Performing is a major tool when an artist is building their name. Shows puts YOU, the artist, in front of new faces. Every show is a chance to gain potential fans of your music. Many artists don’t understand the importance of being out in the streets. Your street grind has to be just as strong as your internet grind. This goes for all genres. Every city has events and it is your duty to attend as many of these events as possible, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT INVOLVED. If there is a showcase coming up and you know one of the acts, ATTEND. Even if you don’t know any of the acts performing, GOOGLE them and check their music out. The more you show your face at events, the more people can start matching up your face with the name.
A showcase is an event set up as a platform for upcoming artists to bring out their “fans” and network with other artists. Showcases are good and bad for unsigned artists.
GOOD: Every showcase is different, but most likely its the same rundown. There is a host and a DJ who are in charge. The DJ usually warms the crowd up before the show starts and keeps the crowd going in between acts. Before the show, in between acts and at the end of the show, artists should be networking amongst each other. The key is talking to: the artists performing, the host, the people at the venue (staff included) & the DJ. The host can plug you in on the next event if you get in good with them. The DJ will let you know his upcoming events, which may beneficial for you. General convo with the staff is great. Your goal with the staff should be to befriend them, that way they will remember your face next time you attend an event there. I haven’t paid to get in a venue in NYC in the longest being the staff at many venues know my face for attending so many events. Lastly, talk to the artists, whether general convo or about their upcoming shows. Show interest. Some artists will help plug you in the right direction. Once the show starts, STAND IN THE FRONT. Once the show starts and somebody hits the stage, DO NOT SIT DOWN. Stand up and NOD YA HEAD, VIBE OUT, ACT LIKE YOU’RE INTO THE PERFORMANCE, even if its bad. Artists/Hosts performing will notice this. They’ll respect you for this action. Make sure to exchange info with the artists and hosts. Also grab the DJ info. All of this gets noticed, whether you believe it or not. The key to showcases is networking. All you have to do is talk to people and show interest when its time. Honestly. You can’t be anti-social. If a person is anti-social, the music business is not for you.
BAD: Although showcases are good ways to practice your stage presence and good ways to gain fans, they also scams. NOT ALL, BUT MANY. If you do everything I said earlier, you will get some kind of positive outlook on showcases. However, showcases have a negative side as well. Many promoters are out to make money. The music industry is an easy come-up being that its over saturated. Promoters are charging artists to perform in a showcase to be judged by “industry execs.” If you have to pay to be in a showcase, DON’T DO IT. If money isn’t an issue then, hey go for it and blow the cash. But I know majority of unsigned artists are on strict budgets. Many artists all over the world pay promoters to be in a showcase to perform 2-3 songs in front of people that ONCE were in the industry or never really been in the industry. Either way, those “execs” don’t care about you or your music once yall leave that venue. The other scam promoters are pulling is making you sell tickets. Selling tickets is supposed to show how big an artists fanbase is, in the words of your average promoter. However, its common sense that most artists are starting from the bottom. Fanbases aren’t easy to build. It’s tough getting 5 loyal fans/supporters. Then if you don’t sell the tickets, either you cant perform or they try to penalize you by making you pay for the minimum tickets.
Overall showcases can be beneficial to an artist or keep their pockets low. Play it smart. NETWORK with those worth networking with. Talk with the right people and be put in the right places. Prepare for Part 2: Where I will discuss promo tools around the city, social networking & sites such as craiglist.
It’s the year 2014. Technology basically runs the world and not to state the obvious, but the music industry is over-saturated. Everybody wants to be the next superstar touring the world off their music with a net worth of $1 million. Well let’s be realistic, out of the millions holding on to that dream, only about 100 are gonna actually get the chance. But we’re not here to talk about the odds of making it into the music industry. Today’s topic is discussing one of the moves to actually getting your name to circulate in the music industry. As stated earlier, technology is everything. The internet is such a powerful tool this day in age. It has the power to make somebody a superstar overnight and also the power to destroy someone’s chances of becoming a superstar.
As an artist, it is your job to make sure people are learning 3 things: your name, your face and your music. Over the past couple years, the hobby of “blogging” has turned into a career for some and a platform for many artists to be heard. The blog culture has changed so much in the matter of 5 years. Once upon a time, people jumped on the internet and just wrote their thoughts on topics just to express their opinions and share it with the world. Now those same people (mostly in the music field) have the power to introduce the world to the next big thing. Blogs are the new A&R’s. Record labels visit the known blog sites and pay attention to which artists are getting recognized everyday. If ten blogs post the same artist song/video (every time he/she releases something) it’s pretty clear they’re in high demand. That artists name is floating around and is building a following. The blogs want that attention for their site and they want to make sure the artist supports them before he/she blows up.
The average popular blog has been around for a couple years. They receive a lot of traffic and have a nice following checking their blog everyday. I say this, meaning it’s not easy to get a blog post or their co-sign. The average unsigned artist doesn’t have a huge fanbase and isn’t high in demand. So you have to really be on your A-game to make it happen.
The Research Process
1. Use Google and search for hip-hop blogs. Blogs have “Blogrolls” which are usually the sites they are affiliated with. Make a note of all those sites every time you land on a new blog site.
