How To Become Successful In The Music Industry.

Navigating in this music industry can be frustrating.... We want to help.

Becoming a successful rapper or music artist, in general, is not as complicated as it seems.

There are a lot of moving parts that need to work together in order for you to become a successful artist, but as you start to identify these moving parts – you’ll see it’s rather simple.

However, just because it’s simple – doesn’t mean it’s easy.

With that said, a lot of music artists make the process of becoming a successful rapper, singer, rock band, and etc. more complex and difficult than it needs to be.

From what We’ve seen, most upcoming music artists lack the education and know-how part of becoming successful.

Instead of simply going to the recording studio, making a song, and then “promoting” (aka spamming) people on Twitter – you should be studying and learning how to become successful.

Becoming a rapper, singer, or a music artist in any other genre is just like starting a business.

You wouldn’t start a painting company if you didn’t know how to paint or start a mechanic shop if you don’t have experience working on cars.

You should approach becoming a music artist the same way.

So, in this post, We're going to help you do exactly that by giving you tips on how to become a successful rapper/singer/music artist in general.

 

7 Keys On Becoming A Successful Artist.

 

1. Create Good Music For Your Target Audience

The phrase “just make good music” is one of the worst widely used phrases in music. Not only is “make good music” not specific enough, it also leads upcoming artists to believe the

I’m a big believer that marketing is more important than the music itself. You can put out the best record in the world, but if you’re targeting the wrong audience – you’re going to lose.

For example, if you made a dance record for the strip clubs, but your audience is mainly 14-17-year-old females, the odds of it becoming successful are slim.

However, if you made the same dance record and your audience was 18-30-year-old males – you’d have a much better chance at having a hit record.

Your music needs to emotionally connect with the person that’s listening to it. And no, I don’t mean you need to becoming the next Kendrick Lamar or anything like that.

Some music emotionally connects with the listener by giving them confidence. Other songs connect with the listener by making them feel better after a relationship breakup.

So, study your target audience.

Here are a few things you should learn about your target audience:

  • What’s the age range?
  • Is it mainly men or women?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What slang or specific language do they use? (Ex. “Lit”)
  • What problems do they have?

The more you know about your target audience – the more effectively you’ll be able to create music that connects with them.

 

2. Focus Your Efforts

You won’t be able to make music that everyone likes. Not because you’re not talented (because you just might be) – but because difference audiences have different interest and like different things.

Once you’ve narrowed down your target audience and feel confident that you make music that will connect with them – you want to focus your efforts big time.

You want to become the #1 hip-hop artist or music artist in general for that audience.

Becoming the #1 music artist for that audience will not only allow you to build a fan base of loyal supporters but will allow you to expand into other audiences so much easier.

Regardless of what you do – do not jump from audience to audience.

If you do jump from audience to audience, it will hurt your brand by making it look like you have no idea what you’re doing, and make becoming successful harder.

Once time passes, if you feel that the audience you’re targeting isn’t a good fit for you and your music after all – rebrand yourself and your music, then go after a different audience.

3. Have Goals

Before you start buying home recording studio equipment, recording music and marketing yourself – create goals. This isn’t talked about much when trying to become an artist but is all a part of artist development.

I recommend you work backward when you create your goals. I talk about this strategy in our ”

I talk about this strategy in our “How To Set Goals As A Rapper” post but will give you an overview on how you should set your goals.

Figure out what you’d like to achieve and in what timeframe.

Are you looking to build more fans this year?

Make money from music?

Record more songs?

Regardless of what your goals are, the process I recommend you follow goes like this:

A.) Create a set of yearly goals

These are the goals that you’d like to hit within 12 months and would change your life for the better.

B.) Create a set of monthly goals

Once you’ve set your yearly goals, it’s simple to create your monthly goals. All you need to do is divide your yearly goal by 12. If your goal isn’t an actual numbers based goal, simply break down your yearly goal into 12 different steps or milestones.

C.) Create a set of weekly goals

You’re going to follow the same process that you did when creating your monthly goals. Break down your monthly goals into 4 different steps or milestones.

As an example, let’s say that your yearly goal was to gain 1,200 new fans.

Your monthly goal would be to gain 100 new fans every month and your weekly goal would be to gain 25 new fans every week.

Now that you know how many fans you need weekly, your job would be to put our enough content and engage with enough people that allow you to hit 25 new fans per week.

If you hit your weekly goal, you’ll hit your monthly goal. And if you hit your monthly goal, you’ll hit your yearly goal.

It’s very simple. However, just like I said in the beginning of this article – simple doesn’t mean easy.

4. Improve Your Social Media Presence

If you’re reading this article, social media is an area that you can improve in. You probably have a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in months, a Twitter account with a ton of random tweets, and an Instagram page with a lot of irrelevant photos and videos.

