For anyone that follows my twitter or FB, you will know that I’ve been doing a lot of reading and youtubing about promoting yourself in 2014.
So, You’re happy with the quality of beats you’re putting out and people have asked you why they’ve never heard of you and your work and you don’t really have an answer for them. I think this article is for you. There are a few topics I’d like to touch on with regards to promotion of of your music. I don’t in any way claim to be an expert in the field though, I just happen to be a composer of hip hop music living in south africa so my views may hit home a bit more than our counterparts from the USA or europe.
Let us begin…
Have you ever heard the phrase “know your target audience”? You need to know that as a beatmaker on the rise, your primary audience will most probably be artists in search of music to rap/sing over. You’ll want to build up a database of names and contact details for each one you come across. I suggest using microsoft excel to keep things neat. Have a column for name, cell number, email address, twitter handle and so on.
After identifying who your core group of artists are, frequent interaction is crucial. Your core group are the people you started out with, your day one people. I’ll be talking a bit about day one people just now again. These guys will be your hands, eyes and ears in the artist community. DO NOT blast random emails to them asking them to check out your music unless they’ve opted into your updates. Make these music updates concise and infrequent enough that they don’t feel like you’re harassing them. I can’t stress how important these people are. There’s nothing worse than opening your inbox to find large amounts of spam that, more often than not, starts with “check out my…”. Value your day one people. They’ll make promotion a breeze.
Next! Get on social media! No one ever blew up with hot beats sitting on their pc in the archives. Facebook, Soundcloud and reverbnation have all worked for me. I know there are countless places where you can upload your music. If you think its a viable site, upload! Upload your work (songs and/or beats) and make it easily available. After uploading, keep a notebook where you jot down each site’s login details where you’ve uploaded content. Remember those day one contacts that I mentioned earlier? Tell them about where your music is and IF they REALLY believe in your product, they will check it out and spread it for you. Most of the referrals I get are from my day ones telling other artists about the product.
Next! Get out there and network. Make the effort! No one ever blew up by sitting in their room and just making beats. Shake hands and interact with artists and producers when you get the chance. Invite creatives over and have music sessions. If you are like me and don’t really enjoy having people over, go out there and meet the artists near their area. A simple McD’s shake, some fries and a good convo can do wonders for your client relations. After typing this point, I actually need to do more of this. If anyone in the Johannesburg area wants to meet up, hit me up. *plug* 😛
Word of mouth is a really powerful tool. It could be the difference between this music thing being just a hobby and it being one of your main sources of income. Create a reputation that you can be proud of. What can people expect from you? Promises? Unmixed beats? Generally sloppy service? Work quickly and put effort into your craft or your client will find someone else that will. Don’t forget that SA is jam packed with people that make beats. EVERYBODY makes beats. If you don’t step up and deliver, someone else will.
Next! Content is king. Produce, produce, produce. I try to churn out at least 4 or 5 usable beats a week and I don’t think that’s enough. Make as much content as you can. I’m not saying rush to meet a quota. Just have a standard and try reach/surpass it in terms of quality and quantity. If you do that consistently you’re looking at about 15 to 20 usable beats a month. Do that for a year and see how many people ask you why your music isn’t “out there”. Let people hear you. Give them enough stuff to hear.
Look and behave professionally. This is a massive point. Pitch up when artists hit you up, have business cards and compilation CDs to hand out with free content and samples of your work. In my experience, SA producers fail dismally in this department. I’ve heard people say, “that producer got lucky when he got that feature” and that may have been the case. Closing that big deal or getting that feature may have been pure luck, but luck favours the prepared.
In closing, I rate that if you follow these few points consistently, you’ll be miles ahead of the pack. To summarise, I covered how important it is to know your target market. Don’t waste your efforts giving your content to the wrong people. Identify your core group. These are your “day ones” and should be more inclined to do you a favour and push your product. Keep these people close and don’t abuse them (too much). Social media is key. Don’t be annoying on twitter or Facebook. I’ll block you and so will the rest of the country. Put your shoes on and leave the house to go networking. Set up meetings, shake hands, make impressions. Build that reputation with your music. Consistent high quality and efficiency is vital. Perfect your craft and create content! Produce, produce, produce. Be professional in your dealings. Buy a diary or get a note pad.
I’ll see what I can do about elaborating on some of these a little more in my next posts.
If you liked or didn’t like what you read, contact me at email@example.com or let’s chat on whatsapp 074 605 7360. You can also get at me on twitter @silasbeats.