Saturday, January 18, 2014

How to sell Your Own Music Independently. Tips

Ok, So your the hottest artist nobody has heard of, you just finished another hit track and your confidence is sky high. Assuming you already have your image together and your music is definitely marketable the possibilities seem endless. Problem is your not signed, you have a budget but nothing extreme, and you have no real plan. So whats next?

1. Create A Platform for Exposure - You need places where people can see you, hear you and decide if they like you or not. Keep physical awareness and locations in mind but base it online in the beginning. Two reasons, first, its cheaper to start, and second, the number of people you can potentially reach is enormous. Create profiles on sites like Reverbnation, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, a facebook fan page, and even your own site. Dont create too many profiles to manage though. Pick a few that you can update and check regularly with no hassle. What you are doing is giving prospective fans and supporters a way to contact you and reach out once you start promoting. Ive seen artists do shows, and put out videos with no contact information, no way for their fans to support them or buy the music even if they wanted to. This should be the most important thing. Put a few high quality professional pics of yourself there, nothing personal or lower than your best imagery should appear on your artist profile. Put a few songs, good ones to demo to the public who has never heard you.

2. Find The Right Single - This step is either taken too seriously by the wrong artists or not seriously enough by the right artists. Demo your songs out to listeners and ask for feedback from people dont know you. If anything just tell them "Hey Im considering using this song as a single and I'd like your honest opinion, dont hold back on the critique. Make sure you get opinions from poeple in your targeted audience, ex - dont ask a rock fan if your new rap song is the next hit. Perform if you can at shows and events. Pay attention to the crowd reactions. Except nothing less than greatness from yourself, "Wow"s, or "Hey that song is a hit", ect. anything less and you still need to work on new tracks until you find that one that everybody seems to really like. Take your best 2 - 3 songs and group them, you now have your "trademark material."

3. Prep Your Single - This is another step that a lot of people neglect even though its all important for your song to make the biggest impact it can. Prep your single for release. Music Video, Song Art, Flyers, Banners, Demo Cd artwork, ect and the song itself need to have a radio version made, with edits and timed down to fit if necessary. The mix and master must also be up to par or not many people will take the song seriously. Good quality on all of these fronts is paramount and if you have to spend money then do it, because the next step you will have to pay for some services, and no point paying for something thats not the best quality. Contracts, percentages, ect should be worked out at this point. If you havent already joined a PRO then you should really consider it and register your song with them, that way if it blows they will help keep track of your royalties. At the time of writing this ASCAP is $25 to join as an artist, and BMI is free. Finally, put your music on Itunes, Amazon, Tunecore, CD baby, ect. Set these up before your big push.

4. Push Your Music - I see artist doing it all the time with dedication. The problem I see is that they either jump from one song to another too much, or promote a whole project (mixtape / Album) without even having an interested fan base, and lastly, they promote music that is not professionally polished. Now that you have all of the steps done up to this point, its time to push your music.

  • Make It Available - Upload your single to your platform sites, starting with your music video. Post your video and in the description information for your fans to connect, contact you, and buy the single if they would like. 

  • Social Marketing - Dont go on a spamming spree hitting up random people, its annoying and makes you look amateurish. Instead tell friends and family to help you promote your song every so often to their social networks. Post about it on your own social networks. Tell people to check you out without spamming them. Use hashtags and public announcements. If you can, find independent magazines, blogs, ect and ask them to check out your single, local ones should be a lot more inclined if your really hot. See if they would like to be among the 1st to feature you. If its really a high quality hit song, all of these things should be easier.

  • Do Shows - Remember your "Trademark Material." Perform it. When you were deciding on which songs should be your single hopefully you did the performance test so you know the club and different events will love it when they hear it. Video tape the larger performances with the club going crazy. Pass out your demo CDs, make sure to put them in the right hands, DJs, club/event promoters, magazine connections, ect. Pass out flyers, key chains, ect, or something relating to your single with links to your material on it as well. Make your performances memorable, have energy, keep the vibe great, be you, make sure the people like your music as well as you and give them something to hold on to with your contact information so after the show they will remember your name and check you out on their own time.

  • Spend the money (when its worth it) - Advertising is a key that a lot of artists dont take, even ones willing to spend a lot on other aspects of their music, and the reason is because they cant see it. Banners on websites, featured artist spots, ads, magazines, popular blogs, and video promotion companies are all useful as long as the price can match the expectation. You are paying for them to put you in the eye of their followers. The more followers they have, the more they should cost. Spend what your comfortable with. Find a few reliable outlets/connections and work with them. Every major site has ways you can buy paid promotion and sponsorships for your products. Put a budget together and a time frame and take advantage of it.

