Indie Musician – Help, I Did It Again!

This is the second part of a short series of blog posts full of Indie musician tips.

If this is your first visit, you might wanna head over here to Part One, where I unburden myself with advice based on just a few of my career failures…..

Don’t worry too much though – you can read that later, as these nuggets of advice for your music career are in no particular order.

Each one is as important, if not more important (no, make that as important) as the last.

And, as I’ve said in the title, I kept making mistakes so you don’t have to!

An Indie Musician

Just to bring you up to speed if you’re new here:

My name is Lee. I’ve had some good successes in the industry, and some bad fails.

I’ve collaborated with some of the best producers out there, released records on majors, independents and done some DIY.

I’ve worked as a producer and a songwriter for major label development companies and toured the world in bands.

I’ve never had a platinum record or sold out a stadium, but I’ve had enough experience and made enough mistakes now to realise a lot of the reasons why I didn’t quite get there.

I want to share some of the dumb things I’ve said and done (and that I see other artists and bands doing all the time) that are going to slow down or kill your chances of building a sustainable career as an independent musician.

Don’t forget to sign up to the TAD independent musician community HERE for more articles like this, competitions, industry opportunities, giveaways and more.

Let’s begin, shall we?

“I Have No Problem With People Hearing Me Not At My Best”

First off, don’t ever upload anything online that isn’t finished.

I know it’s tempting to get your ‘demos’ up there to showcase your writing or potential, but the music industry is a fickle place, and new listeners do not have much of an attention span.

You need to think of music platforms as a shop window. A huge shop window full of haberdashery and wares similar to yours, with a similar price-point, that look (or sound) better.

And this window just keeps getting fuller and fuller!

How can you compete with that?

You have to stand out, for the right reasons!

You never know who’s scouting around online – there could be labels you’ve never even heard of that happen upon your Soundcloud page.

The scouts will mentally register your name, listen to 10 seconds of music, if it’s not up to scratch, they’ll turn it off and move on.

They may recall your name if they hear it again, but they will only either:

a) Remember that you didn’t sound very good;
or
b) Not remember you at all but recognise the name, and surmise there must be a reason why they were not interested/ didn’t sign you already.

Either way – it’s not good.

scoutland

 

Put the brakes on and don’t be impatient with your material. The pay-off will be so much better in the end. Don’t let anyone see you not in your best light, because it’s true what they say…

‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression!’

A Great Live Video Can Sell Your Band

One place where a lot of artists and bands fall down is a good live video.

Now, it is imperative that you eventually have a live recording of yourself at a gig. Labels want to see it, live booking agents want to see it, festival bookers need to see it, and, hell, your fans want to see it!

But DON’T put ANY footage online that a buddy has taken with a phone at a gig where the sound is bad and the place doesn’t look jumping. If they put it online, politely ask them to take it down.

You should really dedicate a show to getting a good live recording.

Book the venue, get all your fans invited (make it free, lay on some beers – whatever you can do).

Arrange for a good sound engineer to do a thorough soundcheck with everything running through the desk and into a mixer. (multi-channel recording for later mixing is a big bonus)

Try out some recording during soundcheck, listen back – how does it sound? Cool? Right, well let’s play the gig then.

Get someone with a half decent camera to film the show (or two or more so that you can edit later!) and record it all that way. It doesn’t have to be too polished, but you want to give the impression that you are brilliant without hiring Ridley Scott.

Edit the footage and mix the music together to make a really, really great live recording. Something you are proud to show to a booking agent.

A great live recording can be a ‘business card’ that lasts you years if you invest a bit of time in it.

Purists – Look away now!

If some things are a bit off in your performance (out of tune harmonies anyone?..) you can mix out the BV’s and overdub them in the studio later.

That’s cheating!??

No-one will know – it happens all the time.

As long as the base of the track is live (and you’ll be able to tell it is because it matches the video) whatever makes it sound good, just do it.

kiss-live

Most of Kiss’s 1975 ‘live’ album ‘Alive’ was actually recorded in the studio (allegedly…)

 

Newsflash!

