Most of the time, you’re gonna have to spend some cash up front on certain things to get situated and start meeting your goals. There are plenty of DIY strategies out there that will help you to spend wisely, of course. But chances are, you’re going to wind up putting down some money on something. The question is, what should that something be?
What kind of musician are you?
First, let’s answer the most obvious question: Who are you and what are you doing? This is the easy part. Are you in a band? Are you a songwriter? Are you a solo acoustic singer/songwriter? Your answer to this question will help determine where to best put your money. For example, people who are songwriters only (not performers) won’t need to worry about recording an album. They will need to worry about recording demos of their songs to pitch.
A more specific example: say you’re a guitarist who plays in a couple of bands. You may not necessarily need to invest massive amounts of time and money into social media. But you will need a nice website and some good photos to help you book more session work and live gigs.
What are your goals?
Take a moment to think about what your goals are. These are both long-term and short-term goals. If you’re a solo performing artist, perhaps one of your short-term goals is to find band members to round out your sound. One of your long-term goals may be to release an award-winning album that launches your career. Both of these are extremely important to keep in mind when considering where to invest.
If you know where you’re going, then you can clearly define your path to get there. That path will illuminate where you need to spend your hard-earned money.
What stage are you in your career?
Where you are in your career also makes a big difference on where you should be spending first. All too often, I hear about new artists who are just starting to write and release material and play their first gigs who are pouring thousands of dollars into a PR campaign. PR isn’t necessarily a good investment at such an early stage in their career when artists are still developing and finding their way creatively.
If you’ve been a road warrior for years and years and you have a couple releases under your belt, then you’ll want to consider investing in a marketing agency or similar agency to expand your reach and your team. Perhaps even a good booking agent to take some of that pressure off you!
In part two of this article, we’ll go through some real-world examples of different musicians and show you exactly what each of them should be spending their hard-earned cash on. Stay tuned!
Sarah Spencer is a singer/songwriter and blogger, working, living, and playing in Nashville, TN. By day, she's the creative director at boutique creative agency for the music industry. When she's not on the web, she's writing songs, playing shows, and singing as a session vocalist.