5. Flip It - If you have a hot song, circulating, great performances, fans starting to pile up, ect, you should now be making some money. One you have an active buzz you can look into merchandise like shirts, skullies, wrist bands, ect with your Lyrics, Imagery, Affiliation, or Saying on it. Your platform sites should be collecting some money from your supporters buying songs and merchandise, your youtube should be gaining subscribers and views which will turn into money itself if growth continues. Your social networks should be growing and people should be hitting you up to network. If your single was strong enough you may even go viral, but even if not your awareness should be way up now. With your awareness up you can now start to make your money back doing paid performances, or even "free" ones where you have negotiated the right to sell your merchandise. Artist will want features, be picky about who you work with. Charge a fee if your demand is strong enough. Use your new found awareness to advertise for others. Artists who want shout outs for their new projects, event appearances, ect. The mot important thing is not taking local attention to the head. Take that money and flip it on your music. Expand your resources. Create a few more singles and grow your trademark material. Things should get easier from this point.

6. Stick With It - Things are going to start slow, money will have to be invested, hard decisions will have to be made and many nights will be long. As long as things are getting better you are heading in the right direction. Remember, it can take time but if your doing things right and your truly talented the plan I shared is going to give you the best opportunity to shine independently. Why wait? Get your mind right and get to work! If you have any ideas or opinions share them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Become A Successful Rapper. Tips

Basic plan for becoming a rap artist 

As a producer I have worked with many different Artists throughout the years. Some of them were young just getting their feet wet in music, others were veteran just trying to figure out what they needed to reach the next level, and others were already well known making good money off of their music. Many artists failed and quit, many are still going strong chasing their dreams, and a very small percentage are reaching success and doing well with their music. Below I will give you tips and advice based on my own experiences working with (and witnessing) artists become successful in the music industry.

Who are you?

The First thing I have noticed that many successful Artists have in common is A UNIQUE personality. I see A LOT of artists especially younger ones building their complete style around imitating popular artist. (Future, Rich Homie Quan, Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Ect). This is probably the worst thing you can do. It makes you look lame, period. Create a style that works for you, about topics that work for you. If your true to that then you will have a unique personality.


This is obvious but in case its not, focus on getting your image together. Have your look down as an artist. Make sure it compliments your personality and please get nice high quality pictures taken. Im not knocking instagram but if people can tell all your pics were made using it then they will not take you as serious as an artists. Remember. Fresh Appearance, Good Lighting, Nice camera. If you cant do it yourself or know somebody who can help, then pay. Your image is worth it. I found a great blog that goes into deeper emphasis on image here.

Who are your potential fans?

This is extremely important and something that artists look over far too often. Who are you going to target your music toward? Females, Males, Older, Younger, Family oriented, the streets, the clubs, a little bit of everything, ect. Whatever your choice(s) just make sure you market to them correctly. Nothing is worse than having extra street music on your facebook where all your friends and family can hear you rapping about bitches and hoes. (Might be normal in some families though)

Your Production


Your beats and the development of your overall song are hugely important. These days the beat is just as important as the words. If you want to be noticed you have to understand that. All too often I hear artists rapping on cheap sounding beats or making them on their own to avoid paying anything. If your beat is not radio worthy then you already hurt your chances of getting out there. Successful artists either have a producer they work with closely (In house) or they find high quality radio ready beats for sale and use those. If you want to make it in music your production value makes a big difference.

Focus On Singles

I see a lot of artists out here putting out mixtape after mixtape after mixtape. Possibly 30 - 50 songs even over 100+ all over the internet. Please remember quality over quantity. Most successful artists put out a small amount of material when they are first getting started. They put a song out and let it marinate a little while just to see the feedback. When they finally get a song that gets people excited they roll with that one. Its basically research. Now they know which song has buzz potential. Successful artists take those songs to the next level to generate a buzz for themselves. (Making videos, performing at shows, pursuing radio play, ect) Almost every artists I have ever worked with has one, two or even three buzz worthy songs. But instead of focusing on pushing that song, they just drop project after project, wasting time then eventually they look back and say "oh that song is old now". Yes but its still new to 99% of the population so if it needs minor updates then tweak it and start pushing it now.


This is the biggest difference I see between successful artists and unsuccessful ones. Marketing is either A - Time consuming, or B - Costs money. The best Marketing are Both. Since marketing is so broad I have two sections about this. Free, and Paid. Successful artists use both effectively.

Free Marketing

As an artist you have to have your face out there constantly. Locally you need to be get your single(s) together and you need to be seen. Perform at shows and make sure your routine is polished. Good live performances will take you a long way. Pass out demos of your single (try to get them in the hands of djs). Online make use of facebook, twitter, reverbnation, soundclick, bandcamp, instagram, ect. Blogs are helpful too. All these social networks are places you can find potential fans for free. Remember though doing it without paying or paying very little is a longer process. A good Single and great image will make things easier though.

Paid Marketing

Much easier then free marketing, paid marketing or (Paid advertising) can get your music out there with far less work than just trying to do it without paying anything. Buying small ads on music websites, or social networks is the cheaper way to go. It takes a little longer but you will gain followers, likes to your fan page (which impacts image) and most importantly fans because people will check out your music. Artists with a budget can buy the big effective ads like "world star hip hop front page, youtube front page, ect). Paid marketing is most effective when it becomes a marketing Campaign, which means you have a plan to consistently promote for a set amount of time, actively growing your buzz. The idea with paying is to get a monthly budget you can afford that wont financially put you at risk. You still need to be seen and be visible.

