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Fender's Artist Playbook is an insider's guide to going pro - and it's free

Drax Project
(Image credit: Taylor Mansfield)

Fender has teamed up with the best-selling author, musician and host of the New Music Business podcast Ari Herstand to publish a free Artist Playbook that offers emerging artists a game plan for negotiating the music industry.

With the music business transformed by society's digital transformation, trends accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the next generation of musical talent must operate in a much different environment to their forebears, and the Artist Playbook takes a broad view of some of the challenges today's musicians face, and outlines some of the opportunities that new digital platforms such as TikTok and Bandcamp present.

It doesn't matter whether you play electric guitar or the bass, the Artist Playbook is required reading for anyone serious about a career in music. It breaks the business down into four sections: social media, livestreaming, release strategy and digital marketing, and helps musicians set manageable goals and a framework for thinking strategically about their career.

One thing that has been abundantly clear this past year is that there is no longer one way to 'make it' in the new music business

Ari Herstand

“One thing that has been abundantly clear this past year is that there is no longer one way to 'make it' in the new music business,“ writes Herstand. “Quite frankly, there are as many ways to make a music career happen as there are musicians.

“That is incredibly exciting, while also insanely daunting. Yes, artists theoretically can make a music career happen on their own, by themselves, with merely their phone, a decent mic and some wifi. But where to start? Who to engage for assistance? How much time and money does it take?“

Fender Artist Playbook

(Image credit: Fender)

Herstand looks into these questions and more, and looks at the different elements that are needed to be a digitally literate recording artist in 2021. 

The playbook examines how livestreaming on social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and Twitch can enhance an artist's profile and then looks at ways that this profile can be turned into a sustainable stream of revenue. As Herstand writes, the idea of 'making it' has been redefined in the 21st-century music business, where simply earning a living seems as good a definition as any.

Confused about NFTs? Unsure of how you should approach social media advertising? No problem. You can download the Artist Playbook for free here, and head over to Fender for more music business tips from Herstand, and remember to follow the 50:50 rule – spend an equal amount of your time and resources on promoting the music as you do creating the music. 

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.