Is a record deal the best thing you can do for your music? And what do you do once you've gained an audience?
Hey guys! Back from a long hiatus (more on that in another video). I always planned on jumping back into this side hustle but you guys have been such a great motivator. I've been getting some really great questions sliding into my DMs and my email, so i'm going to kick off my return by digging into one of them.
If you have a burning question, DM me @thegrowcode on Instagram (or comment below on this post) and you, too, could be the subject of my next video!
This question comes from Jesus:
Is it a good idea to get a record deal or is it better to be independent at first? Is it better to just publish the song and try to make a market (on your own)? What can an independent artist can do if they're already gaining views--what's the next step?
These are some really good questions, Jesus. I'll tackle the "next steps" one first.
What do you do next when you already have a growing audience?
This is such a good problem to have: Jesus already has a consistent number of people listening to his stuff on SoundCloud. That means he's got a growing fanbase, they're already loving his content.
The next step is to get them to commit to you!
So that means, if they're not already following you on another social platform like IG, start posting links to it as a Call to Action (CTA) in your song descriptions.
You also want them to start buying your stuff. So put some tracks for sale on a distribution platform and see what people flock to. You might be surprised at what people actually pay for versus listen to for free--whatever they're paying for is what you should focus on. So if they're paying for instrumental tracks only/no vocals, then that's a pretty clear sign that that's what you should be putting more out of.
If you don't want to just pick a track at random to sell, You could also simply ask your followers what kind of stuff they'd want to buy, like through a survey or a social post. More info from your audience is good, plus it gets them used to interacting with you.
Should I focus on getting a record deal? Should I make my own market?
The short answer is...No. Just don't. Getting a record deal used to be the only way artists could get their music out there, but that's simply not the case anymore because we have this magical thing called ~the internet~. You have so many platforms available to you to not only grow an audience but also to sell tracks and make money on your own.
The only thing record labels really do for you is large-scale marketing and distribution--and that's super expensive to do, so they legit only sign acts that are already famous. For a Big 5 record label you're going to need to be like, super famous already, and for a smaller one you're still going to need a guaranteed, pre-existing audience.
Nobody is taking chances anymore on completely green, new acts, because brand new acts can't guarantee record sales.
This means that in order to get signed, you already have to have a significant following. So it really doesn't make sense to put any extra effort into getting a record deal--focus instead on growing your own audience and making your own money.
The next step for an artist with a growing audience is to get more commitment from that audience--either through follows on another platform or track purchases.
And should you focus on getting a record deal? Nah.
But take that with a grain of salt: my goal here on this channel isn't to get you signed. It's to teach you how to market yourselves, grow your audiences, and start making money on your own.