If you see yourself primarily as a guitarist, then the overall direction of your music career might be a little different than - say - a singer/songwriter or a concert pianist.
Although the basic principles of music marketing still apply, the specifics of how you go about winning fans, marketing your music and finding gigs might be slightly different.
If you're looking to grow your career as a guitarist, here are six ways you can market your music.
1. Showcase Your Skills on YouTubeOne of the most obvious ways to get noticed as a guitarist is to show your stuff in video form; preferably on YouTube. Whether it's Don Ross or Igor Presnyakov, there are plenty of guitar personalities out there who are now known because of the videos they've made.
Of course, you still need to practice hard and stand out in some way. You can't just do what everyone else has already done and expect to strike gold. You have to prepare well, do something unique, and appeal to your audience.
Don't forget; you don't have to hedge all your bets on one video. You can get back up and try again, as many times as you like. You can continue to tweak and experiment until you find something that really connects with YouTube audiences.
2. Collaborate With OthersIt's one thing to be able to show that you're a one-man virtuoso, like Andy McKee or Ewan Dobson, but if you really want to be recognized as a great guitar player, you have to show that you can play well with others too.
Just because you can shred or play percussive style doesn't mean you're great. If you can't adapt to the situation and show that you can also be tasteful in your approach, you still have a lot to learn as a player. If you're not getting invited to play on other people's songs, that should tell you something.
Whether it's playing on a friend's album or appearing in a fellow YouTuber's video, there are plenty of opportunities to be seen and heard if you can add something to what others are doing. Learn to be a player that can slide into any situation and bring something to the table.
3. Teach and Share What You KnowTom Hess has had an all around successful music career, not just because he's toured around the world. He continues to find longevity thanks to the music career tips, guitar tips, and guitar teacher coaching tips he offers through his website.
You may not know everything there is to know about guitar, but that doesn't mean you don't have something valuable to share with guitarists at large, especially beginners. If you're willing to teach, there are many ways you can gain more recognition.
You could write a column in a magazine. You could start your own guitar blog. You could teach workshops and conduct your own guitar clinics. You could share guitar lessons on your YouTube channel.
When you share what you know, you position yourself as an expert on the subject matter. More and more people will start coming to you because of the value you are offering them.
4. Show Off Your GearNot all guitarists are gear-heads, but practically every guitarist cares about their tone, and how to achieve certain sounds with their instrument.
You don't have to search far and wide to find rig rundowns on sites like YouTube, where you can learn about the guitars, amps and effects being used by your favorite guitarists. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from doing something similar. You could create a video where you go through all of your gear, step by step, and show people how you get particular sounds.
This is most effective when you have gear worth showing off, and people are asking you about your rig, but even if no one asked for it, it can still be quite engaging if you throw plenty of demonstrations in there. Plus, those demonstrations are great opportunities to really show off your skills.
5. Record and Share Killer DemosI think you're probably starting to see all the things you can do to market your music through the video medium. Of course, capturing a visual representation of your playing is important, but there are also lots of things you can do with audio.
For starters, you can share your demos on a site like SoundCloud. Since it has a social component built right in, you can build a bit of a following and interact with others through the site. It's a great place to build a presence.
Another thing you can look into is podcasts. You might consider starting your own, or you could also look into other podcasts that might be willing to play your music or have you on as a guest. You could even offer to compose themes for popular podcasts.
6. Submit Your MusicGuitar-oriented instrumental music can work exceptionally well in commercials, TV shows, movies, and video games. Plus, you can get a significant amount of exposure from these mediums, and the royalties can be pretty good if they happen to hit it big.
Finding the right opportunities might mean keeping a constant watch on sites like Sonicbids or TAXI. Of course, you can also see what's happening on a local level, and get involved in independent projects to get some experience.
In short, don't just think about how you can get out there on your own. See how you can leverage other projects, and piggyback on their popularity if you can.
Final ThoughtsGuitarist or not, the basics of building a website, growing an email list and performing live should not be ignored. These are the cornerstones of a holistic music career in the modern age. Also keep in mind that social media and video streaming sites could be of some use to you.
The key thing is to decide on a direction and stick to it. This does not mean that you won't have to change or alter your approach from time to time, but it does mean being clear about who you are and what you're trying to achieve. Things tend to fall into place when you a sure about yourself.
About the Author:
By David Andrew Wiebe of Music Industry How To. If you want other music marketing advice, feel free to check out out free ebook on the subject here.