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How To Stand Out In The Music Industry

The music industry is over saturated with music so here’s how you stand out from the crowd and make sure your music is listened to.

Having a successful career in music means that some portion of your job is to actually be a salesperson. It may not be what you want to do but with music creation and distribution being easier than ever, you need to make sure your music is hitting the right people and the only way you can do this is by persuading the consumer to listen.

With so much music out there, you can’t simply upload a picture telling someone to listen to your music because the average attention span has dropped massively and they’d much rather spend their time aimlessly scrolling through Instagram, rather than be taken to another platform.

In this article, I’m going to explain how artists can avoid spamming their audience and create real relationships, leading to exponential growth in engagement, streams and overall fan base but also increase their income streams, so you’re not constantly investing money, you’re making it. 

To stand out in this industry, you need to be more than just a musician, you need to have a story and that’s all what today’s article is going to explain. I’m going to teach you how to create that story and find your angle and then how you can use it to push it out to the masses and grow massively. 

Angle:

An angle is something that makes you different, it’s something someone can relate to and will capture your audience’s attention.

An angle can be broken down in to a few areas.

  • Your lifestyle 
  • Your POV
  • Your successes 
  • Your past

LIFESTYLE:

Your lifestyle is one that can be appropriate to any musician as we all have different lifestyles but does yours make you stand out?

Your style could be a stay at home Dad, or it could be a multi-millionaire, whatever it is, if it gives you something to tell a story about, then people will follow that journey.

For example, current UK number 1 is Lewis Capaldi and his lifestyle is living at home with his parents, lazying around. 

He uses this angle to capture an audience because it’s relatable to so many so has made him become memes, viral content and increase his following on Instagram by over 600k in less than 6 months, currently at 1 mil.

To tell if this angle would be fitting for you, reflect on what you do in your day to day life and see how you could portray this to your audience.

POV:

This one is fitting for those who have strong opinions and want to get it out to the world.

Your point of view can add another layer to your music and build relationships with people who have similar views. 

For example, Matty Healy from The 1975 has made it very clear that he believes the meaning of masculinity should change as he feels the stereotypes of a man shouldn’t be what they are. He’s open about his emotions and this has become a large part of the band’s successful career via the songs and their content.

So think about your POV’s and whether you want to put them out there to the world.

Successes:

This isn’t going to be fitting for everyone but for those that have had previous successes they can use this as their angle. 

Think about who you’ve supported in the past, what producers you’ve worked with, any major media you’ve featured in as this will make you stand out and have credibility.

For example, we worked with a band called dutchkid who were supported by fellow indie electro band Fickle Friends who tweeted about the guys. We used this to pitch to the media and secured coverage in the likes of Flavour Mag and Indie Shuffle, national radio play, placement on 2 Spotify Editorial placements and sync deals with Liberty London, Nissan, The Body Shop and Clarks; and recently, the guys have been signed to record label Ultra Music.

This is proof that using previous successes and recognisable names gives you that edge and credibility, which the media favours and eventually will lead to growth in fans. 

Past: 

The final angle you can look at is your past. This one is very relevant to a lot of people that have had difficult pasts because it tells your story. 

For example, Jay Zs early career was all based on his upbringing and his days as a drug dealer. 

This showed his vulnerability and gave his audience a better understanding of him, his history and his current situation.

Your fans want that, and it works for so many musicians. 

I know most of you think but it should all be about the music and of course, the music is the main seller and nothing matters without the music but having an angle, telling a story is where you’ll find yourself succeeding against many others.

Now you’ve got your angle, now what? Well you can use your angle for 3 main things….

PR, Social Media & Sales 

PR: 

To secure press and radio support, you need to get the tastemakers to open your emails and the best way to capture their attention is through an angle.

As I mentioned early, we used an angle of previous success with dutchkid and the results were fantastic, and you can do the same.

Use your angle in the subject bar of the email, in the first line of your pitch and throughout the press release to prove you don’t just make good songs but you’ve got a story to tell. So for example, if you are a situation where you found some success through a support slot, you could include the name of the band you supported in the first few lines of the subject, and if someone sees that and knows the name, they will be curious because they are familiar, sparking curiosity.

