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#HipHop101 Mixtape Etiquette for the new artist

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted in the HipHop101 section, but what I’m going to talk about is really going to be able to help some people who listen. Although I am an artist, my first love in music has always been the business side as far as marketing, management, and promotion. One of my favorite things to do behind the scenes is organize collaborative Mixtape or Album projects which requires you to work with and organize a lot of different people that do a lot of different things. You have artists, producers, DJ’s, record labels, managers, graphic artists, bloggers, promoters, etc who can all be involved with this kind of project. It can be extremely difficult sometimes when you are dealing with so many different people and personalities but no matter how difficult it can be, I personally find that the finished project always ends up being worth it and whatever or whoever the difficulty was, you learn from it and move forward so that you can make each project better than the next.

With that being said, what I want to address is the Etiquette of Artists. I am very aware that we live in a day and age of social media and we are living in a generation of selfish people. Be that as it may, I am going to explain to you the honorable way to conduct yourself and you can choose to ignore it or pay attention. I am going to tell you the truth about somethings and it might hurt your feelings, but you will be alright if you can get out of your emotions and listen to the logic because this is after all business regardless of what you see portrayed on television or social media.

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  • YOU ARE NOT FAMOUS. Unless you are cashing million dollar checks, have hundreds of thousands of dollars in endorsements, have gold or platinum records, or have been recognized as one of the greats for your well seasoned and decorated music contributions? SIT DOWN. Relax. you don’t deserve to be disrespected, but you better stay humble. If you are unreasonably a jerk, nobody is going to want to work with you and eventually you will end up biting every hand that tried to help you get fed and burn down all the bridges extended to you. Unless you are an outstanding artist, producer, graphic artist, DJ, blogger, promoter, manager, and record label all in one? You will eventually need the help of other people so it’s best to conduct yourself as a professional. In my opinion I don’t understand how people can say they want music to be their full-time job so they don’t have to do anything else but they’ll behave like professionals for their job at the gas station and act like they have no manners or common sense when it comes to conducting themselves as an entrepreneur (which is technically what you are as an independent artist).
  • Value an invitation. There is a lot of work that goes into a collaborative project. Far too many times people undervalue the time and work that’s put in to a collaborative project especially if all they did was submit a song. This is no way means the creative process and recording is under valued, but the point I am trying to make is a collaborative release has many components to it and if you are invited onto a collaborative project (especially one being presented by an artist, group, or label that holds weight under their name or brand) there are a few things you can easily do that show you appreciate the opportunity of exposure and free promotion.  The LEAST you can do is share the project and support it especially if you were invited on. Even if you pay for a slot, what was the point of purchasing your exposure opportunity if you don’t even support it? If you are invited onto a project, turn in your music in a timely manner. Nobody should have to chase you down to give you an opportunity. If you want to be taken serious as an artist? Be professional. Nobody is going to keep calling, texting, inboxing, or emailing you in order to put your music on a project that’s overall cost isn’t coming out of your budget. What all of us as artists need to remember is that there are millions of us. Sometimes it’s not even natural talent that help people move forward in this very competitive business, it’s things like honoring your word, professionalism, and integrity.  For me personally? I will help a less talented artist who is a good person ten times over breaking my neck for someone who is super talented but a headache to work with.
  • Label your tracks properly.  When you are submitting a song, nine times out of ten whoever is collecting the music is slammed with emails. Make sure you do your part to cut down on the instance of error and costly mistakes. Your email should come with the MP3 of the song, Artist name, track name, and producer name. One thing that happens far too often is people do not label their tracks properly and then expect everyone to stop what they’re doing to correct spelling errors, add something or delete something. Once things like promotion is started or track lists have been designed and released it is far too time consuming and costly to make changes and frankly, unless the error was a track by a heavy hitter? Chances are you’re going to have to deal with the error and move on. It’s happened to all of us at one time or another and nobody died because of it.

 

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For those of you who may be very new, there is a difference between a Mixtape and Collaborative Album.  A Mixtape can be done by an individual (normally a collection of their music they are putting out for free in order to generate a buzz before an album comes out, a free project an individual releases in order to start building a fan base, a free collaborative project from a group/label/ DJ that showcases a collection of artists / producers. The key word though is FREE. The only time there is ever a charge for a Mixtape is if hard copies are pressed up then you are paying for the actual hard disk and shipping, not the actual music. Artists can be invited on by a DJ/Group/ Label or slots are sometimes available for a fee. Purchasing a slot would be something you charge to your promotional budget and you should only purchase slots on Mixtapes that target the fan base you want, and or are hosted/produced by a reputable organization/DJ/Label/Group. I say that because I can’t even count the number of times a no-name brand or group has slid in my inbox trying to sell me a Mixtape slot for hundreds of dollars. No thanks. If you are debating on purchasing a slot, google the other Mixtapes they’ve done. Combine all the numbers from all of the sites you see it posted on and decide if the slot fee is worth that investment for the level of exposure you find. ( Side note: Any slot fee over $100-$150 you should look for downloads and plays of ten thousand or more but BE CAREFUL…. some of those “downloads” aren’t organic, meaning they could have been purchased. So the best way to make sure it’s legit is see if the project comes up on multiple sites and check all of the stats before making your decision.

