How To Get Yourself Out There As An Independent Artist

We discover some of the most effective ways to navigate the music industry of today as an emerging artist...


How to get yourself out there as an independent artist is a huge question as a music career can take so many different forms.

Being a successful independent artist in the music industry and navigating the music business is a challenge but one that can offer many rewarding opportunities, particularly if you choose to release music independently.

As an independent artist, there are many aspects of the music industry to get to grips with including how to promote your music, release music, music licensing, managing tour dates, liaising with music producers, getting your songs to streaming services and much, much more. 

Of course, if you are looking to enhance your entrepreneurial mindset or forge your digital marketing skills in this landscape, then you should find out more about ICMP's Music Business courses.

The available three-year Music Business degree programmes at ICMP include:

We also run the MA Music Business masters course for students looking to progress their studies to postgraduate level.

For those looking for a shorter course, we also offer the Music Business and Entrepreneurship programme as a one year Cert HE course

Your Music Career

As an independent musician or artist, you will have complete control over of your aesthetic, musical output, how your music looks and sounds.

Many artists who follow this independent career path will face plenty of work but myriad opportunities to share their vision through their music." 

From managing social media platforms and negotiating sync licensing deals to liaising with playlist curators, creating music videos and contacting streaming platforms, getting your music heard will require you to master all the tools available so you can further your career.

As challenging as this sounds, the rewards for propelling yourself on your own terms can be very satisfying.

Independent Artists

Here are some of the essentials for independent artists looking to grow their fans and find like minded people.

The key topics our article will explore include:

The Importance of a Timeline For a Successful New Release

When releasing music as an independent recording artist, creating and following a plan can make a huge difference between success or failure.

Give yourself plenty of time to complete all the work involved to get your music online and find your target audience.

There are many different aspects in a successful music marketing plan. Create your promotional assets, biography and any marketing collateral, then find the right music distributor to ensure the streaming platforms have all the right assets and music ahead of the planned release date.

It's advisable to give yourself a couple of months from starting your plan to releasing your music. This way if anything goes wrong, then you should still have some time to fix it. 

Going Independent or Signing With a Record Label?

This is a question many emerging artists need to answer. And there is no one size fits all approach. Instead, as a new band or music maker, you need to consider what would be best for you.

Going independent will give you the chance to have control over every aspect of your career. This can sound daunting to begin with but there are many online tools that can help you to record and share your music. Doing it yourself can be time consuming but it does mean you have complete creative control. 

If you sign with a label, then you can hand over some responsibilities to a wider team. While you may have to give up some of your revenue, it does mean you can take advantage of their networks, support and expertise. 

What are the Best Ways of Finding Creatives (producers, songwriters, engineers etc)?


As an independent artist, you should expect to do much of the work around growing your career by yourself. 

Still, there are some jobs where it pays to get support and collaborate with someone else. But how do you find these creatives? 

It depends on who you are looking for but it often makes sense to use word of mouth and ask for recommendations from your network or social circle. If you are a music student, then you will have a ready-made circle of potential collaborators to reach out to in your classroom or lecture theatre.

Elsewhere, you can always turn to your social media accounts to find industry professionals and other musicians who can potentially work with you. Failing that, there are websites such as Fiverr or LinkedIn where you can try and connect with and source freelance talent.

Register Your Copyrights

Copyrighting your music and protecting your intellectual property is essential for songwriters and artists. Particularly if you want to earn money through royalties when your music is licensed or used by other people.

There are no hard and fast ways to do this. However, one of the most classic methods is to make sure your work is written down on paper or stored as an audio recording. Seal it in an envelope, sign it with your name, and post it to yourself by registered post. The postal stamp can be used as proof of when the music was created. 

What are the Best Distributors for Independent Music Distribution?

Music distribution is how artists release music to labels and streaming platforms while ensuring they get paid when it is accessed, bought or used.

Three of the most popular music distributors include:

  • Ditto Music | Offers unlimited releases starting from around £19 per year distribution to over 200 stores
  • TuneCore | A flat fee of $14.99 (£12), covers distribution to150 digital stores and streaming platforms 
  • CD Baby  | Distribution to 150+ streaming and download services for $9.95 per single or $49 per album

Write a Music Press Release and Contact Playlists and Blogs

New bands and artists can write press releases to promote their music to playlists, websites and blogs.

A press release can include a brief bio, overview of your music, history, influences, and style alongside any details about new music or upcoming tour.

You should refine your messaging, then give yourself plenty of time ahead of a release or tour to get the word out. The longer the run up time, the more opportunity you have to get your story heard."

Your press release should include: 

  • An attention grabbing headline 
  • A summary with the key information
  • An exciting introduction with a hook
  • Grammatically correct body copy - any spelling errors will not look good
  • Current contact information
  • Links to (regularly updated) social media accounts and website

Share Great Content


If you are going to utilise online channels to grow your audience and create opportunities, then you need to come up with a plan to ensure you consistently share engaging, thumb-stopping content. 

The most important parts of growing a fanbase are a) providing engaging content and b) building a meaningful connection.

There’s a well-known 80-20 rule that states 80 percent of the time you should be educating/entertaining/inspiring/engaging your audience. Then the other 20 percent should be more obvious ‘promo’ (listen to my song, come to my gig, etc.).

