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Jen Cloher On The 5 Most Common Mistakes Self-Managed Artists Make

The impending Darebin Music Feast is going to be a mecca of amazing music, great stalls and world class vibes, but it will also be a place to get your learn on. Organisers have announced a series of workshops for the event, which includes a session with I Manage My Music head honcho, and known industry legend Jen Cloher

Having clocked up some solid hours on both sides of the artist/manager divide, you’d be hard-pressed to find more of an authority on the topic. Through the I Manage My Music campaign, Cloher has armed the next wave of industry figures with the confidence and tools to take the whole damn thing over.

To get a bit of a taste of what we can expect from Jen’s workshop at Darebin, we thought we’d extract some of her sweet, sweet wisdom and she responded with five of the most common missteps made by artists who are going it alone and managing themselves.

Pay attention, now.


If you’re sitting at home uploading your songs to SoundCloud waiting to be discovered then you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Music is about playing with people, to people. Go out and support your local music community. It’s amazing how many opportunities start to come your way when you take notice of what other people are doing. Go see three bands a week, minimum.

Go into debt.

The number one killer of creative projects is debt. It’s so easy to get into and so hard to get out of. In service to our ‘dream’ we strain relationships with partners, friends, and family by borrowing beyond our means. Do everything in your power to be sustainable from the start. Go for grants, play fundraiser shows, use crowd funding or Patreon platforms. You’ll feel heaps better about yourself too.

Think that a record label or manager will save them.

No one can make you famous. Too many artists put the cart before the horse trying to find interest before there’s any kind of buzz or respect for what they are doing. The best way to find an audience is to create your best music. Spend time on writing, recording and rehearsing your live show. Develop your practice as an artist. The stronger your songwriting and performance becomes the better your chance of attracting a manager or label that want to work with you.

Employing a publicist before anyone knows who you are.

Rather than spending thousands of dollars employing someone to send your music around, do it yourself. We have an amazing community radio network in Australia and people are listening! Tune in, check out their websites, take an interest in shows that are playing new Australian music. Then send your music to that person with a personal note. Again, if you take an interest in your community then chances are people will give you a spin.

Don’t plan ahead.

It’s easy to get excited and jump head on into a recording project before you’ve really thought out what you are doing. Take some time to sit down with another bandmate or close music compadre and talk through what you want to do next. They can be the sounding board and also help you see where there might be holes in your plan. Are you going to make a clip for your single? Is it going to be an album or an EP? Will you tour the release? Where is the funding coming from? Who’s going to mix your record? Take the time to answer these questions before you commit. Excellent planning makes for a much easier release experience and ultimately greater success.

Darebin Music Feast – Shop Talk: I Manage My Music

Tickets available now

Saturday, 29th October

Northcote Town Hall, Northcote

Tickets: Darebin Music Feast

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