A Collaborative Album is actually for sale. Normally a collab album will have one producer and feature many artists on their beats, or put out by a label/group and showcasing their artists and producers. On this kind of album purchase you can expect all original tracks.

I hope some if not all of this was helpful or enlightening. One more helpful tip until the next time… if you are an artist and consider the music industry your ideal profession? Do some research about the “business” you say you’re in. There’s a lot of “artists” that don’t even own the name they’re making beats or recording songs with, and there’s a lot of producers selling beats they don’t technically own although they made them.

That’s all for now! Be blessed –

Q

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#FREE #Indie #Artist #Entrepreneur #Blog features via queentheprophet.com until 2/14/15!

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Happy February!

As a special thank you to readers, tweeters, etc. from now – February 14, 2015 Queentheprophet.com is offering absolutely FREE Independent Artist/ or Entrepreneur blog features (no violent or sexually explicit content will be accepted) for your music, project, product, or business.

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Submission Instructions: 

  • All submissions must be received no later then February 14, 2015 at 11:59 p.m.  EST
  • Everything must be contained in one email (bio, summary, photos, links, social media handles,etc)
  • Email submissions to: queentheprophet@gmail.com put “BLOG” in the subject line.

#HipHop101 Don’t be deceived, #Digital #Distribution

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Now although the information I post under this category is really information you would have to pay for (by hiring a management or development person or paying for it in the way you spend all of your money before you learn it), I can’t stand to see people be stupid. I’m probably going to upset a few folks with this post because in the event aspiring recording artists actually read this, they may stop wasting money.

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First, let’s break a few things down. Major record labels are your Def Jam, Sony, Atlantic, Etc. Independent labels are smaller versions of majors, independently owned/ operated and they actually turn a profit. An “indie label” is NOT a company that you and a few friends started and didn’t even follow through with the proper business end to make it an actual business. I’m explaining this because a lot of UNDERGROUND artists refer to themselves as indies. The word indie actually refers to a professional recording artist that is signed to an independent label. The misunderstanding of terms causes things like ten thousand people thinking their You Tube videos are going to be taken down because the article said “artists signed to independent labels” and they were referring to mainstream independent artists (i.e. Tech N9ne, Frank Ocean) not underground artists.  Like with any career, it’s important that you know what you’re talking about for your own good and it’s extremely insulting to the folks who actually know what they’re doing. It’s like me showing up at the hospital to preform surgery because I can cut good with a butter knife.

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“The Record Deal”- Please. This hardly happens at all since the game turned digital. NOBODY is “signing” any artist for a significant amount of money unless that artist is already making the kind of money that is worthy of that investment, The deal that some of you would be willing to sell your first born for tomorrow isn’t even what you think it is. A standard major label contract is 80/20 or 70/30. Meaning you get 20% or 30% the label gets the rest because they put up the money for your videos, hotel rooms, studio time, clothes, shows, rented cars, etc. They OWN YOU with these contracts. They own your stage name, social media, and dictate your sound, style, lyrics, and to top it all off if you refuse? They “shelf” you. That means they own you as the artist and they wait out your contract and you release no music until you fulfill what they are requiring or whoever you are as an artist is silent until that contract is over. Good luck being a new artist and not having anything in rotation for five years. The only time an artist can be the wealthy that most people dream about is when that person invests their money in other things or has major sponsors like Pepsi.

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We could go in deeper but today I want to pull the curtains back on specifically the “Digital Distribution Deal”. In case you didn’t know ( and you SHOULD KNOW if you consider yourself an artist), the digital world is very underground /indie artist friendly. For under $200 you can get your music copy written, and distributed to all of the major electronic stores like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, iHeartRadio, etc. There are plenty of sites (Tune Core, CD Baby, Band Camp) you can get your music out for very little money. What good does that do you? Absolutely nothing if you don’t have a fan base or to buy your music and a budget for promotion period point blank, end of story. Making music is not cheap and being successful in music costs lots of money. The digital world may make it look easy, but if it was? Don’t you think everybody would be driving around in a Mercedes?

