How do I even properly start this one? Recently I have given the opportunity to unsigned artists to e-mail me their best music videos, so that they get featured on this website. Knowing what I now know, I would never do it again. Here’s why:
5. You are too desperate
Desperation stinks and it can be smelled from miles away. Very true when it comes to dating, very true when it comes to business, and even more so when it comes to the music industry. I know what you’re going through, I’ve been there. You have put in the time, the work, the passion, and yet it seems like no one is paying attention to you. So you start acting desperately, like spamming your YouTube links everywhere, on any and every post, every comment, and even unrelated content. Remember the thing about first impressions? Yeah, you only get one chance to make your 1st impression with someone. Best way to mess up your own opportunities? SPAM.
4. You Don’t Have Any Social Media Presence
Let’s assume I saw your message, clicked your link, liked what you presented to me, and when I click to see your social profiles, it’s CRICKETS… I don’t care if your only listeners are your blood family. Heck, the more family supports you, the better. I would much rather interview an artist that has 2 brothers, 6 cousins, 4 aunts, and 3 high school friends who are raving for his/her music, and showing it too, than someone who has NO LIKES, NO SHARES, NO ENGAGEMENT. Those people added up, equal 15 views, shared by at least one more time by each of them, and we get 30 views. Terrible numbers, but at least they are genuine and a place to start from. Please understand that when a blogger, music critic, journalist, magazine, publication, has the intent to write about you, they have to make sure their article will be read BY AT LEAST 5 other real people. That is like the absolute ridiculous minimum. Most major platforms won’t even breathe your way if you’re not in the hundreds of thousands of views. For example, WorldStarHipHop doesn’t even consider anyone with less than 500,000 views in less than 6 months. That is their metric and that is it. So be a nice human being, go to family gatherings, make some birthday phone calls, and ask personally everyone who supports your music, to share your music and the articles that have something to say about you.
3. You Don’t Have Your Brand Image Together
What is the first thing you notice about any post online? The thumbnail, the image representing the article. News without images don’t exist anymore. Even old newspapers caught up and added a lot of colored images in their rusty pages. If you respect yourself, pay a photographer and go get a basic photo shoot done. YOU NEED THOSE HQ PHOTOS. No one will write about you if you don’t even have a thumbnail to offer to the author. Every self respecting artist has professional pictures taken of themselves to pass along to online platforms to write about them. Actually, don’t even think about doing music if you can’t do a photo shoot first.
2. You’re Affiliated With The Wrong People
Let’s assume you got the artist package complete: sound, image, online presence, so forth and so on. Let’s even assume I genuinely enjoy your music. I keep clicking through your YouTube videos to hear what else you got going on, and I notice you got some shady people associated with your music videos. It could be a really poor quality sounding artist, a badly shot music video, a completely trash collaboration etc. This makes me think that, if you actually bothered to put on YOUR channel this type of content, that if you’re not even trying to hide the crappy tracks you did before, then you are not really thinking long term, and you go with whatever comes your way. I highly prefer artists who CARE about every song they put out, every collaboration they make, every song they promote etc. Don’t collaborate with artists who are not on your level or above. They will put you in a terrible light and take away from your credibility. If I like you, but I extremely dislike what the other artist did, you kinda go hand in hand in my head. You are not famous yet, so you get judged by everything you do and create, and a lot by the people you associate yourself with.
1. You Are Just Not That Good… YET
I get it. I really do. When you first start out, unless you come from a family of artists, you got no clue about what you should be actually doing and what direction to focus on. Most of the time you think you are that good that you won’t even have to spend money to make it. Boy oh boy… I hate to say this, but YOU WILL SPEND MONEY TO SUCCEED IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. If there is only one lesson I could give an artist from my own over +13 years of experience in the industry, is that money will make you or break you. DO NOT accept a badly recorded track, DO NOT let your cousin take phone photos of you as your main brand image, DO NOT talk to anyone about your songs if they are not THE BEST you could possibly do. Work on it, and ask reliable people’s opinion along the way. And be ready to get kicked in the gut. When you’re new to the game, most likely than not, YOU SUCK. Your mix is not on point, the volume of the chorus is louder than the main voice, the drums are not balanced, the voice overlapses with the beat, there is too much noise in your vocals, your flow is not consistent etc etc etc. But no one wants to hear that. The deal though, is that if you don’t know the problem, you can NOT fix it. Ask someone who’s already past the starting point, and tell them something along the lines of ‘I would really appreciate your opinion as I very much like your product. However, do not sugar coat anything please. I really want to step up my game and if I can’t get someone credible to tell me how things look from the outside, I am doomed. So be as honest as possible. I will be forever grateful and no offense will be taken.’ It is imperial that you state that you are ready for the cold truth. Why? We, bloggers, know that as an artist you are sensitive about your craft, and if we tell you what we really think about your mediocre track, we will get a hater for life. And no one has time for that. You should actually be extremely grateful if someone took 15 minutes of their life to listen to your song, analyze it, and write their feedback to you. Few people will do it. It is more likely that you will find someone who will lie to you, tell you that you’re good so that they too, can send you their songs, and in return, you too will feel obligated to say nice things because they said nice things too, and you just end up LYING TO EACH OTHER and continuing being in denial. The best feedback you will ever get is from people who find flaws in your music. It is absolutely valid even for major artists. I have once read a comment on Ciara’s music video ‘Get Up’, where a fan said ‘I just don’t get it. She is gorgeous, she can dance better than ALL of these female performers, she got catchy songs, she is just an absolutely amazing artist! Why isn’t she on Rihanna level?‘ and the answer came ‘I guess we can’t listen to Ciara dancing for 3 minutes‘. Holy mother of God! The truest statement I have ever read about Cici. She is amazing to look at, but mediocre to listen to. Thus, she will never be on Rihanna level. If you don’t have the voice, at least get the lyrics together. But if your voice is meh, your lyrics are meh too, and your dance is YASSS, in the end you got -1-1+1=-1. In conclusion, work on yourself continuously and don’t get mad at people who have the courage to criticize you. It is easier to be nice. Harder to be honest.