I’m working with an artist who’s dropping a mixtape. This artist has 52,000+ REAL twitter followers & 30,000+ REAL Instagram followers…..he’s booking at 3-4,000 a show in his local market and charging $2,000 for features. In other words, he has a following. In anticipation of his ALBUM that will drop on iTunes, Google Play, etc. later this year, we are giving his fans a mixtape project. Yes, we are giving away free music to an artist who has hundreds of thousands of paid downloads. This artist has recorded over 80 songs for his album and we’re not gonna just scrap the songs that don’t make the album…..we’re gonna share some of this great music with his loyal fans for free. (and sell it on iTunes too, for the people who don’t want the hosted version of the mixtape)
I’m also working with an artist that has 3,000 twitter followers & 3,000 instagram followers. He’s presently booking for $1,000-1,500. We are still in the process of building his following. He will NOT be dropping a mixtape. His album will be out in the fall/winter for sale only. We’ve given away 20,000+ singles over several months and spent our budget primarily on traveling to establish this artist a presence in markets that surround his home. Giving away an entire mixtape for this artist wouldn’t make sense.
As a new or little known artist, with a project containing 45-60 minutes of music on it – it’s very hard to get people to listen to any songs on your project, much less the whole hour!
When you aren’t a well-known artist, you have to build a following. You do this by releasing great music – consistently – that you get out in the streets and get to the people PERSON to PERSON, and share on the internet with people who are ALREADY fans. As a general rule, new fans are found FACE to FACE…..and then they follow you on social media if they like your music and persona. After you’ve grown your following to a certain level, there will be enough fans mentioning you on social media to catch new fans attention. But in the beginning, your best place to reach fans will be going to meet them in real life and winning them over one by one.
As a little known or new artist, you will have to meet and greet and attempt to win people over to listen to your music FOR MONTHS. Before you get to rock the crowd. Before you get to perform on stage. Before the DJ’s start playing your music. Before anybody cares that you’re an artist. You will have to work the streets and interact with people in real life for months. Before you get paid a penny. Before you get booked. Before anybody calls with interest in you. You will have to CONSISTENTLY put yourself and your music on the front lines to be ridiculed, criticized, hated on & disregarded. This is the only way your music has the chance to be heard and loved.
When you’re building a following for yourself nobody owes you anything. Nobody cares about your rap dream. There are 100s or 1,000s or 10s of thousands of rappers in every city competing for the ears of listeners. Your potential fans already have favorite rappers. They don’t want to hear you saying that you’re better than every other rapper. They don’t WANT to support you. They just wanna live their lives. You’re not being “hated on” when people pay your music no attention.
They don’t care about your music or you – and they shouldnt! You have to CONVINCE them to listen to you and give your music a chance. You have a better opportunity for success by providing them ONE song that they can bump for 3 & a half minutes and decide if it’s jammin’ or not.
If you make an inferior product, don’t expect bookoo love from people. If your vocals are too loud or too low….if there are tags all thru the song….if the production sounds like a copycat of a popular song, etc. If your music contains any of those things, you’re making it harder on yourself to win fans. 20-25 unmixed songs, .99 cent beats, recorded on an amateur setup will have you known as a trash rapper. There are soooooo many trash rappers out there today that most rap fans don’t listen to local artists until that artist has consistently dropped quality music and is “bubbling” on the local scene. Don’t rush to drop an unprofessionally prepared project and become the next trash rapper.
Also, don’t blame fans for not rocking with you. Dissing the people because they feel your music is garbage doesn’t make sense. When you record your music and CHOOSE to share it with others, you’ve gotta be prepared to hear their opinion of your music. If they listen once and sling it out the window, they’re not hating – they just don’t like your style of music, whether it be your raps or the beat or whatever. You cannot force people to be fans of your music. You can only consistently attempt to get them to listen. Once they listen, that’s your chance to win them over. If you blow your chance, by pushing garbage music, that’s on you.
The purpose of this entry is to enlighten newer artists about the effectiveness of dropping a single vs a mixtape. The money a new artist spends on production, studio time, features, etc for the 20-25 songs that get put on a mixtape can be spent on executing a solid promotional plan behind your single. It’s better to record 5-6 songs that you plan out and record to perfection & then promote — than to record 20-25 half-assed filler songs and drop a mixtape that nobody is gonna listen to unless they went to school with you.
This is just a simple suggestion based on my personal observations and the success of the artists I’ve been blessed to work with recently.
When you have a following, you’ve gotta feed em music constantly for the following to grow.
To build a following you have to promote your single constantly until you build up fans.
Both methods require consistency – but you’ve got to be honest with yourself as an artist and realize which position you’re in: growing or building. In order to grow, your fanbase must eat. In order to build, you need people to listen. Recognize the difference and take advantage of where you are in the process.
Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A Scratchy Throat. A Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of music industry mainstay Wendy Day – provides professional social media marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists. Tony is also owner of Authentic Artists Alliance and exclusive booking contact for Trouble (Duct Tape Ent/2 Tru Ent), O.Z. Mr. 28 Grams (Fratt Boi Muzic Group) and Racked Up Ready (Bow Ent). For digital marketing services or booking inquiries email: OGTonyG@gmail.com or Tony@aScratchyThroat.com