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. As an independent artist, there are multiple responsibilities apart from creating just the music that artists need to 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 artist website. The industry is so overloaded with potential quality and talent that finding a spot for yourself to be noticed can be hard work. 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?
The biggest challenge while being an independent artist for me 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 when it comes to 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 lack of budget to execute my big ideas. The deeper I get, the more I realize that there are so many pieces to being an artist. From music, marketing, promotional art, to stuff I don’t even know about yet. So it’s challenging to execute at a higher level on all of these pieces with just a 9-5 job. But I think that’s also the joy of being an independent artist as well, the ingenuity. The ability to make a budget of just $1000 look like, and sound like more. That’s something I’ll never take 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-man army successfully—learning how to become reliant on yourself to be your own manager, publicist, marketing strategist, 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. As long as your heart and passion are rooted in the core of your foundation and your music, you’ll be fine. 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 was looking for acceptance and confirmation from external people and things. I started losing sight and focus of what I built up for myself. Once I started moving from within, I realized my power as an independent artist and gained true belief in myself. I try to stay on top of my artist duties, making sure I create religiously and give constant thought and effort towards building and maintaining my brand. I now move and create in a manner where things I once chased attract themselves with love and faith and, most importantly, hard work.