We love to see independent artists strive for greatness, but a big part of the recipe for success is having an honest and thorough idea of exactly what needs to be done to make it happen. So, we created a checklist to keep you on track this year…
Checklist for a Kickass Year in 2021
Marketing Your Music //
Revisit Your Branding
Take the time to revisit who your target is meant to be and make changes to realign your efforts. Focusing your social media posts and marketing efforts to appeal to your respective audience is key. Try a new strategy like teasing your upcoming release on Instagram Stories or hosting competitions on your socials.
Optimize your Socials
Make sure your social presence is in tiptop shape. You want anyone who finds you online to be able to find out more with ease. The second it gets difficult to navigate, people will simply give up and forget all about you. (Sounds harsh, but it’s true.)
Make sure you’ve done these things:
- Any images of you on these platforms must be up to date
- Your lyrics are available for use on Facebook and Instagram Stories
- Have your tracks available on TikTok and Triller
- Make sure all your social platforms are linked to one another
Have a Marketing Plan
Start working on a marketing plan for your upcoming releases for the year as soon as possible! You’ll need to figure out which month(s) you should release your song(s) in. Depending on the genre, different months are better than others. — This post, “Best and Worst Months to Release Music”, talks about the best times of the year for your specific type of song. It’ll help you get the ball rolling.
In addition to doing your research, be sure to plan out as much as you can while setting reasonable, quantifiable goals for yourself. Make sure the goals you set are specific. General ideas like, “Get more followers” or “Play more shows” are hard to quantify. Instead, try something like, “I want to increase my monthly Spotify listeners by X amount by the end of Q3”.
Whatever your goals are, they need to be clear, definitive amounts and set time frames that you can measure. — When you can easily measure your progress, it’ll be easier for you to reach your goals and/or adapt if things aren’t working.
Try a Merch Revamp
Whether you already have merch that just needs an update or need to start selling merch for the first time, there are a ton of options available to you. If you’ve been selling the same designs for years, maybe it’s time to amp it up and try something new.
We’ve put together a list of the top websites for selling merch. Even better, we’ve only included sites that won’t break the bank:
Need a creative boost to get the ideas flowing? // Check out “How to Tap Into Creativity When You’re Uninspired.”
Sharpen Your Skills //
Music Business (conferences)
You’re never too old or too good to learn something new. Even the best of the best are constantly learning how to be better. Whether it’s personal or professional, there’s always room for improvement.
Try new things and learn from the best at some of these music industry conferences:
- ADE (Amerstam Dance Event)
- Virtual Music Industry Sessions
- Primavera Pro
- BIME Conference and Festival
These are only a couple of the conferences out there. There are so many options, there’s bound to be one close to home. Something like SXSW is a life-changing experience that many artists learn and grow a lot from. However, depending on what type of music you focus on, there are different conferences that specialize in different genres to give you the best information for you and your goals.
Not sure which conference is for you? You’ve got options.
Making More Money //
Sign up for YouTube Content ID if your music qualifies
YouTube’s Content ID is a digital fingerprinting system that content creators (like record labels and artists) can use to easily identify and manage their copyrighted content on YouTube.
Need help? With our YouTube Optimization service, We’ll analyze your overall brand, content, and KPI’s based on your YouTube channel, website, and social media presence to develop a custom strategy that fits your needs and increases the visibility of your videos. Ready to grow your YouTube Channel? — Apply for Channel Management here.
Register for a PRO
You need to make sure you’re registered with a Performing Rights Organization like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC. This is crucial because these are the people that make sure you’re getting paid every time your song is played. But don’t stop there. You’ll also want to look into mechanical royalties, (the money you make when something is downloaded or sold on say, iTunes, which ASCAP, SESAC, and BMI don’t cover.) Don’t worry if this sounds like a lot, there are people whose job it is to help you with these types of things. (Publishers)
Below, we’ll include some helpful resources to help sharpen your skills even further…
- 4 Steps To Licensing Your Next Single
- What is Micro-Sync Licensing?
- Types of Publishing Deals and How They Work
- How To Become a Music Publisher
Sync Licensing is a great way to earn significant revenue while simultaneously helping you build your profile as an artist. As a Symphonic Distribution client, you will have the opportunity to apply for representation by our in-house sync licensing division, Bodega Sync.
With this service, you can get your music features on TV shows, commercials and more. Here are just a few of the awesome placements we’ve gotten our artists:
- Mini Cooper
- Amazon Alexa
- Altered Carbon
- Queen of the South
From sampling to publishing, there are many avenues producers can take to earn more money. — Looking to make more from your efforts? This post offers some great ways to generate some extra dough as a producer: “Useful Tools to Generate More Money as a Producer”
Having a thorough strategy planned out for the year will help you reach your goals way more efficiently than without one. Knowing exactly what you need to do will help you decide what’s working and what isn’t as you go along. The key is to always remain open to learning new things. Remember: Nobody does this thing alone, so you might as well get as much help as you can.
Although all of this can be stressful at times, make sure you’re allocating yourself time to enjoy the process. Being a musician is one of the most fun jobs there is! Believe in yourself, work hard, and everything will fall into place.