I love the music industry, and if you're reading this article, you likely do, too – but the fact of the matter is that it's a strange and very unique beast. One of the main reasons why pursuing a career in music is such a tough animal is that it's both an art form and a moneymaker. You must straddle the line of putting out a quality product, but then ensure you adhere to a certain brand and that you're constantly in the public's eye and remain a relevant figure in your genre.
Even if you aren't inspired to put out a new piece, sometimes you might feel pressured to throw out a half-assed song just to have something new on your Facebook and SoundCloud. But what if you realize you haven't actually communicated with your fans in ages? What if you sincerely need to take some time off from music for whatever reason? Or, more likely, what if your band breaks up? How do you come back with the same vigor and relevance?
I work with artists of all types, genres, and career stages. I absolutely love working with veteran artists – those who have a legacy, whether it's national, regional, or local – because those artists have stories. Oftentimes, they go on breaks and hiatuses, and these are the tips I give them to hop back in the game when they're ready.
1. Start saving up (even a little bit)
If you're thinking about a music comeback, start saving up for a small advertising budget. I constantly run Facebook advertising campaigns for as little as $150 a month that have given artists great fan count boosts. If planned and executed correctly, these fans will stay with you throughout your comeback. Another wise investment is PR services focused on your local markets, along with a press release written in a way that reminds your local/regional markets of your work and announces that you're back.
Can you do these promotions organically? Absolutely. But, hey, if you have a solid amount of cash saved up, you might as well invest in a few simple ads (especially with Facebook's new algorithm) and a service such as PRWeb to get the news out there.
2. Let 'em know
Be active on social media. Even if you don't have something written, let your fans know you're putting in work. This could be photos of your songwriting notepad, or better yet, a quick video of you in the studio. Create a quick content calendar, and consistently update your profiles to let them know you're back at it. Go ahead and update your look, too. Freshen up that biography, bring in new photos, and delete old, dead links. This can be a fun revamp, so enjoy it!
Spreading the word goes beyond social media, too. Start gigging, going to your friends' shows, and getting back in touch with your scene. You should also call up any past press contacts immediately to let them know you're back in the game, and that you'll send them a proper release soon.
An easy way to get back in folks' minds is by collaborating with an artist who's active in your market. This can be something as intricate as a guest spot on an album or as simple as an opening spot for an upcoming show. The point here is to use friends or similar active artists to get back in the scene.
This is not just a small-time tactic; it's something that's used by major artists and labels, and occurs often throughout music history. Dozens of blues artists, like Muddy Waters, made comebacks in the '70s due to musicologists and other music lovers seeking them out for collaborations, thus revitalizing their careers.
4. Don't forget why you do this
At the end of the day, you're performing because you love the art of music. You enjoy writing and performing, and the energy and rewards they bring you. It feeds your soul. Sometimes the market might not react immediately to your work, but don't let that discourage you. Instead, go out there, perform your art, and have fun while you do it. It's why you got into music in the first place.
As a music marketing strategist, Tyler Allen works with an extensive array of artists, labels, music tech, and music retail entities. Tyler began his music industry career with Sony Music Entertainment and RED Distribution, as well as the advertising industry. He is dedicated to giving veteran artists the tools to preserve their legacy, and new artists the tools to begin theirs (as well as everything in between). Learn more at wtylerconsulting.com.