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How artists get discovered

A step-by-step guide for musicians

 

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Thomas van Wijk

Are you having a hard time getting people to find your music? Don’t despair. All artists big and small at some point faced the same challenges you’re facing right now. It’s a fairytale to think you can become a superstar overnight by a single stroke of luck. With Songflow I want to help you in your effort to get discovered by both fans and music professionals. Let’s do it smart, keep things simple, so you can focus on what’s really important: making your music and connecting with fans.

Step 1: Find your voice

Needless to say: You must create, produce and record super, amazing, awesome music! I cannot help you with this. It’s your creative journey. Don’t worry about being good enough at first. Experiment, play around and learn to find  your “voice”. Dave Growl talked about this in his inspiring  SXSW 2013 Keynote speech. Later on you will get help  from other artists and creatives (see step 5).

Step 2: Force yourself onto listeners

Rehearsing in a soundproof black box under the ground can make you feel awfully rock ‘n roll. I know from experience ;-). The truth is you’ll never be a star without an audience. So you have to force yourself onto listeners. Get acquainted with the idea of public performances. Share your demo’s on Soundcloud, Youtube, Bandcamp or (the new) Myspace. Play at local venues and, most importantly, invite your friends to the occasion. You can have a party! Meanwhile you’re building the foundation for the story of how you became an active, respected musician in your local scene. You’ll need this story for step 3.

Step 3: Release your best work

Now it’s do, or die! If nothing changes you’ll never get out of this boring town. Make the decision to invest in your music. Record the best work you’ve got. One brilliant song is enough. Make it look nice. Create your b(r)and image and write the story of how you came to be. Now if all that is finished release it to the world as widespread as you can. I mean Spotify, iTunes, Deezer, AmazonMP3, Rdio, Beatport,  Google Play and more. Your official online presence is vital for the next step. HECK you can even earn a buck from that multi billion digital music market!

Step 4: Share, promote, play

Time for a metaphor: So in the first three steps you’ve assembled your car, pumped the gas (or electricity) and started the engine. Now it’s time to put your vehicle into gear and start driving. In other words: You’ve found your voice, recorded great music, setup your social media profiles, released your first song(s) and got a hell of a story to tell. What are you waiting for? Go promote yourself! Connect with people who might like your music. Post your songs on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Get reviews. Play gigs. Talk to fans. Create those lasting memories that make fans tell their friends about you.

Step 5: Build a team

Here’s the catch. The DIY movement from a few years back tells you artists can make it on their own. You don’t need a label and huge successes can come to completely independent artists working on their own. I hate to say this isn’t true at all. There are always more people behind the music than just the performing artist. What HAS changed is how much power those people need to have over your career. Your direct relationship with fans has never been more important and music professionals know this. In a way your responsibilities have only increased by the fact that you need to be able to run your own social marketing activities besides your artistic talent. Our approach is that hard work and obvious talent WILL be rewarded with outsiders (labels, managers, publishers, bookers) stepping in to help. The keyword is NETWORKING. The more people you know, the more choices you have to form the perfect team that will take your artistic vision to global superstardom.

Step 6: It’s only the beginning

Here’s another buzzkill. Steps 1-5 usually take artists years and years. Just listen to this (Spotify) track  on the latest Daft Punk album for a perfect example from pop history. What may appear to the public as an overnight success, usually hides years of struggling to make ends meet. Sound familiar? Besides talent, perseverance is often what makes artists successful in the end. Stick with your artistic vision. Dream freely about the artist you are deep inside. CREATE, PLAY, LEARN and become the best you possibly can. If you make it to step 6, you’ll realize you’re only at the beginning.

About Songflow

Songflow is here to help you get discovered. Not by selling a bullshit story about DIY and distributing your music to “act” like you’re a professional artist. We build and provide solutions for you to actually thrive in today’s social music industry. So join us, talk to us. Let us help you on your way to GET DISCOVERED.

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