Social Media:

Social media is currently the best way to engage with your fans but also reach potential fans and having this angle will mean growing your following and engagement extremely fast. 

Across all of your socials you need to have an ongoing theme and this theme will be fitting with your angle.

For example, if you angle is your POV, you can use this to create short videos of you discussing this or perhaps upload quotes of your thoughts. If you have this ongoing theme, your audience know what they’re signing up for and can engage further with you.

We mentioned earlier Lewis Capaldi and that’s a perfect example as his angle of his simple, funny lifestyle is reflected on his social media, which has led him to being number 1 for 7 weeks now.

Sales: 

Now you’ve got your angle and secured press and a social media following using it, you can actually look at monetizing that attention. 

You can of course do this via the music because if people are engaging with you via socials and interacting with each post, by the time you release music, they’ll also engage with that meaning you can collect money from streams.

However, the best way to secure an income from this attention is via live events and merchandise.

For live events, your angle needs to be represented in how you’re performing so it all fits together as one and people feel part of your fan community. For example, in 2017 Stormzy did pop up shows across London and made sure to play in his hometown Croydon in South London. His angle is his past about how he grew up in Croydon and was part of the UK underground scene and now people feel they know him and his story.

Live events are one of the biggest income streams for an artist, with estimates that live music industry will be worth 31$ billion worldwide in 2022.

The other income stream is merch and this one is HUGE, proven by the fact that Warner just spent $180mil on a merchandising company.

Use your angle to create merch because it makes people feel part of a community and brings in big money.

For example, Lewis Capaldi has toilet roll as merch which is sold as ‘Lew Roll’ because his social media content has a lot of toilet humour and he never takes himself too seriously. This sort of merchandise isn’t just putting an artist name on a tshirt, it shows you’re more than just a musician, you have a community and that’s what fans want, they want to feel involved.

So…

that’s how artists can find their angle, use it to capture the attention of the industry and fans, and then monazite that attention, creating an income stream for you that many other musicians are missing.

GROW YOUR INSTAGRAM MUSIC ACCOUNT | INSTAGRAM TIPS

Hack Instagram’s algorithm and grow your fanbase overnight with these tips

When you’re building a brand around your music, it’s super important to have a loyal fanbase on Instagram. Over an eighth of the population are on Instagram with over 1 billion monthly active users, so the potential fans you can gain by simply uploading images and videos to Instagram, is insane.

Do you want image uploading content and getting thousands of likes within the first few minutes, getting hundreds of DMs every day from fans saying they love your music and brand approaching you to do collaborations due to your engaged audience, well this article is going to explain how you can secure that. 

All of these tips are completely free to do and will increase your fanbase exponentially if done correctly, so let’s discuss how you as a musician can start growing your Instagram following today 

Content: 

We’ll start with the most important thing about your Instagram as a musician and this is the content you’re putting out.

The content you put out to the world is entirely your brand in 2019. Take Lewis Capaldi for example, he’s secured 2.3 million followers on Instagram, leading to his album going number 1 and being the fastest selling album of 2019. 

This is purely down to his content but of course you can’t just copy his content and hope to go number 1, you need to be original. 

The content you can create is broken down into 3 main areas and the content you chose to create depends entirely on your personality and the brand you want to put across – entertain, educate, document.

Caption & Hashtags:

Now you know the style of content you’re putting out; you need to use the most engaging caption and the correct hashtags to reach a wider audience. 

A compelling caption will lead to more engagement and engagement is one of the key factors that’ll hack the Instagram algorithm, pushing you out to a wider audience. Within your caption, try to get your followers to engage, so you could ask a question or get them to tag a friend. Start a conversation so that the content involves them rather than is just shoved in front of them as that isn’t as enjoyable for the consumer.

The hashtags are how you’re going to start getting your content outside of your immediate audience, so it’s important you’re using the right ones. You can use a tool such as DisplayPurposes.com, which will recommend hashtags fitting to a key word. As well as this, search a hashtag you’d want to use, click on some of the top performing posts within that hashtag search and see what hashtags they’re using. 

