4 Myths Musicians Believe About Succeeding in the Music Industry

[Editors Note: This was written by Krizel Minnema and appeared on her blog, Music Road.]


Glamour and luxury has shaped the way a lot of musicians perceive the music industry. Even the way few musicians are discovered seem like glorious happenstance that seem sort of in reach. 

This turns into two things for aspiring musicians. First, success looks like a millionaire life with tons of fame. Second, to achieve this success, you need to keep hustling until you stumble upon the right record label exec to get you signed.

As a result, I’ve found that there are 4 big myths that musicians end up believing about succeeding in the music industry. And unfortunately, a lot of this blind hope only sets them up for failure.


Sure, artists like Rihanna and Taylor Swift were discovered. But TONS of musicians are discovered and only a few of them make it. 

Regardless, musicians will gig around as many places as possible. They might even do some covers and originals on their YouTube channel hoping to be the next viral hit.

The problem with this is that it’s a “spray and pray” or “scratch and maybe win” process. It’s aimless, tactless, and it  hardly works. I call these musicians the “lottery musicians”. 

Doing gigs and sharing music needs to be strategic and meaningful. For example, The Civil Wars started in small areas and very specific areas. Their other strategy was to offer a free live recording EP in exchange for emails and zip codes. They got over 500,000 new subscribers from this!

Not only did they get an excellent way to connect DIRECTLY with fans, but they knew where their fans were to build tours around them. This is deliberate and strategic – not random. 

The kicker? They became a grammy-award winning success all without a major record label. 

In fact, record labels don’t even look for talented musicians anymore. They look for artists that have a following. For example, Bhad Bhabie. She has absolutely no rap experience. She had a few one-liners in a Dr. Phil show, and then she became an internet sensation. Not long after, she was offered a major record label deal from Atlantic.


The Civil Wars, Chance the Rapper, Dodie, KING, Ingrid Michaelson, Kina Grannis and other artists are all independent artists that don’t have a major record label. 

Yet, they’re making 6-7+ figures in their music. Aside from their salaries, they’re able to create music full-time while paying the bills. For most people, this is success.

Nowadays, “getting discovered” is like winning the lottery. Much worse, even if you are signed, record labels aren’t obligated to get an album out of you. In fact, only .2% of those signed manage to dodge the bullet of being dropped by a label. In other words, that means 99.8% fail. Even more, 99% of the acts signed never even get to release an album (Avalon, 2011). 

You might think to yourself, “But I’m different. I’ve got real talent, and they just gotta find me.” I’m sure this *might* be true for you. But you can’t bank on happenstance to get a deal. If you do, your likely failure rate just increases.

The reality is, successful musicians are strategic and smart about how they promote and grow their fanbase.


This isn’t just a musician problem. It’s an artist problem. The mentality is “if you love something, wouldn’t you just do it for free”? This reason comes from the idea that being poor means more passion and more authenticity. This couldn’t be more wrong. 

Deep down, it’s an excuse to not think strategically or try harder. As a result, they convince themselves that real opportunity will be handed to them. “Real art is found.” However, like in The Civil Wars example earlier, opportunity is created not hand delivered.

The music industry is changing and it demands a change in mindset. This leads me to the next myth.


Ever since P2P file-sharing back in the early 2000s and, now, the growing streaming industry, CD sales have plummeted. Demand, however, has not.

People are listening to music more than ever before. In fact, there is countless academic research that show that streaming increases the interest of music consumption. In other words, streaming increases a fan’s listening palettes AND increases their interest to buy full CDs and/or physical albums. Like, for example, classical music.

And I mean music that was made CENTURIES ago is having a comeback in this changing music industry. All thanks to streaming. Back in 2016, Mozart (yes, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) had one of the highest album sales of the year.

The way in which fans consume their music is completely different from the early 2000s. How much they’re consuming is also changing. This also means artists need to be creative with the ways we reach fans and how we sell to them. 

Beyonce created a visual album. Chance the Rapper gave all his music away and made money from concerts. Kina Grannis ran a Patreon campaign to create her own label with her fans. Radiohead released their album at a “pay what you want” model and made more that way than any other major record label release.

