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Kashou Music

Taking Your First Steps As A new Artist

robert henry (kashou)

Robert Henry

Music Producer

As a new artist, you probably have dreams of making the best songs, having millions of plays and millions of followers. But how are you going to get there? Do you think your favourite artist blew up for no reason? It may look like that, but chances are they had a plan and were working hard in the background on their music.

They laid the foundations for their success to grow from.

Just like you, I have goals and I plan ahead as best as I can little steps that will help me get there.

Contents

How to Take Your First Steps As An Artist

Is there something you can do right now that would help you, in any way, become the artist you want to be?

Of course there is! There’s a million things you can do. If you want to release music consistently, build a fanbase, play concerts and make money, you need a plan.

You’d be surprised how many people are winging it and wondering why they aren’t getting anywhere. They are looking at the finish line when they haven’t even started running yet. In any case, I’m here to help you with getting started.

Tip: Have a brainstorm session

Here’s a few suggestions to get you started.

  • What’s happening with that song you’re working on?
  • Are you promoting yourself?
  • Do you have a release schedule?
  • What is your budget for buying beats?
  • How can you increase the amount of plays you are getting?
  • How can you get more fans on Instagram?
  • Where do you want to be in 5 years?
  • Have you messaged that artist you want to collaborate with yet?
  • How many songs do you want to release this year?

Part 1: Pick One Thing To Do

Look at the list of things you have now from your brainstorm session. What is the most basic and important thing on it? Follow along this next part but with your own idea.

Let’s just assume that you are completely new to being an artist and you don’t even have a song yet. Your list probably has something on it along the lines of “make a song”. So, let’s plan that out. If I were you, I’d ask myself these two things…

  1. How can I make a song?
  2. What do I want to do with the song when it’s finished?

Let’s tackle the first step. How can you make a song? If you don’t have the ability to record your own music and vocals, you can take the approach learning how to do it yourself or you can buy beats that people like me make for artists like you. Since you are on my website reading this, I will assume you are interested in buying beats.

If you are completely new to buying beats, I have an article that you should read to help get you started: What Is Beat Licensing? You can always come back here once you’ve familiarised yourself with the process of buying beats online.

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Part 2: Breaking It Down Into Little Steps

Ok, you’ve decided that you want to buy a beat to make your song with. Hopefully reading my guide has helped you come to a conclusion on what kind of license to buy.

Now ask yourself, what is the process for making a song? If it’s your first time, it’s important that you break down every single thing you need to do into little, manageable steps that are easy to follow.

  1. Find a beat you like
  2. Write lyrics to it
  3. Choose an appropriate license
  4. Purchase the beat and download the files
  5. Record your vocals
  6. Mix your vocals into the beat
  7. Master your song

Congratulations! Now you have a finished song that is ready for sharing with the world. Wait, what’s that? There’s a problem and now you’re stuck?

Part 3: Overcoming Obstacles

There’s bound to be problems along the way, no matter what you are doing. Fear not. Chances are others have came across the same problems you have and have posted their solutions online.

But back to making your first song. Let’s go through the steps again and imagine a problem that could arise for each step, and a solution that is available.

  1. Find a beat you like
    Problem: You can’t find a way to purchase the beat.
    Solution: Message the producer directly. Leave a comment on the beat asking how to purchase it. Search through the producers catalogue for something in a similar style. Chances are you’ll find something else.
  2. Write lyrics to it
    Problem: You’re suffering from a creative block and inspiration isn’t striking.
    Solution: There are lots of ways to overcome creative block. I’ve written an entire article about it with some tips on how to get past it: Overcoming Creative Block.
  3. Choose an appropriate license
    Problem: You don’t know which license is best for you.
    Solution: In my article: What Is Beat Licensing?, I have a section that clearly explains the differences in licenses and what they could be used for.
  4. Purchase the beat and download the files
    Problem: The files you have been sent are not compatible with your device or the are corrupt.
    Solution: Contact the producer about the problem and they will fix it for you.
  5. Record your vocals
    Problem: You don’t have a microphone or the means to record vocals.
    Solution: It’s worth investing in some basic equipment so that you can, at least, record vocals along with a beat. If this isn’t an option, book a recording studio session to record your vocals.
  6. Mix your vocals into the beat
    Problem: You don’t know how to mix music.
    Solution: Again, it’s worth investing in some basic equipment so that you can do the bare minimum when it comes to your music or you can hire a mixing engineer to do it for you.
  7. Master your song
    Problem: You don’t know how to master music.
    Solution: There are a few online services that can automatically master your music for you. It’s not the ideal solution but it’s a quick, easy and cheap fix for your problem. You can also learn how to master music yourself if you have the equipment or you can hire a mastering engineer.

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What's The Point Of This Exercise?

Making your own songs can be expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing. This was just an example of what could go wrong when tackling one specific problem. If you need help with something and you think I can help you, feel free to contact me or message me on social media.

The Artist's Checklist

Being an artist comes with certain responsibilities and having the will to continuously put in the effort and work hard.

Chances are, you don’t have anyone working for you helping you to manage your time, money or music career. That means it’s all up to you. You are an independent artist.

There’s a long road ahead of you. Plenty of challenges lie in wait but if you put in the work, you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish by yourself. Thanks to the availability of information and technology today, it’s not as hard as it used to be to promote yourself and make a career as an artist.

That’s why I’ve made this checklist for you. It’s to help you get in place everything that you need to start your journey as a new, independent artist.

