Being an independent artist is a whole lot of work. It can get really hectic at times, especially if they are not sure what to focus on first. Every day I see artists spending hours tweeting their music to random people and celebrities on twitter, or posting their video to Facebook a million times where only their few hundred friends can see it. In this business time is money, so it is imperative to spend it wisely and come up with a way to spend less time with greater results. The goal for every artist should be to make great music and get it heard by the masses. I’ve compiled a list of some of the main things every artist should focus on and questions artist should ask themselves while on the journey to breaking into the music industry.
1. The Art – Is their enough have enough material for an album or mixtape? Does the artist have a steady recording studio? Is the music mastered? Is the product marketable? These are all things that artist really need to think about and focus on before make any other moves. Without a quality product there is nothing to promote and showcase. Make sure the music is up to par before deciding to move onto the next agenda. Never jump the gun and get the best quality possible for the budget. Quality over quantity. One original single, fully mastered, with a very professional video is better than a whole mixtape full of ‘bars’ on industry beats. After creating a solid piece of work it is important to create promotional teaser to get people excited about the new project. Check out this short video teaser Atlanta rapper Miroj uses to promote his single Pimp Tight.
2. The Brand – Getting the music out there also involves creating and promoting a brand. What do others think of aside from the music? According to Sean Combs a artist creates a successful brand by cross promoting a music with a lifestyle. Putting forward a consistent public image everyone can associate them with. Producing a logo that properly represent the artist is a good start to building a noticeable identity. Your Twitter avi, Facebook profile picture, logo, sound, image, personality, and beliefs are all a part of what makes up your brand. This will help with marketing and merchandising, and it will give fans a clear picture of the artist. The brand should be developed and genuine. This will make it easier to market. This past week I had the opportunity to record Atlanta rapper Kota Santez as he performed at #A3CSocialClub Open Mic.
This video that I recored serves as a way to promote his music as his brand(added logos and addition of website information). Also, through this video the artist personality shines through his stage presence. Content such as this gets people intrigued about your brand.
3. Business/Marketing Plan – As an artist having a marketing plan is essential. This plan is blueprint to distributing the music and brand. Some of the questing that should be asked during this stage are: What video/song should be pushed first? Who is the target audience?What music blogs can post and support new releases? Is there a press release for your single/mixtape/EP? Is all of music copyrighted? Come up with a marketing plan for a current single, and also have a broader plan for the next steps over the next 6 months to a year.
4. Budget – A budget is simply how much money is put aside specifically for music or for a certain project that is being worked on. No one expects a indie artist budget to be enough for huge marketing campaigns like labels, but it does pay to invest in certain things like studio time, photo/video shoots,listening sessions, email blasts, major magazine placements, promotional packages from marketing companies and websites, also it cost to post music on iTunes, Amazon, etc. In order for others to invest in you, you must be willing to invest in yourself.
5. Presentation – This is one of the most important things to focus on throughout your music career. How much effort is put into looking as professional as possible? Presentation means everything from name, style, website, the quality of product (album cover ,artwork, music videos) to how to conduct oneself during interviews, what to say on social media. Always make sure that the artist presentation is professional as possible.
6. Proper Networking – Making valid connections is a crucial part of of a artist success. In the music industry it’s about who you know as well as what you know. When having a firm grip on a marketing plan, people see a a professional. It’s not about contacting every random person and trying to get everyone to listen to the music, it’s about being yourself so that others are genuinely interested in the brand as a whole. If people like the artist as a person, when they release music the audience will listen! If the social interactions such as tweets/statuses/emails are interesting and can grab people’s attention, when music is posted people are more likely to listen.
So there you have it – what every independent artist should focus on in their journey to break into the music inndustry. I will be going in more detail in future blogs, but hopefully this will help guide all up and coming artist in the right direction.