Independent Doesn’t Mean DIY
In recent years, as being independent has become a more popular way of building a career in music, the term “DIY” has become rather mainstream. The way it is used has encouraged us to view doing it on our own as an attainable way to build a long-term career in music. Of course, it is possible to do it all alone. But just because you can do it on your own, doesn’t mean you should. Being Independent and DIY are two entirely different things and in order to build a sustainable career, going at it alone may not be the best way…
When we observe artists who inspire us, often all we see is their success. We are blind to the work that they have put in and the support they had in getting there.
Even when we see a successful artist who has struck out on their own after leaving their label behind, we don’t see the whole picture. We view a successful independent artist who is doing it all on their own and achieving global success and feel inspired. If they can DIY, surely we can too, right?
There’s one problem with this view. These independent global superstars haven’t done it alone. Many of them rose to prominence with the support of a label and even in their independence, their core fanbase and visibility is still riding on the support the received.
Once they leave the label, the don’t suddenly manage everything on their own. They have a team who supports them and helps them to push their music further.
The truth is, somewhere along the way, someone merged the terms “DIY” and “Independent” and we see them both as kindred spirits. But DIY and Independent are not the same thing.
What Does DIY Mean?
DIY means doing it yourself. It refers to managing every single aspect of your journey yourself. This would mean that you make the music, sing the music, write the music, produce the music, promote the music, distribute the music, manage the music, protect the music, monetise the music, book the gigs, design the artwork… I mean, the list goes on.
Now, as you can tell from that list, that is a lot to do. In our experience, it is not a viable way to build a sustainable career. Why? Because that is a lot, and no one person can be good at everything.
This is something that successful artists have recognised. The reality is, if someone else can manage an aspect of your success for you, they should. Being an independent musician doesn’t mean that you must do it all alone. It’s a one man show, not a one man grow.
Yes, you could do a lot on your own, especially in the beginning. But you will burn out or spread yourself too thin. Staying DIY for your entire career is possible, it just isn’t practical.
What Does Being Independent Mean?
Being independent has a variety of meaning. It is a broad spectrum that contains a many number of artists who operate in very different ways.
As an overview, being independent means being in control of your own music. You are unsigned and retain all the rights to control your music, your career and your future.
How you choose to operate is entirely up to you. That’s the best part about keeping control of your music. Accepting help and hiring support doesn’t make you any less independent or any less worthy of your success. It will only help you reach it.
Those artists who you aspire to be like knew that they couldn’t do it alone. Even if they thought they could, they recognised that it wouldn’t be the most effective way.
They have hired people in to manage the aspects they don’t excel in, and that is absolutely fine. By hiring out, they were able to push their artistry forward and reach their goals. If they didn’t, there’s a strong possibility you wouldn’t even know their name.
What Should I Do?
Only you can decide what you need to do! As an independent artist, you are calling the shots here. But, if you want to do this long term, you will need to accept that you can’t do everything.
You have weaknesses, as all people do. Think about what you are good at and what enjoy doing and find cost effective solutions for everything else! We are not saying to need to go and spend thousands on a full support team. But hiring in companies such as distributors, promoters and producers will help you to build your career. Check out our recent blog on building a team here: Why You Need A Team | Music Career | Identity Music.
Truthfully, it’s much more fun when you surround yourself with others who are working towards the same thing as you. Why would you want to do it completely alone?
Are you looking to get your music out there? With Identity Music you can get your music all over the globe in order to gain the maximum exposure. By using our distribution and music promotion services, you’ll be able to take control while watching your music reach new heights.
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