Although independent artists are becoming increasingly more common, succeeding as an independent musician is not as easy as it seems. Indeed, not only do indie artists need the talent and charisma of mainstream artists but they must also be armed with an array of skills that help them succeed behind the scenes. No matter if you are an up-and-coming indie artist or an indie industry vet, the following is an overview of the top professional skills needed to succeed as an independent music artist.


It’s a relatively well-known fact that some industries are based on making and maintaining the proper connections. The indie music scene is an example of such an industry. Therefore, one of the top skills needed to become a successful artist is the ability to network effectively.

Some tips for networking as an indie artist are:

  • Always come prepared! Example: Show up with business cards and other promotional materials.
  • Be confident.
  • Set tangible goals for your networking efforts.
  • Be serious, yet personable.
  • Always follow up with everyone.

Demonstrate Humility

Being a successful indie musician means walking the fine line between being larger than life and as humble as possible. Generally speaking, indie musicians should come across as grandiose in their music yet modest in person. Work on ways to show others that you are relatable and display your authentic self at all industry-related events. This is the best way to gain a reputation that paints you in a humble light.


As an indie artist, you are your unique brand. Therefore, you must take the time to better understand branding or hire a brand expert to help you develop a personalized brand that suits your persona. Branding simply means you are creating ways that will allow your following to witness your uniqueness. For instance, a personal brand of an indie musician may include anything from signature fashion choices to catchphrases and much more.


Being a successful indie musician means you must have lots of discipline. There may be times when you have to choose to practice over spending time out with your friends. Being an indie musician means that you are solely in control of your career. This is great for those who have a great work ethic, however, it can be detrimental for those who do not. If you are not naturally disciplined, you may want to take the time to set strict schedules or seek outside assistance to help you stay on track.


In keeping with that notion, organization is also a common trait of the top indie musicians. Given that most musicians’ schedules are varied and unpredictable, you must go above and beyond to ensure that you remain well organized. Moreover, it is essential to work on your organization before your career takes off, as it will be much harder to get organized once you are booked and busy.


Being an indie musician requires lots of courage. You must be brave enough to try new fashions and sounds and present them to audiences that may or may not be interested in what you have to offer. You have to be willing to turn down deals that do not align with your brand. You will need to have the courage to preview and premiere new music that you may be unsure about and much more. This is not to say that successful indie artists are fearless. Instead, they embrace their fear and continue to work towards their goals anyway.


Lastly, being a successful indie musician means you must be willing to learn continually. No matter if you are sharpening your existing skills or learning entirely new ones, this will be the driving force behind your success as an indie artist. Remember: even the greats had vocal coaches, image consultants, and more. There is no reason you shouldn’t do the same.

Ready for Indie Artist Success?

Although there are no guarantees in the music industry, success comes to those who go after it. One way of doing so is by attending a music school that will allow you to become immersed in music, thus fueling your creative drive and will to succeed. By enrolling in one of our programs here at the Musician Institute College of Contemporary Music, we can teach you many of the skills that will allow you to become a better musician and a more successful indie artist. Contact us today for more information.

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