As an up and coming musician one of the constant struggles is to spread your art and to reach a mass appeal. In previous generations one of the sure fire ways to get your voice out there and heard was to “Get Discovered”. The major appeal behind getting discovered was the artist had the labels resources to use in return they had to turn a profit for the label to generate money. In recent years the landscape of the music industry has been changing and developing to work with the DIY artist more and more creating many resources similar to what the labels have all within the palm of their hands or nestled comfortably on their laps.
Let’s start with the first thing that should come to the mind of any business savvy artist sales. The record company has a whole division of their company devoted to getting the recorded on the shelves of stores but with the physical copies of albums becoming a lost art thing unless pressed to vinyl and digital music reining supreme any artist with a few free afternoons and an internet connection can take the wave files of their songs and put them on the internet there are numerous sites to sell music ranging from Bandcamp to the iTunes store. You say you want to still sell CDs don’t worry theirs a website for that called CDbaby that offers packages for selling CDs online. As far a vinyls go any town with a good record store that sells second hand records will sell albums from a local artist for me this shop is called Amoeba in the heart of Hollywood and they sell records on commission.
Record companies have publicity/promotions departments that are responsible for making sure the artist is placed in the public eye. Lately their has been a trend from the internet generation where they trust their peer and professionals they can place a face to rather than some random faceless media company that being said many DIY artist have a list of blogs they submit their material to, to get their voices heard, this combine with social media can really help you find your core fan base which is what you really want to find because they are the ones who will be supporting you in the long run.
The only section that isn’t really so much DIY is legal affairs. This is the area where your going to want to spend some time and do some research talk to peers to find yourself a good trustful lawyer who has experience and has the same goals in mind as you. Although it is a bit of a financial investment in the long run it will benefit you rather than looking up the information on Google.
As far as funding there are many avenues a creative artist can explore to get funding from crowd funding websites like kickstarter to websites with the specific goal to have your top fans fund you throughout your whole career like patreon. These resources can provide funding for the specific things labels would normally fund like tours or aspects of recording.
Although it helps to have label backing for certain task it isn’t necessary for an artist to thrive without the help of a label. A handful of large artist are moving away from labels which a times can dictate the flow of their art and representing themselves completely an example of this is the artist Macklemore who claims that not working with a label helped him to find his voice.