Both - By far the best option. When it comes to marketing yourself the best thing you can do is to be open to trying different things. Understanding that you will lose some money investing in yourself, and accepting that. Research what works and what doesnt and build on that. Work smart, collaborate with many other artists, dont be cheap on things that you need, but still spend wisely, and most importantly dont get discouraged. Marketing is an art form, if you your an artist out here tryin to make it basically on your own or with a small team the you will have to learn that art form.

This is an extremely watered down version of marketing. Here is a quick google search I did to give you some other blogs with great ideas.

Successful artists fail first.

This is my last piece of advice for now. Unless you manage to get discovered by a label exec or blow up over night, you will have a lot of work to do. Times get hard, and people question themselves. Every successful artist I know has done this. A lot of times when artists fail they get discouraged and then quit. The successful ones keep on pushing though. They learn from their mistakes and their failures become successes.

Good luck, hope this post helps get a clearer understanding of what you need to be successful in music.

How To Get Rap Beats. Ways

Getting Beats to Rap To

As a rapper, trying to make it in the music business, finding the right beats is one of the most important aspects. Every artist has their own style and their own motivations for doing music and knowing your goals will help you determine the best moves for you to make when it comes to getting beats. There are a lot of choices out there for rappers so below I will tell you the different ways as well as the pros and cons.

Free Beat Downloads Online

This is by far the most popular way rappers get their beats. Many producers make their music available to download on the internet and many rappers take these beats and make songs to them. Free downloads are great for hobby rappers, artists not trying to get big and artists that might not be working with a budget. The problem with free downloads is that the vast majority of them are not completely free. Most of them have tags and you must purchase them to do anything legally with them. Most djs and radio hosts are getting hip to the online business of selling beats and they wont play songs with tags through them. And if they are free dowloads chances are they have been downloaded by hundreds or thousands of other artists.

  • Pros: Free - Unlimited quantity - great for practicing rapping skills
  • Cons: You are very limited with how you use them - Producer "Tags" used repeatedly throughout the beat - Many other artist have the beat - You could be sued for using them

Buy Rap Beats

Weather you buy rap beats online or buy beats from a local producer this option allows for much more freedom with your music. There are a few ways to buy rap beats, you have leasing rights and exclusive rights. Technically you can even have a "work for hire" contract with a producer just to be certain that you own all of the copyrights. Buying the beats are great because you can use them to make money, you can put your music on the radio, play them in the clubs, perform them, even get them on tv. The only draw back is that it costs money and if you lease them they come with a few limitations compared to owning them which has no limitations.

  • Pros: You can Use them Commercially - The Annoying Tag comes off the beat - You can get on the radio, internet, mixtapes, albums, ect. - Less people will have the beat if you must pay to use it
  • Cons: Costs money - some leases have limitations

Working With A Producer

Probably the best option is having your own producer. Nothing is more valuable than having that exclusive "Sound" to go along with your lyrics. Having a producer instead of just looking for beats from everybody helps you to create a signature sound and bond with somebody that can make the perfect beat for you the majority of the time. Some producers charge upfront and some charge on the back end. If you are a serious and talented Artist a producer might be willing to negotiate with you. If their main income is from producing expect to be charged, but if they truly believe in you they will take a smaller payment upfront and negotiate royalties with you on the back end. This is probably the best deal because now the producer WANTS you to succeed because they have money riding on you too.

  • Pros: You will have your OWN sound - You will be the only Artist with those beats - Producer will work harder to make your music sound better - You can build a strong bond with one producer instead of spending a lot of money with different producers
  • Cons: More than likely it will cost something upfront

Learn How To Make Your Own Beats

Personally this is the path I took. Not because I wanted to be cheap, but because I truly did want to learn how to make beats. This choice is great because you can create a song from scratch, from your head all the way to the recording. You dont have to pay for somebody else to work. And best of all you have full creative control. The drawbacks are that it takes time. A few years at the least to become truly good at producing. It also costs A lot more than just leasing some beats. You will need a good computer, you will need good sounds to compete with whats out there, good headphones, monitors, keyboards, drum kits, software, will eventually dig into your pockets now matter how good you are at stealing things on the internet. Learning how to make beats is an extreme choice but its doable if your disciplined.

  • Pros: Complete creative freedom - Dont have to pay for the service - Dont have to depend on anyone else
  • Cons: Takes years to learn - Costs money along the way - Takes time away from being a rapper

So there you have it, this is my take on the options that artists have when it comes to getting beats. As long as have your know what your goals its a lot easier to tell which direction you should go with getting beats to rap to.

How to sell Your Own Music Independently. Tips

Ok, So your the hottest artist nobody has heard of, you just finished another hit track and your confidence is sky high. Assuming you alre...