everything in life can be boiled down to communication and relationships. So whatever your definition of success—whether you’re looking to be a famous musician or simply running a project studio out of your house—you’ll be well-served by learning to communicate well and build great relationships. Finally, it’s crucial to have confidence in your ability to communicate well and build lasting relationships. Hence, there are 3 common denominators among those who reach their music goals and continue to set new ones.
Let me explain these 3 elements as they relate to your indie music success to further illustrate their importance…
Communication Skills – I’m talking about being able to write and speak clearly about who you are as an artist and the type of music you perform. Essentially, you need to be able to articulate your value within the music industry. Use your communication skills as a vehicle to drive your relationship building skills. Think of it this way, by communicating well and being able to articulate your value within the industry you’ll likely get your foot in the door toward building some useful relationships that can help your career. However, it’s one thing to get your foot in the door, you need to also be able to walk the walk and continuously talk the talk.
Relationship Skills – Once you understand your music’s value and can articulate your message well–keeping your career goals in mind–you can use that communication as the vehicle to build reciprocal relationships that allow you to further your goals as well as hopefully help to further the goals of someone else (the person or people on the other end of that relationship). It’s important that relationships are reciprocal, meaning they’re a two-way street–communication may get you in the door, but action and follow through on what you say you will do will solidify those relationships, and make others want to reciprocate in your favor.
Confidence – With well crafted communication efforts and each relationship you build, over time, you will gain confidence in your abilities continually communicating better and building better relationships. And if you’re passionate, innovative and ethical opportunities will begin to find you as you build a network of connections that will start to work for you. The reason for all of this is Trust. The music industry is all about who you know and who knows you. Opportunities are found and won through reciprocal relationships driven by great communication to continually build credibility.
So, what does it all mean?
It means that you have to constantly be a dreamer and a doer, finding creative innovative ways to reach your goals, and communication skills, relationship skills and confidence are the core elements leading to your success.
For more check out, The Local Music Journey, book
If you’d like to read more of indie musician, Nick Venturella’s writing on DIY music business check out his latest book, The Local Music Journey: Thoughts, advice and inspiration for your independent music career. The book offers tons of interviews with real indie music professionals talking about the highs and lows of their own music journey as well as many other useful DIY promotional ideas and resources. Join the growing Local Music Journey Facebook Group to share best practices and build a larger indie music community, where ever “local” is for you.
folk/pop singer/songwriter, author, marketer
www.nickvmusic.net (official music site)
www.localmusicjourney.com (book + blog about independent music business/careers)
www.nickvmedia.net (brand communications freelance + blog site)
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