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Realistic Steps in Music

in the Digital Age

A 7-week workshop for 60 ambitious musicians to start building real life foundations as independent musicians in the Digital Age.
Enrollments are closed at the moment


Fellow musician, you got your college degree!

While in college, there was always someone to leave a trail of breadcrumbs for you. Your route was pretty much predefined, wasn't it? That provided safety. Reality as a musician can be pretty different though.

In an interconnected world, with social networks and virality, piracy is not your problem. Obscurity is.

Good news, the traditional media world has changed to something more democratized, empowering indie musicians to reach their own audience. But there is a catch: most musicians are still thinking the old way.

Most musicians are promoting their music the way the ol' labels did. They're missing out: the digital age entails new rules and possibilities. That's why investing time in the early days to clarify the bigger image will take you a long way.

I'm a musician myself and I wanted full control. That's why I've been researching and testing for 3,5 years now and it's time to put all those findings together. Have a look below.

We're not gonna talk about vague marketing tactics. I'll present what the digital age is all about, backing everything up with studies and brevity.


Mostly I do things for free because I care and I'm passionate about music and teaching. This one has a price, simply so I can meet musicians that are serious about their future. If you're good enough with gigging in small bars or busking, then it's definitely not for you.
"A musician who is just a musician can never become a good musician" (paraphrazing the quote of Vernon L. Smith, Nobelist in 2002, Economics)

Why only 60?

Small groups have better results, so I limit the attendance to 60 musicians. First come first serve, clear things.

Can I reach you anytime?

During these 7 weeks you will be able to reach me anytime. Coffee, phone, Skype, you name it. I will be there to answer any question you have.

What if I don't like it?

Clear things. If for any reason you are not happy with the workshop, even a week after its completion, I give you a full refund. And you won't have to tell me why. But I'm sure you'll love it.

Realistic Steps in Music in the Digital Age

Author: Tommy Darker

  • Overview
What is Real Life Institute? A workshop designed to do exactly that: show you the first realistic steps in the digital age of 2013 and help you build strong foundations. Click on the Syllabus above and see what you'll learn in the 7 weeks of this intense workshop.
By the end of this course, you will learn:
  • How to think of the digital world - and what possibilities there are
  • The basic principles of marketing, specifically for musicians
  • How to create your own website and polish your online presence
  • How to treat your music as a business so you can start earning some money
  • Why data collection is the only way you can succeed - and the optimal way to do it
  • Tactics for healthy exposure of your music
  • How to make people come back again by offering an experience rather than just music
  • How to engage with the audience and have them talk about you
  • The long-term plan for a sustainable living with your art

Click to see the infographic of the Direct-To-Fan Roadmap of what we'll cover in these 7 weeks.
The workshop will include material such as:
  • Over 12 Papers of instructional material
  • Over 3 Interviews with industry experts
  • Personal contact with the instructor (coffees, emails, Skype)
  • Attendance to Darker Music Talks
  • Introductory videos from the instructor
  • Relevant material for further study (for the hungry ones!)
Not to mention, if you're really interested and you have objections about the price, then I'll remind you of my 100% Happiness Guarantee. This means that if you don't like the course, even after its completion, you will get a full refund without any questions asked.
If you still have doubts whether the workshop is for you, you're free to walk away. Not everyone has the same ambitions - but I'd happily help along the ones who choose to make the effort.
See you on March 4th!

Week 1: Getting Started in the Music Industry

  • The State of the Music Industry
  • What Happens When a New Band is Created
  • 3 Principles for a Long-term Career
  • Sneak Peek to the Future: Laws of the Digital Age
  • Everything a Musician Needs to Know About Marketing (with Danny Iny)
  • Coffee 'n Chat with Tommy: Live Q&A
  • Resources for Further Study
  • Assignment #1

Week 2: Polishing Your Online Presence

  • 5 Indicators of Credibility
  • Why People Look for 'Signs of Engagement'
  • Guiding the Audience to Reach your Goals
  • How to Raise your Professional Standards
  • Help People Find What they Want
  • Brand your Website with your Design
  • Setting up your own Website & Digital Press Kit
  • Resources for Further Study
  • Assignment #2

Week 3: Building Strong Business Foundations

  • Why You Need a Business Structure
  • Product Creation for Musicians 101
  • Defining your Ideal Fans
  • Setting Up a Sales Roadmap
  • Why a Transaction Starts with Trust
  • Getting Fans' Permission 101
  • Product Tiers
  • Topspin Media as a Marketing Platform (and the Alternatives)
  • Resources for Further Study
  • Assignment #3

Week 4: Music as a Marketing Tool

  • Facebook is not your Business
  • The Basics to Mailing List Building
  • Online Services for Data Collection
  • Creating a Converting Landing Page
  • How to Communicate Effectively with Influencers
  • Getting Coverage by Targeting the Right Media
  • The Power of Free(mium)
  • Setting up a Small Facebook Campaign
  • Resources for Further Study
  • Assignment #4

Week 5: Invest in the Experience, Not Just Music

  • 5 Simple Steps to Build Momentum
  • Why the Album is Dead
  • The EP Launch Tactic
  • The Role of Crowdfunding
  • Involve the Fans in the Process
  • 122 Alternative Ways of Promotion
  • Your First Direct-To-Fan Marketing Plan
  • Resources for Further Study
  • Assignment #5

Week 6: Engagement with the Audience, Going Viral

  • An Alternative Way to Organize your Fans
  • Tribes: What it Means and Why it's Important
  • Basics on Starting a Conversation
  • How to By-pass the Mediators
  • Creating a Pre-order System
  • Building a Social Platform on your Website
  • Interview with Gary Vaynerchuk on Social Media
  • Engagement with your Mailing List & Membership Website
  • Resources for Further Study
  • Assignment #6

Week 7: Selling Other Products (But Music)

  • Explaining the Idea of 1.000 True Fans
  • Product Creation for a Sustainable Living
  • Premiumisation: A Viable Solution
  • Sculpturing your Ideal Products
  • Using Decoy Marketing to Raise the Value
  • Interview with George Kolliopoulos on Premiumization
  • Summing Up: The Direct-To-Fan Mindset of an Independent Musician (in a Flowchart)
  • The Challenges and the Strengths
  • Resources for Further Study
  • Assignment #7

Course started March 4th

Get on the early-bird list for the next course!


Questions? Call 07534705669 or email Tommy

"Definitely a top notch source for those whose seek creativity and effectiveness"

George MouzisMarketing, SAE Insitute Athens


Tuition fee: To be announced

Course starts: To be announced

Duration: To be announced


Tommy Darker

Independent musician and founder of 365 Music Days, PRINCE2 Certified Project Manager.