This is by no means a hard and fast list or set of rules. There are many other things that independent artists can do to further their careers. Therefore this is simply a listing of a couple key aspects to keep in mind.
1. Go And Get It
This may sound like an obvious statement but there are many indie artists who are waiting on a hand-out as if an A&R, some wealthy investor or a connect will spontaneously appear like the State Farm guy with their futures in tow. Granted things like that have happened in the past but the music industry is rapidly changing and the chances of that happening are slim to none. As an artist you have to be making consistent strides in your career for yourself now more than ever. If you’re expecting to be discovered by a record label because of your talent think again. Most labels no longer have A&R departments anymore and the ones that do will only take a risk on signing you if you have a large fan base.
2. Perform, Perform, Perform
It cannot be stressed how crucial it is for an artist to perform live. Live performances are essential for enhancing your emotional connectivity and stage presence with the audience, making you a better showman. They are also the best way to make new fans and sell your merchandise and music. If you think selling your music online is good enough by itself you are sadly mistaken. The industry is over-saturated with artists and unless you make yourself known you won’t be.
3. Make Quality Music
At the end of the day you are a musician. You music is what headlines your career. We are living in an age where music is being purchased less and less therefore the music being made must stand out more and more. You should be taking all the necessary steps to ensure that you are making music that people can feel. This includes good musicality, the best lyrics you can write, a proper sounding recording, and a decent to great postproduction mix. Doing all this does not guarantee you sales but it shows the mark of a true artist and it increases your chances of people liking your music.
4. Acquire A Local Fanbase
You cannot conquer the world if you can’t tame your backyard. Labels and distributors are willing to take you seriously when you start amassing a buzz around your hometown. Any indie artist who’s name is consistently in the mouths of DJs and promoters from their hometown will start to gain attention from labels. If you are not a topic of discussion in your hometown it is seen as you not working hard enough. You need to be seen as a hard worker. Labels these days only go after artists that have established themselves first.
Connect with producers, singers, rappers, and anyone in-between that fits your aesthetic. Be sure that they are on par with you or higher. You don’t want your career to be dragged down by sub-par people nor do you wanted to be seen as working with any and everybody. Image is everything. You have an image you must maintain as a public figure therefore your collaborations must be impactful every time. A star must be special and not common.
It you put this list into practice you are guaranteed to see results. How great those results are however is up to you, your determination, and your work ethic.