The major label industry (I know that isn’t where all of us are wanting to go, but for those that harbour those aspirations) can’t compute demos that aren’t basically ready for radio.

This completely goes against the old label adage, “We can hear the talent in a dictaphone recording of one guitar and vocal”.

Bullshit!

If you want to submit your music to these labels (especially if you’re wanting to write for other artists) they need to be competitive and up to the standard of what gets played in their office every day.

An old employer of mine who was the head of a major label development company for Sony & Universal used to always tell artists not to expose themselves too early for risk of being part of the ‘wannabe’ crowd.

He used to say: “If you lay with dogs, you get fleas”

I always thought that was great advice. So do you wanna be a wannabe or do you just wanna be?

If you take away anything from this point remember this:

People only listen once!

How many times have you uttered the words “Hey listen to this, it’s not the final mix but you get the idea” ?

Loads. We all have.

Problem is that when it is the final mix, how interested are those people? Not very – in their mind they’ve already heard it, and it wasn’t that good.

Never play your unfinished track to anyone! If you need external feedback ask your producer, or some trusted musician peers, or a close-knit group of friends or family.

But do it behind closed doors.

When you do play that finished master to someone you want them to say “Wow!”, not “meh…”

“We Need To Go On Tour To Pick Up Fans”

This point depends of course on your status/ fanbase but I would advise any band in the early stages to NOT spend their money going out on the road.

If you have hundreds of fans clogging up your Facebook feed with requests to come play in their hometown, then by all means start packing the van.

If, however, you have had no indication that there are any people outside of your city that have even heard of you, but you are convinced they exist, don’t go looking for them, they don’t.

Or if you think that by going out on a headline tour you will pick up new fans, you won’t.

I know what you’re thinking:

‘But surely they just need to hear how great we are then they’ll be blown away!’

They won’t.

Grass-roots doesn’t work like it used to anymore.

Less and less people are going out to live shows, especially to see bands they haven’t heard of. There are numerous reasons for this, I listed a few in this previous article about your local gig scene that might be of interest to you.

It’s your ego that wants to go on tour.

You want to feel like you’re progressing, and touring is a natural step of ‘making it’ but, honestly, your ego will take a real beating schlepping round the country from empty venue to empty venue night after night.

great-gig!

These out of town shows are banging, one down, six to go

 

You’re not pushing forward if there is nobody pulling!

You’ll spend a small fortune on petrol, over-priced service station sandwiches, and drinks at the venue trying to make it feel like you’re having a good time.

(You might have a rider laid on, but it won’t be enough refreshment per person to numb the over-riding feeling of shame and disappointment).

There are exceptions of course; if you manage to get a great support slot where you know there will be full venues, and that you can truly afford to undertake, then print out your mailing lists and don’t think twice about it.

You might not make much money for a tour support slot – I know a band that recently supported The Vaccines on a world tour and were paid in ‘exposure’!

BUT…

In this day and age information is currency, and if you can get 100 emails a night on a 10-date tour, that’s a potential 1000 fans you can email that just might be interested in your next record, or, your next live show!

So, how do you get to the point where it is worth going on the road?

How do we get the booking agents?

There are two places you need to be building your presence:

Your home town/city; and

The internet!

You’re probably thinking, “I already do this”.

Well, first up, keep playing your hometown shows, and grow your local fanbase. Do everything you can to generate a buzz in the city. Go really hard on promo for gigs and, when the gigs arrive, be really good.

Have you made yourself an incredible live video for YouTube yet? (See point 1) If not, then get on it!

That is the thing that will help you secure better and better shows down the track!

Online, think ahead about where your potential audience might be.

If you really feel the urge to go on a tour, or at least play some out of town shows, plan a fake tour. Where would you go? What are the best routes? What venues are good on what nights?

