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Tips for being successful as a Kenyan Indie Artist

By Njenga Micugu | January 21st 2017
If you were to search for the top 10 Kenyan Indie Artists”, the most relevant search results mention rock bands, Hip Hop musicians, and Afro-Soul artists.

If you are just starting out as an Indie artist, please do not assume your success is limited to these music genres. For those who have been in the music industry for a while, hopefully, this article will address some of the challenges you have faced.

The most important thing that an artist must have is the right mentality. An Indie artist has to be a radical thinker, a go-getter, and a risk taker because no one who will hand you opportunities by the bucket loads!

A good place to start is by setting goals of what you want to achieve and creating opportunities for yourself with the resources at your disposal.

When you are starting out, the first step is not the hardest. The most difficult thing is entertaining self-doubts. The challenges that artists face in Kenya are innumerable.

As an artist, you must be sold out on your dreams so badly that you do not fear setbacks. Also, the people around you should be people you can count on. If you cannot, when times are hard, these people will only bring you down.

Without a strong support system, self-doubts will cripple your progress and eventually destroy your dreams as an artist.

Additionally, your level of success is determined by how much effort you put into your craft every day. Before you start chasing $$$, you must have a desire to grow your skills.

 It is critical to bring along one or two people whom you trust (with your life!) to your practice sessions. These people should be able to give unbiased critique – and you must have the stones to hear it if you want to improve!

If you do everything I have mentioned above, making money from your craft should be

easy, right? No! Artistic skills do not necessarily translate to business skills. There are several

“core” issues that might affect your earnings as an artist: music piracy, copyright infringement,

and non-payment of royalties. The latter two are best explained by a lawyer. As for the former,

one way to stop illegal downloads of your first mixtape or EP is by signing up on websites such

as iTunes and Bandcamp. These sites allow artists to distribute their music and to earn revenue

from downloads.

Other income generating avenues include leveraging your fan base to potential sponsors,

merchandising; having your song featured in films, adverts or TV shows; and starting a YouTube

channel. Due to the recent changes in YouTube algorithms, your videos must attract a high

number of views and subscribers (among other things) so that your earnings can be higher. This

the list is not entirely exhaustive. You can read widely about how other successful artists make

money and incorporate their strategies as you see .
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