The 4 Components Necessary for Success as an Indie Artist

PageLines- success.jpg© 2010 Vinny Ribas

In this age of upheaval in the music industry, I have noticed that 4 things still remain a constant for 99.9% of all artists:

1. You have to have enough talent that others will want to either listen to you, watch you, or adopt what you have created, and preferably at least 2 of these. All three is a home run!


Some artists dazzle us with their voices or musical prowess (e.g. Josh Grobin or Eric Clapton). We marvel at their ability and simply love to hear them sing or play. Others use their abilities as entertainers, their looks or the way they dress to appeal to the visual side of performing (think Madonna or Taylor Swift). And others, such as songwriters, are amazing creators (think Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen). People love to see and get to know who created the music they love so much. Without strength in at least one of these areas, you don’t really have a foundation to build a career off of.

2. You have to have some know-how about the music business. At a bare minimum you need to know at least enough to avoid making crucial mistakes. On the other side, if you are wise and business-savvy, you can find ways to build a very solid and profitable business around your music. You may be in-between and know how to book yourself, build vital relationships, manage your income and expenses adequately and make wise decisions etc.

There will come a time when you are too busy performing, writing and recording to handle all of the business details yourself. This is where you need enough business savvy and wisdom to interview and hire people with the industry knowledge and expertise that you personally lack. You’ll also need the ability to accurately assess your team’s performance to insure that the team members have his best interest in mind at all times. Only with the right business knowledge can you build a viable, profitable business around your talent.

3. You need people, or connections, because no one can do it alone. You need to be in networking mode at all times in both formal and informal situations, looking for key contacts. These connections can range from band members to orchestral conductors. You may have an intern or an administrative assistant helping you, or a business manager, booking agent and/or entertainment attorney handling your business. You might look for access to someone who knows someone who knows someone important. Or, you might build personal relationships with radio programmers who will play your songs, a publisher who signs you to a writing deal or an artist who cuts your song. You will need teachers, coaches and mentors all along the way. You can remain a completely DIY (do-it-yourself) musician forever, but your career will most likely move forward at a slow or nonexistent pace.

4. You have to put forth unending effort. You have to have an iron will that won’t let you give up until you’ve made it, fighting through all of the hardships and ignoring all of the tempting excuses to bail! You have to want it more than anything or anyone else. If someone else wants it more than you do, your trip is going to be very short. This includes your friends and family, your team and even your competitors!

Remember that you are the leader and you need to lead by example. No one else can do that for you. You can have help, but no one will have the passion that you do. No one will have the persistence that you have. When the chips are down, others may very well bail on you. However, you need to stay strong and steady. When others see that you are never going to give up, then they will want to join you. Everyone roots for and wants to help a winner!

Only you can supply 2 of these 4 ingredients – talent and effort. There are no replacements. Period.

But where do you obtain accurate know-how, and quickly? This is where Indie Connect can help you. We are a professional organization designed to provide you with up-to-date, what’s working now training and information. We do this with live training in our local chapter meetings. In addition, our members have access to our vast online library of well-categorized videos, articles, tools, resources, audio tracks and more, covering all aspects of making money making music. And, we add more every day!

And lastly, how do you make the important connections that can help expedite your career, and know that you’re working with reputable people? Once again, Indie Connect is your source. Our local chapters are the ideal place to find the missing people for your team, or to check references for people you may have met elsewhere. In addition, we have a free social network with hundreds of people from all facets of the industry and from all over the world. In addition, we are developing a separate, member-only online network so you can limit your networking to only those who are as serious about their careers and businesses as you are about yours.

Please check out our website at You’ll see exactly how we are working hard to make your journey both easier and more profitable.

Have a brilliantly artistic day!

Vinny Ribas
Indie Connect