Price it up – the van-hire, the daily living costs, the money you will all lose by not being at your day-job (didn’t think of that…).

If you think OK, we’re going to do this in six months to promote our new single then fine, if you absolutely must.

BUT…

Spend that six months prior identifying your potential audience in these cities and towns and start building up relationships with them online.

Join some Facebook groups or hop on Reddit and ask questions:

“Where are good venues for rock n’ roll (or whatever you are) in town X?” Post some of your music up and ask people’s opinions.

Reach out to local bands and see if you could get on a bill with them. Offer them the return favour if they ever come to your turf.

Remember once you’ve done this tour you probably can’t do it again for another year, so make it count!

You have to have a reason to tour, other than trying to impress the folks back home.

Because guess what?…..

They know it’s a glorified holiday! No-one is funding your private jet. You’re essentially going on a big music-filled road-trip!

No amount of smoke and mirrors these days convinces people that you are on the road to stardom, unless you actually are. So don’t think anyone will be impressed by the fact that you’re homeless and skint for two weeks.

A bad tour is a waste of time and money and will make at least one member of the band question why they are even bothering.

“Money Isn’t Important At The Moment”

As I mentioned above when I talked about not spending your money going on a pointless nationwide tour, there are countless other sinkholes an independent musician can throw their cash into to ‘further their career’.

A lot of these are similar to a tour, in that they are things you don’t need.

Yet.

You Don’t Need A Publicist

What about a great publicist?

This person has worked with some really big names so he can probably make us a big name, right?

Wrong!

A publicist is a really important person to have in your team.

Eventually.

If you can be bothered (you should be!) you should do your own publicity.

Unless you are already established, a publicist can’t really do much.

A successful press campaign is more about re-confirming people’s already formed opinions of you, and keeping you in people’s consciousness.

If you think that an unknown band getting a good review in a newspaper will translate to record sales you are mistaken.

Okay, so maybe you’ll shift a few, but in no way will 3 album sales make a dint in what it is costing you to hire a publicist.

Don’t Get ‘Expert Feedback’!

There are also countless companies out there who will charge you for their ‘Expert Feedback’.

These are often ex A&R guys who talk like they’re still connected to all the major industry players.

They are ‘ex A&R guys’ for a reason.

You might pay a few hundred bucks to get their listening feedback (you don’t really care what their feedback is because you know as soon as they hear it they will say “Oh my God! The next big thing! Get my best mate ‘The Head Of EMI’ on the phone NOW!).

Don’t worry – that’s what everyone thinks.

This dude listens to your song and guess what the feedback is?

“This is great! I love it! It would kill on radio! We have a radio plugging team here. I think you could really get somewhere”.

Now you’re excited, right? The big cheese likes it, he’ll definitely play it to all his buddies in the industry, their team is going to get you on radio and all it’s going to cost you is a few grand!

Aren’t you lucky?!

You and the other five bands he’s had in the office that very same day.

Okay, so that is something that does happen.

So be careful. Not to say there aren’t many reputable companies out there that offer great services such as Fluence. But this is about spending your money wisely, and when.

So, don’t get sucked in to the hype.

Put your money into small, important things – things that will have good lasting value.

In the early stages there’s a lot of give and not so much take before you start to see a return on your investment, so pick the things that will last you the longest.

A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words.

A good music video is a worthwhile expense – again, it’s something that will last you a year as a ‘musical business card‘.

If it is your first video and you’re hoping to get the attention of labels early on, be aware that they will want to see what you look like, so it’s best to try and have at least some shots of you in the clip, looking good and pulling your best shapes.

Getting good press shots is also essential. This can be done fairly cheaply too if you scout around.

There are loads of photographer groups on Facebook in every city, all trying to expand their portfolio and make great work.

Pay them well for their work though, because, you know, what goes around comes around.

Another place worth putting some of the kitty is in a good website.