But, don’t feel bad. I sometimes fall into that same trap of spreading myself too thin across social media.

It’s easy for your social media to get out of control. One minute you’re posting content daily, the next minute you realize that you haven’t posted anything in weeks and spent all of your time liking photos from thick chicks and celebrities.

If you’ve found yourself in that situation, I may have the solution for you:

Reduce the number of social media platforms you use.

This may sound counter-intuitive. You might think “Shouldn’t I be on as many platforms as possible so that I have a better chance of getting fans?” – but the answer is no.

It’s much better to have a good looking brand on 1 social platform than it is to have a lackluster brand on 10 different social platforms.

You’ll also be able to expand onto other social platforms easier once you built your following on one.

So how do you decide which social media platforms to use? Simple – figure out which platform will allow you to reach and connect with your target audience the quickest or cheapest (depending on if you have more time than money or vice-versa).

The platforms we currently recommend are:

  • Twitter – for networking and communicating with fans
  • Instagram – for showcasing your image and branding
  • Soundcloud – for uploading and sharing your songs, mixtapes, and/or albums
  • YouTube – for uploading videos and showcasing your personality

I also highly recommend prioritizing a discovery based platform that increases the odds of you and your music being discovered – think YouTube.

People are searching YouTube daily for things. This allows you to create content that allows you to become the source for whatever that ‘thing’ is.

 

5. Have A Website

Every rapper should have a website for their brand and music.

Your website is your headquarters. It’s the only internet property that you actually own and allows you to take your marketing to the next level.

You can track everyone who views your website, how they got to your website, and demographic data on their location, age, gender, the device they’re using, and more.

You can see what content of yours is the most popular on your website, how long they spent viewing that piece of content, how many times they’ve come to your website, and a lot of other things.

The data by itself is useless, but once you understand what they data means and how to utilize it to create better content – you’re going to win.

Especially once you start incorporating paid advertising into your marketing strategy. You can do some really cool things – like showing ads to users that view your website or only view a certain page – it’s called remarketing.

If you do have a website, make sure you have Google Analytics installed.

 

6. Network With Influential People

Regardless of what stage you’re currently at in your music career, you should be networking.Networking with the right people will put you on the fast path to success. The opportunities that become available due to being in the right circles are incredible.

You should attend as many local events as possible and spark up conversations with people. While networking online can yield some of the same results – there’s something about putting a face to an internet profile that makes in-person networking a lot more effective.

If you can’t attend a lot of local events due to age, transportation, or whatever – utilize the internet. Social platforms like Twitter make it super easy to spark up a conversation with anyone.

With that said, to make networking effective – always be on the giving side of the relationship. The more you’re able to help someone – the more likely they are to look out for you and send opportunities or new contacts your way.

Building long-term relationships are essential, and networking with a selfish intent will not help you build long-term relationships.

 

7. Pay Attention To People, Not Stats

Most rappers and music artists, in general, are paying attention to the wrong stats when it comes to deciding if something is successful.

In the majority of cases, artists are paying attention to stats like ‘views’, ‘downloads’ and ‘plays’ to validate how successful they are.

The problem with having that mindset is that you stop valuing the one thing that does make you successful – people (fans).

You can have 10 million views on YouTube, 5 million Soundcloud plays, and a combined 2 million followers on Twitter and Instagram – but if you can’t sell out a live show or move your merchandise – you’re not a successful artist – regardless of what your stats say.

Those social media stats may be cool for faking ‘social proof’ and allow you to get some opportunities, but they’re not putting you in a position to ‘blow up’ or become successful in the long run – thus, they don’t matter.

However, if you focus on building a fan base for your music that consists of real people that genuinely like and support you – you’ll be able to consistently get views, downloads, and song plays – while being able to sell out shows and build a sustainable career.

 

 

 

 

 

Should You Copyright Your Music? Truths & Myths.

What’s does a copyright mean? Should you copyright your music? Will it keep people from stealing your music? Where do you go to copyright your music? Is it expensive? I will answer all of these questions in this article along with addressing some of the myths & misunderstandings floating around out there that muddy the waters about copyrights that I hope to divulge and bring clarity to during this article.

 

What’s A Copyright?

A copy right is simply the right to make copies. We’re not just talking about making copies of CD’s or MP3’s. Copyright is somewhat of a blanket statement and covers the following:

  • Derivative works: new work that is heavily based upon previous work. For example in Hip Hop music this would apply to sampling or reusing others music entirely to make a new song out of it. In 2010 Mac Miller released a song “Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza” which used a beat from Lord Finesse’s 1995 single”Hip 2 Da Game”. Lord Finesse sued Mac Miller for $10 million and they settled in January of 2013.

