What’s that saying?  Ah yes! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? 

And it’s true! There is no better way to learn from someone than to follow in their footsteps. And as a artist, there is no better way for you to learn than to follow those who are one step ahead of you. So today we offer up a few ways to stay up on your game by falling in line, taking the back seat, and learning from others.

1. The Website: 

Make a list of a few independent artists whose websites you can visit on a regular basis. Some of these artists should be a few years ahead of you. Others can be on a similar playing level. Check out their show calendars, see where they’re playing, read their blogs, and simply glean from their branding. What techniques do they use to make themselves look professional? What resources do they use? Look into little things like – which site do they use to sell merch? Or what media player do they use to play music on their homepage? Look into how their site is laid out and what makes them unique? You can learn alot about presentation, promotion and branding simply by being a good observer. 

2. The Newsletter:

Signing up for your favorite artists’ newsletter is a MUST!  Not only will you get a great look into how they personally communicate with their fans, but you will be among the first to know about new developments in their career and you’ll get great ideas on how to actively pursue you’re own. But perhaps the biggest advantage of subscribing to a fellow artist’s newsletter is learning about the best venues to play and familiarizing yourself with places that are appropriate for your style of music..

3. The Social Media:

The best way to be a good observer, is to be a die-hard fan. Follow your favorite artists on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’m always surprised by how much I learn from a 140-character sentence. I’ve discovered so many great websites, personalities, and venues as a direct result of being on Twitter and reading other people’s posts.  Facebook is equally as great for discovery. Instagram is quickly becoming the new go-to place as I learn how to creatively promote events by seeing how my fellow artists use their pictures.

4. The Branding:

While all of the above fall under the helm of branding, it’s also in a class of its own. In addition to the previously mentioned ideas, watch artist’s Music videos. What do they wear? How was it made? Read artist interviews. Check our their photos. Go to their shows. How do they set up their merch table? What unique things do they do during their set? Learn a little bit about identity as an artist. What are the consistencies? 

This isn’t really homework, its really just staying up to date on the behind-the-scenes. You’re not just a fan, you’re a researcher. And all your findings will help you to be a better artist and promoter.

So pick your favorite artist(s) and learn from what they do!
Good luck!