Posted by Queen the Prophet
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 –
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