Engage:

Now your content is out, you need to be engaging with your audience because as I already mentioned, this is how you’re going to get the Instagram algorithm on your side.

If you’re putting out that high quality content with compelling captions and the appropriate hashtags, you’ll be getting comments. You need to be reply to every single comment you get, even if it’s a bot from the hashtags as Instagram will count it as engagement either way. The same with negative comments, reply to them all as Instagram cannot tell whether your comments are negative or positive, they can just see it’s getting engagement. 

Clever tip for this one is reply to comments with a question as this will lead to further engagement. So, if someone comments ‘love this photo’, you could reply ‘so glad you like it, would you be interested in seeing more of this kind of stuff on my feed?’. The more engagement the better. 

You can also engage with your fans via DM, so try to be messaging every single follower to start a relationship.

Stories:

My final tip is taking advantage of Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories are used by 500 million users every day. This allows spontaneous content, so post as often as you can, and take advantage of the features e.g. Polls, Q&A’s, Quiz and Sliders

Get your audience involved!

BONUS TIP:

If you want your Stories to be reaching more of an audience outside of your immediate fanbase, you can use hashtags within your Story. Take your picture or video, use the appropriate hashtags and upload. You can easily hide the hashtags within the image if you use the same colour hashtags as the background and it’s so simple to do. You’ll get way more views on your Story, which will lead to a growth in following also.

How To Find New Band Members

So, one of your bandmates has decided to go solo, or you’re starting a new band and desperately need a lead singer. Luckily, there is a wealth of resources in the music industry and online, and some impactful strategies you can organise in a short space of time to get the musician you need as we’ll explain in this short blog. 

Auditions

Why Host an Audition?

While auditions can be daunting for many aspiring musicians (and your band!), they’re actually useful for several reasons. They’re an opportunity to see: new talent in action, how your potential bandmates work and interact with your current members (do they “click” as a group, musically, personally and professionally?), and how they cope in the moment. Also, remember that auditions work both ways – they allow the musicians to get to know you and the band as much as you hearing and seeing them. 

Different Types of Auditions

There are several types of auditions you can host. Firstly, there are open auditions, where anyone can turn up at the venue without prior notice and then you whittle the musicians through various rounds as and when. While this process widens the pool, allowing anyone to “give it a go,” it’s likely that you’ll get a mixed bag of talent, or people who are all on the same level of artistry, musicality and commitment, good or bad! So it’s wise to set some specific criteria for what you’re looking for so you don’t waste time. 

Then, there are invite-only auditions, where if you already have someone or a certain kind of musician in mind, you’re able to create a customised shortlist to choose from. As you’ll have a similar pool of talent or have invited musicians that you all agree on, the process will be more efficient, and possibly, more relaxed if you know them beforehand professionally or personally.  

Finally, if there are musicians who cannot attend your audition dates, you can invite them to send an online video of themselves playing. It’s useful to request a video rather than an audio recording so you can see how they perform and present themselves – a band’s stage presence is just as important as being competent musicians. However, it’s wise to arrange a private audition with them at a later date to learn what they’re actually like in person, and how they work, specifically within your band. 

What To Do in Your Auditions

Conducting your auditions “X Factor style” and being destructive won’t help, especially if you’ve got young musicians there who are just starting out. It’s more productive to get people to do specific things in each round such as playing covers/your band’s songs. It’s also useful to get them doing tasks to test their individual musicianship, and if they can adapt to the band’s style. For example, 1D’s MD got bassists to play straight eighths exactly in time to a track as they don’t want a freeform jazz musician. Interviewing your musicians or inviting them out will help you see whether they’d fit into the group dynamic. 

Getting them to play with you as a band in front of a paying public or invited audience will definitely be a helpful decider for a final audition as it’s a more realistic situation of what being, rehearsing and playing in the band will be like. This is also a great opportunity to get feedback from your audience as they will ultimately be the ones investing in your band.