Thanks to the changing digital landscape around music, there are even MORE opportunities to connect with fans and succeed in the music industry.


As a musician you can build a tangible – and strategic – plan to succeed in the music industry. It all starts with a shift from a “lottery musician” mentality to an “opportunist musician” mentality. 

Here are three jumpstart steps for you to get into that mind shift:

  1. Have smart, digestible goals. Being strategic means being reasonable with your goals. Make simple, tangible goals that make it easier to get to your biggest goal. If your goal is to have 100,000 fans, start with the first 10, then 100, then 1,000, then so on.
  2. Think of different streams of revenue. Don’t just focus on getting fans. Think of ways to monetize your craft. This includes streaming sales, single/album sales, merchandise sales, sync licenses, collaborations, lending your voice in projects, live digital shows (yes, that’s a thing!), crowdfunding, and more.
  3. Keep learning. Keep investing in your education. Not just your craft. This includes music business. Learn how to network with the right people. Understand smart promotional strategies to get more fans by reading books or watching courses on marketing. Never stop learning and APPLY what you learn.

Digital Marketing Tools & Resources For Independent Musicians [Part 2]

[Author: Raj Shah *
Part Two of a two-piece article that aims to break down tools that independent artists can utilize in their digital marketing strategies – all available at their fingertips! Read Part One here.

Develop Your Brand

Marketing and branding is about selling yourself as much as it is about selling your music. Identify what’s unique about your personality, goals, and the specific niche you hope to establish yourself as an authority in. Then, create and promote content on the regular that reinforces your brand.

Let’s look at how you can be consistent with your branding assets, voice and tone in your content, and general social media habits.

Take Advantage of Branding Tools

1. Canva. Every serious musician should have a branding kit and Canva is the perfect DIY tool to make one on a budget.

Your branding kit is your bible for all things related to content and design. To create an effective and consistent brand on your merchandise, albums, and website, always stick to your branding kit.

Here’s a tutorial from Canva that helps you identify the perfect logo, typography, and color palettes. Check out this tutorial on how to create a consistent effect.

2. Stencil. This is a great alternative to Canva for non-designers and DIY artists. The tool allows you to create captivating images for your social networks, as well as feature images for your blog content.

You can also use it to create ads for Facebook and Twitter. Once you draw up an image, use any of the custom settings to resize images based on what site they’ll be added to.

Canva offers more marketing and advertising design templates, but Stencil gets the job done fast.

3. Logojoy. When it comes to designing a logo, try Logojoy. The tool guides you through the entire process, comes up with a look that reflects your style, and differentiates you from competitors.

If you want something free and fast, you can mock up a logo using Canva or Stencil. If you want a premium logo but don’t want to pay a designer, Logojoy is a happy medium.

For $65, you’ll get a high-resolution logo of your choice with black and white variations and different file formats so you can update your logo in the future.

4. Google Fonts. As far as typography goes, check out the popular and free, Google Fonts. Fontpair is another great tool for finding body and heading fonts that pair well.

Once your brand kit is established, don’t worry about revisiting it to “perfect” it. Your time is better spent on music production, content creation, and promotion.

Define a Content Marketing Strategy

Let’s define content as anything of substance that you can create and promote. This includes your latest songs, blog articles, and social media posts. It also consists of any asset that can attract people’s attention such as interviews, giveaways, contests, downloads, etc.

In the digital marketing world, content is thought of as a magnet that attracts attention in the form of social media conversations, backlinks, and press coverage. This then leads to conversions: product sales, newsletter subscriptions, leads generated, etc.

A well-defined content marketing strategy not only helps you get attention, but it also helps you narrow down your audience. In other words, it can help you identify a niche in the industry that only you and a handful of other artists can carve.

Related: Why Content Marketing is One of the Best Ways to Promote Music

The thought of narrowing down to small audiences scares most musicians, because we live in a world where numbers in the thousands, millions, and billions reflect success.