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There are different levels to the “Digital distribution Deal”. In most cases, you end up paying a record label to use their distribution account. They have the same exact “digital distribution” that you can get yourself. Most companies that offer this have an actual record label attached to it and you are paying to use their digital name. Meaning, I am a Hell Razah Music, Inc. artist. We could make Hell Razah Music Digital, charge you $1000 for our distribution through Hell Razah Music Digital (watch the word play, it looks the same but being signed to “digital” indicates you are not an actual label artist) and you are paying for our name so you can tell people you’re signed to Hell Razah Music Digital and whatever weight the name carries is what you’re paying for and we may even throw in logo use so you can deceive who is willing to be fooled that your deal is more then using our Tune Core account. Then, we also collect a percentage of your music sales as well as count the numbers of whatever units you moved towards our overall units moved for the year, then we as the actual label look much better to our investors because of the total number of units we moved. If we offered this deal to 50 people, we make $50k and if each person sells 100 units, we can add 5k units moved to our overall numbers as a label. Let that sink in and some of you may have to read it twice. Most “digital deals” are exactly this, a hustle and you my dear are the one being hustled because it’s cheaper to pay the fee and hope you are also buying  buzz and fan base then to spend thousands of your own money the right way.

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This is not all digital distributors just the majority. Most of these digital distributors do not offer any promotion or anything else with the “deal”. Some may actually include some type of promotion and that is an important thing you need to find out (NEVER sign anything without an Entertainment Attorney present, and yes that costs money too). In some cases you would be better off spending that thousand on your own digital distribution account and pouring the rest of the money into promotion. If you’ve ever seen a label and scratched your head when you saw their “artists” this is probably why. Just because someone has signed a digital distribution deal, does not in anyway, shape, or form mean they are “signed” to a label in the traditional sense you’re used to and a good deal of them? ARE PAYING TO WEAR THE LOGO.

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The average person would have no idea that the logo above isn’t actually Def Jam. Def Jam Digital actually partnered with Tune Core for awhile a few years back, made Def Jam Island Digital and a few lucky folks got to pretend they were signed to Def Jam and made a few bucks. I’m familiar with this because a former mainstream artist tried to “help me” a few years back and told me that all I had to do was add Def Jam Island Digital to Battlegrownd Entertainment and I would be able to charge people for distribution. Too bad I’m not a person who robs people, I probably could have made a nice chunk of change 😉

Artist Feature: IG j36wu Custom Toys

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Artist Spotlight Feature:

JWu is a 30 year old Independent Artist from NY, Custom vinyl toys, Spray Paint Cans, etc.

Has also done custom pieces for Wu-Tang Clan/Sunz of Man Hell Razah GGO (Ghetto Government Officialz) 

For customized pieces and a full gallery, check him out on Instagram @j36wu

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INDIE ARTISTS – Spend wisely COMMON UNDERGROUND MUSIC SCHEMES

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Most of us have said or heard, “if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense”. Same is true when you’re spending your money. Most people don’t like to waste money. Most people can’t afford to get robbed.

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When you are an independent artist, you get robbed all the time. As much as we try to avoid this, people lose money all the time because there are people who will do or say anything just to make a few dollars. Here’s the SAD TRUTH…. these plots don’t impact the people who could recover from loosing $25 easily (not that ANYONE deserves to get robbed). These blood suckers take it from YOU. The struggling artist with a dream, scraping up your last to put your music out. They are aware of this. That’s why you are their target. You’re more likley to get mad and then just go away.

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Some of the most common schemes in the underground music community:

  • Mix tape Slots- There’s no MXTP. You pay pal a stranger $10-$25 and they BANK on you not ever suing them. Why would you? It’ll cost you more to track them down and take them to court. (Do this to 4 people X $25 you made $100)
  • Promotion- Their followers, views, etc aren’t real. They’re bought. Then you pay $50  for tweets to fake people.
  • The “Showcase”- Unless you personally know what the A & R reps at each record label look like (and you should, it’s on the internet most of the time) stop spending your money. You are paying to perform in front of other rappers  in the same boat as you. If you don’t bring a crowd, your crowd is other rappers. 9 x out of 10 there is no prize, nobody gets the prize, and the “Showcase”  is someone who worked at a radio station, has hook-ups at local clubs, and  then charges you to perform in front of other people that paid to perform.
  • “Tours”- The state to state tours. You again are paying to perform in front of other artists that paid to be there. Who do you know that was signed from a tour or a showcase? Seriously.
  • “Verbal Contract” Anything done verbally is dangerous. Yes you can go to court  with it, but you better have good supporting evidence (phone records, emails, receipts). Everything should be in writing. Keep a paper trail.

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Don’t be stupid. Do your homework before you pay people to do something.

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A real business person values their reputation and will provide you with an invoice detailing what you’re paying for. Nobody can promise you the moon, you can invest $10k into music promotion and if the music is bad, it is what it is and is the luck of the draw just like it is for everyone else. The best that you can hope for & do for yourself on a limited budget is find people who will give you what you pay for.

