In the changing scenario of the music industry where almost everybody is confused about the newer developments through streams and downloads, it takes more than simply creating music for an artist to sell it.
To reach to the audience, an independent artist needs to employ a comprehensive strategy through various channels. Technology has seeped deeper into the art of music and ignoring it could be fatal for indie artists.
We talked to Shoshana Michel, a pianist from Brooklyn, New York, about how and what she does to stay relevant in the current industry.
Q1. As an independent artist, what challenges you feel when it comes to selling your music?
As an independent artist, getting people to hear your music and buy it can be a challenge as there are a lot of independent artists out there all wanting to sell their music and it’s easy to get lost in the masses. Another challenge, and a huge one is being able to really make money with your music. Streaming seems to be the direction that music is going and since streaming rates are so pitifully low, you need to get your music streamed a crazy amount of times in order to see more than a couple of cents. It’s not impossible to have your music streamed, but certainly a challenge.
Q2. In the modern world, does the musician has to go with popular demand or the originality still counts?
I think that it’s a little of both. A musician definitely should to stay true to his or her self and compose original music that comes from within. I feel, though, that’s it’s also good for an artist to go out of the box a bit and create what is in popular demand, if possible, as this can introduce their music to a whole new audience that otherwise wouldn’t have discovered them.
Q3. What do you do to market your music to reach a wider audience?
I employ a different way to market my music to reach a wider audience. I have my music on many internet radio stations as well as streaming stations. I am constantly promoting my music on social media. I maintain an artist page on Facebook and am very active with posting about what’s going on with my music and where it can be heard and bought. I put together videos for each of my tracks and will promote them on social media as well. I curate several streaming playlists that feature other artists’ music as well as my own, promote them on social media and encourage the artists on those playlists to share them on social media as well. I periodically send out newsletters to promote new music, upcoming concerts, and other news. I do perform at venues and do house concerts as they are a great way to connect with your audience and add to your fan base.
Q4. How do you feel technology has changed the music scene since your childhood?
The music scene forty years ago was primarily radio, albums and live concerts. Now, with the internet, reaching millions of people is so much easier and faster. Streaming stations make music accessible all over the world. Although there are people that still buy physical merchandise such as albums and CDs, technology seems to be going away from physical merchandise and has moved more in the direction of downloads and streaming, although downloads seem to be losing popularity in favor of streaming.
Q5. Any message for young and upcoming musicians?
Yes. Follow your dreams. Even if they feel impossible or if others tell you that you won’t make it, or that you should get a “real” job. Learn as much as you can and keep up with technology. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. It can be extremely challenging to make money as a musician, but with a lot of hard work and perseverance, it can definitely be done. And stay true to yourself. Don’t be afraid to make your own kind of music even if it’s not what’s popular right now or is different from what people are listening to or are familiar with. Just be you.