Finding your way in the music industry as an independent artist can be scary, confusing, and difficult at any stage in your performance career. Since the industry is constantly saturated with performers, it can be hard to distinguish yourself and what makes you special from the masses. Getting real support from music sponsors can make the difference that will make you stand out from the crowd, as well as help you reach new audiences in a notoriously fickle industry. Endorsement deals for musicians are more common than you think, and following these tips can help you get started!
Social Media and Music Streaming Services
How many new artists have you found thanks to TikTok, Instagram, or Soundcloud who are now going on their first tour, have just signed their first record deal, or are partnering with large brands? In an economy driven by the algorithm, growing your audience on social media can only be a good thing to help jump-start your career.
Having a big online following is an all-star way to put yourself on the path to music sponsorships. Larger brands interested in sponsoring you want to ensure that the partnership is mutually beneficial. They want to help you grow while exposing your audience to their product or service. Don’t sell yourself short in terms of the time you put into social media and streaming services- artists like Billie Eilish, November Ultra, Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Jax, Bella Poarch, and Chance the Rapper all started their careers on social media and blew up from there.
Show Up Locally- and Often
No one wants to work with (or sponsor) a musician who is clearly only interested in their own music. When you’re out playing gigs, show up early to watch the person before you, or stay late to see the closing act. Seek out bands and performers in your area that you genuinely enjoy and be loud with your support.
Meeting people who are also actively supporting their local music scene is key to getting a music sponsor or endorsement deal. The people who want to support you are likely already in the room.
To this end, look for music competitions and events in your area. Is there a band jam every Thursday nearby where you can go to play and meet new people? Or is there a citywide new artist competition where you can test out your skills on a fresh set of ears? These are the places where you are going to meet your most dedicated supporters, as well as the people who have the budget to change the trajectory of your career.
Seek Out Brands You Already Love
Music sponsorships will feel much more genuine if it’s a deal from a company that you already love and buy from. If you’re a drummer who loves Zildjan products, look for endorsement deals for musicians from their company. If you’re a guitar player who is dedicated to Fender guitars and amps, keep playing Fenders and make sure they notice.
It doesn’t even have to be music related. If you can’t stop wearing Carhartt overalls or using Fenty beauty products or Converse sneakers onstage-stick with it! Brands and audience members pay attention to consistency and dedication to something you love, and branding yourself as an artist and being recognizable onstage is a bigger plus than you can imagine.
Invest In Professional Development
Being a musician isn’t just about being a great singer or instrumentalist-it’s about learning to run your own business. This is arguably the most important thing you can do to be successful. After all, you are your own advertiser, PR, accountant, and support system. Learning the basics of the music business and being able to clearly communicate this to potential music sponsors will make them more confident that they are investing in you as much as you are investing in yourself.
As well as working on the business side of being a performer, it’s always good to get as much training as possible in the actual music side as well. If you’re already a great singer but want to beef up your repertoire with originals, take a songwriting course. If you’re already confident in your bass playing but aren’t very comfortable on the soundboard, enroll in a sound engineering class. Whether it's producing, mixing, or even just learning the best way to do your taxes as a musician, you will never regret learning more musical skills.
Set Manageable Goals
Making it in the music industry is a difficult but rewarding path, and it’s easy to get discouraged. Set goals for yourself that match the level you are performing at right now. Then, in six months, re-evaluate and set new ones for the six months after that.
Lastly, know that hard work pays off and the right people will find you if you’re using every avenue you have to work towards your goals. Reach out to 1500 Sound Academy to beef up your skills and learn all you need to know about how to get sponsors and how to thrive in the music industry.
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