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5 ways indie artists can make a good first impression

Teenage indie artist and Songwhip ally Hannah Byers explains the importance of a good first impression

Hannah Byers is a teenage musician with an elated heart & destructive mind. Hannah has amassed thousands of streams on her discography within only months releasing her debut single "Hardest Goodbye". She is also a musician for The Noisy Brain Project to help raise mental health awareness. In this article she shares her top 5 tips for making a good first impression.

There are millions of musicians in the music industry who are all competing for their moment in the spotlight. First impressions are vital when dealing with interviewers, producers, record labels or even potential listeners. You want to make a statement with the music you produce and the way you present yourself to the public. This impression should leave the person feeling satisfied yet eager for more. There are five main ways to ensure the perfect impression when releasing and promoting your music.  

1. Producing Quality Content

One of the biggest lessons I've learned as an indie artist is you have to make sure the music you are putting out there is worth being proud of.  Only so many opportunities arise and first impressions can sometimes be last impressions.  Whether it's a potential follower or an interview, if the person doesn't like what they are hearing the chances are they will move on from you and find another artist who did it right the first time.  As an indie artist it can be very difficult to find people who are willing to listen to your music, so these occurrences, when not handled properly, can be detrimental.  If the content the artist puts out there is worth listening to, it is worth being shared and/or promoted. 

2. Consistency

Interviewers and producers want to interact with artists who they know they can rely on. They need to be able to know that you will be creating more content in the future, and aren’t just dropping one song and then disappearing. Consistency is also key in regards to growing a fan base. The more you post on social media, the more you will boost your engagement. These people who are viewing your posts are potential fans. If you are posting frequently, they will become familiarized with your name and image.  This means they will be more likely to share your content with others, therefore increasing the size of your audience.  

3. Strong profile images 

Although music is mainly about the audio, the visual aspect can be equally as influential. Your artist images are how your listeners are going to remember you. It is a way for them to put a face to the musician and to get a feel for what you are all about. These photos should reflect not only your sound, but your personality. Whether it’s the colors in the background or the clothes you are wearing, you need to stand out amongst the other millions of musicians. Make your profile unique to you and use it as an alternate form of expression.  

Screenshot of a strong Spotify profile

4. Engagement 

Interacting with your audience is quite often an underestimated tactic in regards to growing your fanbase. The people commenting and liking your instagram posts are most likely the people who will be streaming your music. If you want to reach a point in your career where you have genuine fans who are constantly putting in the effort to stream and repost your music, you need to return the favour. This could be as simple as responding to comments or reaching out via DM. This will show the person that you care about them and are worth engaging with.  Beyond growing your following, this will also help you to gage who your audience really is. It is vital to know the type of listeners who will connect with your music the most. For example, this will come into play when running social media ads or pitching to music blogs. You want to be able to target a specific audience to get the most out of it.  

5. Remaining true to yourself

The most important thing I’ve learned through becoming an indie artist is that you have to remain true to yourself despite the potential backlash. There are millions of musicians out there who compromise their true identity in order to comply with what they believe is the standard in the music industry. In reality, companies and record labels want artists who are distinct and stand out from the rest. In addition to this, you should be enjoying yourself in the process of producing your music. Composing should be more than focusing on the stream count or the amount of followers you gain with each release. Creating music should be a liberating experience in which you are able to share your voice with the world.  

There is a lot of pressure put on musicians who are looking to create a name for themselves in the music industry, but there are simple steps you can take to ease the stress.  By taking the time to make sure you are producing quality content, you are assured your music is worth listening to.  With this comes confidence that will motivate you to push forward.  Creating distinct artist photos will make you stand out among the crowd.  Having plans for the future and engaging with fans will prove to others that you are a genuine musician who is worth listening to.  Following these five steps to create a good first impression will increase the size of your audience and your chances of making it into the spotlight.