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.
- 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.
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 –
Tags: album, artist, DJ, Emcee, facebook, Hell Razah, Hell Razah Music Inc., hiphop, HipHop News, indie, indie artist, instagram, Mixtape, music album, music producer, producer, Production, qtp, queen the prophet, radio, Rap, Rapper, record contract, record label, singer, social media, sunz of man, twitter, underground hiphop, wu tang clan
*** Heaven Razah Music, Inc PSA***
Heaven Razah Music, Inc. Is a premier record label founded by legendary Wu-Tang Clan/ Sunz of Man member Chron “Hell Razah” Smith who formally adopted the alternate name Heaven Razah in 2009.
In 2004, Chron’s record label Hell Razah Music, Inc was established and by 2013 his label and G.H.E.T.T.O. G.O.V.T (Go Hear Emmanuel Teach the Others God’s Only Victorious Truth) movement established chapters, community service projects, & music all over the globe.
In 2017, Heaven Razah Music, Inc. was established in order to provide a Christ centered outlet for spiritually conscious musicians also referred to as “Street Prophets”. It is the vision of Heaven Razah Music, Inc. to shed the light of the Lord in darkest corners of the world through hip-hop music. (John 3:17)
Chron “Heaven Razah” Smith
Heaven Razah Music, Inc. President:
Rachel “Queen the Prophet” Lombardozzi
Heaven Razah Music, Inc. Vice President:
Aaron “Messenger/ Sneak Vandel” Warner
ARTIST & BEAT SUBMISSION:
-Artists: Please send formal EPK or music links as well as social media handles. Mp3 files will not be considered.
-Producers: Please write “beats” in the subject line
This is a new project I’m personally putting together, so any submissions for this project must fall under the guidelines of spiritually conscious and be free from sexually explicit lyrics & profanity (college radio friendly) Project submissions are open to any artist/song that meets this criteria. Send submissions to email@example.com include artist name, track title, & producer name. (Hosting DJ TBA)
Social media forums have both helped and made a total disaster in the independent music community. The internet is a wonderful tool for the independent artist to be able to put their music in the hands of folks in other states & counties absolutely free. It allows music lovers to discover music that they otherwise would know nothing about. In that respect? It’s a beautiful thing. However, as of late it’ become a very bitter sweet thing for most underground music lovers. Do you remember being in elementary school and one kid acts up and the whole class gets in trouble? That’s what it feels like on most social media forums these days when it comes to music. Unfortunately, there is an overabundance of individuals annoying the hell out of a lot of independent music professionals as well as potential listeners who are the regular social media users.
ARE YOU ANNOYING? Answer these questions:
Are you a person who is auto messaging every person that accepts a friend request or gives you a follow back with your music?
Do you send your music directly to people via tweet or message that follow you but you have never spoken to?
Do you send your music directly to people via tweet or message that you don’t follow or have on your friends list?
Have you ever added your music to a tweet or other media message between other people who don’t know you?
Have you ever posted the link to your music in a comment or on a post that had absolutely nothing to do with music (i.e. commenting your music link on someone’s Instagram picture) ?
If you have answered YES to ANY OF THESE, you are annoying. What you are doing is not only annoying, but 99% of the people who are falling victim to your unwanted spam not only don’t click your links and more then likely never will, but you may very well find your account suspended if too many people report you as spam.
If something was easy, everyone would do it. Just because you have access to free tools on the internet, doesn’t mean promotion is easy. Promotion is an actual skill that some people make a very decent living doing. What you are doing in the above mentioned behavior is not called promotion, it’s called spam. Real promotion costs money. It is ALWAYS more valid that another source is saying check you out then just you spamming strangers to death saying you’re the greatest alive. Can you do some yourself? Of course you can, but there are ways to do it. In the digital music world (especially on social media), it’s important for people to like you in order for them to support you. Building relationships with your following is just as important as the actual music itself. Someone who chats with you regularly may very well be inclined to check out your music. If you don’t feel that you have the kind of time to invest in your fan base because you should have been famous yesterday? Then you better put a whole bunch of money where your mouth is and hire yourself a publicist.
