I’ve been in the game for a little over 12 years now, worn many different hats, and have been around artists from different perspectives. Most have either the experience or mentorship to know what progresses them, and what doesn’t, but a whole lot of artists don’t know that many things they do is only setting them back. Here’s a few things to stay away from when growing your career in music.
- Your Artist Name is Your Brand — Artists often forget that their stage name is also a brand. You have to treat and respect it as a business, or entity. You should protect it as you would a brand. One thing I want to point out that I believe is important to do is to create a logo for your name. After all, it’s a brand, right? Curtis Jackson is a rapper, producer, and entrepreneur, but 50 Cent is a whole brand. Another thing that wouldn’t hurt is to trademark your name. The sooner the better.
- Stop Localizing Yourself — Now unless you’d prefer to be a locally known artist throughout your career, stop doing things that keep you in your backyard. It’s little things, like adding your area code to your social media handles. @shebloggin704 is just ridiculous. I don’t want my name to just be associated to where I’m from, I want it to be nationalized, so @shebloggin is all it needs to be. If you decide to expand your brand by adding let’s say backpacks, and apart of the design for the bags has 404 on it. Why? If you want to make real money and your intent is for the product to go national, why add a local area code? Now again, if your target audience is just local, then that’s acceptable. One more thing, rappers, stop worrying about the other local talent and what they’re doing. Your real competition is already on the radio and TV.
- Don’t Pay to Perform! — I cannot stress this enough…there’s so many scams out now, along with people that are just looking to make a quick buck. Paying to perform at showcases and local shows with smaller venues is a complete waste of time and money. Do not do that to yourself. You’re an artist! You put in time and effort to produce your art, so you should get paid for it, not the other way around! Now if it’s an opening slot for a major artist in a large venue, go for it because it’s worth it. But showcases are not at all worth a dime.
- No marketing or promotion — I see entirely too many artists that will put out new projects or music with no marketing plan. Marketing doesn’t always equal spending money. Sending out well-written submissions to media and DJs is completely free, you just need to know what your doing of course. Have a scheduled amount of posts go out from your social media accounts. Reach out to writers and build relationships with them, as well as DJs and radio. If you do have a budget, hiring a PR is always a good move too. Although PR can be expensive, there are several options out there that should suit your budget
- Not Using Your Support System — Our friends and family can be all the promotion and marketing you need! My best friend spent 3 hours back in 2011 just sending out invites to like my page on Facebook, in those 3 hours she got me over 800 likes. The people that genuinely love and support us the most are usually the biggest “word of mouth” resources. We get caught up in trying to find new supporters that we forget about the ones we already have. Cater to them, make sure they know how appreciated they are, and always give them the first listen. Tell all of your people to post what you’re promoting 3 times a week and sit back and watch.