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Friday, January 18, 2013 A New Breed of Indie Artists
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Business Savvy Required of Indie Artists

I know your music is unlike anything I've heard and that you're getting airplay on a couple of radio stations. However, understand, you'll not be gettng much farther down the road to success without bringing some business sense to the table.
"Everyone knows there are thousands of acts every bit as good as those that find "success.""

Quality independent artists are more rare than you may think. I'm talking about those who have mastered their instruments, understand song structure and composition, and hear the difference between what they want to produce and what the public is accepting. Speak of the business savvy required to expand a fan base, and you identify an ingredient "quality" indie acts share that the majority fail to possess.

Everyone knows there are thousands of acts every bit as good as those that find "success." Success can be attributed to the luck of being in the right spot at the right moment, multiple times; but it also comes with yanking emotional attachment from fans and consistency in performance.

What's not discussed much in these days of self-promotion through the internet is the high number of indie artists who have the right spot/right time luck, yank emotions, and are consistent in performance - yet lack the basic business skills required to rise.

Here's one fact: Until you're established, you'll not get much response from emailing music portals and online radio stations with messages resembling half-eaten alphabet soup. "Attached is an X-clent tune... hope you listen and like it! gttng gr8t feedback online - From: I'm a Great Band"

There's nothing within the message above indicating why the recipient should take time to listen. And there's nothing that shows me there's a person on the other end of this email, either. A name or phone number would be nice.

You would be shocked to know the number of band solicitations I get at RRadio Music that are similarly worded. Artists pitching their music, showing no common sense when it comes to communication (read "publicizing themselves").

In the RRadio Music agreement there's a place for a contact name - the person responsible for the legal action of submitting the music. Often the name submitted is "Bill," "Skeeter," or something liken to "BJ." You'd think the submitting person would understand they need to furnish a legal name on an "agreement." Many, lacking business savvy, don't.

I'm not sure if it's an indie artist misplacing their real identity, in lieu of a stage persona, but trying to get airplay using only an artificial (or partial) name won't fly. It screams AMATEUR.

As an independent musician, these are the two disciplines to master: 1) that part which flows with creativity, and enjoys the act of producing organized noise; and 2) the business side, which is required to exploit various publicity routes for maximum exposure. At the heart of this mix is that the process doesn't care how good a song is. If it is not distributed widely - through a structured, planned exposure - the artist stands little chance of gaining publicity or money. (Counting on viral distribution is a poor strategy.)

With the vast majority of independent bands seeing the value of the internet, self-promotion is becoming more competitive. Add to this the number of small labels which are just waking up to using a "best practice" approach to online promotion, and you have a better grasp of the online reality.

Because they are trying to "sell" their music, literally and metaphorically, a lacking business approach keeps many bands from having an advantage - one that you could have simply by employing business savvy.


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