See Live Music

Watching gigs are not too dissimilar to auditioning band members, especially if the musicians know that you’re in the audience. Live shows are not only an amazing way (if not, the best) to see fellow musicians playing in a real-life performance situation but it’s a perfect opportunity for networking, say, if you’d like to follow up what they did in the show with an audition or trialling out for a few dates with your group. So from pub shows to battle of the bands to buskers, you need to get out and see as much live music possible so you get to know as many musicians for your contacts, and don’t be shy to go up and talk to them afterwards. 

Social Media

We all know that social networks and apps are brilliant for discovering raw musical talent, whether that’s a major artist recommending a new act on their radar or hashtags to increase discoverability. However, we’re going to focus on five particular socials that have stood out recently for discovering new acts. 

YouTube

As the world’s most dominant music streaming platform, YouTube is now an essential resource for finding new musical talent. Artists are increasingly hiring people based on their performances on YouTube, but the Recommended Videos and hashtags will help you discover acts that you wouldn’t previously have known. 

The slight downside is that you’re seeing an edited version of someone’s “perfect” performance or, often, the sound quality is not stunning. So it’s wise to follow their videos up with a private message, inviting them to audition in person. 

Facebook


It’s a well-known fact that Facebook is the world’s number one social network, and there are many Facebook groups where you can network and share resources with other like-minded musicians. What’s great is that a number of these groups request users not to exploit them for “shameless self-promotions,” allowing musicians to focus on connecting and collaborating in a more beneficial way for their careers. 

Instagram



Instagram has become the most popular social media app for musicians because it is very feature-rich and has allowed artists to reach their audiences and build new fans in really distinctive and imaginative ways. In turn, there are several features that gives this app so much capacity for finding new bandmates. 

The Instagram Discovery feature will recommend similar hashtags, so if you are using hashtags yourself in your posts, this in turn will help to increase the possibility of finding new acts on the scene. Don’t forget to use niche hashtags that are relevant to your band and genre so that people will search it and you can increase the chances of pinpointing the kind of musicians you specifically want.  

Also, the combination of having eye-catching photos and short, snappy videos will help to make any musician you’re looking for attractive. Remember that videos are the second most popular post on Instagram, and views now act as a second currency in the music industry so can really count for a lot when invested in properly – we discover music more now for the overall aesthetic. 

Music Apps

More and more apps have been released for musicians to get discovered such as AirGigs (think Airbnb for musicians) and Gigtown, where you can find up and coming musicians playing locally in your area. One emerging app that’s on my radar is Bandr, a combination of Facebook and Tinder for musos. You search according to categories like age, location and instruments – the app then gives you a list of matching profiles and if you like what you see, you can send a request to “Connect” with them about your musical futures.  

LinkedIn

In addition to music-based apps, don’t dismiss “corporate” job apps like LinkedIn. With a whopping 575+ million worldwide registered members, LinkedIn is fast becoming a resource for musicians to further their connections in a more professional, careers-orientated capacity. What’s great is that you can see a user’s online “CV,” skillset, connections and endorsements so you can already gauge their standing within the industry, their musical talent, and what they can bring to your band. What’s more, LinkedIn is utilised across a wide range of demographics (from 18-60+ years old), so you’re bound to find someone according to your band’s needs.  

Run Fan Competitions

This final strategy combines all of the above tips presented in this blog. It’s a unique way to build your fanbase and connect with them creatively and relationally. By inviting aspiring performers to submit video entries of them playing your songs/a cover on social media, and by getting fans to vote on their favourite submissions, this will encourage your fans’ community. This is a deeper, more creative and collaborative level of fandoms than just liking, following and listening to a band. Of course, what fans will like is not necessarily the same as what the band prefers so understandably, you might decide to make the final decision and use the fans’ opinions for guidance. 

Inviting them to rehearse with you and play to an invited audience will reinforce the connection between you, your fans and the auditionees. Not only are they able to see and interact with your potential bandmates in real life but it’s a wonderful opportunity for them to see how you have taken the raw talent from their videos and developed it through the process, even if it is in a short space of time. 

