Social media, broadcast messages and other communication platforms are key to growing a fanbase for an independent artist. With so many easy-to-use tools at our disposal, it's easy for these tools to be used incorrectly or even abused. This could lead to an undesirable outcome. As a struggling muso, you could get blacklisted and dubbed an annoying muso. Here are 5 ingredients that could make you "that muso" that everybody doesn't like.
Spam comes in all shapes and sizes but everybody knows it's spam when it happens. There is nothing as annoying as being forced to be associated with something you have nothing to do with or have no knowledge of. An example of this would be tagging somebody in an artwork of your latest single or project. Not only is it simply annoying for everyone tagged in the artwork, it also yields little/no results. At the most, you'll get a sympathy "like" and the person will turn off the notifications from the post. At the very least you can do before spam-and-tagging, is ask your poor victim for permission.
An alternative approach to this ingredient of doom is to add a pinch of effort. Ask individuals to write up an original post about your single. This will seem a lot more organic and less forced. Getting the person to listen and give feedback is a good way to build relationships and grow as an artist. The spam spice is the most potent and lethal ingredient that you should remove immediately from your marketing kitchen.
2) Lack Of Marketing Creativity
Nothing is as detrimental to a musician's fanbase as a lack of creativity when it comes to informing them about new music. Your audience wants the music you're releasing to "look" presentable before they dig in, well listen in. Simply throwing the same link everyday with the same post everywhere you can think of is firstly, spam and secondly, it's NOT CREATIVE.
For the sake of your "he's a creative mind" label, switch up your posts if you're posting about the same thing. One day put a picture, next day quote lyrics, next day release a video (lyric video or talk about it), next day share a story that lead to creation of the song, share behind the scenes footage, get someone to sing the chorus, get a video of a cute kid dancing to your song. I just gave 7 examples of how to repost the same thing, this is basically a week of promotion that is more "creative" than dumping a link.
Remember that a meal that has the same ingredients every time can taste different and even look different. The key is to make it seem like something new and you'll be able to keep engagement.
3) Only Online Presence
The difference between the continuously growing chefs and the "same old" chefs is that the ones that grow are the ones that cook in different environments. This applies to musicians too. The musicians that vary the way they deliver music to their fanbase are the ones that grow their fanbase and also keep their current fanbase engaged to their content.
To be honest, it's possible to get a good following with just online presence but the labels, A&R peeps are looking for more than a one course meal. They want starters, a variety of beverages, the main course and then dessert options. In music terms, they want quality recorded music, online presences on multiple platforms with a decent engagement (not just numbers), great performance qualities and a decent look as dessert. Irrespective of whether you want to get signed or not, your fanbase also want more than the usual. Some will be okay if you don't have the full "package" but only having one element of the package will make you average. Like popcorn with no salt, eat-able but never desired.
Being a "whole" musician isn't an overnight thing but taking the steps to becoming one and highlighting where you can improve is a good step in the right direction. You'll basically be adding salt & butter to your popcorn.
4) Poor Quality Anything
This ingredient may be more detrimental than spam but it's worth mentioning. Poor anything under your music hustle is just not acceptable. Poor quality music, poor graphics, poor marketing plan and poorly defined goals are but a few things that you should avoid if you want to create a self-rising music career.
In terms of project management of an music work, whether it's a single, EP or album, no marketing plan or work schedule is another big "no-no". Having a "break" in order to establish and focus your music hustle might be something worth considering. I took a total music break for about 3 months in 2014 and then another 1 month establishing my direction and overall goals. If this is what you need then, do the right thing and put the mic away unless your putting in work at becoming better behind the mic.
5) Redundant & Repetition
Perhaps this point is very similar to point 2, repeating the same formulas as you've been doing before for a long period of time shows a lack of growth and seems very stagnant. People in general like the underdog. What they like more is the underdog that seems to be achieving.
Changing from posting tracks on datafileshare to your own website is a big step. Releasing your single on any radio station is a big step. Releasing your next single on an even bigger radio station is an even bigger step. Getting a music video aired on TV is another big step. This shows continuous growth that can make a quality post and kills redundancy.
At the end of the day you have to consider your music as part of a music business. This music business of yours must be like a well oiled machine or system. If your kitchen just has salt and rice and you don't put in effort and/or money to switch up the contents, you'll be getting the same outputs over and over again. Avoid sending your fanbase away or having them hit the unfollow by avoiding as many of the above mentioned ingredients of death. If you have music and would like someone to give you feedback, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or on whatsapp me 0835709602. Please be specific as to what you want feedback on.