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Refine Your Image
The main advantage of being an indie musician is that you have a lot of freedom as an artist. You are unlikely to have a manager telling you what to do or how to create your music. It’s this feeling of liberty that allows many up-and-coming indie musicians to develop a brand for themselves.
As difficult as this may sound to hear, you are more than the lyrics you write and the instruments that you play. To really become an established artist, you need to create a unique brand or polarizing image for yourself. You must develop a sort of charming — charismatic authority.
First Impressions Matter
If you are just getting started as an indie artist, it’s unlikely that people will first hear your music on the radio or Pandora. Rather, you will probably be seen playing at a live gig or sharing your talents via a YouTube video or Instagram post. Now, these are very visual platforms. People are going to start judging you before you can even open your mouth.
So, what do you want people to know about you?
It is through your ‘brand’ that people will see what kind of artist you are. This will be apparent in the way you dress and through the profiles you create online and build out over time. So, by constructing a cohesive image, you’ll be able to win people over from the very beginning.
Relate to Your Audience
Interest in a specific kind of music is more than just a hobby; it is an identity that people cling dearly to. This is something that’s prevalent, regardless of the genre of music you’re into. Of course, it isn’t just the lyrics that people identify with, they tend to connect to the artist’s persona as well. For instance, Bob Dylan fans tend to be more politically inclined, while AC/DC enthusiasts are more on the wild side.
Thus, by portraying some type of persona, your fans will have something they can hold onto and perhaps emulate. Now, this might sound a bit like posturing, but it isn’t. Trust me. There is nothing preventing you from portraying your own version of yourself. You simply need to do it in such a way that your current or future fans can relate to. Reveal a facet of yourself that feels authentic and genuine.
Let’s be honest, even as an indie musician, one of your top objectives is to make money — and at the very least, support yourself with your music. Well, guess what, sponsors are actually interested in indie musicians with a certain type of branding — and an engaged following.
This is true even for some really big corporations.
Why? Well, as mentioned before, fans tie themselves rather closely to their preferred artists. So, if they can get behind your brand and what you stand for, then you will appear more favorable to sponsors. As you can imagine, this will result in greater opportunities for you, and bring in more money as well.
Finally, branding is important — even if you pride yourself on being an unattached indie musician…this is in fact, a brand in and of itself. So, when promoting yourself, put forth some effort to project an image that you are comfortable with, and feel will win over your audience.
About the Author:
Natalie Landecker grew up around music and guitars her whole life, so that’s what she naturally gravitated towards as an adult. She now runs a website for likeminded people, hoping to research and discuss all aspects of music together with her following.
“We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.” — Sagan2