Skills Every Musician Should Know
Whether you’re a budding producer, DJ or a brand new indie artist — most of the time the focus is purely on the music, and that’s about it. However, soon enough, you’ll realize that there’s much more involved in just putting on music. You have to market, budget, and other things that you would’ve never expected (ever have your tour van breakdown?).
Here’re a few items that can really help you as a musician when your music starts to take off.
1. Keeping a Budget.
This item is pretty normal, but it’s also a huge skill to learn and one that can become a large problem if not kept up with. Managing your money is essentially even more so when you consider all of the people (artists or not) that don’t budget their music.
Similarly, when you add on other musicians or a manager, managing your money becomes even more crucial to success. You’re going to need to record the payment activity for other band members, as well as expenses during touring (which, side note: is a tax write-off). Having a proper budget makes sure you don’t run out of money, and that you have a place to stay each night on the road.
And of course, it makes sure that your income is actually kept safe, and that you and your bandmates ensure profitability.
Most musicians are incredible showmen, they also have a charismatic attitude that can also be used to promote your work. You usually don’t consider talking about your music as a “sale” or “pitch” but it really is.
You’re going to typically have to do some act of selling in order to justify your work. This could mean meeting with a music supervisor or maybe a booking agent about your work. Similarly, you might be selling a writer on covering your work in their magazine. Even though you may have a publicist or a manager, being able to talk about your music, and get people excited is a key trait of an artist and musician.
3. Document and contract preparation
Once again, you might have a manager or even an entertainment lawyer who takes care of your contractual agreements or any other law-based matters. However, even getting involved with a lawyer or manager requires… guess what? More contracts!
Even dealing with certain people in the industry, you need to read up on the various contracts and other matters before you go out and have others join your team. For example, if you need to get your work in film, you need to read up on the various agreements before you go into meetings, or even pitch to a supervisor. These same tactics can be spoken about for touring, venue and other performance contracts, too.
4. Basic marketing knowledge
One thing about today’s digital landscape is that there are plenty of people who think that just owning a computer and understanding Facebook or Twitter means you’re a marketing manager. See some of our marketing tips.
However, there’s much more to social media marketing than just tweeting or posting. For instance, Facebook’s algorithm only allows posts with a certain level of engagement to appear on a timeline, or there’s a proper way to pitch a reporter via social media. Be sure to brush up on your content strategies, social media best practices as well as PR writing (AP Style). This way, if you end up hiring a marketing team, you know what to expect from them. Also, if you don’t have a team, or aren’t looking for one yet, you know exactly what to do to create a professional online profile.
Learn lots more music marketing tips on our music production diplomas.