Advances in music technology have made it easier than ever to make a living as an independent musical artist. However, this naturally leads to more competition. The challenge for today’s musicians is not in being heard, it’s building a brand that attracts people’s attention amid all the white noise. Here are a few helpful tips on finding your voice as an artist that will create a solid foundation for success in today’s ever-changing musical landscape.

Seek to Create Trends Don’t Follow Them

The advent of viral content has sped up the lifecycle of cultural trends at an astonishing rate. Every week, there is a new fashion style or viral video that is affecting the culture at large. Likewise every year there is a new crop of rappers or singers who are looking to cash in on the meme though the content they use to market themselves.

The smart ones use the viral popularity to attract attention then find a more timeless style to keep their fanbase entertained for the long haul. The foolish ones keep rehashing the same tired ideas over and over until they’ve relegated themselves to one-hit-wonder status.

There is nothing wrong with creating music or content that is of the moment, especially if it gives you that initial boost you need to get noticed. But anchoring your entire artistic identity to a trend that will likely seem played out by the end of the year is never an effective strategy.

It’s better to establish yourself as a trendsetter than a crowd follower. Even if it takes longer to make your career pop off. Styles change quickly enough that if you stay true to yourself it’s entirely possible that the culture will eventually come around to your image or aesthetic. Respect lasts longer than popularity and establishing yourself a trendsetter will set you up for a longer and healthier career than that of a trend follower.

Play the Long Game, Don’t Sell Out

We all want commercial success in our careers. Whether you’re a stockbroker or a starving artist, deep down we all want our ideas to translate into income.

It’s a part of human nature, but don’t let that instinct overwhelm you. If you’re going to make it in the music industry long term, you have to understand that you’re in the business of building a brand, which requires a lot of foresight and discipline.

It’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and glam of the music industry; especially if you’ve been struggling to get to a place where people care. But before you make any financial decisions – whether it’s hiring a manager, signing a record deal or just doing a performance for money, you have to consider how it will affect your brand in the long term.

A good manager will give you guidance, industry connections, and a business partner to help you navigate through the treacherous waters. A bad manager will have spin your gears while bleeding you dry and this is true of any financial partnership or opportunity you face in your career.

It’s inevitable that you’ll make mistakes. But if you maintain a long term mentality, it’s more likely that these mistakes will turn into lessons that will help you succeed later on. Whereas if you’re only in it for the quick cash or popularity, these bumps in the road are more likely to destroy what you’ve built just as quickly.

Be Unique With Your Marketing

Being unique with your content goes without saying. Yet, far too many artists don’t realize that in this era, unfortunately, it’s not enough to make compelling art. You have to also market yourself in a way that is compelling or few people outside your immediate social circles will take the risk of listening.

Those of us who are actively involved in the creation or business of music often make the false assumption that everyone is just as risk-prone with their artistic interests as we are. But the reality is that the average person’s musical tastes tend to crystallize in high school or college. And the demographics of music nerds just isn’t large enough to sustain a music career long term.

This doesn’t mean you should abandon your own style and start a Led Zeppelin cover band. It just means that you have to understand that finding new music is a risk that most people are unlikely to take without being enticed in some other way.

Simply recording songs and uploading them to your social media platforms along with some generic copy like “check out this new song I made” is not likely to get you the results you’re really after.

Instead you should put your creative brainpower to work in a different way. Maybe you could make reviews of your favorite albums and upload them to YouTube with a few seconds of your own original music at the end. Or if you’re really into the technical aspects of musicianship, maybe start a blog about the best equipment or compression techniques to use and cite your own music as an example.

The possibilities are endless and the more value you can create for your audience, the more you increase the odds that they will take the risk of consuming your content.

If you took something away from this article, head over to for more how to’s tips and tricks to help you succeed in the industry. If you’re ready to take the next step with your career fill out our questionnaire on the homepage and let us know how we can best assist you.