Just because you’re an independent musician, doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with a great team of people to help progress your career even further.
Building a strong team around you and your music can make a real difference to your long-term career.
It’s likely that at the beginning of your career, you’ll be your own manager, booking agent, promotor etc… But over time as you develop, it’s important to take the pressure off yourself and start relying on other people more.
So what sort of team should you be building? Let’s take a look at some of the people you should be networking and making connections with to strengthen your team.
Remember, you don’t necessarily NEED the services of all these people and outside organisations. You can keep your team small, with people you trust filling multiple roles. The bigger you get, the more people you should bring on-board to help move your career to the level.
How to recruit a team around your music
A great manager can help you reach your full potential quickly. They’re responsible for every aspect of your career, so you need to work with someone you trust and most importantly, believes in you and your music.
There’s no need to rush into finding a manager at the start of your career. Many upcoming artists will manage themselves for a long time before finding a manager (or being found by a manager) that fits the bill.
Learn more about music management.
A booking agent can help you land bigger and better shows. Their main responsibility is to book and coordinate live shows, usually taking around a 10% commission fee for their services. That can be anything from festival slots and one-off headline gigs, to special appearances and global tours.
You could search online and reach out to booking agents, but generally a booking agent will find you, or you’ll be introduced to one via other musicians and colleagues.
Learn more about finding a booking agent.
If you want to release your music to the biggest platforms you need to sign up to a music distributor (also known as an aggregator). Distributors (like Ditto Music) are the only way to get your music live on services like Spotify, Apple Music and more.
Learn more about how to release your music.
Publicists can come in several forms. They could be a PR company, a lone press agent or playlist pitchers who have contacts at Spotify and Apple Music. Publicists can help land more exposure for your music by pitching it to publications including the music press, online blogs and playlist editors and more.
The best PR executives already have a long list of contacts and a history of securing major press coverage and playlist placement for musicians. They can help you develop your brand, contact press on your behalf and promote your music to influential journalists.
You won’t need a lawyer straight away, but once you start making real money and landing big opportunities, a lawyer can make sure you’re doing the right thing legally and nobody is taking advantage of you, especially when it comes to signing contracts and deals.
A lawyer can also help navigate the complexities of music licensing if, for instance, you’re releasing cover versions or using samples in the tracks. However, licensing music is something you can achieve without the help of a lawyer relatively easily.
Learn more about music licensing.
A radio plugger does exactly what you’d imagine – promoting your music to radio stations to help land essential radio airplay.
A good radio plugger will be able to pitch your music to bigger radio stations with large listener numbers. If you do try to pitch to radio on your own to start with, try focussing on smaller local stations to boost your chance of being picked up early on.
Learn more about getting your music played on the radio.
Maybe you design your own graphics, logos, website and posters? That’s fine! Many upcoming artists do it all themselves and get great results. After all, you can learn to use Photoshop online with a bit of practise.
However, if you’re looking to develop your personal brand and image further, whether that’s making tweaks or starting from scratch, working with a designer can help things move smoothly, quickly and to a professional standard.
Similarly, if you want to get some eye-catching press shots or killer photos of your live shows, taking on a professional photographer is a must.
Learn more about developing your brand as a musician.
Publishing companies main responsibility is to pitch music for TV, films and video games. This kind of deal is called sync licensing and can be lucrative for both your exposure and your finances if you land a big sync placement.
Learn more about submitting music for TV and movies.
Selling merch at gigs and online can be a useful extra source of income, but you need someone to produce and print that merchandise.
A quick google search will bring up local and nationwide companies to order your custom merch from.
Learn more about selling music merchandise.
Working with a talented videographer can take your music videos to the next level. Of course, with the right equipment and inspiration, anyone can make a decent music video, but working with a professional might make all the difference if you’re struggling to achieve what you set out to create for your video.
Learn more about finding a music videographer.