The COVID-19 pandemic had a massive impact on businesses and industries all over the world, many of which are still struggling to stay afloat. Musicians, in particular, have endured a real struggle.
With large gatherings cancelled, performers who once relied on live concerts are suddenly left with little to no income generating from their music. They have had to find new and innovative ways to still create and distribute their music without performing live at venues.
Many artists have turned towards digital and online methods to make and share their music. Case in point being our featured artist on Tuesday, Maya Lakhani, who taught herself how to record and produce her own music to launch her own solo career.
As Maya told us: “When the pandemic hit in 2020, I really missed making music. Starting a new band seemed impossible, so I decided to start making solo music! I learnt how to record, produce and release songs in lockdown from my bedroom.”
With that in mind, here are seven creative ways that you can follow in Maya’s footsteps and continue to grow your music career as an independent artist.
1. Collaborations for Musicians
Music is becoming more of a collaborative effort through digital tools and systems. Many artists have developed ways to remotely work together and still make music, mainly with videos. They are creating videos to promote online, and this has turned into a new way to make music. Artists can record themselves then combine the audio with the next recording to make it seem as though they were performing together.
The video aspect of recording may require investing in new equipment and tools like Soundtrap to make music together online or audio systems such as GarageBand or Audacity (and many more) to mix sounds and master tracks. With your music recorded, look out for other platforms like Kycker or Tunedly to get your music published and distributed.
2. Teach Music Lessons Online
Many musicians have been using their expertise in other ways, and they have taken to offering private, online piano lessons and music lessons with other instruments for students. Teaching music lessons for others online is a great way to continue to make music while helping others learn.
Many teachers use video-chat tools like Zoom or Skype, creating new connections with people and sharing their love of music together. If you hadn’t considered teaching before, this could be a lucrative way to creatively keep music alive and help guide others during a lonely and challenging time.
3. Create Music Masterclasses Online
In another form of teaching, some musicians focus on a specific aspect within the music business to share their wealth of knowledge. For instance, if you are exceptionally gifted with songwriting, you could develop a songwriting workshop for students to take.
There are many opportunities and options here, and room for more collaboration with other musicians to develop master classes on specific areas within music to help others develop and grow in their craft. One of the best parts about creating a workshop or master class on an online platform is that once the work is put in and the course is launched, you can just sit back and relax and let people buy it forever!
4. Virtual and Live Stream Concerts
Though musicians cannot perform music live to their fans, there are still ways to create concerts effectively. Many artists have taken to using live stream settings and creating virtual shows for fans to purchase online “tickets” ahead of time, giving them a VIP experience from home to listen to some of their favourite music.
Streaming performances can be challenging without an audience there to feed off of and keep the energy up. However, many music artists can see the benefits of continuing performances since it allows them to share their music and still make some money. It is a great way to continue promoting your music and growing your fanbase.
Less well-known musicians can also make money by collecting donations if they don’t feel that people will pay outright. By continuing to connect with fans, you will be more prepared to step back into making music when social distancing requirements have been lifted.
5. Submit Your Music Online
There are multiple opportunities for you to gain visibility for your music. There are plenty of music blogs (*Cough* GigRadar *Cough*) that highlight independent artists across a wide range of genres, some of which (AHEM, right here) are better than others. There are also avenues for paid opportunities, such as MusoSoup and SubmitHub, both of which we’ve used and have their positives and downsides but are well worth trying.
You might even consider submitting your music to a music licensing company for use by other creatives and producers. This is a great way to get your music out there, establish and develop new relationships with other artists and possibly even score a great gig where creatives can use your music in an advertisement, commercial or feature film. Part of being a musician by trade is knowing that marketing is a crucial element to your success, and finding ways to promote yourself online can go a long way to aiding that growth.
6. Record An Album
If you previously didn’t feel like you had the time to sit down and record, mix and master an actual album, NOW is the time to do that. With so many people still on lockdown or working from home, time is on your side.
There are different options for how you could go about doing this. You might want to work with other music experts who are sound engineers to help with the production and pay for time in a recording studio. Or, you could create a home studio and make the album completely on your own. Either way, you can take the time to work on and polish your original music while building up some hype through social media platforms for its anticipated release.
7. Make Your Own YouTube Channel
If you are more tech-savvy and have an apt for video editing, creating a YouTube channel would be an excellent way to keep developing your music to share with the world. With it being the most prominent video streaming platform, you can reach billions of people and grow a large fanbase.
Creating your YouTube channel requires some organisation and a consistent schedule, but with time and hard work, you can develop a successful one. Many artists on YouTube have become famous in the music industry too, so it is an excellent service for independent musicians.
Important Extra Tip: Marketing and Online Presence Are Key
All of these suggestions require a solid online presence and marketing. It can seem like a lot of work and may feel overwhelming to take it on, but keeping your music career alive and well is an essential step. Ensure that you have a strong online presence by engaging across social media platforms to promote your music. Connecting with your fans will help you to grow a dedicated and loyal following.
As it stands, even with vaccines becoming available, the threat of this pandemic is still severe, so as a musician, you have to be stronger and find creative ways to keep sharing your music.