Part 1: Who Are You?

It goes without saying that if you’re going to be an artist, people need to know who you are. On every social media platform, there is a space for you to tell everyone about yourself. Fill this in. Sometimes people don’t, if you can believe it. People need an identity to match the music they are listening to with. 

So you should take it upon yourself to have some things you can tell people about. This should be a pre-written paragraph that you can copy & paste into biography sections wherever you give yourself an online presence.

This is not only good for your fans and followers. It’s essential that people who may be looking to work with you know who you are. People like Event Promoters, Managers, Record Label A&R’s and Booking Agents.

It’s a marketing tool, and an important one, so make sure you have one ready to go.

Part 2: The Importance Of A Website

If an artist has their own personal website, that tells me they are serious about their career.

It can be a bit overwhelming to set up your own website, but with a bit of research it’s totally doable. That, or you can pay somebody to do it for you.

It’s also your backup in case of emergencies. What would happen if YouTube suddenly shut down? Or if Instagram was shut down? What would happen to all your fans if they didn’t have a place to reach you? They would forget about you eventually.

Here are a few of the benefits of having a personal website. Ask yourself, how much easier would it be to do this stuff on your own website versus on only a social media platform?

  • Ticket sales
  • Merchandise
  • Tour dates
  • Pre orders
  • Music
  • Videos
  • Complete control
Get yourself a website if you haven’t already. It’s an excellent promotional tool and adds a level of professionalism.

Part 3: Social Media

Every professional artist has social media in form or another, and chances are you do to.

A carefully crafted social media presence is a tool to promote yourself. It’s probably the best way to promote yourself. It’s a lot easier to go to your audience rather than get them to come to you.

This is where you should be putting in that premade section you wrote about yourself. Keep it short, relative and informative. People don’t need to know your whole history.

This is the information that people are looking for:

  • Artist name
  • About you
  • Links to your website and other social media
  • Contact information (email)
  • Call to action

In my opinion, a call to action is among the best way to connect with your audience. You may have noticed my website has the same call to action all over it (free beat pack). Since this is for social media, your call to action could be something as simple as “follow me”.

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Part 4: Where Can People Listen To Your Music?

YouTube and Soundcloud are among the favourites for hosting your music since they are free to use.

But if you want to start monetising your music the way the professionals do, you need to start uploading to places like Spotify, iTunes and Amazon Music. Companies like Distrokid take care of this process for you. It’s cheap to signup and all you have to do is upload your music and they will take care of the rest. (If you are ready to upload your music to streaming platforms, signing up with my Distrokid link will get you a 7% discount on your first years membership which would be about $18.50)

Just like on social media, you should be letting people know who you are and what you’re about. Provide links to everywhere you can be found. A good idea would be to change your call to action to something like “Click to listen to my music” or “Download my new single here”.

I recommend putting it in the descriptions for each of your songs.

Part 5: Building A Network For Yourself

You NEED to be building a network with people in the same field as you. This is critical in building your career. 

All it takes is that one contact who works in the right place for you to have a way in. Imagine if this person is also a fan of yours.

Just to name a few, here’s a list of people you should consider building a relationship with:

  • Music bloggers
  • YouTubers
  • Playlist curators
  • Music reviewers
  • Admins of large Facebook groups
  • Local promoters
  • Music supervisors

Common Mistakes New Artists Make

Here are 5 common mistakes that new artists make when getting themselves started.

  1. Not building a brand
    How am I supposed to care about what you are doing when I don’t even know who you are?
  2. Worrying too much about getting heard
    There’s nothing wrong with wanting people to hear your music. But don’t make it your only priority. Focus on making the music and building an image for yourself. Those lucky enough to hear your music are more likely to become real fans more naturally than you trying to force it.
  3. Not having a plan
    If you haven’t read this article and instead skipped to this part, I suggest you read it because I talk about how to make a plan and follow through with it.
  4. Not interacting with your fans
    I’m not saying you have to reply to every single comment or like on everything you post, although that would be good. Post videos of behind the scenes stuff: you in the studio, slice of life type things, ask your audience questions. Make yourself relatable. 
  5. No email list
    Ever wonder how some artists are able to sell so many copies of their music before it’s even released? They know how to leverage their audience and keep in contact with them through email. Sign up for an email marketing provider such as Aweber. It’s totally free to sign up.

Why Artists Fail

The problem today is that people are too comfortable settling with what they think is “fine” rather than something that is amazing. 

Artists struggle with things like mixing and mastering their songs, or understanding the basic concepts of beat leasing so they end up buying a basic lease, recording their vocals and calling it a day. That’s all well and fine but when you have 10, 20, 30 songs and they are all of that mediocre quality, you’re falling behind.

That’s why I wrote an article like this. Yes part of it is to encourage you to spend more money on better quality beats and buying the stems for them, but it’s for your own good. The music you hear from your favourite artists isn’t made with a cheap $30 license. 

The Fundamentals

  • Improve writing
  • Recording skills
  • Mixing your own music
  • Marketing skills

Don't Settle For

  • Bad writing habits
  • Prioritising likes
  • Low quality music
  • Low quality social media content

Don’t get your priorities wrong.

Work hard and solidify your fundamentals before running too fast.

Contact Form

Kashou Music

Robert Henry
1/R 27 West Street
Dundee
DD36SB
Scotland, United Kingdom

[email protected]
www.kashoumusic.com