As an independent musician, you are tasked with wearing many hats. From master producer to marketing expert, there’s a lot to learn. Among these, there are many topics creatives tend to overlook. However, we’re here to help you out. From online marketing and streaming ideas to how-to’s on licensing and more, here are 6 topics you should sharpen up on as an artist…
6 Music Industry Topics Every Musician Should Learn More About
Performing Rights Organizations
You need to make sure you’re registered with a Performing Rights Organization like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC. This is crucial because these are the people that make sure you’re getting paid every time your song is played… but don’t stop there. You’ll also want to look into mechanical royalties, (the money you make when something is downloaded or sold on say, iTunes, which ASCAP, SESAC and BMI don’t cover.)
If your personal research isn’t enough, always consult a professional. Don’t worry if this sounds like a lot, there are people whose job it is to help you with these types of things… (That person is a music publisher, and this post will tell you more about them.)
If you are composing your own tracks, there is money being generated that you are entitled to collect internationally and you’ll need help collecting it. When many labels and artists first begin releasing music on Spotify, Apple Music, Beatport and the works, the business of publishing is often forgotten. Luckily for you we actually created a full, comprehensive guide to the world of publishing.
We even separated it into two parts so we don’t overload your brain. // Download each of them for FREE right here.
Navigating the legal aspects of the music industry isn’t always easy to do on your own. It can also cost you a ton of money to get professional advice or help if you mess up on your own. However, there is a ton of information available online (and here on our blog) to help you learn more. One of the biggest things artists aren’t typically well-versed in are contracts.
Whether you’re faced with booking and live performance contracts, record label contracts, publishing contracts and the like, we break down everything you need to know below…
- Booking and Live Performance Contracts for Musicians
- 6 Types Of Record Label Contracts
- 4 Main Types of Publishing Contracts
- Types of Legal Contracts for Music Producers
Within these resources you’ll learn about things like sample clearance packs, producer contracts, exclusive recording contracts, 360 deals, work for hire contracts and so much more. The last thing you want is to be taken advantage of. By educating yourself on the basics, you’re one step ahead of the pack.
In today’s day and age, video content reigns supreme. With resources like TikTok, Triller, YouTube Shorts, Reels and more, you can create high-quality, viral video content that can be shared across all your social accounts. These platforms are constantly changing as new trends go viral every day, so it’s very important to stay in the know. For example, it doesn’t hurt to know things like:
- How YouTube Shorts and Clips Can Help You Grow Your YouTube Channel
- How To Find What’s Trending on TikTok
- How TikTok Views Can Improve Your Spotify Streams
- 7 Places To Share Repurposed Video Content
- How To Use Instagram Reels and Stories To Reach More Fans
And that’s not even half of what our blog has on video content. For more, you can go to the search bar in the top right corner and type keywords like “video”, “TikTok”, “Reels” and more to find even more resources.
Need some ideas for content? Try these…
- Create a challenge or push your fans from other platforms to create a challenge featuring your song
- Reach out to influencers to feature your song
- Scroll through the trending content on either platform to get a feel for what works
Who knows? Maybe you have the next online sensation just sitting on your hard drive, waiting to be unleashed into the world.
Now this is a big one. There are many forms of digital advertising available for musicians. From social media ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to ads on platforms like Spotify or YouTube, you’ve got numerous opportunities to take advantage of. What it boils down to is where your audience currently consumes your content and where you want them to be.
Facebook and Instagram // With Facebook and Instagram being siblings, it’s easy to get going with ads on these social media platforms. Whether it’s a new release or a new video, effective campaigns on either of these platforms can help increase traffic to your content. You can also build campaigns to increase your following on these platforms, further expanding your community.
Twitter // Although not as popular as its competitors in the advertising marketplace, Twitter does have increasing popularity among the music industry with its ability to produce reminder campaigns that can effectively remind users of releases, on-sales, etc.
YouTube // You can’t talk about social media ads without including YouTube. With their many ad placements across their platform, advertising a new video release on YouTube can be done in a multitude of ways, from pre-roll ads to suggested content. Advertising on YouTube can increase video views as well as subscribers when done correctly.
Spotify // Lastly, there are some great advertising opportunities on Spotify that are ripe and for the picking that any musician can take advantage of. From advertising your latest song or album directly to people who have recently listened to a certain playlist or who’re even feeling a certain way, there are many options available via the Spotify Ad Studio that can help get your music heard. Another cool thing to note with Spotify Ad Studio is that they offer you free voiceover creation on their platform, which is a dope thing to take advantage of!
With the ever-growing popularity of live streaming platforms & experiences like those offered by Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, it’s almost a no-brainer to make sure you’re including this in your content creation schedule.
The glory of streaming is the fact that not only are you sharing your content with a viable audience, but you’re growing a community you can interact with on a regular basis and foster deeper connections with your fans that couldn’t be achieved elsewhere. In addition to securing a loyal fanbase, you can also increase revenue via subscribers and tips on some of them as well, like Twitch.
- You can grow your success on streaming platforms with consistently scheduled streams and content with events such as live studio sessions, Q&As and AMAs, listening parties and more.
- The more unique the content and experience the more likely you are to gain and keep your audience.
Sync Licensing / How To Make Your Music Licensable
Sync Licensing is a great way to earn significant revenue while simultaneously helping you build your profile as an artist.
- ‘Sync’ is short for synchronization. So, when you’re talking about synchronization licensing in the music business, synchronization refers to the act of synchronizing a piece of music with any form of visual media. (This includes movies, TV episodes, commercials, video games, etc.)
- “Licensing” refers to the act of getting the rights to use the music. Music supervisors on film, TV, commercial, gaming and trailer projects must ask the rights holders of the song(s) for permission to use the music in their projects.
As a Symphonic Distribution client, you’d have the opportunity to apply for representation by our in-house sync licensing division, Bodega Sync.
But how do you make sure your music is licensable? Check out, “5 Steps to Prepare Your Music for Sync Licensing” to learn everything you need to know before you submit. In addition, check out these helpful sync resources we’ve done in the past…
- How to Prepare Your Music for Sync Licensing
- 4 Steps to Licensing Your Next Single
- Protecting Rightsholders from Fake Artists
We know. This is a lot to take in. To make things easier, we’ve made sure to provide links throughout this post to help point you in the right direction. In addition, our team is always here to provide solutions and resources for anything you may need.