Feel free to share this post as needed, especially when receiving unwanted music links. For more do-it-yourself independent music tips, check out the Hip-Hop 101 section on this blog (which is now also available via our good friends at the International Underground Rap & Hip-Hop Connexion at promote.hiphop).
Brand new official video by Joseph SD, “In My Zone”!
Be sure to follow Joseph SD on Twitter & Instagram at @_joseph_sd , soundcloud.com/painforglory and his
EPK at artistecard.com/painforglory
A little over a year later, Sneak Vandel (Hell Razah Music, Inc. producer, GGO New Jersey Chapter Leader and Zu Bulliez affiliate) drops his sophomore full production project “Museum of Hip-Hop 2” also hosted by the one and only, DJ Flipcyide (GGO/ Wu-Tang DJs). Inspired by classic hip-hop samples, MOHH2 is another piece of production artwork from the Sneak Vandel collection.
Lord Fury (Moon Crickets/ GGO Canada) delivers the MOHH 2 intro in the same traditional raw truth “because Lord Fury said-so” manner and honestly it’s worth the entire download for that reason alone. Museum new comer Keylaze delivers a classic hip-hop sermon (which happens to be one of my personal fav tracks). This version features dynamic original tracks, some classic remixes with the final track as a tribute to hip-hop great, Sean Price. Some of the artists you’ll hear from on MOHH2 are ; Hell Razah, Lord Fury, Killah Priest, AZ, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Papoose, Tragedy Khadafi, Karnage Cashman, Dezert 3agle, EPMD, Keith Murray, and TMF.
You can download MOHH part 2 absolutely free via datpiff.com
Just in case you missed the first classic MOHH, you can still download it free!
Please visit the “Go Fund Me” page for the MOHH 3 campaign! Both MOHH 1 & 2 were funded by Sneak himself and both projects were given to hip-hop lovers free of charge! If you loved the music, donations in any amount are being accepted for the production costs of MOHH 3 and every dollar will be used towards professionally mixing & mastering as well as bringing you more classic features to enjoy, absolutely free.
Posted in HELL RAZAH presents GHETTO GOVT (GGO)
Tags: AZ, Canada, Datpiff, Dezert 3agle, DJ Flipcyide, EPMD, GGO, Ghostface Killah, Heaven Razah, Hell Razah, Hell Razah Music Inc., hiphop, Karnage Cashman, Keith Murray, Killah Priest, Lord Fury, Mixtape, Moon Crickets, Museum of HipHop, New Jersey, Papoose, producer, Raekwon, Remix, Sean Price, Sneak Vandel, TMF, Tragedy Khadafi, underground hiphop, wu tang clan, Zu Bulliez
Greetings folks… For my readers that are also Twitter followers, my infamous random Twitter rants are no surprise especially as it relates to the independent artist. There is nothing I can’t stand more then a liar and a thief. I have found throughout my time in the music industry that most people are in this business to get money and a good number of them will do it by any means necessary, even if it means misleading people (such as yourself) that don’t really have a whole lot of money, don’t know any better, are just starting out, and aren’t the kind of people that have money to lose. Most people (from my experiences) can’t afford to be full-time in music. They have jobs, families, and bills so every dime they invest in their self needs to be a good investment. I give away a lot of information for free (quite honestly you would have to hire a Manager or Publicist to give you and sometimes even then you could be learning a very expensive lesson) because I don’t want to see anyone get robbed. I remember what it was like when I first started out. Music is expensive. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when you’re involved with music (no matter what role you’re in) it’s expensive and for someone just starting out, you will spend thousands of your own money and realistically quite possibly not make a dime back. Even if you one day get signed to a major label, this will come after you’ve spent a significant amount of your own money and even then when the label is picking up the tab for your expenses, they take it back off the top with interest. However if you do it for the love and not the money? You’ll never be disappointed. With that being said, today I want to address the area of promotion especially purchasing online promotion for social media, radio spins, mix tape slots, and showcase performances.
