Whether you’ve been performing at open mic nights for a while, or the shampoo bottles in your shower are the only ones who get to see you perform, a lot of us would love to make it big in the music world. But once you’ve got your foot in the door, whether it’s an internship or a couple of live gigs lined up, what’s the secret to making money in the industry? That’s the question that was posed to an awesome panel of music industry experts when we hosted an event with Deal Real Legacy and Creative Media Network at the Think Big Hub.

After performances from the brilliant Sooski and LA Gray, host Jade Avia from Radar Radio sat down to grill a team of industry experts:

Ricki Bleu – CEO of Avant Garde (the music company that manage artists like Naughty Boy, Mojam and Krept and Konan)

Anthony David King – Creator of Anthony David King Venture Investor (a company that works with investors to develop ventures in music, arts and education)

Afryea Ama – Marketing Manager at Virgin EMI/ Universal

Twin B – Presenter of the Radio 1Xtra Breakfast show and A&R Director at Atlantic Records

The panelists discussed everything from the importance of networking to whether it’s ever OK to work for free, and also talked about how creating a community can be a major step to success in the music business. Take a look below as we round up the panel’s top tips on how to create a community of music fans and make it grow:

1. Have a clear focus

“If you can build a community around an idea, you can take advantage of that,” said Anthony. But, he warned, “you have to start with a focus.” Kick off your music career with a clear message of what you’re all about.

“I always say to artists – what do you want your music to do?” added Twin B. “Visualise who you want to listen to your music and how you want them to listen to it”

2. Connect with people like you

“People relate to people who look like them, sound like them and have gone through the same struggles,” said Afryea, who used  Fuse ODG as an example of an artist who “has really got his community to celebrate him and support him”.

“You’ve got to put yourself out there but you’ve got to put thought into what you’re doing,” added Ricki. “Find managers doing music you like or similar to yours”. Why? Because the simplest way to build a community is by starting with the community that you’re in.

3. Figure out what else your community cares about

“Immerse yourself in what else is going on, whatever it may be, tap into that. Use hashtags,” said Afryea.

If the people who love your music also love EastEnders, then you’d better be live tweeting as soon as any more of the inevitable Bobby drama kicks off again.

“It’s about hitting up those people and engaging with them,” said Afryea. “It’s about generating a conversation”.

4. Be consistent

Make it easy for your community to keep up with you by being reliable. “Consistency is one of the things we’ve seen YouTube stars do really well,” said Afryea. “They put up videos at the same time every week because viewers have become accustomed to getting that content”.

5. Find new fans

So, what’s the next step? Be brave! “Place your content in front of an audience that might not otherwise find you. Take yourself out of your immediate community of friends and family, it’s really important to get fresh eyes and ears on what you’re doing”  Afryea said.

“If you can put your music in front of people that have never heard of you before, you’re gonna get some honest feedback,” she added. “The world is your oyster”.

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