Sunday 11 January 2015

Come Correct: 5 Steps For The Unsigned Artist

I get asked for advice a lot. So I thought I'd put it in one place.

Don't Be Too Quick To Sign To A Major  
This is probably the most important point in this list. I've seen too many artists get signed off of street heat who were never able to translate it into record sales. You need to be sure that your stable of fans is secure enough to support you, should you ever need to release a track for 99p on iTunes to keep that ink wet. Getting signed to a major label and then dropped for lack of sales has hurt so many careers. It's actually kinda sad. Of course everyone has to eat, but there are countless different ways to break bread without the pressure of single sales hanging over your head. If you have a good team around you who actually know what they're doing, being an indie artist could in fact be more financially beneficial in the long-run. Touring, merchandise, mixtape sales, EP sales, single sales; there's money to be made as an unsigned act if you have a tight enough plan. Think beyond that quick £80,000 advance! Don't rush to blow; working the unsigned circuit for a few years will gain you more respect in the end too.

Save Some Pennies For A Good PR
The days of the rookie, one-man-PR are over. Even if only one person manages your campaign, go with an established PR company that will collectively buy into your dream with the experience to take you to where you need and want to go. Say for instance your PR is off sick or goes on holiday? You need to know that another member of the team will be on-hand to keep things moving as you do. And no matter how many accounts any one PR deals with, be sure that you know they're trying their utmost best on a daily basis to get those placements. (Asking for a weekly report is standard). If you don't know of any good PRs, ask around, because having one is kinda important these days. Gone are the days when tweeting links and messaging journalists/editors on their PRIVATE Facebook pages was deemed okay to do. In fact, unless you know them personally, never do that. "I'm about to change the music game fam. Watch my nu vid and RT." Okay, nice one. But don't come at me like that. If you can't afford a PR to handle your business, then you should know how to move in a professional manner. Politely ask for an email address, introduce yourself in an email with links to your music and recent press links (if you have any), attach a press release for your current project (a biography, too, if you have one), and just hope for the best. The more professional you come across, the better your chances are for a reply. Or, better still: the coverage you wanted all along.

Act Right Online
No-one likes a talented prick. You can be as boastful as you like in your music, that's why some of you are where you are today, but never let that confidence meet arrogance and spill out online. Everyone loves Azealia Banks again after her emotional hip-hop rant, right? But let's not forger when she was cursing-out fans and artists on Twitter and the bitter taste it left in our mouths. You should want your fans to like and respect you, with no doubt in their minds that you'd greet them in the streets without a prickful bone in your body. Likeability factor is, I'd say, just as important as talent these days; people are buying into you as a person, and not just your music.

Originality Is Key
Don't focus too much on what other artists are doing to the point you get lost in their identity. Lock yourself away, get into your God-given zone, and give the world YOU! (Be consistent with your releases as well).

Don't Just Stay In-Camp
Working with different producers and other artists could never be a bad thing. If you have a strong camp already, that's great. But that shouldn't hinder you from hooking up with people outside of your unit. No one musician is the same, and you could come to find out that working with someone far removed from your circle could in fact bring out something completely different in you and your music that you never knew was there.