You have got to keep an open mind and have realistic expectations. You can’t “make” people like your music. The only thing you have control over is giving it your all, having it professionally recorded, mixed, mastered, quality artwork and the rest? Is going to fall where it may. When you are purchasing promotion services, you are hiring someone to do a specific task. The best you can hope for when investing your money, is that the person you employ delivers the work you hired them to do. You can’t hire anyone to give you plays, downloads, or purchases. If you’re looking for organic (natural, not purchased “plays” or “hits”) numbers the best you can do is make sure the person you hire is doing what you paid them to do and that you are hiring the right person.
You have to have a budget for promotion. Period. Once you have established that you are taking your music seriously and have dotted all of your I’s and crossed your T’s (check the Hip Hop 101 tab on this blog for other articles that lead up to the point where you’re actually employing promoters) you need to set aside money that is specifically for putting your music out there. I don’t care if it’s $20 a week, you need to have a budget. You also need to understand that the more money you spend on good promotion, the better your results are going to be.
Ideally, you’d be able to hire a Publicist. This costs thousands of continual dollars and is a regular expense or staff person to an artist that has a fan base, buzz, and music income that warrants hiring a Publicist. You can hire one for a campaign (i.e. to release a debut album or mix tape) however, this is still going to cost you thousands of dollars. Just to give you an idea, some years back for a gospel artist, I hired a reputable publicist in the gospel music community for a Myspace/ Email blast and that one service alone for 30-days was $750.00 USD. The artist this was done for was an established independent artist with an existing fan base in the gospel community and in his case the investment was well worth it because he sold a few thousand albums during the first month alone. If you are not an “established” artist / producer as of yet, spending that kind of money on a person with no credentials or existing fan base would more then likely be a huge waste of money unless of course you just hit the lotto and had the extra money to burn.
“Showcase Performances” :
DO NOT EVER pay anyone to perform. Ever. “Artist Showcases” are a hustle. You’re paying to perform in front of other people who paid to be there. The “A & R” from so and so records that’s also allegedly in the audience? Big, huge, fat joke most of the time. If you want to know who an actual A&R is for a certain label? Look it up. It’s public information. Don’t just believe something because someone told you, CHECK. There are companies that make ALL of their money taking yours. They book venues with club owners they have existing relationships with, you pay your own expenses to get to the show, you pay for your performance time, they give you a flyer with their logo on it that says you’re performing so you can post it on Facebook and feel like a rock star, and they split your money. Open Mic nights are usually free (with the exception of a door cover charge or a small entry fee) and if you make great music and can present yourself in a professional way, most small local clubs or bars will let you host your own show there during the week for a reasonable fee. You can also find out if there are local events already going on in your community and you can inquire about performing. This works the same way with a “prize” at the end. I know several artists from different states that all found themselves “winners” and no cash prize, radio interview, or record deal ever manifested after “winning”.
Mix Tape Slots:
Purchasing Mix Tape Slots is a great way to get your music out into other people’s fan base. You want to make sure that the slot you’re purchasing is actually geared toward the fan base you’re trying to target. Placing your hip-hop track on a jazz mix tape would be pointless. Any mix tape opportunity that offers free slots is something you should jump on because it can’t hurt and it doesn’t cost anything, but these don’t roll around too often.
How much can a slot cost? In all honesty a slot can cost anywhere from $25- thousands depending on the DJ or who’s mix tape it is. The higher it is in the ranks of fan base, reputable brand, and DJ the more it’s going to cost. In my experiences, you can get on a decent mix tape for $50-$150 and the good and great ones are going to cost you $500 & up. You want to ALWAYS do your research. I know too many people that have been robbed out of $10, $15, $25 for “mix tape slots”. You have got to cross check who you are doing business with! Who are these people? Who is the DJ? When you google them, what comes up? Do they have an actual website or were they trying to hustle you a slot in a direct message on Twitter? What other mix tapes do they have out? What are the numbers? Can you find previous projects on more then one site? Who’s on the mix tape? If they’re telling you Hell Razah (Wu-Tang Clan/ Sunz of Man) is on it, check his time lines, is he promoting it? This is a lot of work folks, but if you don’t have money to lose, you better do your homework.
