As the owner of my own independent music production company, I know how frustrating it can be not having the guidance needed to assist you in becoming a successful indie music producer or recording artist. Many of your questions may go unanswered or maybe you simply need help getting started. Over the past couple of years, I have been updating my Facebook and Twitter followers with advice and tips (from my personal experience!) on many aspects of being an independent musician – ranging from technical tips, to the music biz, to marketing & more! Since I predominately produce Hip Hop music, some of these tips may be genre specific. Hopefully this information will help you in becoming a successful DIY musician and making a living from what you love to do! I have included the first fifty tips below.
(50 Tips) Success as a DIY Musician
Producer/Artist Tip #1: Be passionate about the music you make. Without a true passion for the art you create, you have NOTHING! Click here to watch an inspiring (and entertaining) TED video from Gary Vaynerchuk on doing what you love and what you are passionate about in life. He also covers a ton of other info I don’t talk about in these tips. You won’t regret watching it!
Producer/Artist Tip #2: Work hard and stay persistent at fine tuning your craft. (I will reiterate the importance of hard work numerous times… and there’s a good reason for that.)
Producer/Artist Tip #3: Don’t be afraid to experiment. Trying something new could take your track to the next level. “They tried to put me in a box. It’s impossible.” – Ryan Leslie
Producer/Artist Tip #4: When all else fails, refer to Producer Tip #1. Again, the passion fuels the motivation to doing something great!
Producer/Artist Tip #5: Develop your work ethic. Nothing in life is free. Make up your mind, and DO IT!
Producer/Artist Tip #6: Make music to inspire others. If we inspire each other as musicians, it’s hard to tell where we can take this music.
Producer Tip #7: First, find a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), or hardware device (i.e. MPC), that fits your needs and workflow. Second, know it like the back side of your hand.
Producer/Artist Tip #8: BE HUMBLE! An egotistical attitude will get you nowhere fast.
Producer/Artist Tip #9: Be a trend-setter, not a follower. Being unique and having your own style will set you apart from everyone else.
Producer/Artist Tip #10: The mix is one of the most important aspects of any instrumental or song. Make sure that you learn proper techniques to mix and master your tracks. You can always contract these services out to a third party if your budget allows.
Producer/Artist Tip #11: Handle your business professionally. A happy customer will have more incentive to conduct business with you again. You do want repeat customers… right?
Producer/Artist Tip #12: Keep yourself surrounded by people and things that keep you motivated and passionate about your craft! In a world filled with negativity, this is very important.
Producer/Artist Tip #13: In order to pursue a career as an independent producer or artist, you first have to understand the music business and current climate. Help yourself and become educated.
Producer/Artist Tip #14: A social media site is NOT your website. Your personal website is an INTEGRAL part of your business!
Producer Tip #15: Selling beats on Soundclick is a good stepping stone for those producers just starting out. You will eventually want to consider other platforms to sell your beats. Do your homework to understand the many benefits of having your own website.
Producer/Artist Tip #16: Being humble & knowing there’s always room for improvement is the only way to grow. Welcome criticism always!
Rapper/Artist Tip #17: Find the “pocket” of the instrumental you’re rapping to. Don’t rush your lyrics. Let the beat come to you.
Producer/Artist Tip #18: Invest in yourself and so will others! “It takes money to make money.”
Producer/Artist Tip #19: Adversity is inevitable. Hard work and perseverance are essential on the road to success.
Producer/Artist Tip #20: When promoting your music across social networks, please make it common courtesy to listen to others’ music FIRST before asking that same favor. Otherwise, it just comes across as spam.
Producer/Artist Tip #21: Make sure to have multiple references for your music before releasing the final mixed and mastered track. In other words, make sure you listen to it on different sound systems (studio monitors, headphones, laptop, car, etc).
Producer/Artist Tip #22: Set goals. Achieve those goals. Repeat.
Producer Tip #23: You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to make good music. Keep it basic starting out and build your arsenal as you go. Remember, the equipment doesn’t make the music, YOU do.
Producer/Artist Tip #24: If being successful was easy, everyone would be. Put in the work, pay your dues, and don’t lose sight of why you started this pursuit in the first place.
Producer Tip #25: Samples or original compositions, it shouldn’t matter. The end goal should be to make the dopest music possible to inspire others!
Rapper/Artist Tip #26: Please make sure to show your producers support and give them production credit when using their beats. All it takes is a simple “prod. by insert producer’s name here“. [e.g. Juellz – Cypher feat. Soulogik, Vakill & LoyaL (prod. by TCustomz)]
Producer/Artist Tip #27: Instead of waiting around to catch your “break”, why not put forth the extra effort and pave the way yourself? Your success lies solely in your own hands.