Again, this is not a huge expense. All you need is something pleasing to the eye that contains the following:

  • Your Biography
  • Some Good Press Shots
  • Track Links (An embedded SoundCloud Playlist of 3 songs is fine)
  • A Music Video YouTube Embed
  • A Live Performance Video YouTube Embed
  • An Email Sign-Up Page – Crucial!

If you have that in place, all you need to do when reaching out to prospective partners is send them a link (and a few nice words of course..)!

There’s nothing a busy blogger / manager / booking agent / A&R person hates more than a long email with attachments.

Get everything you need in one place and then BOOM!

You can literally send people a one-liner email.

If they’re interested they will look at your website. If not, well you’ve just saved yourself a bunch of time worrying about what to write and what to send.

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees

Anyway, back to the point I was trying to make…

Independent musicians do not have money to burn.

Good gear is not cheap, you have real life rent and bills to pay, and loads of band extras like rehearsal room expenses and strings, cab fares, drinks at band meetings, and whatever…

When the time comes that you decide you want to go in the studio or make a video or something big like that, is there a collective grimace? Is everyone all like “Shit, that’s like $500 each?”.

Of course.

Everyone from all walks of life freaks out at the thought of having a large outlay in one go.

I’ve a couple of tips to make it sting a bit less in the long run:

Keep all band money you get from gigs or merch etc. in a kitty and save it for the big thing (Yes. This means pay for your own personal items such as strings and drumsticks etc.).

And…

If rehearsal is $20 a week each, pretend it’s $40!

If everyone take $40 to rehearsal, give $20 each to the practice space and all put $20 each in the kitty. Let the tight/stingy/good with money person be the treasurer.

Try to record all your finances properly – spreadsheets are your friends, but there are also loads of great apps available to manage your bands career.

It might be annoying at the time because you don’t really have money to fritter away like that. But really, it’s just a few beers less a week.

In 6 months you may want to go into the studio, make a video or go on tour (you never listen…)

Assuming you have one rehearsal a week and there are four members of the band:

That extra $20 a week will have grown to over $2000 in the kitty.

That is a music video, that is recording a new single, that is a website, that is a two week van hire.

You’ll have to do these things in order to move forward, and you will worry about pulling the money out of thin air when the time comes.

So take precautionary measures and start putting a little away each week.

You’ll thank me in six months.

It’s OK.

“I Practice At Rehearsal”

No! No! No!

Practice and rehearsals are two very different things!

For a start, no-one is ever perfect. Ever. Not Hendrix, not Bowie, not Skrillex and not King Crimson (Hey, I don’t know what you’re into!..).

Even Stevie Wonder has a vocal coach.

Everyone needs to practice their parts away from rehearsal.

It’s easy and really takes very little time out of your morning/ day/ evening.

How long is your set? 40 minutes?

Try and set aside that time each day, or at least every other day, to sit with your instrument and practice your parts, away from the rest of the group, because it will make rehearsals so much better.

I promise!

I’ve already waffled on about the importance of money for an independent artist or band. But, it’s true what they say:

‘Time is Money!’

You’re paying for a rehearsal room so you need to make the best use of it you can.

You may only have five hours one evening a week, and you know that you can take off at least an hour for the drummer arriving late, the bassist going to the shop to buy beers, the guitarist changing their strings and the singer generally fucking around being a prima donna.

This is the time you’re paying for! This is rehearsal, it isn’t practice. This is where you come together, plug in and make a glorious fucking racket!

This is where you get to be an indie musician!

If things are sounding good in rehearsal you feel energised, you feel confident, you feel like you made the right decision not to go to law school after all (see Mum!).

When rehearsal sounds good you play better, you get tighter, and things move forward faster for you as a band in the long-run.

Perhaps the most important thing is that when rehearsals sound good you don’t want them to end, and when they do you look forward to the next one!

This is what music is all about!

However, when rehearsals sound bad, they drag, you want to make excuses to leave early, you feel depressed about being a sucky artist, you can’t shake the feeling for days and you are not looking forward to playing the gig at the weekend because you SUCK!