Case In Point…

Check out Wilco’s #WilcoKaraoke for a fun model of how you could run your musician-finding fan competitions! 

3 Types Of Content Musicians Can Make For Social Media

Struggling to know what content to create for your social media? Well there are 3 different types of content you can be making to grow your audience.

Sharing your latest music video, screenshotting your Spotify profile, just constantly plugging your music isn’t going to increase engagement and lead to legitimate fans. Social media is a game of giving, rather than taking and in the long run, you will most certainty start receiving. If you’re building relationships with your fans, you’ll be able to sell whatever you want, whether that’s tickets, music or even merch. 

However, most of you won’t know how to give to an audience. How can you add value to your followers, whilst increasing engagement and eventually getting lifelong fans; well there are actually 3 different ways you can do this.

With over half the population on some sort of social media platform, social media is the easiest and quickest way to engage an audience, grow your fans and secure the success you want…but only if used effectively. 

Now the 3 different types of content and they are – entertaining, documenting and educating.

These 3 content styles mean you can engage an audience so simply, but each artist works differently and you’ll find what works for you and your target audience, doesn’t work for others; So take notes on each different content style and then evaluate which is best for you.

Documenting

People love to follow a story, they enjoy being on a journey with someone else, that’s why reality tv shows are so popular. Love Island, Big Brother, The Bachelor, all these shows take you on a journey and let’s be honest, we all like to be a bit nosey too!

So, you too can document your journey. Take your followers on the journey of your music career, from the writing process, to the studio, to the release strategy, to taking it live. If you do this humbly, people will enjoy being part of that story with you.

Documenting is pretty self-explanatory, you just need to be documenting your journey whenever possible. Simply pickup your phone and record, or you could take a picture and, in the caption, write a blog post about where you’re currently at. 

Work out what parts of your journey you want to document. You may want to document your tour, taking your fans on the tour with you, showing the BTS, the warm up, parts of the live set and then the after party. 

Or you may choose to document the writing process of your material.

A great example of an artist that live documents his song production is Blanks. He gets his Instagram followers to vote on the writing process and he documents it via YouTube videos…

Documenting can feel super awkward a first as you’re talking to the camera, taking pictures in public, filming when people are just chilling in the studio, but it’s worth it and you’ll get used to it over time.

Entertaining

Entertaining your audience is very much based on your personality. If you’re not naturally an entertaining person, then don’t attempt this one because it’s EXTREMELY cringey when artists attempt to be something they’re not.

Always make sure you’re comfortable creating the content you’re creating and it’s true to you. So if you’re naturally quite an entertaining person, then this content style can work perfectly. 

Often the documenting and entertaining can cross over because you may be doing a tour diary and that’ll come across as entertaining content because, you on the tour bus talking about what happened at the after party may be funny.

A great example of an artist that entertains is Lewis Capaldi…

Educating

People are always looking to learn, and if you have a skill you can teach, educating your audience, then do it! It builds such an amazing sense of trust between the artist and the consumer, meaning when you do have a release, you can plug it whenever and they’ll be engaged.

It’s like our content, it’s educational and we’ve built an amazing audience, especially on our Instagram account, where we’ve gained real relationships with followers.

You can do the exact same but what could you educate your audience with? You’re a musician aren’t you, educate them with that! How to use a certain production software or perhaps how to play a certain riff, educate them so you’re giving rather than taking. You’ll gain such strong fan loyalty this way.  

A great example of an artist that does this is HANNIE. We’ve worked with HANNIE and they’re absolutely amazing at what they do. The female production duo create content on YouTube and Instagram based on looping, using different software and instruments and I’ll make sure to link their channel below. 

Now you’ve got your content style, you need to find themes. So if you’re educating your audience, what are you educating them with. Because if you don’t stick to a theme, you’ll put off your audience.