2. Look for the blogs submissions info on the site. Most blog sites have general submission info on their main page. Sometimes they have a page strictly for submissions and you MUST follow their guidelines if you want them to even open your email.
3. A secret many people don’t know is simply befriend the bloggers. Social networking sites like Twitter & Facebook give you direct access to many of the blog contributors. Add/Follow them and make general conversation with them. Contributors appreciate when you actually build a bond with them and don’t come off as if you’re just using them.
4. DO NOT spam any of the contributors or the blogs general email. SPAM will get you ignored, blocked and put on the blacklist for everything. It’s hundreds of people trying to get their music heard and contacting the same people at the same moment. So SPAMMING will bring you the least or probably NO results.
The Submission Process
Bloggers get hundreds of emails everyday from aspiring artists, believe it or not. Once a bloggers email is available to the public, you better believe it gets flooded instantly. So when you send ya submission in, you gotta be presentable and make it your best effort. Being their inbox is filled with so much material, bloggers don’t have time to deal with those who seem like they don’t have everything together. If your submission looks sloppy, or everything is all over the place, it goes straight to the trash.
The subject of your email says A LOT to the blog contributors. You want to make it simple. Get to the point but don’t over do it. Over the years, this method has worked 85% of the time for me:
[Submission] “Insert Song/Video Name Here” – Insert Artist Name Here
It’s simple. Don’t go adding extra stuff the contributors won’t care about. You are judged off the smallest things. Simply adding “The Greatest Song Ever” in your subject will get you sent to the average bloggers trash box.
This is where people usually mess up the most. The way you set up your submission says A LOT about you, definitely if you’re one of the few whose submission actually gets a look. People usually mess up because they just throw their song or video link into the email and call it a day. You have to remember, these contributors don’t know anything about you. You’re one of hundreds, probably even thousands who send something in everyday. Every submission should be like an EPK to a record label. You wanna include the following things: Artist Name, Song Name, Song/Video Link, Mixtape/Album Name, Description (of the song/video), Short Biography, Cover Art & a PROFESSIONAL picture (to be used as a featured image). Nowadays blogs don’t really write their own opinions on music anymore. It’s just post and move on. So it’s up to the artist to create their own write-up (description) to let the blogger know what they’re about to listen to, or watch. If the write-up is legit, 9 times out of 10, they’re gonna use it because they’re too lazy to write one. A short biography is also needed because you’re basically nobody to them. Your accolades will probably force them to follow-up on you if your music is decent in their eyes. The average submission should look like this:
*Insert Cover Art Here*
*Insert PROFESSIONAL Picture Here*
If you have a signature, make sure it looks neat and has the information that matters: Name, Management, Email, Number. I’m not guaranteeing a blog post by following these instructions, but following this article, will get your work looked at. It really depends on the music that you are presenting. Once you send your submission in, you have to be patient and just wait. DO NOT harass the blogs or email them more than once about the same submission. It will get you ignored. If you do happen to get posted, keep track of what blogs post your music. Sometimes that one submission was lucky. Sometimes it means they like your work. Try your luck again in the future with the next record you push. PROMOTE the blog link, don’t be content with just the one post and call it a day. Blogs notice the people promoting the link. Also, send the contributor a thank you note. Something simple, not too much. Just create quality and be patient. I hope this helped someone. Keep being great and good luck. #TheSuiteLife
Since 2005 there has been a major increase in the number of unsigned artists. Thanks to Internet sensations such as Soulja Boy & Cassie, many artists have picked up on how powerful of a tool the Internet is. However, many of the new artists have forgotten about the word “GRIND.” The Internet wasn’t always around and if you weren’t well connected your only way into the industry was by grinding. Internet marketing has become the primary tool for many unsigned artists. But its pretty clear that it isn’t the best strategy. Think about it for a second. There are about 2-4 million people trying to get their music heard throughout the world. We live in the technology era, so 80% of those artists are most likely “promoting” their music on the Internet somehow (myspace, youtube, etc.). 10% of the remaining 20 are those just making music hoping to magically get heard one day. The remaining 10% is broken down in half. 5% are artists who are connected with industry professionals and are making their way in the industry of their connects. The other 5% is artists actually grinding using the Internet and doing what needs to be done outside the Internet world.
What a lot of artists nowadays fail to realize is that the Internet is only one of the many tools needed to be successful. Soulja Boy didn’t just sit on the Internet all day telling people to listen to his music. He worked at Burger King (Full-Time) and used his checks to invest into promoting his brand outside the Internet world. He bought numerous t-shirts with his name & myspace link on them and made that his wardrobe. Soulja used his own money to fly to other cities to promote his music and get booked for shows. The point is: it took a lot more than him just sitting online all day for him to become the million-dollar superstar he is now. If 2-4 million people are sitting around on the Internet doing the same thing (trying to get people to listen to their music) how will you separate yourself from the pack? If you want to make it in the business you need to develop a business plan and timeframe. (This will be talked about more throughout Part Two & Three). Moral of the article: If you want to make it big in the industry, the Internet can’t be your only tool. It’s not free ride & it’s not an easy ride. But with plenty of research and GRIND you can make it!