Have you ever felt like this?

I know I have.

The main way to make sure we actually enjoy what we do as musicians is to be good at it. That’s where the buzz comes from. From creating something that we’re proud of.

To be good takes practice. Whether you’re a solo artist or a group doesn’t matter. If you practise you get better, simple as.

So try that. Just try learning and practicing your parts at home, out of the rehearsal room. If everyone involved commits to that you will see a huge difference when it comes to a proper rehearsal.

It is easier not to practice.

I know how hard it is when you have a day job, a night job, studies and music to think about. Add to that a partner (if you’re lucky) who wants some attention, and general day to day shit-storms to contend with.

All you want to do in your precious down-time is chill your beans, switch off from the world, watch TV and get loaded (just me?).

But remember your set is only one episode of ‘Game Of Thrones’ long. So try and set aside some time to go through it, even a couple of times a week, in the knowledge that Jon Snow is immortal and will always be there.

Practice your parts, get to rehearsal on time, leave plenty of time to buy beers before you get there, string your guitar at home, and enjoy yourself.

jon-snow

‘Hmm.. you really should be praticing your parts’

“Why Would I Collaborate? I Am Me!”

Collaboration is one of the most important things in music right now.

And it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, many of which can only serve to benefit you.

Being insular and self-involved will put you in a music-career hole, and in today’s industry landscape, no matter how talented you are, there is no-one that is going to come to your rescue and pull you out.

Musical collaboration between artists/ bands etc. has never been more popular. Not only is it a way to cross-promote artists in order to reach new audiences but it’s also serving as a great way to blur, and pretty much destroy, the lines between genres as we’ve come to know them.

You’re probably familiar with the term ‘Cross-Promotion’.

It’s where two parties from different backgrounds come together to raise public awareness of one another’s brands in a way that is mutually beneficial to both.

Now we could be talking about Drake and Rihanna here, or we could be talking about McDonalds and Coca-Cola.

You might get a free Coke drink with your Big Mac, nice one.

Why Coke and not Pepsi? Because these guys have struck a deal where old mate Ronald gets his Cola on the super- cheap, meaning he can basically give it away to entice and placate his burger munching minions.

In exchange Coca-Cola gets fizzy pop exclusivity and visibility in all Ron’s fine-dining establishments (that clown has amassed a few eateries). All this, of course, increases the demand so high they can now increase the supply, meaning they can produce it cheaper in volume.

Everybody wins.

Successful companies, brands, people and artists know the power of mutually beneficial partnerships, and that looking after someone else is the best way to help yourself.

In summary – ‘You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’.

Let’s go way back to 1986. Run DMC Vs. Aerosmith. White rockers and black rappers came together to record a version of ‘Walk This Way’.

You might have heard it.

The track was huge and served as a great way to break down the walls between the cultures (they actually break down the wall in the video which I think is some kind of metaphor..).

It also turned a whole generation of young rockers onto hip-hop, and urban kids started to think actually guitars can be pretty neat too.

Both acts benefitted hugely from the success of that single, not just from becoming more visible to each others fanbases, but because the record took off, both bands were propelled to household names.

Collaboration is about expanding your horizons and increasing your chances of getting noticed.

Maybe you’re an acoustic singer-songwriter?

Why not go and do some guest vocals on a trip-hop producer’s track?

It’s great not only to have another string to your bow, but also something out in the world that showcases your talent to a different audience.

When you share that track with your fans that producer is getting his work exposed to an audience he may never have reached before.

And in turn when the beat-maker shares the tune with their fans your voice is going to be heard by a whole host of new potential fans, collaborators or A&R.

New Zealand vocalist Kimbra had a huge boost in her musical career when she laid down a verse on Gotye’s, ‘Somebody That I used To Know’ and it turned out to be one of the biggest selling songs of the 2000’s.

You just don’t know who is going to hear you, or more importantly how they are going to hear you.

Sometimes things you never expected can open up just because you tried something new.

