55% of Grammy nominations went to indie artists in 2018. 

With that being said, these indie artists still had major support from a large team of people. Whether that’s radio trackers, investors, managers, distribution, publicists, tour agents, etc.

With the power of social media, an entire web of free information, and a lot of hard work mixed with talent… you too can attract a powerful team and achieve great success as an indie artist!

Here are 8 ways indie artists can boss up to attract potential business partners!

#1 Take control of your social media! 

I used to look at those with large followers and think, “I can’t do that because I don’t have a large following like they do.” Whether it was filming weekly Youtube videos, posting singing videos, etc. I was afraid of failing even though I hadn’t even begun. You cannot grow if you don’t start!

This was a big mistake and once I changed my perspective and jumped in, I quickly saw the change in my social media interaction and growth.

There were probably 100 posts I had uploaded that resulting in little to no interaction before I started to see a change. But without those first 100 posts my social following wouldn’t be where it is today. As the wise Dory says… 

Plan weekly posts, seek collaborations with those bigger than you, and think outside of the box. This should be your motto when it comes to your online presence: What would you do if you weren’t afraid of what people thought of you?

Although it isn’t everything, social media can go a long way!

#2 Act like you deserve to be there! (And fully believe it)

I am a firm believer in the law of attraction! It’s not that you are visualizing a world tour and that one day the world’s biggest booker will come out of nowhere and offer you an opening slot. It’s the concept that if we believe we deserve something, and it is coming our way, others will start to see it too.

A good example of this is when attending meetings with potential business partners. If you walk in afraid of what they are going to say, your body language and tone of voice will change your dynamic. We are betting at reading people than we think and it can influence people’s decisions about one-another.

If you were to walk in, believing that you deserved the business relationship, and you have the stats and talent to back it up… the meeting will go much better for you. They will more likely be able to visualize you being successful if you believe it yourself!

As Neon Trees says in one of their latest songs: You are never gonna get everything you want in this world. First things first, get what you deserve.

#3 Write out a list of what you’re great at, and what you need to work on.

Believing in yourself and staying positive are two very important factors of growing your music business. So I encourage you to start positive! Write out a list of everything that makes you unique. Maybe it’s your great stage show, eye-catching brand, or powerful lyrics!

After this, write out a list of things you need to work on. Never be afraid to seek advice from those working in the music industry. If you’re stuck in a music industry rut, consider approaching a reputable music industry worker in your area for advice on your music/brand. There are also many “project managers” out there for hire that will help you work out your kinks as well.

#4 Develop your brand

Your brand is simply what makes you stand out from the sea of other artists. Are you an indie artist who loves coffee and vinyl? Or are you a pop band who obsesses over tattoos and fashion? Defining your brand will help you increase your return on investment. (Which we will go over in #5!)

Let’s say you’re the first example: Your name is Hannah, and you love coffee and vinyl.

You realize that the other rad hipsters (like you) that love coffee and vinyl typically attend folk festivals! So you start applying to those festivals. You then launch a merch line, with coffee mugs included! You also release your album on vinyl and sell it at the folk festival you are booked at.

Do you see how Hannah is increasing her income? She knows where her target audience hangs out, she knows what they enjoy, and she herself can relate to them. Because she is living her brand!

#5 Monitor your ROI (Return on Investment)

The reality is that every band is basically a startup company. Most startup companies lose money, and can for years, before they start making a profit. But don’t let this discourage you! Spend your money in areas that can give you a return in investment.

Examples of this can be:

  • Recordings
  • Live videos for tour booking
  • Merch

What do each of these have in common? They have the potential to create a greater amount of money than the initial investment itself. You can receive royalties for your recordings, have a better chance at getting booked for shows with a live video, and then you can sell your merch at these future shows!

#6 Find your niche!

I’m a firm believer in niches. This goes back to the concept of branding that we talked about in #4.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What makes my music unique? What does it sound like?
  • What type of people listen to that type of music?
  • Where do they hangout on the weekends?

The bottom line is: How am I unique and where would I fit within the industry?

Once you understand this, it’ll be easier for you to grow your music business.

Let’s say you are a high energy pop band that is super fashion-forward. If you understand this, maybe you start approaching fashion shows for performances. Or you begin networking with different designers and eventually start wearing their clothing in your videos. This can be an extra stream of income for you!

Daft Punk Collaboration With Saint Laurent

#7 Utilize your skills (or learn new ones!)

To achieve ROI, you may have to DIY. (A lot.) The indie artist is no stranger to the “do it yourself” method, but even then you may have to take it to the next step.

Learning simple graphic design, purchasing a decent camera, and watching tutorials on Facebook advertising are just a few examples on how you can cut your expenses.

Graphic design is a great one because it can cost so much money to hire a professional! For big releases such as album covers, I would suggest hiring a professional. But for tour announcements, show posters, day-to-day graphics, and everything in-between, it is very beneficial to do it yourself!

I use a website called www.picmonkey.com. It is extremely affordable and has endless capabilities!

#8 Have FUN!

People like to support people that are excited, passionate, and have a great energy to be around! Ego, shyness, and competitive energy doesn’t appeal and will only hurt your career. Take everything with a grain of salt, boss your way through 2018, and just have a TON of fun!