You follow someone for a reason and if they suddenly switched it up, you’d not want to follow anymore. If we randomly started posting tutorials on how to train your dog, I doubt you’d be too interested because that’s not why you followed us and artists must do the same. Stick to your theme and content style for at least 3 months, see how it’s developing… 

Pick your platform based on your style and theme…Different content on all platforms but stick to your themes (if you follow a youtuber and go to their insta and it’s not the same theme, you won’t follow) 

How To Build a Fanbase From Scratch | Get Fans Overnight

So you’re just getting started with your music career. You have the music but how do you get fans?

Getting your first thousand, even your first 10,00 fans is difficult. Where do you find them? How do you attract them? How do you keep them?

I’m going to answer all of that today and this article isn’t just for those musicians in the early stages of their career because yes I’m going to teach you how to build a fanbase from scratch but I’m going to teach you how to keep building on that fanbase, so if you’re at 10 fans or 100,000 fans, this article is for you! 

What is a fanbase? 

A fanbase by definition is the fans of a particular well-known person or group considered a distinct social grouping. The key words there are social grouping. It’s a community.

Fans are not listeners, they’re not even followers, they’re more dedicated than that. So you need to not only get someone to listen to your music, but you need to get them to stay dedicated to you so when you have music they listen, they download, they put it int heir playlist. When you upload social media content they’re liking, they’re sharing, commenting. And when you have something to sell like merch or tickets, they’re immediately buying.

I’ve also got a bonus tip at the end which is for those that want to take it to the next level, they don’t just want to extra 1000 followers, they want the extra 100,000 followers, so stick around. 

Community 

So I’ve explained a fanbase is a community, but what if you don’t know what your community is…completely normal, completely fine. You need to go and find them; they won’t always come to you because there’s so much competition.

Join Facebook groups, subreddits, jump into the Instagram comments to discuss your music and the community.

Join the community you want to lead by adding value. 

Consistency 

Release as often as possible on EVERY platform

Explore different forms of social media content. Find your platform, find your theme, produce content and you will build a collection of videos, podcasts or even blog posts that people will latch onto, and revisit because they know you, and like your new content.

If you are having trouble with keeping consistent, posting on socials everyday, or even just producing content, then you can do something called ‘long form to short form’, which means you can take an extended video of a live show, or rehearsal and break it down and separate the new broken down clips on your feed.

Engage with your audience

Live, stories, comments, DMs – transform a follower into a fan

Instagram is an amazing way to engage with your audience, if not the best way. Instagram allows you to engage with a wide range of different features, for example, instagram stories have options to add a question for your audience to answer. There are great ways for an artist to engage with their audience including polls, votes and replying to every single comment to show you know they are there.

Another good thing you can do, is talk to your followers as if you are speaking to one person. Instead of saying ‘Guys’ in your text, say ‘you’, it can make people reading feel like you are making content with them in mind, this will make them want to see what you’re posting and engage with it.

Live

Play live where your audience is. Starting locally, reaching out to venues and promoters in your local scene is a great way to meet other musicians and get involved with what is happening around you. Over time, you may find that you are building a following through playing excessively, whether it is a support slot or a headline show, you have the to potential to reach the right audience through live gigs.

if you are starting out, keep in mind, that over time, your performance and abilities will get better on stage, and that you will see a growth in musicianship, and your audience will see that too. I have a theory that it takes around 10 gigs for any band or artist to find their feet on stage, and this has proven to be the case, so keep at it, and always have a show booked in the diary.

If you are more established, and have been gigging for a few years, you will know about everything I’ve already talked about, however, that doesn’t mean that you should be content with your live shows. Make your performances memorable, start to explore things you can do put put on a show. There are number of different things you can explore, like doing merchandise giveaways, ‘Buy a CD, get a t-shirt’, these types of marketing tactics can build your audience connection.

BONUS TIP:

Collaborate on content with other artists or brands to boost your chances of getting attention from a wider audience. This will all depend on what level you are at, and what kind of brand or artist you can collaborate with. However, you can find artists through YouTube and Spotify, especially by looking on official Spotify playlists and seeing who gets put on playlists frequently. By approaching these artists, you are not only connecting with a potential new audience, you are increasing your chances of getting put on a Spotify official playlist yourself.

