Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Eleven Things Every Independent Artist Should Work On

Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 3:22 PM

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4. The Team Everyone talks about having a team and this is also a very, very, very important step. More importantly having the right team in place is the ultimate goal concerning this subject. You need to do everything you can to make sure everyone in your circle has the same exact dedication level. Partial dedication will only equate to partial results. I've longed spent time dealing with circles of people that were kind of dedicated to my cause. If you're going to be successful, everyone has to share the vision and be on the same exact mission. We all know the importance of having a team delegating responsibilities to each member. We very seldom discuss the need for everyone on the team to be completely dedicated to the music they are pushing. My music is not just my music -- my music belongs to my team. I don't create the music alone, I may conceptualize it but we all collectively give life to it.

Everyone needs a job or task that should be performed daily. No one should be allowed to take a day off without reasoning. If for whatever reason any individual on your team does not feel that your music if the future of ALL music then do yourself a favor and cut them immediately. You shouldn't be surrounded by "yes men" but you do need to be surrounded by people that value your talent and will do everything they can to push it. According to my management I am the best rapper alive -- not only do they believe this, but they live it and breathe it. This is primarily why I decided to partner/sign with Overdose Ent. As an artist you need these type of believers in your corner fighting for you 24/7. There is absolutely no way you can make it without a team. If the team has dedication issues you are hustling backwards and wasting time.

5. Learn How To Type A Press Release You won't get many looks in the media if you have no clue how to present your music to it. Sometimes you may not have music to actually release at the time but you want to find a creative way to announce that you are currently working on a new project. This is why you need to understand the value of a press release. Professionalism is the key to success and releasing a song via Facebook with zero additional information being sent to hip-hop blogs, web sites, deejays of all sorts or fans on your email list is a complete waste of time. You don't have a record but you need to function and act like you do. Def Jam doesn't drop the new Rozay single via Facebook or Twitter and call it a day. A press release gives you the opportunity to build a campaign and notify the public and media about the things to come from your camp. This is one of the simplest yet most neglected ways gaining attention. I personally don't drop or do anything without attempting to have a press release attached or previously emailed to the proper personal. Compile a list of local media publications and send them a press release when there is noteworthy news about yourself to report. The press release often saves time for them and can be easily copied and published. Remember this is an image based industry and sometimes we focus so much on the image of our physical appearance we forget that the way we present our music also has an image attached to it. The lack of a press release in certain situations simply says your local and you don't have a team of people with special interests investing time into your career.

6. Understanding Your Market We live in Missouri, I know this might be a shocker to you but to the record execs in New York City there is no difference between Helena, Montana and St. Louis Missouri. Do you know anything about Helena, Montana's music scene? What was the last rapper you heard of from Helena? Does anyone in America give a damn about Helena hip-hop besides the people that live there? No. I hate to say it but this is how I view St. Louis. I love the Lou but this is not L.A., Miami, or Atlanta. The majors shut doors on us a while ago but for some reason St. Louis rappers seem to think this is the Bronx in the golden era. A lot of us allowed the success of Nelly and the St.Lunatics to fool us. They had a plan and it worked. God bless them but you are not them. They left the market and came back home shining like champions. You live Nebraska and you're the biggest indie rapper there. Guess what?? Nobody outside of Nebraska will likely give a damn. You have to understand your market and become familiar with how it moves. You need to learn about the type of business your market breeds. Kid Cudi left Ohio and moved to New York because there was no way in hell he would get signed living and dying in Ohio. There are no major labels here. The major labels have absolutely no clue wtf is going out here. The major labels do not care about what is going on out here in the middle of a country bumpkin cornfield. How are you going to maneuver in a market many industry professionals have labeled the dead zone? You need to understand the market you are working and learn how to make it work for you. If you don't understand the market your strategy for getting yourself out there will more than likely fail. You will spend years running around in the same circles, making the same mistakes, assuming that you are gaining ground when you actually are not. Learn about the market and build your strategy from there.

7. Marketing, Branding and Name Recognition The quality of your marketing campaign pretty much dictates the momentum of your career. The quality of your branding can potentially provide new ways for you to make money. Every day of my life I am fighting for a better understanding of how to properly market myself.

These days I fortunately have people in positions higher than myself, responsible for finding creative methods to handle all of the above. Even though this is the case as the artist I am responsible for making sure I do everything humanly possible to spread my name around. I feel like I don't know much about marketing. The best advice I can give you in these regards is pitch your music to the people that identify with it. Originality goes three thousand times further than anything else in most cases. I was told by a person who shall remain nameless, "Nothing is organic in the music industry -- everything that happens is something someone made happen." I believe you have to make it difficult for people to ignore you. On some level you have to find a way to be everywhere at once. Marketing is about creating illusions and steamrolling people into believing in this illusion before they see the man behind the curtain. The power of your branding is in your hands. This can easily start with posters, stickers and mixtapes to hand out. You need to find creative ways to keep your name alive and active in the heart and minds of your demographic. This process helps create more fans. People typically only attach themselves to music that some sorta fire lit behind it. If everyone is talking about you then everyone will eventually start listening to you also. DJ Trackstar and Corey Black are two people I watched and learned from in this area.

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