The truth is however, that you need to win over a small audience and establish yourself as an authority there first, and then work your way up to broader audiences. While your competitors are aiming to leap straight from dozens of listeners to millions, you’re better off taking small steps and progressing further in the long run.

In baseball terms, amateur musician marketers “only swing for home runs.” On the other hand, a musician with a content strategy hustles to get on base by any means necessary. Every piece of content created and shared will lead to a walk, single, double, triple, or home run.

Content Marketing Tools & Resources

  • Strategy Templates. Here’s a list of the top 10 content marketing and strategy templates to kickstart your planning process. There are templates for building an editorial calendar, content creation ideas, and more from some of the top digital marketers out there. Pick one and take some time to think through each section.
  • BuzzSumo. This is hands-down the best tool to find content ideas, influencers in your niche, and the most relevant websites to promote your brand and content on.
  • Quora. Use Quora, the best Q&A site on the web, to find the most popular questions and identify the types of content or music your fans crave the most. Any time you get in a creative rut, fire up Quora and get inspired.
  • The Right Margin. Ever struggle to finish writing something? Whether it’s a blog post or a new song, this tool helps you break it down into bite-sized goals which you can chip away at one-by-one.
  • Workflowy. Work better and think better using this app for organizing your thoughts and making lists to keep you on track to reaching your goals. Workflowy helps musicians stay productive and efficient.
  • Google Drive/Docs. Stay organized and sync every document you’ll ever need for free with Google. This includes spreadsheets, docs, and calendars.
  • TuneCore Social. Schedule social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, and more. Check out all the performance data of your posts on different networks, learn what works, and adjust the timing of posts to maximize engagement with your fans.
  • MailChimp. Your fans aren’t always logged into Facebook or Twitter when you post something. The best form of communication to ensure they receive the message, and to build long-term relationships, is e-mail. Send news, updates, and offers to your subscribers on a regular basis. MailChimp is an excellent tool for all of your e-mail marketing. They even have specific use cases for musicians.

Final Thoughts on Achieving Success for DIY Musicians

Today’s artists have more low-cost technology and marketing potential than ever before. Don’t cross your fingers and hope you go viral overnight. The overnight success is a myth.

Take full advantage of the resources available, define success on your terms, and keep taking small steps in order to put yourself in the best position to win. Using these digital marketing tools and resources you can get the attention, income, and fan loyalty you deserve.

*[Raj Shah is the Senior SEO Manager at TakeLessons – a site dedicated to providing affordable and accessible options when it comes to learning instruments and languages. Check out Part Two of this article tomorrow!]

5 Tips To Get More People to Sign Up for Your Newsletter

[Author: Hugh McIntyre *

Email newsletters may seem like a form of promotion that has gone the way of the dinosaur, but as a musician (and especially one who is still working their way up the industry ladder), I’d suggest you don’t turn your back on these messages just yet. If done right, you can really make these occasional emails valuable, and once you convince a few people to sign up, you could see sales of merch, music, and concert tickets begin to grow.

It is tough to stand out and offer an email that people want to read, and getting them to agree to be emailed in the first place is one of the toughest things to do! Here are a few tips that may help you grow your subscriber count, which is something a musician is always looking for.

  1. Offer an incentive
  2. Post on social media
  3. Explain the benefits
  4. Use a good placement
  5. Promise to be safe

Sign Up

1. Offer An Incentive

Some of your biggest fans won’t need much convincing when it comes to signing up for your email newsletter, because they’ll understand that it’s a great way to support you and to keep up to date with everything you’re doing. Since they love you, they’ll likely seek this out.

Sadly, even if you’re a star, the percentage of fans, or of those who have even heard of you and your music, who will voluntarily sign up to receive promotional messages from you is going to be small. People don’t want to be bothered, and we all know what it feels like to see our inboxes become inundated with missives we weren’t looking for.

As an extra incentive to convince people to sign up for your newsletter, offer to give them something of value in exchange for access to their inbox. It doesn’t need to be anything huge, but it does need to be something they actually care about and that many people will want, since you’re not going to be tailoring this to each individual person.

