By: Chris Standring
The music industry is changing, has changed.
We are in serious transition now. The days of effectively shopping an artist to record companies are coming to an end. Retail stores are about to go out of business. Just watch them if you don't believe me. So what hope is there for artists now?
There is huge potential for artists! It's a fantastic time, but the model has changed. It is no longer cost effective or even smart for a record company to sign a new artist, spend gobs of money on retail promotion and maybe see the same money back that was invested. It simply doesn't make any sense. We are living in a digital world now and we must prepare for it. That means that instead of being discovered (old school) you must truly be independent and become the entrepreneurial artist now (new school).
You must educate yourself about the new model and rise to the occasion. Only the strong will survive now and I firmly believe that only the smart will have longevity. We must become internet marketers and learn how to drive traffic to our websites and partner with other forward thinking music moguls and creative thinkers. The 'geek' will truly inherit the earth. There is a bright future if you want to embrace the world. But we must do away with the old school model and prepare for the new day. It is here.
Armed & Ready
"A&R" traditionally, has stood for "Artist & Repertoire", a term for record label reps who are designated the task of developing acts, honing their skills and pointing them in the right direction. This is fast becoming an antiquated idea. That labels are developing artists at all is now barely something to be entertained. From here on out, as far as you, the indie artist are concerned, "A&R" should now stand for "Armed & Ready". You are about to enter a new musical arena, and you will need as much information that pertains to this new state of play as you can possibly get.
A manager said to me a couple of years ago, "Chris, from here on, try not to sign record deals, but licence your music to different territories and keep your masters. Look for interesting ways to get your music to the masses. TV, movie, ringtones, jingles, etc etc". This was sound advice.
My Personal Advice
And my personal advice is to build your fanbase. Have people sign up on your mailing list at gigs, and build your database. Study internet marketing and ways to get traffic to YOUR website. Use remote sites (such as MySpace.com) to attract new fans and get them to signup on your list at YOUR website.
Understand that remote sites (such as MySpace) will be out of business within a matter of years so you HAVE to work your own domain, but most of all your own opt in list. (Imagine you had 100,000 people on your subscriber list. You make a new CD and you can be guaranteed about 30,000 sales right out of the box!). Utilize timed autoresponders to sell your merchandise to your fans. Automate all of this as much as possible so you can take care of the creative stuff.
Take control of your career now. You have nobody to answer to you but yourself. Now go get 'em!