I did some writing and singing as a favour for an electro producer friend (he was actually producing a record of mine so that was cross-promotion!).

It was originally only meant to be a studio album to support their DJ’ing work but it turned out to do quite well, and booking agents wanted us to make it into a live show.

We ended up going on a world tour, and making some really good money as a Techno-Pop band.

And all just because I thought “Yeah, sure, I’ll write some lyrics for this”.

Don’t let any opportunity pass you by. If you have the time, there’s very little you can lose by trying something new!

grammies

Grammys all over the place

“You Will Do For Now”

As I mentioned above, it’s important to collaborate and explore other avenues away from your main outlet, because it can actually help to improve your own journey in one way or another.

However…

If we’re talking long-term and about your main project (the one that is your true passion) you have to be very careful who you commit to working with.

When I say ‘working with’, I could be talking about producers, band members, management etc.

It is so important to make sure you have trust and confidence in the people that are going on your journey with you, because once they are established within the team they will be very hard to shed.

You will (hopefully, if everything goes to plan!) be spending a lot of time with your team as your career progresses so it’s imperative you approach a long-term commitment with caution.

Do your homework on prospective colleagues, and get to know the person first before going all the way.

sex-pistols
Glen Matlock, the original Sex Pistols bassist, was kicked out for being a ‘Middle-class Mummy’s boy”

 

Have a few ‘dates’ before you go into jam.

I honestly believe that the personality of a team member is more important than the ability when it comes to a long term working relationship.

Sure, nobody is perfect, we all have our problems!

But ask yourself these questions before offering the person trying out for your band a permanent position:

  • Can I really imagine spending 2 weeks in a van with this person?
  • Can I really imagine spending 10 years with this person?
  • Can I rely on this person to be professional?
  • Will they ever get their body odour under control?
  • Do they really only take crack ‘recreationally now & again’?

Being a professional musician is a hard slog.

One of the most important things you must retain is a positive outlook and enthusiasm for what you are doing, so surround yourself with others of that disposition.

The worst thing you could do is invite toxic people in your camp.

They will not only bring you down, but others around you, and put forward a bad impression of you as a group to those you encounter.

The self-help guru Jim Rohn says: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with

Which I think makes total sense!

So if you’re in a band and a couple of your members act like morons you are going to be tarred with that brush too, and the band as a whole will have that reputation.

If you’re not sure about a certain person and you’re getting some warning signs that it might not work out, address it sooner rather than later.

The longer you go on biting your tongue and trying to accommodate someone who is a bad fit, the harder it’s going to be to fix.

Sooner or later your concerns will be confirmed. Do you want things to come to a head at rehearsal next Monday, or on the tour of your life in a couple of year’s time, meaning you have to cancel?

This is your life. This is your shot. Don’t let someone else ruin it for you.

“We Have To Do Something New To Stay Fresh”

Being ‘Fresh’ is in your mind.

A new audience, unfamiliar with your music, will not know whether you have just written a song, or whether it is 4 years old and playing it annoys the hell out of you.

Presuming a large majority of the world are still unfamiliar with your music, you really don’t have to beat yourself up about churning out new releases all the time.

Of course it’s good to be consistently writing and demoing new stuff – don’t get me wrong, but over-releasing becomes expensive and diluted, and you run the risk of being over-exposed.

Your prolific output may do your brand more harm than good.

Focus your efforts on one thing, and do your promotion properly.

You’ll find that if you’re promoting a song right it should take quite a while before it really runs its course.

When a big artist releases a single, how long is it on the radio for? Months.

Send your single and video out to blogs, radio stations (traditional and online) YouTube channels, SoundCloud channels, Sync companies, Publishers, A&R, local press and media, podcasts and anyone who might connect to your story – not just the obvious handful of music blogs.

Use your track to try and leverage some TV appearances, radio interviews, decent shows and support slots.

Try to make it newsworthy not just about ‘local band makes record’.

Are you going to do all of those things? Because you really should!