A free song, a small piece of merch (like a sticker or a pin), or perhaps a certain percentage off a larger item or even a concert ticket could be enough to help you collect a respectable number of email addresses.

When you’re just starting out, you won’t need much help with managing this, as you’ll be able to simply keep track of who signed up and when and then personally email them their gift. After a certain point, that may prove to be exhausting, but there are dozens, if not hundreds of services out there that can help you run your newsletter, and there are plenty of free options that are great.

2. Post It On Social Media

Newsletters are wonderful for you and certainly still important, but we are living in a social media world now…though you shouldn’t think that the two can’t interact or cross promote! You should absolutely have links to your social channels in all of your emails, and there’s no reason why you can’t promote the fact that you have a newsletter on your social platforms as well!

As I suggest whenever you’re promoting anything on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, be smart about how you do so. Don’t simply copy and paste the same message asking people to sign up!

Be more creative!

Think about how often you’re posting, what time of day you’re sending a tweet, how this ask could work visually, and phrase your request in several different ways, so people don’t mind seeing it, and so they aren’t struck by the fact that they’ve likely seen this several times before.

Most of your fans will be following you on social media, since that’s the first place they go to find you and see what you have to say and what you’re up to, but if you can convince even some of those people to take that next step and allow you into their email inboxes, you may have a superfan in the making.

Sign Up

3. Benefits!

Newsletters used to be the only way (or at least the best way) for many people to find out that you had a new song or album coming or that you were preparing to head out on the road, but now most fans are content waiting for the news on social media.

That might sound like it’s fine, but the average person’s Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds are not only incredibly crowded, they’re also now subject to algorithms created and implemented by the companies themselves, and they might not be helping your chances.

Explain to your fans and followers that it’s important to you and your career that they sign up for your occasional emails, and spell out the benefits for them. They should be the first to receive news about everything from new music to upcoming shows, and depending on how you’re set up, you might want to think about allowing those people to have first dibs at tickets to your new tour.

You don’t need to get too technical at the beginning of your career—just send them the link first! This may change as you become more popular, but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves just yet.

4. Be Smart About Placement

For the most part, people will be signing up for your newsletter on your actual website, as it’s easiest to direct listeners there and have them enter their address via a simple form. Referrals from social are great, but don’t forget about people who may have found their way to your website organically!

As you’re creating your page, or as somebody else is, give some thought to where you place this form, and don’t only put it in one spot. You should be copying and pasting the code for your newsletter sign up form below every news item, underneath every blog you write, and somewhere on the front page where they can see it almost immediately.

It’s not always the most visually appealing addition, but it’s important, so be creative with how you incorporate it into your design!

5. Promise To Be Safe

Like I said earlier, people are exhausted by the number of emails they receive on a daily basis, and most, if not all, of them are trying to sell something (this will be the same with you). Be very clear that you have no interest in sharing their email addresses with anyone for any reason, not even for cash!

Many companies sell off thousands or millions of emails to others to encourage spam, but you’re not some major outfit! Remind your fans that this is just for you to promote your music and your shows, and nothing else. Most people won’t suspect any ulterior motives, but it doesn’t hurt to remind them!

Sign Up

*[Hugh McIntyre writes about music and the music industry and regularly contributes to Forbes, Sonicbids, and more.]

Why So Many Musicians Will Never Be Successful

[Editors Note: This was written by Anthony Cerullo and it originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.]

Even without seeing his full face, it’s a fair assumption that the man pictured above is none other than Bono from U2. Say what you will about the man, but it’s hard to deny his success. The quest to finding success like Bono’s – or any other famous musician, for that matter – is a difficult one. The reasoning behind this is because the definition of success is different for many people.

Some believe that all it takes is maintaining a standard of excellence. As long as they conquer the technical aspects of their instrument and become fluent in the language of music, then success will grow naturally. Not to put down those aspects, but there’s more to it than that.

