10 Questions Every DIY Artist Should Ask Themselves
Know your vision and create a concrete plan to achieve your music career goals.
June 25 2020


A successful music career doesn’t happen overnight, but what hinders many talented artists is the lack of consistent planning. Everyone has different reasons for making music but knowing your vision and creating a concrete clear plan will ultimately help you to achieve your goals.

To get you started, we listed these 10 questions to help you level up your music game. Take a moment to answer all of them and you’ll be amazed at the insights you’ll gain from clarifying your goals. 




one What’s My Artist Identity?

Know your why. Artists often aspire to become stars but in order to accomplish that you must stand out. That’s why it’s important to really know who you are in order to create something unique.

If you don’t have a clear answer, start thinking:

  • Why do you make music?
  • What motivates your self-expression?
  • What are your songs about?
  • What would you like to offer to people through your music?

A clear sense of purpose enables you to focus your efforts on what matters the most, compelling you to take risks and push forward regardless of the odds or obstacles.



2 What’s My Artist Brand?

Your brand is more than just your music. Successful artists aren’t just defined by the music they release, but by their own unique image and brand. Having a good artist story and a brand that resonates with audiences plays an important role in becoming successful.

Artist brand is channeling the energy of your music through a consistent visual style and identity, and it’s rooted in the uniqueness of your artist identity.

Ask yourself:

  • What would you like to communicate with your music and with your actions?
  • How would you like others to describe you as an artist?
  • What sets you apart?



3 What Kind of Music Do I Make?

Choose your genre wisely. Choosing the genre for your music is not arbitrary. Each genre has its own kind of audience in size and taste. That’s why a pop artist’s career can look very different from a musician that makes free jazz.

By keeping a certain genre in mind, you’re building an audience, which gives you an advantage when it’s time to promote your music.

Taking a moment to think about your genre is important, especially at the early stage of your career, even if it changes later.



4Where Are My Audiences Located?

Know your markets. Are you looking to make it big in your home country or are you making music for audiences all around the world? The location of your audiences will remarkably affect your artistic choices as well as potential partnerships.

It’s good to think big from the get-go, but keep in mind that the music markets might differ from country to country. Whereas volumes are bigger internationally, so is everything else from productions, concerts, teams, expenses, and competition.



5How Should I Market My Music?

Know your target audience. Besides your talent and music production, marketing is the key component in turning an artist into a star. It amplifies your hard work and talent to millions of potential fans. Good marketing requires planning and knowing your audience. Social media has especially changed the game for artists to promote themselves cost-effectively.


  • Do you know your target groups and what channels they use?
  • What kind of marketing do your listeners value?
  • Who oversees the planning and execution of your marketing?
Make sure you know your audience, create a strategy, and implement it consistently.



6How Can I Get My Music Heard?

Get playlist features or radio plays. Radio plays and playlist features are crucial for gaining a bigger audience.

Is your music production-ready to be played on the radio? Do you know the right playlists for your style? If so, list all the radio stations and playlists that could potentially feature your music and start devising a plan to get your songs heard.



7How Can I Generate More Income with My Music?

Diversify your revenue streams. Whether you're planning to go full-time as a musician or you’re keeping a job on the side, the key to making a living in music is through diversifying your revenue streams. As an independent musician, your finances may not be consistent, so planning is important.

Make sure you know:

  • Is your income mostly through live gigs or could you get more radio plays?
  • Are you promoting your music to increase your streaming numbers?
  • Do you own the master rights to your recordings and are you set up for royalties?
Successful DIY artists come up with creative ways to make a steady income with their music.



8What Kind of Team Do I Need?

Create a team that compliments you. Even the most DIY artists cannot do everything by themselves. As your career starts to develop and grow, you should consider forming a team to assist you with the administrative and logistical aspects of your career.

You should consider:

  • Are you planning to manage your own bookings, or do you need a booking agent?
  • Do you need a live band or a sound engineer?
  • While you are recording your next hit, who takes care of marketing and promotion? 

There’s no single formula for a dream team that would work for everyone. Your career path, your goals, your personal skillset, your time commitment, and your career level all factor into whom you will bring onto your team and when.

No artist ever made it to the top on their own, and a like-minded team will propel your career to the next level. Know your strengths and get help where you need it the most.



9How Should I Manage My Finances?

Think like a business. Money might not be the reason you started making music in the first place but planning your finances will make you and your team’s journey smoother. The more opportunities you get, the more you need to start thinking about financial logistics such as invoicing and budgeting.

Should you start a company or work as an independent freelancer? Should you get an accountant or use an invoicing service?

All these questions matter if you are looking to make your career in music profitable. Not every artist sees themselves as an entrepreneur, but the sooner you start to treat your operation as a business, the sooner you’ll start making better financial decisions.



10What Level of Success Am I Looking to Achieve?

Make your goals concrete. There is no one way to be an artist, and goals and aspirations can look different for everyone. However, it’s valuable to consider what kind of success you are looking to achieve.

Are you happy just playing at local venues, or are you looking to become a TOP 40 artist in your country or even tour internationally?

Defining your career goals will help guide your future decisions. Focus on making your goals concrete and measurable. Write down what you are looking to achieve and then create specific action steps in order to achieve these goals.

Don’t get caught up in the big picture but focus on what you can achieve now.



Take Action - Now!

We hope these questions will help you to define your goals and push you to take your next steps. Just remember, making a plan isn’t enough, you also need to sprint into action in order to succeed.

Keep posted on our latest artist development tips and when you’re ready, sign up for Family in Music.

Our goal is to help rising artists to level up their music game by offering all the right connections and tools, all in one platform.





Päivi Kankaro
Päivi is a content creator and online producer with 13+ years of expertise. She has developed digital content marketing strategies and communities both online and offline. For eight years she has been working in New York City helping to build start-up companies from the ground up. Now she’s creating outstanding content for the FAIM community.