EVERY MUSIC ARTIST WONT MAKE IT IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY & HERE IS WHY
Music has been around longer than my grandmother and she’s well into her 70s. So it’s been around forever. Sorry grandma, no pun intended. It seems over the past 15 years, everyone has been wanting to jump right in the music business. Yup, JUMP right in, literally. When I’m out at events and push through the crowd asking people (especially men) what do they do, the first thing they say is, “I’m an artist”. The most common occupation in this day and age. In the mist of our conversation I always ask, “How long have you been doing music?” and I usually get answers anywhere from 5 months to 15 years. As a hip hop blogger and entertainment publicist, I love getting down to the nitty gritty when I ask my questions. I want to to know how long, who’s their biggest inspiration, what marketing plan they have set in place, strategy plans, execution plans and if they are working with a publicist to get their music out to the public. No shame in my game. I can usually tell how serious they are about their career when I get straight answers and when he/she knows what they are talking about and of course, about 90% of the artists FAIL and that’s an understatement just to be nice. Since the music industry is so saturated, you have to make sure that your BRAND STANDS OUT from the rest. It’s easy to get lost in this tough game. Here are some reasons why everyone isn’t cut out for the music industry.
PEOPLE DON’T LEARN THE BUSINESS:
I’ll keep saying this over and over, it’s 90% business and 10% music. I think that is where the game gets messed up at. These new music artists do not know the fundamentals of the business so they walk in like “Im an artist and that’s all I do so pass me the mic and put me in a booth” and that is why, they either get into funky label contracts that they are trapped into for years and can’t get out of and/or asking the wrong business professionals to do things for them that doesn’t fit their title (I’m a publicist and I get asked to MANAGE people all of the time. No! That’s not what a publicist does.).
LEARN YOUR AUDIENCE:
Get to know who YOUR targeted audience are. Not everyone likes your genre of music. I can think back to the Summer of 2015, I had asked this hip hip artist, “with the type of music you do, who’s your target audience?” and he told me everyone. Well, sorry to break it down to you but EVERYONE is your audience. Everyone doesn’t like hip hop. I had to give him an example, about how my grandmother hates hip hop music (yeah, I’m shocked too, especially when 90% of my clients are hip hop artists). So, if what the artist was saying to be true, my grandmother can’t be apart of that “everyone” and just think about how many others out there that dislike hip hop. Trust, there are hundreds of thousands out there. This is one reason why many will not make it in the music industry. Know your targeted audience.
The music business is just like any other business. YOU ARE THE BRAND. Get familiar with who does what in different roles. Take some courses in business. Business courses are universal and can be applied to any business. Yes, even in the music business. Some good classes to take are Branding 101, Marketing 101, Small Business Management, Contract Negotiation, and my favorite, Business Ethics. The reason why I love a business class on ethics is because even as business owners, there are so many business men and women who still lack in business ethics or have no business ethics. Trust, business ethics plays a huge role in any business you are doing. In 2013 I left a company that I was interning for because the owner did not have good business ethics. Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m a firm believer on good business ethics. How you handle your business says a lot about your brand and how you conduct business.
Another good reason to educate yourself is because not every country works and moves how America does. You will be surprised that in some countries men do not do business with women. Did you know that? In some countries, businesses are not open on Sundays. In China, you are to shake hands with your left hand only. The right hand is a sign of disrespect. This is furthermore why you need to educate yourself. Don’t get caught slippin’.
PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENTS. REGISTER YOUR SONGS FOR PROPER COPYRIGHT PROTECTION:
Don’t be too cheap that you hurt yourself in the long run. Invest in yourself, you can afford it. My favorite quote “It takes money to make money”. That is a true statement. Protect what you worked hard for. Read this article from ASCAP.
ARTISTS DON’T INVEST IN THEIR CRAFT OR INVEST TOO LITTLE:
Stop spending you money on bitches, Jordans, weed and poppin’ bottles and buy something that will further your career. Grind now and shit on people later. I will not depreciate my worth/value because you can’t come up with my fee. You’re a BRAND. If you are an artists, you need studio time. You will need your song mixed and mastered. Don’t come looking for a publicist when you can’t even invest in yourself. I’ve had several artists tell me they never have to pay for studio time because they “got the homie hookup”. You sure do and your music sounds shitty. You were so happy to spend $0 (don’t get me wrong, save when when you can IF it doesn’t HURT YOU) not realizing that your homies garage studio isn’t cutting it. So now you want an A&R to scout you, you want a manager (to manage what exactly), you want a publicist that you know you can not pay for and you want a social media manager that you know you can not pay for because last weekend you spent $700 on two bottles at the club. Artists, spending $30 on an e-blast or promotion is not a huge investment to see RESULTS. Invest in your craft because nobody else is going to take you serious if you can’t take your own self serious. GET YOUR MIND RIGHT.
ARTISTS CAN’T TAKE CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM:
This has to be my favorite bulletin. This goes for underground artists trying to make it in the business. Learn how to take constructive criticism. Listen to what professionals tell you. They are where you WANT and DREAM to be. Let them, let us help you. Take the feedback and fix what needs to be fixed. I often get “Nadia, listen to my music and tell me what you think”. I tell people, we cool but if you are asking from a business point of view I’m going to tell it like it is. Boy oh boy, I think I walked away from 7 friendships last years all because I gave constructive criticism. If you can’t take the heat stay out of the kitchen. Simple as that. I’m not going to lie to you especially if we have established a relationship. THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IS A CUT THROAT INDUSTRY.
ARTISTS DON’T ENGAGE WITH THEIR FOLLOWERS:
Cool! You have 10,000 followers on Instagram and Twitter so now what? Your followers are your bread and butter. They are your audience. Those are the people you need to engage in conversation with. They are your supporters and are the ones rooting for you. Without them, you have no business. Use your followers to generate income for your craft.
IT’S MORE TO THE ART OF MUSIC THAN BITCHES, CARS AND BOTTLES:
Bring back real music. We are tired of hearing about cars, clothes, and bitches. How will you set yourself apart for the others?
YOU ARE “NOT” FAMOUS:
This has to be my second favorite bulletin point. YOU ARE NOT FAMOUS. Time after time, I see underground artists walk around saying “I am famous”. It’s one thing to put positivity into the universe but while you are on the come up, be humble. Watch your mouth. Just because you do 4 shows a week in your hometown and everyone in your city knows you, doesn’t make you famous. I repeat, that doesn’t mean you are famous. Remember, everything you say and do is marketing. Again, you’re a brand. Don’t hurt your business before it takes off.
I hope this blog was an educational piece for up and coming artists trying to make it.
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