Today’s age of music is increasingly competitive. Techincal musicianship is common practice and no longer a mind-blowing concept. Of course, there are still musicians out there who are better than others, but in terms of the audience, people won’t pay that much more to see someone like Herbie Hancock play piano compared to Taylor Swift. In fact, Taylor Swift probably charges more and isn’t nearly as musically talented as Herbie Hancock, yet some would argue she has a more successful career.

Audiences and musicians alike understand that technical excellence is a necessity if one wants to make it in music. That being said, it’s hardly all you need for success.

The keys to a successful personality

First of all, great job at mastering your instrument. You’ve practiced until your fingers bled and fought through the periods of low motivation until, finally, you’ve broken through. Friends, family, and teachers alike all praise your ability on your instrument… so why are you not playing Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve? Well, as we already know at this point, it takes more than skill to breed success.

If you want to change the world of music, that’s not going to be done just by being the best – people also need to recognize your creativity and individuality. By approaching your music in a unique and thoughtful way, you don’t even have to be an amazing player. You can see examples like this all over the music industry. Take the Beatles, for instance. None of them were virtuosos at their individual instruments, but they did something that no one else did, and they will be remembered forever for it.

Besides originality, a few key personality traits are needed as well. It’s easy to get lost in the monotony of life, but if your career isn’t going where you want it to, think about something: Are you playing it too safe? Are you sitting at home practicing your instrument and looking at all the massive tour schedules of other bands?

Some people who play it safe think that in order to make it big, you need to be skilled, rich, or lucky. A little bit of that will help, but more than anything, you need to be bold, dedicated, and devoted to taking risks. The big gig isn’t going to fall in your lap – you have to get out of the house and go for it.

You know that feeling that you might lose everything when taking a risk? It’s not a bad one. A scary feeling, yes, but bad, no. In the end, it will be persistence that brings you to the top, not luck or money.

Once you finally have the courage to risk it all and leave your comfort zone, you need to figure out how to maximize your time.

Don’t settle for mediocrity

Once you join the rat race to success, it’s crucial to differentiate yourself from the pack. There will be plenty of musicians of equal talent and dedication to compete with. To stand out, many believe they should practice longer or more efficiently. This will help, but you only have so much time and energy. By not managing your time effectively, you’ll burn yourself out.

Once that happens, you’ll seek any victory you can get to revive confidence. This is why so many people aim for mediocrity. It’s easy to obtain, safe, realistic, and doesn’t consume much energy. Some people are content with mediocrity as it satisfies them just enough.

However, the field of mediocrity is crowded. Mediocrity is like a lake full of trout fishermen. Sure, trout is alright, but there’s a lot of other guys here fishing for it. Meanwhile, in the ocean, a few daring seafarers hunt after Moby Dick himself. Moby Dick is certainly a much harder catch, but there is also less competition for this very reason.

The big goals are the ones to go after. Assuming you’ve already mastered your instrument, your energy will be best spent putting maximum effort into what you believe. You want the Moby Dick of ideas – the one that seems almost unobtainable, yet you couldn’t imagine failing to capture it.

This dream has to be deeply personal. If it’s not, you won’t be willing to do whatever it takes to make it come true. Before attempting anything, that desire has to be into place. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting time and energy. In other words, don’t exhaust yourself fishing for trout.

Put it into action

This will sound cliche, but it’s time to be honest with yourself. We all have dreams, but what stops us from doing them? If you took a piece of paper and wrote down the top five things to do before you die, would you start doing them right that second? Probably not, but that’s the issue with many who fail.

Too many musicians crave success but, whether they know it or not, shy away from it. It can be something small like not telling your friends about a gig because you’re afraid of what they’ll think. Maybe you’re sitting around putting off album production for another day. Have you written out the song you’ve been humming in your head for the past week? Why not?

It’s common sense, but nothing will get done unless you put it into action. Start small and write a list of things you need to advance your music career. Then just start doing them. Put more energy into the bigger goals on the list, but don’t skip over the smaller, necessary ones. If you’re really that dedicated to becoming a successful musician, then you’ll be rewarded greatly for your dedication to action.