Be wise.

QTP

CRUNK IT or JUNK IT! Indie Artist Torrance Brossette @mistatbeatz VOTE NOW!

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CRUNK IT or JUNK IT! Indie Artist Torrance Brossette @mistatbeatz VOTE NOW!

Name: Torrance Brossette of Brossette Music Empire

Twitter: @MistaTBeatz

Label: Prosper Recordz

Repping: Louisiana

Supported By Beasthood Incorporated & OnPoint Entertainment

Torrance Brossette on itunes & Amazon:

Web: www.BeasthoodIncorporated.com

 

Here’s how it goes Fam… this track (available for purchase via iTunes & Amazon). Listen to the track and cast your vote to CRUNK IT or JUNK IT.  In 30-days, results will be tallied and blogged. Poll Box expires in 30-days

 

LISTEN to “Perform” by Torrance Brossette:

 

http://soundcloud.com/torrancebrossette/1-perform-clean

 

Want your track up next?

Have a hot song? Can you freestyle? Can you battle? FREE Blog Features 4 Underground  Artists http://wp.me/p2dJOM-8J via @wordpressdotcom

LAST DONUT STARRING CHARLIE SUMMERS @thatsummerlife #Indie #Artist #VideoProducer

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Most of you know I RARELY co-sign anything or anybody. The #OPERATIONREVOLUTION Certified stamp is never to be taken lightly.

#ConfessionsOfTheHipHopMobWife : By far, this is my favorite piece on an artist I’m blogging to-date. Charlie Summers is Fam to me (#DBG #427) but that has nothing to do with why it’s my favorite. To be quite honest, Charlie and I got off to a bit of a rough start… LOL You just can’t have 2 Gemini’s in a room. That’s 4 people in the room trying to run the show.

I love what I’m presenting to you because in my personal opinion, Charlie Summers (Ciroc Boyz, Frat House USA) makes some of the best music I have ever heard (He’ll be finding out I think so highly of him at the same time you all do). Fam, I can’t front if I wanted to… Charlie’s latest video “The Last Donut” is not only one of the most outstanding pieces of independent film I’ve seen, but the music? Smh… I smile every time I hear it. I remember when music used to move me. Somehow it got lost and #OPERATIONREVOLUTION stepped up to bring it back. I strongly urge you to watch this video and see for yourself. Charlie, you found hip-hop. Thank you for bringing it back. #SALUTE #DBG #427

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Welcome to vintage tomorrow.

New York artist and video producer, Charlie Summers, captures feel good moments in lush beats reminiscent of the wonder years, while being wholly contemporary.

After a lifetime of quietly paying dues while honing the secrets to his craft, Charlie is ready to unveil an audio reinterpretation of cool to the world with his stunning mixtape, “thatsummerlife”.

Charlie Summers delivers clever lifestyle-driven lyrics that evoke an overall aura of couture, no matter how grounded in city living. His voice is smooth, his flow’s are relaxed, yet hungry, and he’s arrived with the soundtrack to your summer.

 

WATCH “THE LAST DONUT” Starring Charlie Summers @thatsummerlife

http://youtu.be/2hQcABHhQnI

 

http://about.me/CharlieSummers

 

#INDIE #Artist Mid-Night @musichealspain

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Lyricist, father, and small business owner, Dean “Mid-night” Parker was born on March 23, 1982, in White Plains, New York. After watching a live performance at the age of 15, Mid-night knew he belonged on stage. Within two weeks, Mid-night had put pen to paper and written his first song.

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By 2010 Mid-Night began performing at various venues in South Florida. Mid-night and had amassed a modest following. In 2012, Mid-Night won 2nd place at a Coast 2 Coast event (of 25 Artists) and established Music Heals Pain, LLC. (his own independent record label). Mid-Night says, “The reason I feel music heals pain is because once that sweet sounds hit the ear it changes our mood. When your Happy you enjoy the music, but when your sad you understand the Lyrics”. In October 2012 Mid-Night preformed his first out-of-state show in Atlanta, GA at the Star Theater.

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On Black Friday, November 23, 2012 Mid-Night released his solo debut album “Black Ink”. Mid-Night’s debut album is available on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/black-ink/id609043183

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Sample of Black Ink can be heard at: http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/mid-night-black-ink-mixtape.74810.html

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/deanmidnight.parker
Booking info E-mail at Musichealspainllc@gmail.com
Facebook Fan page https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mid-night/122796867781288
http://www.reverbnation.com/MidnightMusikk
Follow on Twitter @Musichealspain
Instagram Musichealspain

Up coming Projects: “Black Suit Spider Man” (EP) anticipated released date 3rd Quarter 2013.