Every year from about mid-December on, the music industry becomes a ghost town. People start going on vacation, taking time-off, major label artist releases slow down big time, and for indie artists, it’s no man’s land. And while that, coupled with the frigid temperatures, might be enough to have you hunkering down and never leaving the safety of your home for the next few months, this time of year is actually incredibly powerful for setting yourself up for success. You just have to know how to take advantage of it. Here’s how…
How To Survive the Winter Slowdown of the Music Industry
Take Time to Breathe
I know, sounds simple. But there’s something to be said for an elongated period of time off where you have absolutely nothing to think about and you can just relax. Have you ever noticed your best ideas come when you’re in the shower or falling asleep or doing anything 100% not related to your career? It’s because when your brain has a chance to breathe, it can actually come up with some pretty clever things.
🌱 Note: You still need to keep up with social media, build your relationships, and plan for the future. The winter slowdown is a time to get ahead, but that doesn’t mean abandoning current responsibilities. 🌱
With the lack of expectations, plans and general overwhelm, you now have time to sit down and map out your plan for the next 6-12 months. Don’t overwhelm yourself here. Just pick 1-2 major themes for the year and then incorporate them into your monthly goals.
For instance, maybe you know that 2024 is the year you want to really expand your network. That can be your theme for the year, but you also have goals throughout the year too, like releasing an album or touring. Take the time to map out what needs to happen each month in order to get you closer to releasing that album or planning that tour. Then, go back and sprinkle in where you can get closer to that year’s theme.
- For example, maybe on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s you go heavy on commenting inside FB groups to build your network. Alternatively, you could search out all the events happening in your town for the first half of the year and put them on the calendar.
Planning is crucial for success. You have to know where you’re going to be able to plan how to get there. Being able to get out of your head and your thoughts onto paper during your downtime is the perfect way to set yourself up for success when the ball starts rolling again.
🧠 Feed yo’ brain…
Up Your Networking Game
The reality is if you live in a wintery area especially, you’re just not going out as much… especially if you don’t have to. This means less networking events, less face time with fans, and less opportunity to get in front of industry influencers — at least, in person.
But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for networking… it simply means you get to do more of it from the comfort of your couch. For instance, get active in 2-3 of your favorite Facebook groups, reach out to people you feel a genuine connection with or interest in, host a Zoom call, do live streams, phone calls, or if the weather is good and they’re local, invite them out on a coffee “date”!
There’s no reason why you and your favorite local photographer can’t be besties outside of the internet realm. Let’s face it, social media is for more than just watching the likes roll in. It’s meant for connection, sharing, interacting, and growing your network with people who want to do the same with you. It’s up to you to make it happen.
Sharpen Your Skills
No matter far along you are in your career, there’s always more to learn. All the most successful musicians admit they’re constantly learning new skills, whether that be new marketing tactics or new instruments. Aside from all the great information you can access for free here on the Symphonic Blog, there’s even more educational content over on our YouTube channel.
On it, we post all our Live Q&A’s where we chat with some of the industry’s best and brightest. (That being said, check out the other Q&A’s we’ve done in the past right here.)
Claim and Update Your Artist Profiles
Clear visuals and updated artist profiles are crucial in creating and maintaining your artist image. In the digital age, branding is everything, so it’s important to keep all of your platforms up-to-date. Every year, we all grow, learn, evolve, and sometimes completely change directions creatively. With this downtime coming up, it’s the perfect time to update your profiles for the new year with snazzy new pics that truly represent you as an artist.
Once you have the perfect pics, updating each profile has a slightly different process. // To help you out, we wrote a whole guide on how to do this on all the major platforms right here.
🚨 Be Aware of Holiday Deadlines 🚨
The music industry is filled with people just like you who like to spend time with their families and get a second to sit back and drink hot chocolate by the fire. Not only that, major streaming platforms take holiday breaks, too. Towards the end of the year, everything starts to slow down. Regardless of if you work with an independent distributor or not, never wait until the very last minute to try and release that holiday single… It never goes smoothly.
When it comes to Symphonic, our team approves releases on a daily basis, Monday through Friday. Each release is carefully reviewed, inspected, and screened to ensure that it meets guidelines for distribution to the partners that we deliver to.
- We generally approve all releases within 2-3 business days, but that doesn’t include holidays or weekends.
- Not only are we closed for Thanksgiving, our offices are also closed for a Holiday Break from December 23rd through January 1st.
- And those aren’t the only days we’re out of office… To make sure you aren’t blind sided at the end of the year, we have a post with all the deadlines to keep in mind. Be sure to check that out here: 2023 Holiday Hours and Content Cut Off Reminders.
Be vocal with your team about what you’re planning to release and when you want it done. Just because you decide to do things last minute doesn’t mean your peers will be willing to.
To wrap things up…
The end of the year can be tough. If you struggle from seasonal depression, even tougher. Taking care of your mental health should be #1 on your list of priorities, no matter the time of year. If you know you need a mental health break, don’t push yourself just because other people may be. Your journey is unique to YOU. Listen to your mind, and go at whatever pace works for YOU.
If you need support, we’re here to give it. In the meantime, check out some of our mental health resources right here on the blog below…
- 7 Ways To Better Your Mental Health for the New Year
- 6 Self Care Tips To Better Your Mental Health
- How To Reframe Negative Thinking Patterns
- How To Manifest The Life You Want as a Musician
Good luck & Happy Holidays!