How Musicians Can Take Advantage of Key Digital Trends Towards 2020

[Editors Note: This blog article was written by Michelle Aguilar.]


It is probably no surprise that businesses are being transformed by digital platforms such as Facebook. The platform has recently released a report that looks at the different ways in which businesses are being reshaped. Out of the many insights from the report, there are three findings that can be of great use, especially if you are an independent musician.

Consumer Expectations are Increasing

Facebook notes that people are expecting higher quality in mobile experiences and customer service. Reflective of their data, Facebook conversation around ‘user experience’ has been observed to grow considerably. Because of this increase, people are more accepting of surging prices. There is a willingness to pay for more convenience. This highlights the need for business to gain better understanding of the modern customer experience.

As a musician, this data can be applied to the digitalized aspects of your endeavors. Your website, press kit, and social media are all channels you can clean up and modify to make information accessible, easy to navigate, and responsive. You can also compare this to your experience as a user when attempting to connect to a business; you’re more likely to engage more when the experience is without stress or confusion.

Consumer Participation in Ecommerce is Increasing

An increase in globalization has significantly influenced the ecommerce reach. According to Facebook, more than one billion users are connected to another business in another country. Two in three online shoppers have already shopped cross-border. To give you a statistical run-down on people per region around the world are connected to a business in another country:

  • In the US, over 60%
  • In Canada, over 60%
  • In the UK, over 75%
  • In Germany, over 75%
  • In India, over 40%
  • In Japan, over 30%
  • In Indonesia over 45%
  • In Brazil, over 60%
  • In Mexico, over 60%

If people are becoming more willing to make business abroad, it is important that you make your music and music events available internationally available on the web, this includes making your music available on Spotify or other streaming services. You can also include a ‘tip jar’ to your website by creating an account on www.paypal.me—there, people can make donations by sending payments to your PayPal account.

Millennials Are The Most Populous Generation in the U.S 

According to Facebook, it is estimated that by 2020, Millennials will make up half of the global workforce. The Brookings Institution, a non-profit public policy organization, has defined key Millennial values that will shape the future of the American economy—these include:

  • An interest in daily work that reflects and is a part of larger societal concerns.
  • An emphasis on corporate social responsibility, stronger brand loyalty, ethical causes, and ability to offer specific solutions to specific social problems.
  • Respect for the environment.
  • Ability to build communities based on shared interests rather than geographical proximity, which in turn bridges dissimilar groups.

It’s important to become acquainted with the demographics that will make up most of the future workforce. After all, you are ultimately trying to find financial sustainability through your work (work which doesn’t come close to those that have a promising check every other week).And since Millennials listen to 75% more music on a daily basis (ERA) compared to other generations, these insights can serve as a guide to help you better understand your target audience.

Are there any social, economic or environmental issues that you’re interested or passionate about? If not, try to think about your personal interests; there is always someone out there that can relate and you never know, something that makes you tick may do the same for 100 (or more) others.

As an independent musician, staying on track with digital trends can be laborious since most of the time you’re busy producing, searching for gigs and doing a hundred other things to keep the ball rolling. So I hope that this brief recap on Facebook’s digital report can help fine-tune business for you and keep you prepared for your current endeavors!

Do you know of any other social media/digital trends that may be of use for other musicians? How have you managed to stay active on social media platforms? Feel free to share with us below in the comments.

Top 5 Things To Know About Stagecraft & Performance

[Editors Note: This article was written by Tessie Barnett and originally appeared on the GigSalad Blog.]

In a world where making music, sharing music, and collaborating with other artists is becoming the norm, fans are expecting much more from a band than their musical talent. It’s one thing to form a solid, personalized setlist, but connecting with your fans is another feat entirely.

You need to stay ahead of the trends and keep your fanbase growing. In order to do that, you have to perfect your live shows. Here, we’ve gathered 5 important steps to help you practice, prepare, and improve your stagecraft and performance.

