Over 1,000 musicians and independent music professionals gathered in Austin, Texas, late last month for CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference, and by all accounts, the IRL and online event was a smash hit.
In addition to popular presentations, workshops, networking events, show presentations, jam sessions, and more, something very special happened.
“The seeds of new songs, new tours, new bands, and new marketing ideas were opening up,” Wrote tired but energetic Chris Robley from CD Babywho helped organize the conference, said, “It might take weeks or months to see the flowers penetrate the soil (I’ll really go with these silly metaphors today, right?), but the most important and difficult work was in progress: getting started.”
Here are seven main meals Share Rubly:
1. Automation and personalization should not be at odds
There are countless tools to help you automate your communication with fans. This may seem cool and automated at first, but there are ways to customize your automated messages with video, audio, and more.
Plus, as your audience grows, you won’t have time to respond individually to every direct message, comment, or email. So unless you automate things, you probably won’t respond at all. Better automation than quiet.
2. It’s time to rediscover what makes your art unique
There are a lot of artists releasing music today. In order to stand out, you have to really bow to your hook as a music creator. get weird. be yourself. Define your brand, then find out how to boost it with every song, post, and performance.
3. TikTok may be your biggest opportunity today
This may seem obvious to some of you. To many DIY artists, TikTok seemed like an exclusive realm of popular music and youth culture memes. But it is much more than that.
At the DIY Musician Conference, we heard from several artists who have made great success in niche music by making some small tweaks to their video content. They did not change who they are. They simply respected how the algorithm came up with the content, and used that knowledge to showcase their music in front of the right people.
4. Just get started! Just say you’re done!
Our conference was a great reminder that you don’t have to wait until you’re perfect. You can’t keep staring at an endless to-do list. There comes a point where you just have to do the first thing on your list. Or you just have to say the song is complete, or the project is complete.
A song you think is “good enough” can change someone else’s life. The one thing you’ve eliminated from your list today may be a bigger achievement than you realize, because it’s a building block for something bigger.
5. The value of music is not about money (only)
The industry places a lot of emphasis on “metrics of success.” stream concerns. Concert revenue. TikTok Reviews.
But our conference opened and concluded with much deeper conversations than that. Kevin Bronner talked about an at-home concert where the host told his band one of their songs—which wasn’t even in the top 50 in their catalog, in terms of streams—literally saved his life. What is this song “worth”? Each listener has at least one.
In their closing opening address, Making Movies spoke about the power of music to not only bring people together, but allow people to be who they really are, even when they don’t feel like they fit in with a dominant culture. Music, especially niche music, can give people a sense of home and belonging. What is this “value?” Much more than money.
6. Genres don’t matter
I mean, of course types are important from a marketing perspective. But what I mean is that good music is good music. And at our conference, regardless of the attendees’ normal listening preferences, they were very supportive of everyone who showed talent and courage.
There was no “rock” crowd, “pop” crowd, “hip-hop” crowd, and “electronic dance music” crowd. There was no “young” or “old” crowd or anything in between. There were only a thousand artists dancing and screaming when anyone’s music sounded good. A thousand artists help each other.
In a world that can sometimes feel increasingly isolated and divided, it was so refreshing to be just an artist celebrating art.
7. You have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations
You only grow if you go beyond some limitations. For some, he was submitting a song to songwriter SharkTank, only to be criticized by the pros in front of the entire audience. Or put their name in the hat to open the microphone hole. Or even just press a little shy to say hello.
Greetings, everyone at the conference did something scary.
CD Baby’s DIY Musician will be back in 2023 and they’re planning a one-day event in London this fall.
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