The Digital Music World 4 Indie Artists, Part 1 by @queentheprophet
Welcome to the Matrix.
We now live in a digital day & age for almost everything and music is no different. For the serious independent artist, changing with the times is a must. You can still press up copies of your MXTP and pass them out of the trunk of your car, but that only reaches as far as you do. There are a few things any new artist should be aware of BEFORE releasing music into the digital world.
- Research- #1 Mistake. Most people think because the digital tools available are easy to use, that’s it and they’re all set. WRONG. Most people who claim to be an artist have done absolutely no research what-so-ever on the industry they’re trying to get into. 90% of the music industry is business and has little to do with the actual music. If you don’t know anything about the business end, you’re going to be wasting your money. One of the first things I ask any new artist that approaches me for assistance is “do you own your name, is it registered?” if the answer is no or they don’t know what I’m talking about, it proves they have researched absolutely nothing. Music costs money. THOUSANDS of dollars that you may not ever get back. If you are not ready to take that chance, music isn’t for you. If you are not willing to invest in yourself and your career, why will anyone else?
- Fan Base- In the music world? NOBODY CARES. Social Media has made it very easy to reach out and touch people, so you and your music mean nothing to most people. You need a fan base. If music is sold digitally, you need a digital fan base. I was successful for 2 reasons. God and I spent 3 years building relationships DAILY on social media before releasing any music. The people supported Queen the Prophet as a PERSON so they supported me as an artist. There was no magic. I spent 3 years talking, networking, building relationships with whom would one day be my audience. In order to be successful moving digital units, getting real downloads, likes, plays, etc. the people have to like you. I also did a LOT of work for free. If someone had no money and needed my help, I’d work out other ways they could pay me. I helped people even when it was aggravating. Giving free artist development advice, re-tweeting, posting a flyer, doing a free blog feature, etc. I did this for 3 years and it landed me into a position that I now get paid from it… even funnier, I still help people for free because they help me. Promotion cost money. Most people who promote for me? Do it free or a fraction of the cost in exchange for my assistance. I will tell you what IS NOT promotion. Tweeting your music or tagging people who never speak to you, talk to you, follow you, etc. IS ANNOYING. It actually is one of the rudest things you can do on social media and will 9 x out of 10 get you blocked, reported as spam, or have your account suspended if enough people report you and then you’ll have to make new accounts and start all over again. You should never send something directly to someone unless they know you.
In relation to Fan Base, you have got to get someone on your team that KNOWS what you should and should not be spending money on at each point and time in your career (this is one of my specialties).
“The Show Case” – Translation: You will pay a fee of normally $100 or more to appear at your own expense at a club the guy running the “showcase” has a deal with and you will rap a 7-minute set in front of other rappers who also paid to be there. 2 people make money here. The showcase person and club owner. If you want to do shows, open mic nights are free. Don’t let the so & so who’s the A & R on the flyer fool you. GOOGLE the person on the flyer who’s the A & R, 9 times out of 10 it’s not the person on the flyer.
“MXTP SLOTS” – Slots on reputable MXTPS cost anywhere from $100-thousands depending on who’s it is. Before paying for a MXTP slot, investigate. The main thing about getting on a MXTP is the FAN BASE. You’re basically paying to expose yourself to the MXTP creator’s fan base.
“Buying followers, downloads, & views”- Yes, buying these can make you appear bigger then you are to anyone who is not hip to the fact you can buy these. However, there is software & programs available that help companies determine if the views and downloads are real. I personally wouldn’t pay to find out if they’re real because the proof is in the pudding. If you buy 10k Dat Piff downloads but release a song on iTunes …. Catch my drift? You can’t turn purchased likes or downloads into actual dollars.
Now before you do ANY of that….. Who is your fan base? Do you even know? It’s not everybody. Who is your target audience? What kind of people are you going to network with? What age are your listeners? Is the age group you targeted known for purchasing the kind of music you make? If so, how much do they buy? Are they the main consumer in that genre bracket?
I’m not done but I’m going to stop .
What I just spilled out for you, FOR FREE is a lot of the information I’m often hired to provide. It’s a jungle out here family. A very, very expensive jungle filled with lots of snakes. Best thing to do honestly, is get with someone who actually knows what they’re doing if you’re serious.
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