Has your music career gone wayward? If any of these six signs apply, the answer is likely yes. Don't lose hope, though. The first step in getting back on track is identifying where you went wrong and avoiding those mistakes in the future.
1. You've neglected your social media pages
Love them or hate them, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like are undeniably powerful tools for the growth of your music career. It's just the way the industry works now, and you absolutely have to be on board. If you're not seeing results from your accounts, check out these potential reasons why.
How to fix it: Learning how to make the most of these platforms is essential to attracting more fans and maintaining your existing base. Find ways to stand out here, and a general guide about what to post and when here.
2. You haven't played a show in months
While social media will help your band progress, it works best when supplemented by frequent live performances. People need to see it to believe it as opposed to just listening to tracks online. Up-and-coming artists and bands shouldn't let too many months go by without a local show. Try booking a gig approximately every other month to maintain a decent presence.
3. You aren't rehearsing regularly
If your band hasn't practiced in months, your progress will be stunted. Rehearsals are a time to perfect existing material, work on new music, and share ideas to help accomplish the group's collective goals.
How to fix it: It might help to set a mandatory a once-a-month session, then schedule additional rehearsals when possible. Read these tips on how to make your band rehearsals way more productive.
4. More than two years have passed without a release
Your fans will lose interest if you're still working with the same tunes you started out with ages ago. New material is what keeps the buzz going and, in turn, helps get more people out to your shows if they know it won't be the same set they saw last time.
How to fix it: If you can't manage to get a full EP or LP together every couple years, at least try recording a single song, even if it's just a demo version. Offer a free stream online – it can serve not only to renew your present buzz, but also as early promo for a future release.
5. You've given up on networking
Making connections with as many folks in the local scene as possible is absolutely essential to your progress. The more booking agents, venue owners, and other local bands you know, the better your chances are of booking shows, which is key to growing your fanbase. If you've become tired of trying to meet new people in your city's music scene, you'll never become a vital part of it. The same applies to the national and international independent realm as you grow beyond the limits of your hometown.
6. Your draw is the same as it was years ago
The previously listed signs can culminate as this single bad omen: your fanbase hasn't grown in some time. And when things feel stagnant, it's harder to maintain motivation. Don't give up hope, though. All of this is fixable.
How to fix it: Make a serious commitment to permanently right the mistakes that led you here. Renew your focus by channeling the memories of your earlier, more ambitious days, and share that motivation with your bandmates. Set realistic goals for your future, and work hard to achieve them. Just because you've gotten a little lost in your efforts doesn't mean you can't find your way back.
Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music journalist currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she juggles owning a venue called Club 77, freelance writing and, of course, going to the beach as often as possible.