Music finds a way to touch, shape, and mold our lives in ways more than one. There’s a lot music does to us and much to learn from it.
Looking at the struggles, successes, and errors indie artists make, there are always real-life lessons about independent music to apply to different areas of our lives.
While we love the cascading vibrations from indie music that massages our brain’s neuroreceptors, there’s more to how these tunes are written, arranged, and released.
To this end, we’ve gathered what we believe are real-life lessons about independent music;
1. Take Your Time and Be Consistent
Independent artists who are making a good kill from their art usually take their time to work on their music. Indie artists know that we live in a music streaming era, and quality always wins over quantity.
Today, music streaming tilts in favor of indie artists that can put out quality music consistently.
The thing is, you may not have the grace to do whatever you do consistently. But, the few times you’ll release a product, ensure it’s mindblowing. Make sure it’s worth the while of your users, fans, and target audience.
You can be like Curren$y that releases music content throughout the year or be like Nipsey that takes years to release an album.
Whatever you do, ensure it’s quality and represent your brand motivation.
2. Believe In Yourself
Not just in yourself but in your craft and art. Those that are making waves in the independent music industry are those that believed in themselves.
Like there are many sharks and snakes in the independent music industry, your industry will also have its snakes variant. There will always be people who want to bring you down; your task is to keep your head high and above the waters.
It’s not about having the mindset that you are better than anyone, but being committed and invested in your profession.
If you believe you are worth it, you need to keep on showcasing yourself in your industry. Don’t hide in the backroom.
3. Know When To Give Out Freebies
You know Curren$y. No one does free shows better than him. It’s not just about independent artists alone; even Lil Wayne is fond of giving out free mixtapes.
Both Curren$y and Lil Wayne are using these freebies to build up a fan base. Even though Lil Wayne isn’t indie, he understands this concept. By giving away these mixtapes, Curren$y’s fans always come out to support and attend his shows.
Aside from streaming, touring is one way to jack up your revenue in indie music.
The lesson here is simple; there will be times when freebies will be required. There’s a reason why brands and multinational businesses organize promotions. It’s to drive up revenue.
Let’s assume you are a lawyer; you should sometimes take up pro-bono cases to build your pedigree and reputation among prospective clients. For every profession, there will be one way to give out freebies.
4. The Rate of Failure is High
Not to scare you, everyone in the independent music industry knows that the chance of success is quite low. You’ve got to persevere if you want to see yourself at the top.
There’s no overnight success in the independent music scene. Everyone you are seeing making waves in the industry today has been around for a while; they’ve paid their dues.
They paid these dues with long years of lurking around in obscurity. No one knows them or their music. Just like these indie artists, you’ll have to keep grinding and be looking forward to when you’ll hit the limelight.
Like there are wolves on Wall Street, there are also wolves in your industry reading to decimate your effort. You are going to fail a lot before succeeding.
Failing a lot does not mean you are not going to emerge successful in the end. The real-life lesson here is to keep up pushing, grinding, and fighting. Just ensure you learn from your failure than even your success.
5. It’s OK To Ask For Help When You Need It
In the independent music industry, what you see as meaningful collaborations that bring about good results comes from genuine relationships. It’s beyond tagging along with whomever you think is the hottest right now.
Let’s take a stroll to Nipsey’s Billboard records; you’ll rarely see any platinum-selling artists there. Yet, he still rolls with major artists such as YG, The-Dream, Puffy, Kendrick, and other big names.
How is he doing this? He knows how to forge and build long term relationships. He sees beyond immediate rewards in his relationships.
The point is that in life, you’d need much help. As in, you’ll need all of the help you can get to climb up. You’ll only be able to access these bits of help by forging genuine relationships.
Just know that it’s OK for you to ask for help. Don’t just be a parasite, have something you’ll give in return for the help. Build mutual rather than parasitic relationships.