Being a musician is never simply creating your music and expecting the audience to listen to it. Well, yes, that’s what we dream of, but there needs to be an entrepreneurial streak inside every musician to ensure that music is being created and then taken to the audience—once they like it, they will come to you on their own.
But you can’t sit idle on your success. Every time you create new content you need to put your mind, body, and soul into it. You should reveal your new music to your audience through various marketing strategies, live performances, interaction with fans, and every other possible measure that would ensure that people are aware about your music.
We talked to Nicholas Gunn, a top-10 Billboard charting musician, and producer, about how he does it and stays atop the changing trends of the music industry. He is classically trained in the Royal Academy of Music before moving to the US where he continued his training and later on became one of the most industrious and entertaining independent musicians.
Q1. You have successfully sold your music over the past years. What change do you think digital downloads and streams bring to the industry regarding selling music?
‘Change’ was a topic of five years ago I believe. We now live and consume wholly in this digital streaming world. Selling music is not the game anymore, it’s about using and sharing music. Sales continue to dwindle fast.
The reform of copyright law, via the Modernization Music Act, will only speed that process up making it more profitable for labels and musicians, via the new music industry, to make a living from streaming.
Q2. Do you think a good piece of music will find its audience no matter th genre it may belong to?
I do not. There is a bottleneck of the content issue we have in today’s market. Anyone can find distribution these days. How does one discern, if you are not an avid music fan, what is good, bad or right for your ears?! It has actually come back to the labels again. I am watching labels, especially in electronic music, create the brand following with in turn supports the artist. So basically, if the artist does not have a following or track record, I think it’s very difficult to cut through the clutter these days without bonafide representation.
Q3. What kind of sales strategy do you adopt when you are ready to release new music?
It’s a multi-pronged approach for me these days. I primarily rely on creative and strong partnerships, such as remixes of my ambient works within the Trance market that tie back into the original works. I rely on providing detailed marketing reports to distribution so they can support with playlist pitching, etc. Independent radio and press campaigns as well as a detailed social media campaigns with marketing dollars.
Q4. Do you think a musician needs to adopt technology on various fronts apart from being good in the art?
Absolutely. Being adept at creating video assets, social media assets and artwork assets are all ways to lower your overhead in a marketplace that is giving less return on the exposure of the music. It’s a matter of common sense. It also makes you much more authentic with your message and overall product. Today, more than ever, artists need to have a feeling of authenticity about them in order to connect with the public.
Q5. Some advice for upcoming musicians and our readers.
Observe excellence to understand excellence. Take your time with your product and don’t chase the idea of fame. Chase the idea of greatness and embody the basic principle that; digging as deep as you can into your soul to create your music provides the most authentic and translatable product that is irrefutable to the public. You can stand behind that all day long. Everyone will see your confidence in your work