This is the question I get asked more often than any other lately. It used to be, “How can I get signed?”. There were never any ironclad answers to either of these questions. Anyone saying otherwise, especially in the chaos of this current music industry landscape, is just full of donkey ish. At best, the experienced can advise you on what not to do. There are some things that either stagnate or just flat out prevent you from achieving any success whatsoever.
A clear example of that is waiting to figure out what you’re going to do after your album is recorded. There should have been some strategy or idea put together either before, or while your project was being recorded. I’ve recorded with artists, some of which I’m doing currently, that have no Twitter account, no Facebook page, no website, never heard of Soundcloud, never heard of Bandcamp, and don’t know the first thing about getting their music on iTunes. That stuff is crazy, but it’s common. And someone is going to come along and charge them to set all of that shit up. How do I know? Because I do it. And of those sites, blogs, and accounts that I’ve set up for those artists, 80% are inactive or haven’t been updated in months.
I’m not against outsourcing these things so that you can fully concentrate on your music. I outsource projects my self so that I can concentrate on other things. It’s just late in the game to start thinking about this kind of stuff when the CDs come back from the pressing plant.
Fan engagement doesn’t mean popping up out of nowhere to push your mixtape or album. These things gradually happen over time. Your social networking has to be about more than just pushing your music and selling stuff. It makes no sense that your Twitter timeline is only filled with links to your video or mixtape. That never works.
Earlier this year, I watched Aaron Mcgruder, creator of Boondocks and someone I admire, fail miserably at a Kickstarter campaign for a live action Uncle Ruckus movie. Sure it was a wack ass concept, but I’ve seen crappier projects with people who have a much lesser public profile, and who asked for a lot more money, get publicly funded successfully. Aaron’s problem was a one that many artists refuse to face. You have to be engaged with your audience. Aaron appears to scoff at social media because he has no Twitter account, and even though his FB page has over 6 million followers, it hasn’t been updated since the Kickstarter campaign. There is no news about the next season, no new merchandise,…nothing. Just a voiceless brand with enormous potential. On top of that, it’s clear that someone else runs it other that Aaron.
Even the famous can be forgotten about. That’s why constant exposure and interaction is needed for new artists, especially locally. If you were about to create a new brand of beer, you’d do the research and homework necessary to find out how you were going to market and distribute it before you started bottling it. Your music shouldn’t be any different.
Source: Indie Hip Hop