Learning to balance musicianship and marketing

Blog, Music Business, Spell of Enchantress / Sunday, December 10th, 2023

As 2023 draws to an end, I am reflecting on everything this wonderful year brought me.
I have ticked many boxes in my music career bucket list this year:

  • I have started recording an acoustic album in a cosy studio with a sound engineer who helps me explore new facets of my voice.
  • The metal In Spite of Thunder album attracted cool musicians who bring in their own creativity.
  • I have released 2 singles and one full album with the Spell of Enchantress team.

Yet, I have this nagging feeling of frustration.
There are so many collabs I want to sing on, but I just keep delaying them because releasing music takes time.
There are so many unfinished demos sitting on my hard drive because I haven’t had the time, and often skills, to get them right. I can write melodies and lyrics all day, but I really want to learn arrangements, from programming drums to getting right guitar riffs.
In January 2021 I followed a music songwriting and production class, but I had to drop out due to the ovewhelming amout of admin I had to do after my dad passed away. Since then, I have longed to resume the course but never found the time.

Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely proud we managed to pull off releasing our first CD with my side Gothic Doom project Spell of Enchantress.
We are a small upcoming band, in an obscure niche genre, yet we found incredibly supportive fans.
I feel so grateful they are carrying us through this adventure.
Because, believe me, releasing music is quite an adventure.

Of course there is the part every musician love, which is bringing the songs to life.
But in order to release these songs, you have to go thought quite a lot of steps.

  • Doing the copyright paperwork with the PRO
  • Creating the visuals for the artwork, then all the various versions for promo
  • Creating videos
  • Finding the CD manufacturer
  • More paperwork and fees
  • Upload a bunch of datas and codes to your distributor
  • Write EPKs and send hundreds of press emails
  • Be active on socials so people discover your music
  • Handle your webshop

So on and so forth.
And here I am, digging up a bunch of forgotten great songs on my computer, wondering why they are not finished and released yet.
Thing is, to release one single according to music marketing rules, you need a solid 3-4 months planning in advance.
I feel like this year, I have been a manager, a public relation agency, a graphic designer, a video editor, a webmaster.
But have I been a musician? At least, have I been the musician I wanted to be?
I have composed a bunch of songs, have worked on my voice, I have rehearsed a lot. I started composing for others. And I even started giving singing lessons again which I love. But I have barely touched my flute and guitar. I guess you can’t do it all.

So I guess the plan for 2024 is to do more music, and find someone to handle the admin and PR part for me.
Because I am a musician first, and I want to focus on songwriting and production, for my own music and for other artists.

I am sure I am not the only indie artist struggling to find the right balance between creation and promotion.
How do you handle it?

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