The Internet has made music creation and distribution available to everyone, processes traditionally handled by record labels. The responsibility for managing marketing and music publishing now fall squarely on the artist. Because of the massive amount of material on the Internet it is very challenging to rise above the noise and distinguish yourself. While running a business is creative in it’s own way, thinking of oneself as a brand is very uncomfortable for many creatives. Jacob Detering has written a good blog post about this subject.
Another good read on this subject is Fans, Friends and Followers by Scott Kirsner. Scott interviews several artists working in a variety of mediums, who discuss the successes and challenges they have had as they figure out how to promote themselves and choose the right business partners.