And if you do, guess what?

It’ll take months!

Once you have really left no stone unturned, and exhausted all possible promotional avenues. It’s time to do it all over again!

Try to stay focused and not veer from your plan.

Just because something hasn’t taken off instantly don’t be disheartened.

Over-night success isn’t very common, and those that appear to get ‘big’ in a flash have often put in the hard yards already.

Roman philosopher Seneca famously said:

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”.

As musicians and artists it is in our nature to move quickly, and to always want to create, but preparation and organisation is so important, and taking it slow means we can do a much better job.

When opportunity knocks you need to be ready to answer.

I know how frustrating it can be to be sitting on a bunch of songs and just wanting to release them to free up some of the mental clutter in my mind.

At times like this you have to think about the audience.

They don’t know how many songs you have saved up or how long you have been waiting to move onto your next release.

You will have more bites of the cherry if you take your time with each release, and your fanbase will grow exponentially as you pick up people along the way.

My advice would be to do a 1 year plan that looks something like this:

  • Jan & Feb – Pre-release Promo
  • March & April – Single #1 release and Promo
  • May & June – Pre-release Promo
  • July & August – Single #2 release & Promo
  • September & October – Pre-release Promo
  • November & December – Single #3 and EP release Promo.

That’s, of course, a very basic blueprint but it shows how quickly a year can go, and how easy it is to fill up the time with such a small, concise output.

In the one year plan, my advice is to concentrate on singles, and then (if you want to) put them together on an EP to coincide with the last single release (you might want to throw another track on there for bonus value)

This, in my opinion, is how you should release an EP.

Don’t put it out all on its own, it’s a complete waste of 4 or 5 tracks that probably cost you a ton of money to make and you will find yourself in 2 months thinking “Now What?”

Using my advice will buy your EP a years worth of promo.

Yes you will be bored of that EP, but others won’t. When they hear it for the first time it will be ‘Fresh’

That’s if they are even taking any notice at all!

In the time it takes to give your releases the attention they deserve, you will have amassed a bunch of new stuff you are eager to showcase.

When the time is right you’ll have a wealth of material to choose from, and those new songs you were desperate to record and put out 6 months ago may have actually gone down the pecking order and been replaced by even better stuff.

Take it slow, don’t rush anything out. New, recorded and un-released music is money in the bank.

If a label asks you for material when they finally get wind of the single you’ve been pumping for two months you’ll be able to say “Yes, we do have more recorded unreleased material”.

Once your songs have been released they’re a bit damaged as far as a label is concerned.

Be proud of your material even if you can’t bear the sound of it anymore, once upon a time you did.

Wait until your current stock is nearly at its expiration date before you put the new stuff on the shelf.

And remember, everyone prefers your old songs anyway! 😉

What Advice Do You Have?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I hope it can help you along your path.

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Also, I like to open up discussions about being an indie musician, and I love to learn from others stories and advice.

I welcome all feedback, opinions, additional tips and even the occasional “You don’t know what you’re on about, mate!’ comments.

Fire away below.

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Lee Jones

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Steve - July 9, 2016 Reply

Super helpful and very wise. So many people just rush their music out there too quickly.

Steve

    Lee Jones - July 9, 2016 Reply

    Thanks Steve. Yep, we’ve all done it! there’s no worse feeling than not getting any response from something you have worked so hard for.

Kristen Lawler - July 13, 2016 Reply

Yes, I agree, not bad advice, but unfortunately it completely overlooks the realities of many women’s working lives as musicians or working creatives. if you have kids, while you are following these nice neat steps, someone else is looking after them and not even in a position to make mistakes. Just look at the pics in the article.

    Paul Coleman - August 15, 2016 Reply

    Hi Kristen – that’s a very fair point but I do know of stay at home Mums who have built a successful career for themselves without touring.

    There is always a way!

davide - July 14, 2016 Reply

Really useful and well done, precious clues

thank you Lee 🙂

davide

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