I get these questions a lot "How can I get my music to the States?" - "How can I tour internationally?" - "How can I sign a deal in the US ?".
3 years ago I started LV Music, an artist development label to help figure out these questions and more. How can someone from the UK , the Netherlands, Germany, or anywhere else in the world be successful in multiple markets? We've been lucky, in 3 years we have had over 40M streams, our artists have opened and toured with several Major label artists in Europe and the US, we have had Film and TV placements, Ads and radio play and we've had our artists grace magazines and publications like Variety Magazine, Ones to Watch and more.
This is a very generalized list of tips and tricks that we will go into a little deeper with more blog posts in 2020, but here is a list of 5 that can get you to start thinking about your global takeover for next year.
1. Be honest with yourself.
Ok, lets be real, if someone would call you out of the blue tomorrow and would ask you to get a band together and open for Bruno Mars in the O2 Arena, would you be ready?
Most likely, you're not. Do you have enough experience on a stage, do you have band members or at least people who know your songs that you can call for a gig, do you have songs, do you have merchandize or an album to sell, do you have social media accounts and do you interact with these for at least 3 times a week??
If the answer to any of these questions is NO, it means you are not ready.
Take a good hard look at yourself and figure out what is missing to be able to accomplish that big goal you are dreaming about, whether it is a record deal, an opening act to a major tour, working with a hot shot producer, any of these things take preparation, and only if you are honest with yourself you are able to take the steps necessary to get there.
2. Be present.
I'm from a very small town in Holland, I know what it's like to think you have to go somewhere else to be successful; but lets start by being present right where you are. Start with playing all your local talent shows, pubs, coffee shops, make sure people know you and know about you. Be the biggest fish in the smallest pond. That way, you are always ready for what comes next.
Make sure you do the same with your socials, be present for your fans and soon to be fans to know what you are doing, keep them engaged, excited and curious about you.
If you have a hard time with getting started on your socials, make sure you check out this article about how to keep your fans engaged.
3. Allow your fans to dictate your success.
Nowadays on almost all your socials and DSP's you can see where your fans live. Sometimes down to the city. If your music is most played in London, don't spend $4000,- on tickets and hotels to play a showcase in LA, it makes no sense, go to your fans instead. It doesn't matter WHERE you break through, being successful in Germany can give you more financial stability and a bigger audience than forcing your way into the US with your music.
Also, once you break into one territory, more will follow. Even if you break through in your home country, you will have a story to tell to book shows in other countries. No one is waiting for another unknown act from another country, they have plenty of those locally, but once you have a chain of successes under your belt you will find that slowly doors start to open.
4. Invest correctly.
From my experience it takes 3 years of hard work, investment and strategic thinking to get noticed. You're going to have to invest in yourself before someone else is going to invest in you. I have noticed a lot of people investing in the wrong things, they make an EP and put it all out at once, that is a waste of resources, you just dropped 5K on making an EP and now it's all out there without any promo, or single releases. Or worse, you have no social media following and you spend 2K on a video clip that no one is ever going to watch. You can easily spend 10K on and EP + promo and you most likely won't get anything back from it.
Make sure you put your money in the right places, this is a long term plan and by blowing it all in the beginning you are not going to be able to last. The most important investment you should make before you even spend a penny on your music is the investment of TIME. Spending 2 hours a day online promoting your music, finding shows in local venues, writing songs, learning how to be better at guitar, driving 2 hours to a gig, that is the investment that you should be making.
5. Be Strategic.
Pick your biggest, wildest goal and write it down. Whatever it is, winning a grammy, opening up for Bruce Springsteen, being the next Lady Gaga, whatever just write it down on the bottom of a piece of paper.
Now start thinking backwards, what are the steps that happen before that major dream, be very specific. Work your way up to the top of the page, and that is where you are now. This is the easiest way of creating a strategy for yourself. Of course, this is life, and nothing ever happens exactly the way we plan it, but it's a map that will make you make steps that lead to other goals. Nothing is ever going to happen with one goal or one dream, you need to be able to see all 20 or 30 of them, and most of all, you need to be willing to make all of them happen. If not, you just have a very cool dream and nothing more.
Here is a handy list of tips to get started!!