Producer/Artist Tip #28: Mixing and mastering audio is an art form. Don’t take these processes lightly. The mix and master of your track alone can totally change the way someone feels about your music.
Producer/Artist Tip #29: Consistently putting out a quality product is the first step to making your music business lucrative. However, many aspiring musicians/producers/artists fail to learn the business side. Get educated and learn to BUILD YOUR BRAND!
Producer/Artist Tip #30: The mastering process will NOT fix your poorly mixed track. Crap In = Crap Out.
Producer/Artist Tip #31: Keep different styles of music in your playlist. It may surprise you how much genres outside of your own can influence your sound.
Producer/Artist Tip #32: Inspiration comes and goes, but staying consistent and continually working hard are integral factors in becoming successful. Even on “off” days, you must find ways to stay motivated. Keep it moving!
Producer/Artist Tip #33: After you get your official website up and running, starting a mailing list or newsletter is a MUST! This is how you communicate with your fans and is an ESSENTIAL part of building your business. Giving a FREE gift (or other incentive) to those who join your newsletter is highly recommended. I recommend using an email list manager like Aweber.
Producer Tip #34: Layering your drums and proper use of parallel compression can do wonders for your drum tracks.
Producer Tip #35: The more original your production style is, the easier it becomes to brand your sound.
Producer/Artist Tip #36: There is no need to hype your own music. If it’s dope, other people will do that part for you. Not to say that you shouldn’t promote it, but there are proper ways to do that. DON’T SPAM people!
Producer/Artist Tip #37: Good things come to those who work their asses off and never give up. (This isn’t an original tip, but this needed to be included) Again, you have to put in the work to see the results. Period.
Producer/Artist Tip #38: Pace yourself when making new music. Forcing yourself to make music everyday is an easy way to experience a “producer’s block” or “writer’s block”. Never sacrifice quality for quantity!
Producer/Artist Tip #39: YouTube is an excellent platform to showcase your music. Learn how to properly tag your videos to gain maximum exposure and, most importantly, new fans!
Producer Tip #40: A dope bridge or breakdown can take your beat to the next level. The little things can make the world of difference.
Producer Tip #41: Don’t get caught up on what hardware or software the next producer is using to make their beats. Find something that fits your needs and is intuitive for you to use. A smooth workflow will enable you to stay organized and to easily translate your ideas into musical masterpieces!
Producer/Artist Tip #42: To all the recording artists and music producers hoping to one day “get signed”: Wouldn’t you rather pave your own way on the independent scene and have total control over your music and business? If you aren’t making money as an independent artist or producer, ask yourself why. Look at some of the successful indie artists and producers and learn from them. They’re obviously doing something right!
Rapper/Artist Tip #43: There’s a big difference in the way producers are viewed based on whether or not they have major placements under their belt. With that being said… don’t rule out those hungry beat makers on the come up. Those are the ones you want to keep a look out for. To the artists: jump on their production now while it’s still affordable. You may go back to them for beats a week down the road and their prices have tripled.
Producer/Artist Tip #44: Mixing your song or instrumental with a fresh set of ears is one of the best things you can do for your mix! As you are creating, preliminarily mixing certain elements is recommended. But don’t forget to let your ears rest for a day or two before your final mix!
Producer/Artist Tip #45: Consistency is key. You’re only as good as your last track!
Producer/Artist Tip #46: If you are pursuing a music career because you are looking for an easy way out, PICK SOMETHING ELSE! Being successful as an independent recording artist or music producer is far from easy.
Producer/Artist Tip #47: The online music community stays very well connected. Handle all of your music business professionally and whatever you do… don’t burn bridges! Your reputation will take your business a long way.
Producer Tip #48: Customizing a default session template for your DAW will enable you to get your musical ideas jumpstarted quickly. In the early stages of composing an instrumental, the more time you can spend on the actual music, and the less time on the technical aspects, the better! Download the FREE “TCustomized” Template here.
Producer/Artist Tip #49: The importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your online music business cannot be stressed enough. The more traffic you have to your website, the greater potential you have to make sales!
Producer/Artist Tip #50: All in all, being successful in the independent music industry is achievable if you are willing to put forth the hard work and dedication required.
BONUS ARTICLE! Click here to learn how to make a living from 1,000 true fans!
If these tips were helpful to you, please drop a comment below and share with anyone else who could benefit from them. For more FREE information and tutorials visit my website: www.TCustomz.com