Independent artists face an overwhelming range of responsibilities when it comes to their craft, and not everyone is in their corner.
The difficulties of being an independent artist are widely known throughout the music world. The industry is so overloaded with potential quality and talent that finding a spot for yourself to be noticed can be hard work. Independent artists have multiple responsibilities apart from creating just the music they must focus on to elevate their careers. While some of these responsibilities may differ for each artist, some universal ones include having a marketing plan tailored for each release, social media engagement, and managing their website. To help you understand the challenges that await, we spoke with four independent artists and asked them:
What Would You Say Is the Most Challenging Part of Being an Independent Artist?
My biggest challenge while being an independent artist is not being too hard on myself. I’m super grateful for everything I’ve got to do so far. But I feel like it’s just human nature to want more. Especially in your career, just because you don’t hit a goal by a particular time doesn’t mean you still can’t do it. Be kind to yourself and give yourself time.
The hardest part of being an independent artist is the need for more budget to execute my big ideas. The deeper I get, the more I realize there are many pieces to being an artist. From music, marketing, and promotional art, to stuff I have yet to learn about. So it takes work to execute these at a higher level with just a nine-to-five job. But that’s also the joy of being an independent artist and ingenuity—the ability to make a budget of just $1000 look like and sound like more. I’ll never take that for granted, and I’m so happy I learned it early.
The biggest challenge while being an independent artist is learning how to be a one-person army successfully—learning how to become reliant on yourself to be your own manager, publicist, marketing strategist, and booking agent, all while trying to make the best art possible. All of these trades require different skill sets, knowledge, and connections. It can feel very overwhelming, suffocating, and even discouraging at times. The lack of financial resources is also an enormous hurdle, especially when desiring high-quality photos, music videos, graphic design, and studio time. It gets expensive. You’ll be fine if your heart and passion are rooted in the core of your foundation and your music. Let the other stuff become secondary, and you’ll flourish.
My biggest challenge as an independent artist is choosing to maintain vs. trying to “make it.” I found myself chasing things and opportunities to get me ahead a lot. Chasing a hit, my best beat, festival performances, money, A&R’s, label execs to “put me on,” and other things of that nature. The more I chased, the more I started doubting myself because I sought acceptance and confirmation from external people and things. Once I started moving from within, I realized my power as an independent artist and gained true belief in myself. I now move and create in a manner where things I once chased attract themselves with love and faith, and, most importantly, hard work. I stay on top of my artist duties, ensuring I create religiously and give constant thought and effort towards building and maintaining my brand.