  • Reproduce: The work in copies or phonorecords. For example making copies of the music using CD’s or cassette tapes “if someone still uses those :)”

  • Distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. Basically this gives you the right to lease your music to companies to use in movies, commercialism, video games etc and sell copies of your music or completely sell the rights to the music to a 3rd party by transferring ownership.

  • Perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and
    choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual
    works. Which simply means this gives you the right to use your music while performing live on stage or to be used in movies or other visual works. Playing your music on the radio, sporting events etc. can also be considered a performance.

Should You Copyright Your Music?

Is The Music Yours?

First you must ask yourself do you have the right to copyright your music. This may sound like a redundant question but please allow me to explain. Some artists purchase non-exclusive production for their songs. That's fine... If you are writing lyrics to music that you have purchased non-exclusively, then you don’t own the copyright to the “music” even though you may have permission to use it. So technically you can’t copyright the music however you can still copyright the “lyrics” if you wish.

Are You Publicly Releasing Your Music?

If you are releasing your music publicly and it is indeed your music then I would recommend that you copyright it before sharing it with the world. Copyrights are kind of like insurance; you likely won’t have to use it but just in case someone steals your song and makes a million dollars off of it you will be protected and in a position to take legal action.

Will A Copyright Keep People From Stealing Your Music?

It’s been said that locks and contracts are only for honest men. In other words if someone is determined to violate you they will, however it’s wise to take as many preventive measures as possible to protect yourself. So in short a Copyright won’t keep people from steeling your music however it will protect you in the event that you have to take legal action against someone who has infringed upon your rights.

Where Do You Go To Copyright Your Music?

If you are in the United States simply go to copyright.gov For a step by step walk though please check out this article . If you are outside of the United States please search the internet for the appropriate place for your location.

How Much Does It Cost?

You can upload between 1-135 Mp3’s encoded at 128 kbps for $35 dollars. The price is the same regardless if you’re copyrighting 1 song or 135 so take advantage of copyrighting your music in bulk as much as possible.

What If I Don’t Copyright My Music?

Automatic Copyright

If you never register a song through the U.S. Copyright Office you still have an original copyright claim to that song. Technically the moment you create something new you have a copyright to it since you are the original creator of it. The only exception to this is if you are recording in someone else’s studio and you signed a contract giving the producer or record label rights to your recordings. However not registering your work with a copyright office causes you to be limited in what legal action you can take against someone who infringes upon your copyright.

Limited Action

For example if someone took a song of yours and uploaded it on YouTube you could file a DMCA digital millennium copyright act claim against them and have the song removed. If the other party who violated your copyright still doesn’t take your song down you can also send them a cease and desist letter.

However if you don’t register your copyright until after someone has infringed upon it you can only sue them for profits and damages but not legal fees. And because legal fees are so high suing someone without the ability to be reimbursed for legal fees is generally not worth it.

However if you feel the third party is making a significant amount of money off your song and you would like to sue them for the profits they’ve made and the damages you’ve suffered along with any legal fees you incur you will have had to of formally registered your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office before the third party violated your rights.

Copyright Myths

Poor Mans Copyright

Legend has it that if you mail a copy of your music to yourself and never open it you will be protected just as much as if you registered it with the U.S. Copyright Office. This is simply not true and there as been several cases of people trying this method in court and loosing because of it. Copyrights have never been easier and cheaper to obtain so just shell out the $35 bucks and do it legitimately online.

I Copyright My Music Through A PRO

A PRO is a performance rights organization. These are companies such as ASCAP, BMI & SESAC which keep track of when and where your music is being played and they collect your royalties for you and take a small percentage. Some people think that if their music is registered with a PRO then it also takes care of their copyright. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The only place that can legitimately copyright your music in the United States is with the U.S. Copyright Office.

If I Copyright My Artist Name Then All My Music Is Too

Wrong again. In fact you can’t even copyright your artist name. You can obtain a servicemark but not a copyright. Trademarks are for products and business names and logos such as Big Mac and McDonalds. So don’t think that you can just somehow copyright your artist name and then magically everything that you touch is protected; it just doesn’t work that way.

Handle Your Business

So remember locks and contracts are only for honest men so make sure you do your do diligence to protect yourself legitimately by registering your music with the U.S. Copyright Office. To get the most value wait until you have a group of songs to copyright and do them all at one time for a flat fee of $35. Your pockets will thank you for it and you will be able to sleep just a little bit better at night.

If you would like a step by step guide on how to copyright your music check out this article - http://blog.dozmia.com/how-to-copyright-a-song

 

 

SOUNDCLOUD EXPOSURE

SoundCloud is the largest and most important online music community. They give independent artists the space they need to get heard. Which is why we made this simple guide to get you educated on the most useful ones for growing your following.

Here’s some pro tips to get the most out of your SoundCloud.

 

Tagging For Success

How can new fans find your music? Well one of the best ways is to tag your music.