1. Know The Music Inside And Out

Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse. Before a live performance, your music should be practiced to the point that you no longer consciously think of individual notes or chords. Many artists like to practice with a “handicap” to stimulate other parts of the brain. If you’re a guitarist, try playing the set blindfolded. If you’re a drummer, wear wrist weights. Get your bandmates to really listen to each other without relying on visual cues by playing songs in the dark. If you feel like regular practices aren’t enough to accomplish your desired skill level, try using a training tool to record your band practice.

One thing you’ll want to make sure you and your band agree on is rehearsal etiquette. As Jeff Black from Vandala Magazine said, “Its not just HOW MUCH time you put in, but the QUALITY of time you contribute.” Show up on time, be ready to play, and leave distractions at home. Try to avoid getting sucked into a black hole of snack breaks, video game breaks, phone breaks, etc. Make sure to use your time wisely and get what you deserve out of it.​

​After playing becomes as natural as breathing in and out, you’ll want to practice exactly how you would perform. Arrange the band the way you’d play onstage—face a wall as if it’s the audience, put some mirrors up, and arrange speakers to face your “crowd.” Play the setlist you’ve created as if it’s your live show. Once you’re comfortable with this mock performance, bring in a few buddies to get their feedback. Good friends will likely be brutally honest, so keep their intentions in mind when they’re giving you criticism.

Rehearsals aren’t for playing perfectly. They’re for learning, experimenting, evolving, and preparing to share your music with your fans.

2. Relax Onstage

Don’t take yourself too seriously before hitting the stage. Focus more having a good time with your audience rather than trying to impress a crowd. Some artists use relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga stretches, and breathing exercises to curb their pre-show jitters.

We also recommend ​using a little humor to help relieve tension. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter increases your intake of oxygen, releases endorphins in the brain, and aids in muscle relaxation. Not only does it have physical benefits, but humor also keeps you from taking things too seriously—a relief from toxically overanalyzing a situation. Listen to your favorite standup comedian, watch compilations of people falling, play tricks on your band members, whatever it takes to make you giggle. Laughter really is the best medicine!

3. Fake It ‘Till You Make It​

It can be easy to imagine the worst if you feel doubtful or stressed about an upcoming gig. DON’T. Push these thoughts aside and visualize a smooth and flawlessly executed performance. This is best done when relaxed—before you fall asleep or first thing in the morning. You’ll want to make this a daily visualization exercise starting at least one month before you’re expected to perform. Thinking of positive performance scenarios helps you get mentally prepared.

A person’s behavior, movement, and emotions are all directly correlated. When you feel confident and excited, your posture is better and you’re more alert. A good way to push yourself into this mindset is to pose with confident body language and allow the associated feelings to follow—or fake it ’till you make it. According to social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, “power posing” can actually affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain. Practice using this power-inducing body language during rehearsals, and before long, your self-assurance will be authentic and present in your performances.

4. Keep Your Focus On The Crowd

​Most successful artists realize that their music, especially in live performances, is not simply a way to showcase their talent. Yes, it’s a form of self-expression, but it’s also an offering to your audience, and if you seek a career in this industry, you have to connect with your fans.

Start your set with an attention grabber—an energetic and recognizable song. With an upbeat, celebrated cover, you can easily encourage your audience to dance, clap, shout, and sing. Continue that momentum throughout your set. When your fans walk away feeling awed and exhausted, your show will be imprinted in their memory.

5. Stay Creative

It takes an enormous amount of creativity and style to craft music that’s unique to you and your sound. Mastering the skill of songwriting helps you establish your place in an industry saturated with other artists. However, fans want to see your creative efforts beyond the song lyrics. The experience is what they’re after. Imagine yourself as an indifferent listener in the audience. What would grab your attention? Use your creativity to take your performance to the next level. It’s hard to forget a performer who envelopes their audience.

Clearly, with the advancement of sharing platforms, tools, and technology, fans are beginning to expect much more from the modern day musician. The artists who stand out are the ones who create an extraordinary experience for their audience. If you can practice your instrument until it feels like an extension of you and put your full, creative energy into every engagement opportunity, you’ll turn your fans into lifers.