The rise and rise in numbers of people looking to get careers in performing arts in general, and music specifically in the last decade is clearly reflected in programming like The X-Factor, with more and more MCs making their mark in their respective neighbourhoods, and with the continued peak in garage bands across the nation amongst other noticeable trends.
Aspiring musical artists of the modern climate, serious about pursuing a musical career, have so much more to consider before getting signed by record labels than in previous generations. Nowadays, it’s a common expectation made by record labels that there is already a pre-built fan base in place as a result of an independent marketing campaign, often using music video production and social media to help to generate increased interest. This has made the modern musician much more than a musician alone. Managing your own brands is now the trend, and that is reflected in a much more independent approach to their careers. For the first time, with special assistance from sources like the internet, it has become much easier to get recognition before getting signed.
The benefit this brings for the musical artists of this generation speaks for itself. There is a stronger brand awareness than ever before, and individuals can perform much better at negotiating contracts with record labels and get better deals as a result. They also get a lot more creative control of their own image through things like music video production. Putting video’s online can actually create quite a lot of success for artists without them needing to be signed as long as they are shrewd enough in their approach and have enough talent to turn ears.
So what does today’s artist need to do once they have the tracks written, recorded and mastered? First and foremost, it is essential to have branding sorted. A logo for your artist name helps to make your work recognisable every time it is seen. It doesn’t have to be the most amazing artwork ever seen, but something that is unique and stands out as a signature makes it your own, so it’s essential to be aware of.
A website helps you to direct people to your work better than anything else. Again, it doesn’t have to be the most stunning website ever produced, and creativity behind it is actually not the most important thing. It just needs to communicate as best as possible what you do, and shows links to your music, bio etc. See online for examples from some of your favourite artists. As an extension to this of course, it’s easy to push your tracks on social media sites like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter etc.
You’ll need to have photos done, and it becomes important to have designs for album/mixtape artwork also. There is no right way to get photos done, and much of the time, simple works best. Posing on location or in front of a simple backdrop is more than good enough, but it is recommended where possible you get a decent photographer (look for testimonials from previous clients) and preferably a make-up artist. Look around for film production companies to take care of the music videos. There are many out there, and you will have the benefit of choice when you shop around. Look for someone with a creative eye that has a style that best fits what you are looking to create. You’ll find some could be better at producing music video for some genres than others, and the process can be very different depending on who you’re working with from pre-production to post-production. Studio diaries are an easy way to promote upcoming releases, as well as regular blogs that can feature on your website and other social networks.