Indie Musicians: Why You Still Need a Team

The Indie Music Revolution has been an awesome ride. It’s helped some artists get their music out there that wouldn’t have had the chance before, and it’s given others the opportunity to rise in a business that used to be only for signed artists.

But it’s also created a hole in the marketplace for all of the striving emerging and indie artists who are not so successful, and held a promise of success over their head like a dangling carrot. This “can be yours too if you’re smart enough and work hard enough.” And I’m here to tell you that may not be true.

I’ve seen the greatest artists fail, and the hardest workers burnout and give up. I’ve seen immensely talented musicians get so discouraged that they left music altogether. That’s the bad news.

The good news? It doesn’t have to happen to you, but it’s more than smarts or work ethic.

The good thing about the music industry – a big part of what made it tick in its heyday (besides the big bankroll) was the expertise available to artists. Each area that now indie music artists try to do on their own had its own department where experts in their field managed and directed artists’ careers.  Every department at a record label plays an essential role in the success or failure of the company and of their artists. They are team members, working together toward the goal of selling their records and CDs as one lean, mean machine.

  • Business Affairs Department takes care of label finances; bookkeeping, payroll, etc.
  • The Legal Department handles all contractual issues and legal responsibilities.
  • The A&R (Artists and Repertoire) Department locates and signs new talent. They work with the artist in song selection, choice of producer, recording studio selection. The A&R Department serves as a liaison between an artist and all the other departments at the label.
  • The Art Department supervises all product design jobs.
  • The Marketing Department is responsible for creating the overall marketing plan for every record and are involved in coordinating all the promotion, publicity, and sales campaigns.
  • The Publicity Department arranges for any feature stories, interviews, or record reviews in local and national newspapers, magazines, web-zines, as well as the broadcast opportunities for such coverage on radio stations and television. They may also coordinate any of these publicity opportunities with an artist’s own publicist.
  • The New Media Department produces and promotes the music videos for the label’s artists that are shown on MTV, VH1, etc. This department also oversees some promotions and marketing opportunities on the Internet that use the audio and video technologies available from online hardware and software sites that support music.
  • The Artist Development Department usually oversees the career planning of artists signed to the label. This department coordinates a consistent marketing and promotion presence for an artist throughout their career with the record label.
  • The Sales Department oversees all the retail activities of the label, and concentrates on building relationships with the key record store chains and other mass-market retailers. The Sales staff coordinate their efforts with the major label’s distribution company, as well as communicating regularly with the Promotion and Publicity departments at the label.
  • The Label Liaison is the person who coordinates the business of the major label’s distribution company with the needs of their parent record labels. Street dates, (the date that a new release goes on sale at music retailers), must be approved by the label’s distribution company.
  • The Promotion Department’s primary goal is to secure radio airplay for their company’s new releases. These days that means not only traditional FM radio stations, but select Internet stations and satellite radio as well. Their ability to get songs played on the radio is central to the success of the whole company.

The list above is excerpted from The Music Biz Academy’s article: Inside Record Labels: Organizing Things by Christopher Knab

I know, it’s a dizzying list. And after reading it you probably feel overwhelmed, I do because I know how much work goes into each department. But the point is, that as an independent, this is what you’re up against. And the message is – don’t try to do this on your own.

I’ve helped countless artists master this stuff – and I won’t lie, it’s a process and it takes investing, but it’s so worth every penny when you really start to emerge and gain people’s attention. Artists I work with are always surprised at the response when we release something that is totally nurtured by my team. And that moment is what it’s all for. To see the ear-splitting grin on their faces as they start to take off – worth every penny and painful moment of realization and rebranding.

This is what indie music artists don’t have access to anymore. The downside (and it’s a big one) is that you don’t get nurtured or pushed to greatness, or you may never have enough muscle or money to get your stuff out on the front lines, and that could make or break any artist. You are quite vulnerable out there on your own.

So I decided to create a space, an entry point to accessing my team with me that won’t cost you anything, so no matter who you are you can start this journey. It’s called Step Up to The Spotlight 6 Week Online Artist Development Program with access to a Facebook Page for all artists and musicians worldwide to get that nurturing, that critical feedback to catapult them forward. It’s a non-competitive, super supportive but highly professional environment where you can share your music and your story – where you’ve been and get feedback on where you’re going. Because I know first hand that when artists get this kind of guidance, they grow, and fast. I’ve watched it happen especially over the past 10 years as the industry has shifted and I’ve been out there mentoring and coaching in my online programs. Thousands of artists have turned the tides on their artistry and careers, signed deals, gotten placements and gained serious fans and followers from our nurturing.

But what I’m most proud of is each artist’s courage and bravery. It takes a brave soul to want to grow, to improve, to do-the-work. It takes a lot of courage and a willingness to dive deeper than you ever have before.

If you want to get there faster (and better)… you might want to think about joining a songwriting program like ours below. It’s a great way to take a big jump ahead…

Join my 6 Month Online Signature Songwriting Circle and get private A & R Direction + Access to our hit-making CCVM Songwriting Team. This program has helped hundreds of artists refind their message, sounds, and direction. I want you to be next.


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