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Standalone – Tips for Being A Self-Sufficient Musician

by | Master Your Craft

Musicians in the modern era tend to have a much broader skillset when handling specific areas of their careers. There are several components to a lucrative music career. The less you have to outsource to acquire these components, the more time and money you’ll save on your quest for success. In this article, we’ll outline some skills you can learn to become a more self-sufficient musician.

Streaming/Distribution

Streaming and distribution are critical elements in any recording artist’s release plan. As streaming services evolve, they develop constantly evolving trends relating to playlisting and release patterns. Most artists distribute their online content via third-party service providers like Ditto or Tunecore. Understanding the different membership, release, and marketing packages that these services providers will help you decide which distributor best fits your future release plans. It will also save you from having to pay someone to handle your distribution for you.

A very recent development in the music business is the introduction of the NFT. An NFT is a non-fungible token that allows you to buy and sell ownership of unique digital items and tracks who makes use of them. The technology is very new and learning about possibly selling your music, artwork, merch, or other online items through NFT may provide you with an invaluable leg-up on the business side of your music career.

Visual Design

Modern music has worked hand-hand in hand with various visual media types to create timeless pieces of expression. From album artwork and t-shirt and logo designs, there are plenty of opportunities for you to flex any visually creative muscles that you have for your project.

You feel that you’re not artistically inclined to do this sort of work, but you may also be the only person who knows how to express yourself accurately and your music visually. Many online courses will show you the basics of visual design, from drawing to flyer and poster design. You can also use services like Canva to piece together content to create different visual content for your marketing, promo, or artwork purposes. The critical thing to remember with visual content is to start simple and master the fundamentals, just as you would if you were learning your instrument.

Social Media Skills

You cannot plan for an impactful music career without integrating a healthy social media plan into your strategies. Facebook, Tik Tok, and Instagram are just a few tools you can use to build a relationship with your listeners. Social media is the primary form of communication between artists and their consumers. Knowing how to make the most of your social media platforms will exponentially increase your potential for success.
While social media can be an incredibly overwhelming and seemingly taxing task to undertake, it will provide you with the kind of traction you need to garner a community of supporters that spread your music a lot faster than you could by yourself. It will take time to figure out which of your posts work best and time to create, edit, and release your planned posts. There are applications such as Hootsuite that allow you to set scheduled posts to multiple platforms simultaneously. These apps will help minimize the amount of time you spend on social media to focus on other areas of your career.

Photography/Video Production

Videos and photos can often be some of the more costly expenses in an artist’s game plan. Both disciplines require a certain amount of study and practice to effectively create a quality product that will match today’s music industry standards. If you have the means, try to undertake a photography or videography course, whether online or in real-time. Learning the basics of these skills from a trained professional will vastly increase your shooting ability. Classes are a worthy investment should you wish to create your own photographic or video content.

Another factor to consider visually is that we live in a time where lo-fi imagery is highly fashionable. This means that you do not need to hire expensive photography or film gear when shooting creative pieces. Many artists in the current climate use their cell phone camera to shoot most of their content, with some handy editing and visual enhancement applications. You can also find older analog camera equipment in second-hand stores or online to generate the vintage aesthetics that are quite prominent in modern music trends.

Music Production

Learning and efficiently operating any recording process will save you valuable time and money during your songwriting and recording process. You can utilize several music recording and programming tools to grow your song from a simple idea to a finished product. Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) like Ableton even offer consumers built-in tutorials with preset sessions that educate you on navigating your software.
The online producer community is growing just as fast as other blossoming online villages. You can use Youtube to look up countless production lessons, tips, and tricks to improve your production game significantly. There are also plenty of online courses covering production areas such as beat-making, synthesis fundamentals, and sampling. Try to produce music from outside of your projects to gain different perspectives and habits into your production.

Mixing/Mastering

A mix and master can make or break a song or album. Mixing is the process of adjusting and blending every element in your music to make it as appealing to the listener as possible. Mastering is the final stage of the recording process that determines the characteristics of a final mix. Mixing can be a long and tedious process, depending on the artist and musical requirements for a song or album. As such, it can prove to be quite a costly expense in any recording process. Naturally, the more pieces you wish to mix and master, the more money you’re going to spend.

Much like production, there are various avenues you can use to learn about mixing and mastering. Try to seek out local audio engineering colleges or schools that offer courses so that you can learn these skills amongst others and with proper equipment. Both skills require repetition and experience to perfect. Suppose you can contribute to mixing other musicians’ tracks as practice. If you’re able to produce, mix and master your song fully, you’ll save a lot of money and time during your creative process and may even get extra business by using these skills for other artists.

Final Thoughts

There is a healthy list of trades and skills to learn to grow your independence as a musician. At the same time, collaboration can acquire you with fresh creative ideas or networking opportunities. However, it’s crucial to try and stand on your own two feet as an artist in the modern era. Thanks for taking the time out to read our tips for musical self-sufficiency. We hope this article leaves you inspired to try and take on a new craft and get you one step closer to your musical aspirations.

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