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The Unlucky 13: 13 Common Music Mistakes

The Unlucky 13: 13 Common Music Mistakes

We love that you are following your dream and moving towards building a career in the music industry. Taking that step into artistry is one of the most exciting steps you can take. Now you’re probably already aware, but the music industry has changed drastically in recent years. The internet has broken the traditional mould and now waiting around to be discovered is a thing of the past. However, old habits die hard and there are still a lot of artists waiting around for that to happen. Not to worry, we’re on your side. We’ve put together a guide to help you avoid the most common music mistakes that artists make when they release their tracks.

Today, you absolutely can do it all yourself and share your music on your own terms. You can do this, and do it well, making money and building a name for yourself.  Given that this is all very new though, it’s no wonder that its very easy to make simple mistakes. It can be daunting stepping out into this huge overwhelming and overcrowded world of music.

The first thing you need to understand is that the internet really is the driving force behind the music industry of today. You can’t get away from this. Everything you do will revolve around the internet. The second thing is that nobody is perfect. You will make mistakes, as every other artist has too. But read through this guide to start off on the best foot and launch your online music presence in the best way.

Here are some of the most common mistakes we see from artists today:

1. Thinking That Their Music Will Sell Itself.

“A good product will sell itself.”. Sure, we’ve all heard this phrase. And sure, your music is brilliant and unique. However, if people aren’t listening, no one will know that! By waiting to be discovered, you sit with thousands of other unique artists just waiting to be found.

No. What you need to do is push your music forward and find your future listeners.

2. Copying Other Strategies

So, your music is unique, right? So why be a carbon copy of every other artists when it comes to building your career. This is one of the biggest mistakes we see on a regular basis. A lot of artists who are starting out attempt to copy strategies that have been used by other successful artists in the hopes of replicating the results. But, just because YouTube made an artist famous, or going viral on TikTok created millions of streams, doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Investing all your time and all your resources copying other is a colossal waste of time. You are a unique artist and your path is your own. Do your best to learn what you can and adapt it to suit you. Study other artists and adopt aspects of their strategy, but don’t copy and paste their strategy and use it as your own.

Start by working out who you are, where you fit in the music world and where you want to be. From there, work to building a strategy which supports those ideas and moves you in the right direction.

3. Marketing Too Broadly

No matter what music you produce, how good it is and how hard you try, you will never produce a sound that everyone likes. It just isn’t possible. Even if you produce a pop song, not every pop fan will like it.

Get that idea out of your head. Find your audience and focus on just them. Don’t waste your energy levels directing efforts on disinterested audiences. Instead, focus your time, effort and resources on a lucrative audience.

4. Keeping Everything Offline

There’s a saying: “If it isn’t on social media, it didn’t happen”. That’s all.

5. Releasing Every Song

Your releases should all serve one key purpose: supporting and developing your brand. Although, most artists don’t know what their brand is, it is something you should develop and take pride in strengthening. It is more than just a colour scheme, a logo and an image. It is who you are, how you engage with your audience and the feelings you invoke.

So, what does that mean? Well, your releases should capitalise on that. Your release should engage your target audience, represent you and connect with listeners. Any song that doesn’t do this is not worth releasing. 

Choosing the songs you keep working on and release to improve your brand is a strategic decision. It should not be taken lightly. Sometimes, even though you love a project, you can’t release it. Yes, it can be hard to say goodbye to a song you worked hard on. However, if you release it, it will only weaken your brand. Instead, find another way to use it, re-develop it in order to fit your brand or walk away.

6. Wasting Resources and Investing Poorly

Deciding what a “good opportunity” is can be tough. There is no school to teach you this stuff. It can rely on a lot of trial and error.

That being said, there is also a lot of learning to be done in prioritising exposure.  If you have a very small audience, spending £1000s on merchandise probably isn’t going to do much for you, except drain your financial resources. Likewise, spending money on radio advertising for anything other than a huge tour is probably going to provide you little returns. Even when it comes to a tour, you could probably reach further with social media.

