STARVING ARTIST? BE A SUCCESSFUL MUSICIAN ON A BUDGET


Music just like any other career is an investment and requires capital. As a budding artist, one might not always have the money to explore music as a career due to financial limitations. Nonetheless, we are all urged to pursue whatever makes us happy.

In this piece, we look at hacks on how to build a successful music brand on a budget.

Make Money Somewhere Else

Your music dreams are great but so is a corruption-free Kenya. Music does not give back immediately, you will have to first find an alternative income earner to support your passion. Explore all your other abilities and get to work. Self-employment or the dreaded eight to five are the most viable options.

Keep your eyes on the price, once you start earning a steady income, be keen to invest in whatever you need for your music to grow.

In some...okay most cases, artists ended up giving up on music and settled into the comfort of a consistent monthly income. I hope this does not happen to you.

Call in Favours or Learn The Skill

The cliche, ‘First Impressions Last’ is real; visual branding is key. Assuming you have already established the channels through which you will interact with your audiences (majorly social media) and where they can access your music (YouTube, Mdundo...); visually make these spaces attractive.

You will need good photos, videos, or graphics that should constantly be updated on your feeds.

If you have friends who are photographers, graphic designers, social media managers, digital marketers, producers; ask them for help. If this feels disrespectful as that might be their main hustle, offer a service in return.

If you do not have people who can be instrumental in your circle, you will have to research and learn at least the basics of all these skills and do them yourself. Simple graphics via canva, phone photography, free social media marketing content on YouTube, Free courses and podcasts on branding and finance e.t.c.

Perfect Your Art

A Kiswahili saying goes ‘Chema chajiuza, kibaya chajitembeza’, loosely translated to, a good product sells itself while a bad one is loudly marketed. Practice and stay in shape always. This will ensure you are churning out good quality content. Practice at home, use free tutorials online to train, and keep at it every day.

Consistency also helps you track progress, a song written now might sound way better than a song you wrote last year; owing it all to perfecting your art.

Good music is easy to listen to, you will not need people to support you just for the sake of it. I hope it all works out for you.

Quality Above Quantity

You might not have the money to put out a lot of quality content consistently. It is advisable to identify a project and invest in all its aspects. One good project is more memorable than twenty projects with compromised quality.

It is okay to not afford it. You can do a lyric video as you wait to get enough money to pay for a music video.

Position Yourself Conveniently

The biggest income earners for musicians are endorsements and influencer marketing for brands. Controversy sells but not to corporate brands and only for a short period. If you want viral content, try comedy but be careful not to go overboard. All in all, be respectful to yourself and everyone else.

Study what brands you’d like to work with and even approach them. So long as your work is clean and quality, you are bound to bag one.


Stay focused on the dream you want to achieve and hopefully, I will be seeing you in the big leagues.


Post by Olave Orawo: Mdundo Editorial Manager