11 tools for building a successful career as a DIY musician

There are more tools that empower independent musicians today than ever before.

The TuneCore team dropped by our blog to share some high-quality resources that DIY musicians can take advantage of to advance their career—read on for their thoughts.

You may have heard from others in the music community that there has been no better time to be an independent artist.

Well, it’s true! In 2020, the market share for independent artists who distributed their music directly to streaming services grew by 34.1% and, for the first time, independent recorded music became a billion-dollar industry. How is that possible? Well, more and more artists are breaking on platforms like TikTok, Spotify, YouTube, and SoundCloud without signing with a major label.

So the questions are:

  • Which tools will help you build your career?
  • Once you’ve started to see some momentum, which tools will help you earn the most revenue possible so that you can make a career out of your music?

Below, we explore different free and low-cost resources that you can consider making use of, organized by different areas of focus.

Learn the ropes

Whether it’s pertaining to production or business, it’s always good to learn about the different strategies and opportunities that are available to you. With that in mind, below are some educational resources that you might be interested in looking into.

  • TuneCore Rewards: While there are many courses about creating music, very few out there explain the music industry and best practices for releasing and promoting your music independently. TuneCore Rewards is a free masterclass and rewards program that covers these topics in-depth. The courses are regularly updated with the latest information, and if you make your way through them, you can get access to virtual groups and one-on-one mentoring sessions with industry veterans.
  • Splice Skills: The new Splice Creator and Creator+ plans include Splice Skills, an ever-growing stream of production tutorials taught by seasoned pros. New lessons that span all experience levels are added weekly, and downloadable project files allow you to follow along in a highly intimate way.
  • The Splice blog and YouTube channel: As you’ve probably realized, the Splice blog and YouTube channel also provide an absolute wealth of free information on how to advance your craft as a music producer as well as how to be a DIY, well-informed releasing artist.

Start picking up steam

One of the best ways to get new fans to hear your music is through tastemakers with a following. If you don’t have the funds to hire a publicist to assist in this endeavor, consider looking into the platforms below.

  • SubmitHub: SubmitHub provides a marketplace where you can pay $1 – $4 to have bloggers, radio stations, YouTube channels, and influencers listen to (and give feedback on) your music. The tastemakers are paid to listen to your music, and if they like it, they feature it on their channel.
  • Groover: Much like SubmitHub, Groover is a marketplace for musicians to get their music in front of influential tastemakers for a small fee. The main difference between Groover and SubmitHub is that Groover is more focused on opportunities in mainland Europe, while SubmitHub might be seen as a little more US-centric. Regardless of where you’re based, diversifying is never a bad idea—get your music to reach as many corners of the globe as possible.

Keep track of your data

Data about your music and listeners is more accessible than ever before, and with the resources below you can leverage insights to create experiences that are more optimized for both you and your audience.

  • Feature.fm: Once you start gaining traction and new fans begin rolling through, it’s time to capture their attention as best as you can. Feature.fm has a pre-save tool for Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal. This not only trains the algorithms of these platforms to serve your music to more new listeners, but also whenever someone pre-saves your album, you’ll get to keep the fan’s email address. This means you can contact them at a later time to tell them about new music, shows, and new merch, or even just give them a look into your life as an artist.
  • Google Alerts: Google Alerts is completely free and one of the most underrated ways to keep track of who’s talking about you on the internet. Say you land a big placement on Pitchfork that you weren’t aware was coming; Google Alerts will let you know instantly so you can stay ahead of the curve and amplify the coverage as you please.

Set yourself up for success on streaming platforms

If you want to track how and when people are streaming your music and personalize your presence, below are some platforms you should consider signing up for. Some of them even let you pitch your music for marketing and playlist support (ex. Spotify). Some distributors have fantastic tools that help artists in different ways when it comes to getting set up on these platforms, so make sure you pick wisely.

Do you have any tools that are invaluable to your career as a DIY musician? Let us know in the comments below!

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July 2, 2021

TuneCore TuneCore has empowered DIY and independent artists with their global distribution and publishing administration solution for over 15 years.