The Guide For Unsigned Hip Hop Artist
The Guide For Unsigned Hip Hop Artist is an swiss army knife all unsigned hip hop artist can use during their careers, so keep this advice in your pocket and take it everywhere you go.
Music is a business, and if you can’t walk like a business, nor talk like a business you might as well find something else to do. This article is to shed some light on the top key things an unsigned hip hop artist must do to succeed in our beloved industry.
First off, What is a business? “A business…is an organization involved in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers. Businesses…where most of them are privately owned and provide goods and services to customers in exchange for other goods, services, or money…”
For an artist, producing music is about 1/3 of the overall success to having a good indie project. Not to take anything away from the producers small or large, but they all know a successful project is one that has a good marketing campaign with budget behind it. Bottom line is, If we don’t sale records on one gets paid.
As an independent music artist you got to have smarts, know your industry and the business it conducts, and most of all know your history.
Rule 1: Know Your History
All successful businesses understand their roots and know those that have come before them. Since FaTTrak Music Blog is geared towards hip hop, then let’s keep it hip hop.
What is hip hop?
“Hip hop…or rap music…a music genre consisting of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech…a subculture defined by four key stylistic elements: MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching, break dancing, and graffiti writing…”
Most of you would probably say New York, but I am going to dig deeper and say our hip hop’s origins dates further back than that. It all started with the spirituals in the cotton fields, Rag-Time, The Blues, Jazz, and many other genres.
I can preach all day, but we are keeping it Hip Hop. Remember, this is about the business of unsigned hip hop artist. So I won’t go into the historic details, because that is something you will need to look up for yourselves.
Back to the purpose of the article.
Rule 2: Do Your Research
Research a few well known artist and see what it took for them to succeed. Know the players of your industry from big to small, and understand your market. It is all about knowing where you came from, and knowing where you want to go.
Rule 3: Build a Strategy
As an unsigned hip hop artist everything starts with a plan, so do not treat the music business any different. Map out a well thought out plan that includes building traction.
Everything is a numbers game, therefore your brand is about the your fan base you build and who is talking about you. Build through radio spins, mixtape downloads, independent sales, ranked websites and blogs, social media, touring, endorsement from established artists etc. Just remember that you have to work all avenues to the benefits of your hard work.
Loren Weisman: – Business Advisor, Speaker & Author Loren Weisman organizes, optimizes and implements individualized branding, marketing and content plans for start up and established businesses. Weisman is also an executive producer and co-creator of Leveraging Smart, a new reality business television show. http://lorenweisman.com/
Rule 4: Build Relationships To Have Resources
Get to know people, and build your resources. Your brand is a business, and relationships with others are important. The bottom line of it all is you can’t do it alone. There will be ups and downs, therefore I recommend you find good mentors to help keep you balanced when you need it.
Wisely build a team that can help you promote, but learn to work with less resources when starting out. Always remember that without a financial backer cash won’t be flowing like it would for a mainstream artist.
As an unsigned hip hop artist if you’re new at marketing and strategies just remember that you will make mistakes, but it all about how you recover to bring yourself back in line with your plan.
Your Greatest Asset In The Music Industry Is Relationships
Rule 5: A Quality Product Is Key
The two headed monster, Quality vs. Quantity you’ll have to decide which is important. This topic has always been up for discussion since the beginning of the industrial age. Although it diminishes the number outputs, I personally think quality is key when it comes to your product. So pick your poison.
Fellow blogger, Greg Savage YouTube Video “Music Business Tips: Quality Vs Quantity, Which Is More Important?”, provides good input to what I mean. So listen up unsigned hip hop artist…
I also found a Martin Dalgleish article written by SimpleAudio.com that supports my feelings about Quality vs. Quantity:
“Ask the average person, sporting an MP3 player (equipment where one might assume that the sound quality is quite low) ask them if sound quality matters and the answer will undoubtedly be ‘yes’. It matters for one simple reason, music is a sensory experience. We choose a song based on our emotions, we think sound quality matters, but what really matters is the feeling we get from listening to the music. This is all well and good but many people are actually missing out. They like a piece of music but they have absolutely no idea how good it could sound because they have become accustomed to listening to the most common types of music file formats, namely low-resolution MP3s and iTunes formats.” (http://www.simpleaudio.com/)
Martin Dalgleish: Director of the Simple Audio Design Centre and a veteran audiophile with a discerning ear. Martin’s expert knowledge of home audio products and software is born out of a passion for audio as well as a few decades working in the high-end audio world.
Rule 6: Leverage Your Copyrights Unsigned Hip Hop Artist
Copyrights and publishing are your business and are assets to the foundation that your are trying to build upon. So protect your work…
Lorenzo Azar Banks “Copyright/Music Law: Do I own my music if it isn’t registered with the Copyright Office?”, explains copyrights very well. So watch the video below…
Rule 7: Master The Art Of Multi-tasking (Michael Trampe – Hip Hop DX)
L.E.P. Bogus Boys: Blueprint/Infared/Interscope Recording Artists. Follow Count and Moonie via Twitter at @LEPBOGUSBOYS.
“What you got to understand is that whether you’re independent or signed, it all falls on you. So you have to have an immediate team that multitasks and know their roles. We only got a team of five including us, and we all make the mechanism work. When you sign, look for a label that understands your brand not just because they got a lot of money for you. You also gotta build your relationships and stay persistent. That’s how we got so far—because of our immediate outlets of people we can get to. It took a whole lot to build that so strong, but it worked. More than anything, you gotta have good product and challenge yourself to be great.”
Michael Trampe’s dead on advice from L.E.P. Bogus Boys and DJ Ill Will that he posted back in July of 2013. Check it below…
Rule 8: Value Your Independence (Michael Trampe – Hip Hop DX)
DJ ill Will: CEO of Tha Alumni Music Group & Manager for Kid Ink. Ill Will has worked with and broke some of the hottest artists in the game including Soulja Boy, Chris Brown, Tyga and more.
“No offense to the major labels, but stay Indie and get your paper up before you even consider a major label deal. Trust me, you won’t regret it! Putting yourself at the mercy of a major label is career suicide…unless you’re the rare few.
Rule 9 & 10: Work Hard
Hard and Determination is the name of the game for an unsigned hip hop artist. It’s stressful but when you accomplish your goals and finally make it, you’ll be proud of the work you put in.
“Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Be smart young unsigned hip hop artist and understand the business you are working so desperately to make a living within.
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