Here is a brief interview I gave recently on some music-biz related topics (published on Disctopia.com).
Industry Insights from Brian Kelly — An Award Winning Pianist
We talked to Brian Kelly, an award-winning composer, pianist, and recording artist producing contemporary instrumental and solo piano music. He is a voting member of the Recording Academy and resides in San Francisco Bay Area.
Q: What is the industry scenario for independent artists? What do you think an indie artist should do to be successful?
A: First, it’s important to define what success is for you as an artist. For me, the kind of success I aim for is complete artistic freedom and authenticity. I want to create what I want, when I want, in a way that is authentic to me, not written to please someone else or to fit within a genre. My attitude is: I support my music. I do not try to get my music to support me. As for what to do on a practical level, artists should learn as many skills as they can that apply to producing and promoting their music, because they will need to do it all themselves! Everything from marketing, accounting, graphic design, website management, booking gigs, and on and on. All of the discipline, dedication, and persistence an artist devotes to their art must also be applied to the business side of their music.
Q: How important is the genre of the music in today’s world? Is the market ripe for only a few types?
A: I think genre is becoming less central to defining and discovering music, especially because of user-created playlists on Spotify and other streaming platforms. Playlists are introducing new ways of categorizing music according to moods, activities, instrumentation, tempos, etc. This is a great relief to me because my music is not quintessentially New Age, nor is it specifically Jazz, it’s a hybrid of several genres. Expanding beyond the limits of genre-labels is a good thing!
Q: What has changed for you in the digital age of streaming and downloading as an artist—do you need a different strategy to promote and sell your music?
A: The internet, social media, and the media environment in general is primarily visual, and there is a vast and ever-increasing amount of content being created, all competing for our attention, and attention spans are getting shorter. I must admit, I am little behind the times in adapting to the digital age. I am still committed to the 40-60 minute album as the primary format for musical artistic expression, comparable to a symphony or concerto. However, I will soon start releasing video content and releasing singles from my next album project.