As an independent artist, gaining traction in the music industry can seem like an insurmountable task.
In the past, I remember watching people getting thousands of streams and followers on platforms like SoundCloud and Spotify, wishing I could achieve that one day.
However, with hard work and a strategic approach, it is possible to start growing and building a dedicated fanbase.
In this blog post, I will share my experience of how I gained my first 100,000 streams on SoundCloud as a dance music producer, and offer tips on how other independent artists can replicate what I did.
My journey as an independent artist began several years ago, when I started producing electronic dance music (EDM) in my home studio.
I had a passion for the genre and wanted to create music that would connect with other people who shared that passion.
However, I quickly realized that the music industry is highly competitive, and that simply making good music wasn’t enough to get noticed.
I tried to condense everything I did into a step-by-step list, although that wasn’t easy.
If you like what you read, I’ll reveal a resource that I believe you will find extremely useful at the end of the article.
Now, without further ado, let’s begin.
Step 1 — Get Clear On The Audience
One of the most important things I did early on was to identify my target audience.
In my case, this was the dance music community, specifically house music DJs and other producers.
I spent a lot of time researching the scene, listening to different sub-genres, and identifying the key players in the industry. This was relatively easy because I liked the music.
I also made sure to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and releases in the genre, and to keep an eye on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Soundcloud, which are popular among dance music fans and producers.
Sounds obvious, yet many independent and up and coming artists often don’t know who they are making their music for.
More often than not, especially when you’re just starting, it’s not “everyone”.
And it’s not only defined by a specific music genre either.
An audience is a specific group / community of people that have similar tastes, habits, and “behave” a certain way online.
Step 2 — Clarify Your Music Strategy
Once I had a clear understanding of my target audience, I began to focus on creating music that would appeal to them.
Yes, you read that right.
Appeal to them.
Because in the beginning, especially as an independent artist, people don’t care about you.
Harsh, but often true.
They don’t care…unless you make them care.
For me, this meant experimenting with different sounds and production techniques, but most importantly, remixing, editing and messing around with tracks that were already popular.
Adding your own twist to popular tracks (like covers, remixes, edits, mashups, etc.) is an underrated way to gain traction in the music industry.
Think about it.
If someone already knows / likes a song, it’s more likely that they will appreciate your own version of the song, rather than listening to something completely new that no one knows about.
During this process, I realized I had some kind of niche: mashups.
I was pretty good at making them, and it seemed like there was high demand for it.
People were actively downloading thousands of mashups every single day, so it seemed like a pretty good strategy.
DJs love mashups, edits, and remixes because they can play them during their live sets to make people dance with a unique sound.
Step 3— Build A Music Funnel
Then I built a music funnel.
And this, my friend, is where the magic happens.
A music funnel is a strategy used by musicians and music marketers to increase their fanbase and promote their music.
The basic idea behind a music funnel is to offer something of value, such as a free song or album, in exchange for a potential fan’s contact information, such as an email address or social media follow.
By collecting this information, the artist can then continue to market their music to the fan through email campaigns or targeted social media ads.
Additionally, music funnel can also include additional steps or incentives to encourage fans to continue engaging with the artist, such as offering discounts on merchandise or exclusive content for those who sign up for an email list.
Building an email list is a crucial aspect of a music funnel because it allows musicians to reach their audience directly, without relying on the algorithms of social media platforms.
By collecting email addresses, musicians can send targeted and personalized messages to their fans, keeping them informed about upcoming shows, new music releases, merchandise, and other important updates.
Additionally, email lists allow musicians to communicate with their fans even when social media reach is limited, which can happen due to changes in algorithms, policies, or when a fan’s account is inactive or blocked.
This means that musicians can have more control over the message they are sending and the audience they are reaching.
Overall, an email list is an essential tool for any musician looking to grow their fanbase and promote their music in a sustainable way.
Step 4— Stay Consistent
The last step that helped me to gain my first 100,000 streams was to consistently release new music.
I made sure to release a steady stream of new tracks, remixes and playlists, which helped me to keep my audience engaged and to attract new fans.
Consistently releasing new music is an important step in growing a fanbase and gaining streams.
By consistently releasing new content, new artists are able to keep their existing fans engaged and attract new listeners.
This is because new music provides a reason for fans to continue following and supporting an artist.
Additionally, new releases can also serve as a source of new content for social media and marketing efforts, giving the artist more opportunities to connect with and attract new fans.
Furthermore, consistently releasing new music can also help establish an artist as an active and productive member of the music industry.
This can be especially important for emerging artists who are trying to build a reputation and gain recognition within the industry.
Consistency in releasing new music can signal to fans, industry professionals, and media outlets that an artist is dedicated to their craft and committed to their career.
Moreover, the more frequently an artist releases new music, the more opportunities they will have to be discovered by new audiences.
When new music is released, it can be promoted on streaming platforms, social media, and other marketing channels, providing more chances for fans to find and listen to the artist’s music.
Overall, consistency in releasing new music is an important step for any musician looking to grow their fanbase and gain streams.
It helps to keep fans engaged and attract new listeners and establish an artist as an active and productive member of the music industry.
In conclusion, gaining your first 100,000 streams as an independent artist can be a challenging task, but it is achievable with the right approach.
By identifying your target audience, creating music that appeals to them, building a music funnel and staying consistent, you can gain exposure and build a dedicated fanbase.
It’s important to remember that the music industry is constantly evolving and that the strategies that worked for me may not work for everyone.
However, by staying up-to-date with industry trends and by continuously experimenting with new strategies, you can find what works best for you and your music.
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