In terms of brand collaboration, you can look to local at magazines, clothing brands and independant companies that would suit your themes and could benefit from partnering up to create brand new content.

World Mental Health Day – Five Top Tips to Look After Your Mental Health in the Music Industry

World Mental Health Day is a day that takes place every year on the 10thOctober. This important occasion is organised by the World Health Organisation, the World Mental Health Federation, and member organisations, aiming to raise awareness of mental health issues and promote good mental health practice around the world. 

In the music industry, mental health problems are a growing concern. A 2019 report from Swedish digital distribution platform Record Union showed that 73% of independent musicians struggle with mental illness. The many pressures of the music business can affect musicians emotionally and psychologically so to mark World Mental Health Day, we’re going to share five top tips to look after your mental health and well-being in the music business.

1. Reframe your thoughts and circumstances

Firstly, it’s important to recognise that mental health problems are not caused by one particular thing – it could be a chemical imbalance or a past experience. The Record Union report identified numerous factors that impact musicians’ mental health: fear of failure, financial insecurity, pressure to succeed/deliver, loneliness, and being evaluated by others. While some of these are unavoidable (e.g., finances, critics’ reviews), it is possible to rethink your attitude towards your music career. So… 

Practise positive self-talk everyday

Central to how we view ourselves as musicians is how our thoughts or “self-talk” shape us as a lot of being a musician is interwoven with your personal life. Research shows that 80% of our daily thoughts are negative but negative thoughts tend to be unrealistic, making us feel fearful, destructive and self-absorbed. So much in the same way as a plant needs to be fed good things to grow and survive, it’s vital to feed your mind with thoughts that will allow you to enjoy your work and music creation. 

So replace your mental chatter with positive affirmations, recalling evidence that will allow you to move forward and find enjoyment in your music. Instead of saying “I can’t do this gig,” say “I can do this show because I’ve played in front of people before.” Say “I will pay my bills because there is financial help.” Would the things you say to yourself be the same things you’d say to a friend? 

By saying positive affirmations to yourself each day, you’ll not only feel better mentally but physically, meaning a more productive, fulfilling and creative outlook as an artist. Use the self-compassion scale at self-compassion.org to help you determine the kind of self-talk you think. 

2. Don’t compare your insides with people’s outsides

The goal of success the music business drives inevitably creates feelings of jealousy, insecurity and self-doubt when other musicians learn that their colleagues are doing well. This easily manifests as feelings of self-comparison. 

While competition and comparison does have a place in this business, as it gives us something to work towards and push us artistically, they’re also prone to feeding a vicious cycle of negative thoughts. What’s more, constantly comparing ourselves to other musicians reduces our passion for music and to be creative as we’re self-absorbed and striving for unrealistic goals (i.e., perfectionist thinking). Therefore…

Aim for realistic goals focused on you, not someone else!

What people in the music industry see as the ultimate goal such as getting signed or doing the “big gigs” isn’t necessarily the most rewarding work – it might be for one person but not for someone else. In fact, frontman of Franz Ferdinand Alex Kapranos recalled

“The denial of mental health issues […] is the norm. For the most part, managers and labels push their acts as far as they can with no support beyond a proverbial crossing of the fingers. Major labels are much worse. Especially American ones. A real jock attitude. The model is: ‘Push them, push them, push them — ah, they’ve broken. Which one’s next?’ ”

So by focusing on yourself, and by setting manageable goals personally, artistically and career-wise, you’ll learn how to create less pressure, burnout and a better work-life balance. And you’ll have work that is realistic and unique to you(not anyone else!), meaning a more content musician long-term. 

3. Take breaks from social media

Research has shown that social media reinforce negative feelings in users as they’re constantly comparing themselves to other people’s “seemingly perfect lives.” What’s more, as seen in the recent BBC Three documentary with Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson, the rise of cyberbullying and trolling has a huge impact on people’s self-esteem and confidence. 

