20 of The Worst Indie Artist Mistakes - Part 1

First things first, we all make mistakes and we know this.  It’s a part of life, it’s a part of growing, and it’s a learning experience.  Everyone in any industry always makes a few missteps in their career and this is due to the entrepreneurial mindset of testing.  If something didn’t work we know not to do it again and to learn from it what might work in the future.  Too many artists however spend too long doing the things that aren’t working for them to meet their long term goals without realizing it and over time this adds up and will lead to frustration.  The next series of articles will go over 10 basic things that should be marked off your checklist of things not to do!

1.  Your songs suck
Consumers are very quick to skip past a song that does not catch their attention in the first 20 seconds to something that does.  Make your intros or leads count.  Remember to implement craft in your song arrangements.  People tend to forget that to a new listener the first part of the song is what matters that most.

2.  Your producing yourself
Ever wonder why many major labels would never allow this?  Do you ever wonder why the major stars, even those who know how to produce professional still use other producers?  Just because you own pro tools or logic doesn’t mean you should get behind a DAW.  Working with someone who is more experience and educated in a specific field will not only produce a better overall result but will help you pick up knowledge and experience in the collaboration process as well.  Invest you money in your product and not collecting gear.

3.  You’re not marketing yourself at all
Putting out your music on Spotify, Reverbnation, ITunes, CD Baby, etc is not marketing.  It’s digital distribution and there is a great difference.  Having your music available where ever things are sold isn’t going to influence anyone’s buying decision.  Now Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, live shows, music blogs, online radio, and public relations are all marketing tools you need to look into to help create awareness for yourself as an artist and overall brand.  Emails and constant contact with your audiences are what will help buying decisions. 

4.  Your business model is out of date
The days of shopping around demo’s to label are completely finished.  Labels do not want to sign, trust me.  Radio is no longer key to marketing your music either.  This ship has sailed decades ago.  The true power is now in developing yourself and setting up your own foundation and ground work.
5.  You don’t think like a label
In today’s day and age the first thing that would happen if you were to get signed on the dot is that the label will surround you with professional people of influence.  This includes songwriters, producers, publicists, image consultants, marketing directors, A&R’s, booking agents and many more.  Think like a label now and research and build a team that will ultimately help you on a professional level. 

6.  You don’t sell on your own website
This should be the main hub of where any artist sells their music, forget ITunes.  The greatest assest of an artist’s brand is their personalized website.  The majority of purchasing should be done from this outlet.  Not only will you save that 30% cut of profits from most distributors but you will also build awareness for your brand and have an outlet for people to come back to for updates. 

7.  You’re not posting regular videos on YouTube
For any new artist YouTube should be seen as your main radio outlet with potentials to reach millions of new listeners.  There is no need to go to a major radio station and pay the director to spin your track a few times in off peak hours.  YouTube even pays royalties if you incorporate advertising on your channel and the shelf life of your song is infinite. 

8.  You suck at project management
If the recently passed CEO of Apple Steve Jobs, approached marketing his product the way 90% of us are approaching the way we market our music, he would have died homeless and never left the garage.  Think quality over quantity with this.  It’s better to produce 3 solid songs that have professional packaging, production and quality than 10 songs that aren’t properly mixed, mastered or have professional artwork.  First impression is everything and every new listener is a potential new dollar.  Present yourself accordingly and leave them wanting more!  Dropping a quality song every month is much better than dropping a crappy song that every week. 

9.  You’re still waiting on a big break
We all wish that the old business model still existed; you know the one where we just record songs and then have the labels do all the promotional work for us.  That day and age is gone my friend and there no easy way out.  The superstars who are big today worked harder and smarter than all of us; even if they sucked, they did not have the labels that signed them do the ground work for them.   Nobody is just getting discovered anymore, so get off the couch and get to work. 

10.  You still think labels are developing talent
Record labels no longer do this!  They don’t care about your music, they care about dollars!  They want the market you’ve created for yourself, your fans, and primarily if they can make money by adding fuel to your already burning fire.  They will not rub sticks to start that flame for you anymore.  Remember Google didn’t develop YouTube, they purchased it because they knew the potential cash flow the investment would bring in.  Prove yourself valuable like YouTube did!

Look out for the follow up article with mistakes 11-20 coming next week!
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