Creativity and business inevitably overlap within the music industry. It’s a fair presumption that most artists think of themselves as creative; many loathe the idea of 9-5 paid prison, whilst others have to find a balance between both.
Can an artist balance the business of the industry with the creativity that’s needed in order to succeed and really connect with their inner vision?
Artists everywhere struggle to come to terms with the businesslike nature that labels, venues and industry insiders strive for. After all, artists want to create, to inspire, to talk to people through lyric and music.
The answer has already been written. You’ve read it: balance.
Balance With Labels
If getting signed is a major goal of yours, then you must quickly come to the realization that labels want to make money from you. The other side of this is that you will benefit in a myriad of ways from them, too. They generate revenue and profit through 360 deals and you get to perform and fulfill your creative hunger, while also getting in on the financial benefits.
Another worthwhile note is that you are still responsible for yourself, your image and your reputation, which you definitely want to be! Think about yourself as a rebellious teenager; you want to be independent, you want to Facebook, Instagram, go out with crowds, stay up late, play your music loud! You want to go in the direction your gut takes you in (unless it’s to the Twinkie aisle). But you might need some authority (read: record label) to say, from time to time, “Ummmm… No.”
Don’t sit back and imagine that they will do everything for you; do take advice when needed- balance.
Balance With Creativity
You might want to do everything yourself, but the fact is that even though you can do anything, you can’t do everything! You have to delegate. There are thousands of sites out there that you can turn to if you’re on your own completely. This is where you can find other creatives, designers, and musicians to work with. You can seek help, even if the help comes in the form of feedback, from people around you, or via forums and/or social media.
You might be astounding in terms of lyrics. You might be able to defeat Aristotle if he were resurrected, but you might be ineffably terrible at design. Don’t sweat it! Seek help. Use services.
Balance With Design
Big companies, love them or hate them, spend money on design. Their products sell because of how they look. If you have a great product that isn’t selling, you might try redesigning, including the name and/or look.
The balance is, of course, in the detail. If you can’t do it to a standard that screams professionalism, then outsource. You get to use it, and it might be the catalyst to propel you forward!
Balance With Trends
Collaborations are everything right now! Mainstream artists are constantly collaborating with emerging artists. Though many artists don’t have access or can’t afford these types of collaborations, all is not lost. Collaborating with artists who are popular on YouTube can be just as valuable when you are just emerging.
The best balance to strike is the one that sees you collaborate with another artist that has cultivated a different pool of followers, i.e., performs another genre of music, thus diversification emerges. Also, dilution: you might want to consider striking a balance insofar as how many other artists you want to collaborate with. Pairing up with too many over too a short period might dilute the impact of one or two special collaborations.
Balance With Social Media
Learn to tease. Learn what your fans want to know and need to know. Give them what they need to know in order to make them want to know more. You will never experience a more powerful PR than that of word of mouth, or click of mouse. Get fans interested on social media, get them active on your behalf and, as the old adage goes, “treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen.” That is, until the build up is over…
The balance comes from the build up: You have to decide, based on interaction, when is the best time to give out the information they now want to know. Countdowns are a great way to get people enthused, as are sneak peaks and previews.
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Maxie Reynolds is a pilot, writer, and one-man dog walker. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and at www.maxiereynolds.com