If you are just starting out in music or are in the early stages of your career where you are seeing few returns, you should be cautious about your spending. Sure, hiring a publicist might seem like a great idea, but do you have the money to pay them, and do you currently have anything worth shouting about?

Be strategic with your investment choices. Engage your fans and reach out in social advertising and cost-effective promotion.

7. Releasing With Bad Sound Quality

Did you hear someone say “that’s terrible”? Because that’s exactly what your listeners will be saying.

You would think this one wouldn’t need to feature on the list, but unfortunately, it does. A lot of good artists drag themselves down by releasing bad recordings and poorly edited tracks.

You might be thinking “I don’t have the money to go to a recording studio though”. But don’t underestimate the quality you can get from home studios. And, like we discussed earlier, it’s about identifying good investment opportunities. One well produced song is better than 50 bad ones.

When you are trying to build a respected name for yourself, you should NEVER cut corners on the quality of your product. Your music may be great, but a poor sound quality will make for a poor listening experience. This could be your first impression on thousands of listeners, and if you release poor sound quality tracks, it will certainly be your last.

Things to avoid:

  • Cheap Microphones and poorly edited vocals.
  • Low Quality Mixing.
  • And unintentional distortion and poor signal to noise ratios.
  • Lack of quantization.
8. Not Social Marketing

Everyone thinks of “paid” opportunities when they first think of marketing and promotion ideas. These are great because you can structure the strategy to control who you reach; how much you spend and how far it goes. But, when you don’t have the budget, what else are you to do?

Don’t forget you have an enormous resource at the tip of your fingertips.

Start by optimising your social channels. Meaning making them interesting and actionable. They should be able to easily find your music. Use a fan link in your profile to direct your readers to all of your music assets!

Share links on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, but don’t put a URL in your Instagram posts. They aren’t clickable, and the fact is, no one will go to the effort of copying and pasting them into a browser. Your goal should be to make it as easy as possible for your future fans.

Take advantage of relevant hashtags to share your music far and wide.

Use YouTube video descriptions to direct your fans to their key streaming platforms or a place to purchase your music. YouTube is a great platform for music but helping them to add you on the streaming platform of choice can only expand your audience.

Most importantly: interact with your fans. It is vital that you connect with your fans. There are so many ways to do this! But ensure you connect with your fans on a personal level to create a truly loyal fan base.

9. Not Networking

Get to know people in the music scene and build mutually beneficial connections. Introduce yourself to local music shops, events spaces and digital bloggers. You could even reach out to other musicians. If you are confident and support of independent artistry, you won’t see this people as competitions, but as allies who should help each other succeed. Successful networking can get you gigs, features and a lot more free promotion for your tracks.

10. Forgetting To Promote Pre-Release

Planning forward, developing a campaign and building excitement around a release can be the critical difference between a success and a complete flop. Once you’ve poured your heart and soul into creating a song, the last thing you want is for people to miss it when it hits the streaming shelves.

You need to focus your marketing on raising awareness before the release, as well as after it. So many artists release the track and then market it, but getting it off to a good start can benefit you in many ways like Algorithmic Playlisting.

11. Being Impatient

This might be the age of digital, where you get instant gratification, social media messengers and same day delivery, but being impatient when it comes to your music is dangerous. Despite what the industry wants you to believe, making it overnight is not a thing. Take time to build a fan base, take time to develop your sound, take time to promote your tracks. The music industry is a marathon.

12. Worrying About Your Stream Counts

Of course you want streams. And, of course you want a lot of stream. There is nothing at all wrong with wanting to get pout there and get your name heard. But as we just said, the music industry is a marathon. It takes time to build up your audience and your stream counts. Clock-watching the numbers is never going to help. Build a compelling brand and create great music. Don’t just wait for the streams to roll in, go out there and find them.

13. Surrounding Yourself With The Wrong People

This is vital. Like attracts like. You should fill your circle with people who will push you further. Keep it small, keep it focussed and keep it positive. Don’t keep people around who are negative or who don’t believe in you.

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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