To launch a radio campaign on major radio stations costs approximately $100,000.00 for six months, possibly more. That’s how much it was last time I checked almost four years ago. This is why the artists you see on television and hear on the radio are people with millions of sponsorship dollars behind them (and why you constantly hear that real hip-hop is not on the radio). Your local radio stations may do certain segments in order to let local people compete in contests or be played on the radio but it’s not consistently unless someone is getting paid a large sum of money. Most college radio stations will play your music for free if it’s good or they have a radio show that supports your genre. The only way to find this out is to start supporting your local college radio stations and listen to their shows and figure out who you’d need to submit music to, the web site, and if there’s possibly any upcoming events that you could participate in. Most college stations though are going to tell you that your music has to be “radio edit” meaning profanity and illegal drug reference free (check with them about guidelines). You can also buy “blog talk radio” spins and don’t sleep on blog radio because it’s on the come up and some shows have huge followings. If you check my bio information on the front page, there’s a link to when I appeared on the Nikki Rich Show awhile back. If you aren’t familiar, Nikki has made quite a large following with blog talk radio, has always offered promotional services at a reasonable price, and has moved on to bigger things (check out her Instagram @ msnikkirich and side bar, this is exactly what I was referring to about doing your research on people before hiring them to do something). Check out the show though, find out how many listeners they have, if they feature someone is that person also sharing they were featured there? All of this validates the source and although of course nothing is guaranteed, you can cut down on the instance that you may get robbed simply by doing a little research.
Social Media Promotions:
This isn’t rocket science folks, as I have mentioned above you have got to do your homework on people. I can’t tell you how may “Twitter promoters” I’ve seen that claim celebrities use their promotion services yet there is absolutely no evidence anywhere on the internet that they do. I’m going to use Hell Razah as an example again because it’s not a secret I’m affiliated with his movement and work for his label. If Razah has a new song and I promote the new song, Razah shares the promotion I’ve done so that his fans know that the promotion I am sending out is real. This is public information and can be cross checked on both of our social media accounts. When people “appear” to have millions of followers, etc. you have to check their time lines. People can purchase followers, re-tweets, plays, etc. You have to be very careful because there are individuals that sell these purchased services and loop people into their time lines only to hood wink them with a few robot followers and they’re basically taking your money to share your music with fake follows. Look at when people’s accounts were established, how old is it? How long have they been selling promotion? I sell promotion, occasionally. I say occasionally because I won’t send just anything through my time line for a few bucks. I value my fans and supporters and they click my links because I don’t give them garbage. I know in this respect not everybody agrees with me but they can keep their $100. I am a person that poured a lot into my brand and name and a few hundred dollars to me isn’t worth discrediting myself. There are good reputable people out there that sell real social media promotion, but you have got to do your research. Face Book and Twitter now both offer “boosting” for posts. I haven’t found it to be hugely effective, but it’s reasonably priced and at least you’re purchasing the service or boost from the site directly.
Lastly, I want to mention manners. If someone takes the time to blog you, or share your music? Don’t forget to also promote the article or at least return the music sharing with a thank you or a shout-out. I can’t stress enough how important it is to respect people. You don’t have to be the best emcee, producer, or DJ in the world but in the digital age where everyone can just reach out and touch anyone on social media, the only fool-proof way to gain a following and real supporters is to be respectful and remain humble. Too many times people forget (mainly because of the trash they’re brainwashed with on the radio) that manners, honor, integrity, and respect will get you places money can’t buy.
If you found something in this article helpful for you or someone else, don’t forget to share it! Best wishes in all your endeavors!
Tags: A&R, artist showcase, blog, College Radio, DJ, facebook, Heaven Razah, Hell Razah, hiphop, hiphop101, instagram, internet promotion, Mixtape, Money, Music, nikki rich, online promotion, promotion, publicist, radio, radio spins, record label, scams, social media, sunz of man, twitter, underground hiphop, wu tang clan