Of course you’ve heard it time and time again that branding plus marketing equals success. But those two pillars crumble IF your product is not stellar to begin with. Everything you hear online from all these sagacious gurus only works if your product is great. If you got a poorly mixed and mastered record but you’re putting in thousands of dollars into marketing, at best, you’ll end up with fans following you for your image and not your sound. At worst, you’ll have lost all the money you’ve put in. So what means to be undeniable and how to know if you are at that level of professionalism? Read below to find out.
Question #5: How much time have you put in since you first started?
Experience beats talent. The more time you spend polishing your songwriting and performing skills, the more excellent you become at it. Even if you put side by side a naturally inclined piano genius with a piano veteran, the veteran will beat the kid at skills. While the first might have the vigor and energy of a young person, they engage in their art intuitively while the seasoned professional will know exactly when to pause, stop, begin, engage with the crowd, improvise, adapt. Anything under 5 years, you are a rookie.
Question #4: Do you have actual fans?
Getting likes and comments from friends and family is NOT considered having fans. Fans are people you have never met but they live with your content as if you were the only artist on Earth. So do you have those 10, 20, 50 people ready to jump when you tell them to? If you don’t, you are not undeniable yet. People automatically become fans and almost willingly “convert” to hardcore cult-like supporters when you are of legendary caliber as an artist. Eminem, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Justin Bieber had tons of fans way before they even got signed because they were THAT good.
Question #3: Are people asking you for show tickets and merch when you don’t even have a website?
Success is rather foreseeable and a very clear path that is usually arduously built throughout years and years of work and perfecting your sound and image as a music brand. And guess what? People feel it, see it, want it. Those who come across a legend in its incipient phase, they KNOW this artist WILL make it sooner or later and they seriously want a little part of history. You becoming a legend is history. So people will usually ask for autographs even if you have only 100 YouTube subscribers and 10 Facebook likes. They want to buy merch from you with your name on it even if you don’t even have an official website yet. They will ask you when’s the next time you perform and will throw their phones at you trying to desperately stay in touch with you. If you don’t have this kind of effect on those coming in contact with you and your music, you are not there yet.
Question #2: Can your songs compete with what’s on the radio on ALL levels?
Yeah yeah, we’ve heard it a million times: “I am so much better than the crap they play on the radio.” But the question is… ARE YOU? More likely than not… you aren’t. You may not like their lyrics but their production beats yours by miles. You may not like their autotune but their meaning is on point and touches a chord with current events. You may not like their sound but their team has put together an earworm as catchy as Call Me Maybe. Do NOT consider yourself in competition with what’s on the radio if you only beat them in ONE department. You have to beat them in ALL departments: image, sound, lyrics, energy, authenticity, catchy factor. And mind you, that’s just the basics before we even get to compare your marketing plan with their label-backed plan. But that’s the game you wanna play and be part of so put in the work.
Question #1: Can you listen to criticism without throwing a fit and calling people haters?
Tsk tsk. Easiest way to tell an undeveloped artist from a top-tier player experiment walkthrough: 1. Take both artists and put them in the same room. 2. Tell them you didn’t like each musician’s latest song because it paled in delivery compared to their previous releases. 3. The person saying: “Can you explain yourself a bit more?”, is the real artist. The person saying: “I don’t care about what you think. I do my music for me and not for you!”, is the one who doesn’t realize just how far he/she is from making it to the top. You’re welcome.
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