for the independent artist

Any music career evolves through a series of transitions.  For some musicians those changes happen in a short period of time, resulting in a monumental peak in popularity, sales and demand often countered by a steep decline in popularity, sales and demand. For most musicians who are dedicated to their craft for the long haul – possibly even a lifetime – the growth is slow and steady.  And what seems small (but never insignificant) in the beginning, forms into a larger, sturdier career (and still significant) just a few years after inception.

Though some of you Destiny Studio folks may experience the first scenario of wild, overnight commercial success, most of you will be digging in for the long haul. Here are a few basic go-tos for those releasing your first record and wanting to build strong foundations for an independent artist career – and even for those with instant millions in their bank accounts! – longing to last a lifetime. 

  1. Songs!

For the Songwriters:

It is no secret, the heart of any great musical career are good songs. If you are a songwriter, hone your craft. Don’t worry about recording the first few tunes you put on paper. Continue to refine your songwriting strengths by exercising your talent and writing more songs. To get out of your head a little try co-writing with other songwriters. You just may end up in a legendary partnership. 

But before you begin recording, become a member and register your songs with one of the Performing Rights Organization (PRO below.  Though you may not earn any royalties right away, this will set up your systems for the future in case T. Swift comes a callin’ for one of your tunes or you suddenly find yourself with a platinum-selling record!

ASCAP: ascap.com

BMI: bmi.com

SESAC: sesac.com

For the Singers:

If you are covering other folks’ tunes, be wise in choosing material that reflects your personal heart and journey. The more you connect with a song, the more authentically you will be able to communicate it to your audiences. When you decide on which songs to record, be sure to properly clear and pay for them using Limelight. Check out these links to learn about how to clear cover songs.

Limelight: songclearance.com

Blog by indie artist Sy Smith about Limelight: songclearance.com/blog

ASCAP feature explaining Limelight: http://www.ascap.com/playback/2011/01/features/limelight.aspx

2. Recording!

Whether you are recording a three-song EP or a 10-song full-length project, how and who you go to for getting your music on tape can make a huge difference in your ability to communicate your material and market your music. As a former Texan myself (yee-ha!), my go-to man for recording is Will Hunt at Spaceway Studios in Fort Worth. I, and many artists in my current home of Nashville, and my former home of Texas, have trusted Will with their creative processes. Check him out.

Spaceway Studios: spacewayproductions.com

Will Hunt: will@spacewayproductions.com

3. Distribution

Once you have great songs recorded on a great product, it’s time to sell your tunes! The simplest and many times most effective ways to distribute your music digitally, with physical distribution options, is through a TuneCore or CDBaby – two resources who work on your behalf for a very low cost, getting your music plugged in to an exhaustive amount of distributors including hot spots like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and so on.  Check out their services below.

Tunecore: tunecore.com

CdBaby: cdbaby.com or cdbaby.net

Happy music making for the rest of your life . . . 

andrew

A native Texan, Andrew is currently co-headlining Food for the Hungry's Hymns for Hunger Tour with multi-Dove Award-winning singer/songwriter Cindy Morgan, helping raise awareness and resources for local and international hunger relief organizations at tour stops across the country. He has also been a featured worship leader at Lifeway student camps. As a writer, Andrew’s stories have appeared in Christianity Today, CCM, and ParentLife, among other notable publications.  When not on the road, Andrew enjoys his home in Franklin, TN. 

www.andrew-greer.com  www.twitter.com/agreermusic    www.facebook.com/agreermusic