But there’s always a motivation behind people’s posts. More often than not, it’s because they’re envious of other artists’ success, and feel the need to have a go at them. Or they’re actually insecure and struggling themselves, so they put on an online persona to make themselves better than they are. Asking yourself why someone is posting the things they say and do online will help you distance yourself from your own mental chatter.

Also, a lot of what you see on social media is edited. It’s part of a musician’s job to do social media marketing and many artists work with a PR firm that runs their socials in order to present themselves in the best possible light. Often, people take many selfies and choose the best one to post online. Moreover, social media apps like Instagram encourage users to put filters on their photos to make their lives seem happier and brighter than they really are.  

You Choose What You See Online

Remember that you can control your settings on your socials to choose what content you view – positive, motivational, educational content will stimulate you whereas negative comments and complaints will make you feel worse. And using an app like Hootsuite allows you to schedule all your posts in advance so that you can have a social media amnesty. Taking regular breaks from social media will help you to see life “unfiltered,” that you are like everyone else and that no one is perfect or superhuman, even if you can sing! But this will benefit you physically as the negative emotions created from social networks and the blue light from smartphones impacts concentration and sleep. This makes it more important today to…

4. Look after your physical health

How you look after yourself physically will affect you mentally and vice versa. The Record Union report showed that the top activity musicians enjoy doing to boost their mental health is exercise so why not go for a run, go to the gym or even do some chores to a motivational playlist? Think about your diet as well – are you mostly feeding yourself junk food and drink or fresh, healthy meals? If you can, try to get between 7-8 hours sleep a day but catching up on sleep while travelling to/from gigs or throughout the day is better than nothing. 

Much of a musician’s life is spent indoors in a studio, in front of a computer or waiting around while travelling from one venue to another. So where possible, it’s essential to spend some time away from your devices and socials, and get some fresh air outside to reduce fatigue and low mood (i.e., cabin fever). 

5. Talk to other people

Making the first step and asking for help can be hard if you’ve kept your feelings to yourself. But by talking to a trusted friend, family member, band mate or colleague about what you’re thinking and feeling, you’ll find that usually they’ll be more than willing to listen to you. Make sure that you surround yourself with positive, like-minded people who will support and encourage you in your music career rather than people who will drag you down and don’t understand how the music profession works. 

Also, many musicians have similar experiences so there are people you can talk to in this industry who will definitely relate to you and will only be too happy to offer advice. And more artists are using social media to have an honest and open conversation about their struggles with their fans so creating a support network online is one way that you can benefit positively. 

Support Services

Additionally, there is a lot of professional support we’d recommend such as seeing a doctor, individual counselling/therapycognitive behavioural therapy (in-person and online), talking therapies, telephone hotlines, services and online resources from national mental health organisations if you urgently need help (we will include links to these at the end of this blog). Music Minds Matter is a 24/7 support service for everyone in the UK music industry, launched in the aftermath of the passing of Linkin Park’s frontman Chester Bennington. 

In Conclusion

Looking after your mental well-being, together with your physical health and everyday thought patterns, will help you be a happier, healthier and stronger musician, all things that will allow you to work smarter, perform better and stay interested in music. If you’re struggling with your mental health, please ask for help and talk to other people as this will not only affect you but those around you both in your musical life and personal life.  Remember to take one day at a time, try not to compare yourself with other “seemingly perfect” musicians and stay hopeful as the vast majority of people want you to succeed in this industry!

If you are affected by any of the issues in this blog, please consult the following services: 

Mind

Infoline open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).
0300 123 3393
[email protected]
Text: 86463

Samaritans
Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Call 116 123 anytime for free.

Papyrus UK (Suicide Prevention Charity)
Opening hours: 9am–10pm weekdays, 2pm–10pm weekends, 2pm–10pm bank holidays.
Hopeline UK: 0800 068 4141
[email protected]

Text: 07786209697

CALM
Open 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year
Nationwide helpline: 0800 58 58 58
London helpline: 0808 802 58 58

Webchat: www.thecalmzone.net/help/webchat

Music Minds Matter

24/7 support service

0808 802 8008 musicmindsmatter.org.uk