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Don’t fade away during the pandemic

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Don’t get stuck in a rut while you’re stuck at home. Do something productive for your music career every day and let your fans hear from you. Here are some ideas to get you started.

As we’ve all been locked in for a while now, I know many folks out there are getting frustrated. It can be depressing, upsetting, maddening and, if nothing else, it pulls you out of your routine. But that doesn’t mean you should stop doing things to help your music and keep your music career going.

There’s a concept you need to understand, called “mindshare.” As an artist, you need to retain mindshare with your fans. Otherwise they’re going to forget about you and they’re not going to stream your music, come to your next concert, or just be engaged with you. So my advice is, make use of this time at home by working on your craft, wWhether it’s writing songs, getting better at playing your instrument, or recording a single and putting it out so your fans have something to listen to.

Or study up on the music biz and learn about things like music rights and royalties or getting better about engaging on social media. The key is to keep putting material out there so when things turn to some sort of normalcy, when concerts can start happening again, when you can meet face-to-face with fans, when you can sell them a CD or a t-shirt at your merch table, they’ll be there for you and they’ll remember that you were there for them during this crazy time.

So, I hope you’re doing OK. Pick yourself up from the sofa, turn off the news, work on your music and your craft, it’ll be good for you and good for your fans.

Not sure where to start? Here is a list with some ideas to get you going.

  • Get into the habit of being productive while locked in.
  • Record a new single and distribute it digitally so your fans have something new to listen to.
  • No new songs written? Re-record one of your most popular songs and release it – maybe even change a verse or chorus to reflect the times we’re living in today.
  • Educate yourself about music copyrights and licensing.
  • Get better at engaging with fans on social media.
  • Look up songwriting instruction and coaching on YouTube and work on improving your songwriting.
  • Learn how to do one of those cool live Zoom “group” videos where each band member records their part in their own home.
  • Figure out all the options (free and paid) for live-streaming and start trying them.
  • Update (or, if you don’t have one, create) your artist Bandcamp page.
  • Write, design, and compile your next album or EP.
  • Create and order some custom face masks for your fans and sell them on your Bandcamp page.
  • Get outdoors. Your mental health is especially important during times like this. Exercise helps, and with the weather getting nicer, it’s a great time to find a new place to hike near you.
  • Catch up on reading some of the great music industry blogs, including those by Disc Makers, CD Baby, Mike Mulligan, Music Business Worldwide, and Cherie Hu (and subscribe to their emails).
  • Take a rainy Saturday (or any day) and catch up on all the artist tips on Disc Makers’ YouTube channel (and subscribe!).

The key is to do something productive for your music career every day and, most importantly, do not forget to let your fans hear from you.

Motivated yet? Let’s get to work!

Tony van Veen is the CEO of DIY Media Group, the parent company of Disc Makers, Merchly, and BookBaby. As a college student, he played in indie bands, created his own LPs, cassettes, and t-shirts, and sold them at shows. Today, he collects CDs, vinyl LPs, and concert t-shirts to support the artists he loves.

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