Tagging makes you discoverable when a listener is searching SoundCloud.

The better your tags, the easier you are to find.

The best way to tag is to be honest. If you made a drum & bass track, then set the main genre to Drum & Bass. Add moods and a location to your tags as well. It all helps.

Stick to one main genre to keep things clear. Adding a bunch of genres won’t make your track any more findable.

The more concise and accurate your tags are, the more easily your music will get discovered by the listeners that wanna hear it most.

Hot Tip: Tag and link to your collaborators SoundCloud in the track description. It’s great for cross-promotion and telling the story of your process.

 

Add A ‘Buy’ Link

Getting listens and likes is nice. But likes and listens won’t buy you that new mic you’ve been eyeing.

Luckily SoundCloud lets you add a ‘Buy’ link to your track upload. Just click on the ‘Metadata’ tab when you’re uploading.

Add a link to your iTunes, Bandcamp or whatever else you use to sell your music.

Hot Tip: If you have a pro account you can change the button text to anything you want.

Change it to ‘Donate’ and link to a Patreon or a PayPal. You’ll be surprised how many super-fans out there will support your music.

 

Tell A Story With Your Waveform

SoundCloud allows fans to comment on your waveform. But y’know who else should be commenting on the waveform? YOU!

Use the waveform comments to tell your fans and community about your process. Be transparent about how you made your track. Ask for feedback and mention specific sections.

For example, if you’re not sure about a section of your track comment on the waveform where the part starts.

Something like: “not sure about the bass here. Let me know what you think” is the perfect play for getting feedback from your community.

You don’t have to be completely done a track to publish it. Publish drafts, get feedback, and make your music better.

 

Art Matters

Album art matters. Especially on SoundCloud.

Your album art or track artwork represents your music no matter where it goes.

If your track gets embedded on a blog your artwork will be there. If you share your track to Facebook your album art goes there too. So it’s mega important.

Before anyone hits play the artwork attached to your track has to stand out. So make it count and choose something that represents your music and you.

For best results always use a JPG or a PNG that’s at least 800 x 800 pixels.

Album art is a perfect reason to invest a bit of money into your project. If you can’t make the image you want yourself, then hire a designer or photographer that fits your budget.

 

PRIVATE MEANS PRO

SoundCloud lets you share private links to your tracks.

It’s great for sharing unfinished tracks with collaborators, sending demos to labels or blogs, or contacting other outlets like radio stations with exclusives.

Sharing a private link gives your music the personal touch and a sense of exclusivity that is great for reaching out to tastemakers.

It’s super easy to do. Just upload a track and set it to private. Save it and go to your profile. Click the track you want to share privately and hit the ‘share’ button below the waveform.

you’ll see a private share URL that is unique to your track! You can even make a whole playlist private if you wanna share your entire new album.

Plus, you can reset the the private link at any time to make your private links time sensitive.

PUBLISHING IS JUST THE FIRST STEP

Your track is finally done. You worked long and hard on it. You’re finally happy with how it sounds and you think it’s ready for the world.

So you click share and sit back waiting for those plays. It’s a hit! The track gets some nice buzz and people seem to be liking it!

 

But a couple days later you realize that your song needs a minor tweak…

Maybe someone you admire commented and told you a hot tip on how to boost the bass.

Or maybe you mastered it and you want the better version on your SoundCloud. But if you take it down, you’ll lose all those plays, likes and important feedback…

CHANGE THE AUDIO WITHOUT LOSING COMMENTS, LIKES AND PLAYS

Don’t fret. With a Pro subscription on SoundCloud you can swap out the audio on any SoundCloud upload at any time.

And the best part? You don’t lose all those plays, likes and comments from your fans.

It’s perfect for sharing unfinished songs to get feedback. Tweak your track based on the critiques and re-upload any time.

Hitting share doesn’t have to be final. Swap the audio and make sharing part of your production process.

SHARING MEANS CARING

Don’t just post your own music. Re-post artists that you’re excited about or songs and mixes that you can’t stop listening to.

Sharing other artists and helping your audience discover new music builds trust and authority and is a really humble move.

If you hear something, say something!

You SoundCloud is a community. So support it by sharing other artists in your feed. If you share other artist’s music there’s a better chance they’ll share yours!

Reposting another artist’s music is a great first step to starting a relationship as well. Relationships that lead to gigs, collaborations and helpful partnerships. All that good community stuff.

So build the community you want to be a part of.

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

Sharing your new tracks to your SoundCloud community is great. But why stop there?

Put your tracks out into the world!

Share them to all your promotion platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Once you upload a track share it to all your platforms under the ‘Share’ tab.

You can also auto-post your tracks to all your social platforms automatically by linking your accounts. Just head over to your Account Settings to manage your Connections.

Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are all connectable for auto-posting. Connect your accounts and get your tracks into all those ears!