Hey folks! I recently took the NYU x TISCH Music Industry Essentials program, and I also have been working in the music industry as an independent artist for around 8 years now. My experience includes both working as a studio musician, selling beats to rappers, selling components to other artists, as well as releasing my own music.
Here as some basic things you as an artist should know and be adhering to BEFORE you attempt to market yourself or make ANY money from your music. I will update this list so please drop your comments below.
Register with a PRO.
A PRO is an agency that ensures songwriters and publishers are paid for the use of their music by collecting royalties on behalf of the rights owner.
The biggest names in PROs in the United States are ASCAP BMI, and SESAC. (I personally am an ASCAP member)
In my personal experience, I have had business dealings go bad and people attempt to steal beats/songs from me. Since I am registered with a PRO all I had to do was file something within their website, and not only did i get my fair share that I was promised, I actually now get the ENTIRE profit of those songs (not just the 20% I was promised but didnt receive)
Do not delete project files, packs, vocal attempts, NOTHING. IT ALL COMES IN HANDY EVENTUALLY.
Not only does this preserve your projects but it legally protects you from theft, and legal action in certain instances. Also, if you do studio sessions, have people pay you in any capacity to come over and use your equipment or expertise, you should be recording the ENTIRE SESSION, again, for legal protection as well as to preserve thoughts, ideas, etc that may get forgotten or may have not gotten recorded into the DAW, etc.
Building Community & Performing Live: The 2 MOST IMPORTANT Things You Can Do!
Years upon years of internet marketing and community building has never amounted to as much as a single night at an open mic for artists, or a performance. I have built more connections, fans, and meaningful interactions through in person events than anything online EVER. If you have chronically online fans who only interact with you through the internet, convincing them to come out to you is one of the most important things you can do to secure a fan for life. From a business aspect it only takes 100 true fans to make around 80K dollars a year. (Streaming, merchandising, live performances, etc)
These are my top 3 tips for artists to protect themselves, protect their art, and get started in marketing/community building.
I will update this list below with additional comments and suggestions!