Then the follow-through to build the connection is talking to the people who engage with your content, personal touches like starting a conversation in response to a comment, sending a Direct Message to thank someone for sharing your song, etc. are the things that turn people from passive listeners to engaged fans.

Share User-Generated Content

Encourage your fans to create and share content related to your music. This can include a variety of things such as fan art, covers, or dance videos via social media channels.

Reposting user-generated content from any fans not only rewards them for their creativity and support but creates a new buzz around your music. This is also a fantastic way of building a network and community.

Set Up Your Artist Profiles

Savvy independent artists register and launch artist profiles across a variety of different online platforms.

Whether it be YouTube or TikTok, you need to ensure all of your social channels are consistent with look and feel and are regularly updated. Aim for the same handle across each profile too (e.g and 

Ensure that your profile images, bio and website links all fit and underline your brand or personality as an artist and musician."

Submit Your Music to the Spotify Playlist Editors

Getting your music to influencers and tastemakers on streaming platforms can be a key part in getting ahead with your music career. The editors at streaming services are always looking for new music they can champion for their curated playlists and Spotify playlists and are well worth contacting to see if your latest music fits what they are looking for. 

If you're looking to pitch your music to Spotify editors, then you should use Spotify for Artists

To do this you should log into your account, then find any unreleased music in your profile that you want to pitch. You can then select any song you want to share from here.

Apple Music 

Apple Music is another important streaming platform new artists should take advantage of.

Perhaps not quite as popular, the platform is definitely worthwhile when planning your release and promoting your tracks as an individual.

The initial step towards Apple Music success is to claim the Apple Music For Artist profile. This gives you access and customization of the profile, the bios, and the design.

You also have the ability to share music with others on Apple Music by submitting your profile.

Contact Influencers


Influencers have some of the biggest followers on the internet. They are important as brands often pay them to get behind a product or company.

So how do you contact them?

Do your research online and on the appropriate social media channels, make sure your brands align, then reach out to ask them to promote your music.

If they do agree to help, then make sure you are on clear on what you are asking from them in terms support. It can take some negotiation but is a fantastic way of extending your network and growing your audience.

Find the Most Appropriate Social Media Platforms

This depends on your audience.

If you’re aiming at Gen Z there’s not much point in focusing all your efforts on Facebook, and you’d be much better off aiming at TikTok which is all the rage for Gen Z right now. As long as your target demographic aligns with the demographic on the platform, you’re golden.

Also consider what kind of content you’re most comfortable creating. If you’re not great at making short, engaging videos but you’re good with photos — maybe consider Instagram over TikTok, where the platform has more flexibility for using both photos and videos. 

Connect with Niche Blogs

You can enhance your music career by connecting and collaborating with niche blogs to promote your music.

As an independent artist, an effective tactic is to offer these outlets exclusive content in the form of debuting new music online or providing exclusive news on upcoming tour dates." 

This can be a great way to release music and ensure your latest music production is heard by as many people as possible. Make sure you do your research into each media outlet to work out which are most likely to support you. For example, there is no need to contact a country music website if you are a heavy metal band. 

Create Mailing Lists 

As an independent artist, compiling a mailing list can be an effective way of building a fan base.

You can do this through performing live and taking people's email addresses at gig venues. An alternative strategy is to offer a free download of a song in exchange for an email address. Once you have started to amass a suitable amount of contacts, then you should make sure you keep this database is updated on new releases and any forthcoming gigs or performances. 

Create an Electronic Press Kit

Many musicians, artists and bands will create an electronic press kit to promote an upcoming release. A general rule of thumb should be to make it as simple and as striking as possible. This should contain the following if it is to be effective in growing a group's audience.

  • Links to your music
  • An updated artist biography
  • Photos and artwork aligned with musical sound, look and feel
  • High-quality promotional video
  • Positive press testimonials
  • Live performance dates
  • Accurate contact information

Clear Licenses in Your Music Production

If you used samples that are not royalty-free, you need to clear those samples.

If you are releasing a cover, you will also need to undertake specific steps to ensure you are legally allowed to do this. The ultimate aim is to ensure the creators or writers of the song you are using are paid for their work. Your chosen distributor should be able to help you with these steps. 

Create an Outstanding Online Presence

There are many ways of utilising the online world to grow your fan base and audience. Some of the essentials include:

  • Build a professional website 
  • Retain and target customers on social media
  • Build an online store
  • Drive traffic to your business with search engine optimization
  • Make sure you're updated on all online directories
  • Convert more customers with online reviews
  • Take advantage of ad retargeting

Music Industry

Success in the music industry can sometimes seem like an overwhelming challenge for emerging artists but there are many actions you can take to enhance your chances of building a career as an independent artist from your music. 

The more people you meet, the bigger your network and the more people you can call on as support.  Attending gigs, networking evenings or conferences are great places to do this.

Follow people on socials and don’t be afraid to drop them a message about meeting for a coffee. Being nice, polite and proactive can be a great way of getting ahead and opening up opportunities.

Good luck!

Explore your artistic and professional identity at ICMP

Ensure you have the creative performance, production, business and entrepreneurial skills to succeed in today’s music business. From supportive mentors to world-class facilities and a pioneering curriculum developed over 30 years, we’ll provide everything you need to make it as a creative musician.

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, email our friendly Admissions Team at or call them on 020 7328 0222.

BA Creative Musicianship
by ICMP staff writer
May 24, 2023
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