How to Promote Your Music More Efficiently By Finding Your Niche ~ Praverb Dot Net (courtesy of P the Wyse)

It is well known that if you want to get different results you need to do something you haven’t done before. To move quickly than your competition and work a lot more efficiently than them, you need to take some things into consideration before deciding how you are going to promote your music.

Why should you limit your niche and how can that be more profitable?

If you sell something to EVERYBODY you end up selling it to NOBODY. By EXACTLY defining your target audience you already have more chances of success than somebody who hasn’t done this first and starts promoting right away.

The reason is, your music will be targeted easier and your listeners will love it.Find a niche where you can dominate as opposed to competing with EVERYONE in the music industry.

Needless to say if you got this figured out, promotion costs (and in the costs we include TIME as well, not only money) will be lower because you know where your audience is, what they are looking for and you don’t waste your time and money promoting in places that aren’t beneficial for you.

Don’t be the small fish in the big pond, be the biggest fish in the small pond!

It is important to be an absolute master in your domain. Don’t waste time by trying to develop abilities that you are not good at to please people.

Find out what you are good at, you surely have an idea about this up until now, and develop them to the point of mastery, it takes less time and you will find it a lot more pleasurable and feel that you are “on your path”.

Stop doing what everybody is doing and stop wasting time to please everyone. Know who are you promoting your music to, understand the power of Social Networks, forums, YouTube, and other sites.

Establish your target audience and start promoting in your niche. I promise that you will achieve more success doing it this way.

In other words don’t just invest and hope for the best but figure out carefully what you are good at. Find out who is interested in listening to your type of music and promote in places that are already filled with these people so there is a much higher rate of converting them into real fans.

This is a guest blog written by Hip Hop Crash Beats: For more information about this topic and for industry quality instrumentals please visit www.hiphopcrashbeats.com.
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How To Succeed With Twitter

By, Tony Guidry (www.aScratchyThroat.com)

twitter iconMarch 2013

Twitter is an essential tool in your social media strategy. With 250 million unique users monthly, and over 500 million registered users, this is a platform where you definitely need to establish your presence. Today our focus is on the best ways to use twitter to reach people who share your profession or area of interest. In other words, we’ll be focusing on how you can use twitter to interact with people in the music industry, in order to learn from the professionals.

I chose to start by sharing with you ways to interact with ‘decision-makers’ and people who influence the music industry because for most aspiring artists there is a NEED to be educated about the business of music.

You may want to start by following the CEO’s of major record labels & their subsidiaries. You may think that if they hear your music they’ll sign you. Well the music industry doesn’t work that way. (But that’s another article for another time & place). As an aspiring artist, the people who influence and choose what goes on in the music industry – the people that are REALLY important to you – aren’t the CEO’s. You’re going to want to follow the DJ’s and club promoters and venues in your area, and the legitimate publicists, managers, etc who offer the guidance you may need.

You’ll also have to determine if these people actually use twitter regularly or not. LA Reid (@LA_Reid), CEO of Epic Records mostly tweets quotes and doesn’t really interact with other people much on twitter (he doesn’t need to). While a person like Wendy Day  (@RapCoalition), who helps build independent labels and artists’ careers, is on twitter throughout the day, everyday. Wendy interacts with her followers and gives them insight and instruction on how to reach their goals in the music industry. But, if you send her something that looks like this:

twitter spoof

I GUARANTEE that she won’t answer you. This is called ‘spamming your link’ and it is TOTALLY ineffective. Only amateurs consider this marketing or promoting. Spamming your link only gets you blocked, muted or unfollowed.

None of the “quick” fixes work. Buying followers doesn’t work. All the social media platforms give you “instant access to millions” – but establishing yourself on twitter requires you to dedicate some time and effort to what you say, how you say it, who you interact with and when you speak (tweet).

WHAT TO SAY

Say nothing at first. At first you LISTEN. The key to growing your base on twitter is to connect with the the people who have similar interests. You can only find these people by listening, watching, and paying attention to what others are saying FIRST. Engage with these people based on the things you have in common. Talib Kweli (@TalibKweli) recently followed me because of our shared interest in the plight of Leonard Peltier.

When you do start tweeting, say what YOU think and how YOU feel. Once you’ve started using twitter regularly, you should easily learn twitter etiquette and find other  people with similar interests. If you’re an aspiring rapper and you befriend other aspiring rappers and follow each other, you’ll have a million followers in no time!!!

Tweet about your interests and your day to day activities. Twitter is a place where communication (back AND forth) is REQUIRED. If you constantly tweet your video link or ReverbNation URL, it’ll be extra hard to have meaningful interaction with others. Who likes talking to someone that’s always self-centered and talking about themselves? NOBODY.

So, you want to mention the things that actually interest you as a person. It’s as simple as being yourself in your tweets and sharing who you are as a person and artist. Follow the people who interest you and some of them will follow you back. Read the tweets of the people you find interesting, and comment accordingly. As long as you’re consistent, you’ll see the number of your followers begin to build. Even more importantly, you’ll meet people with similar interests and goals from different cities, states & countries – and maybe you can network with them to further BOTH of your goals.

Don’t get caught up on the total number of your followers. Follow the people you can learn from and interact with them. If you follow someone who is well respected in the music industry like @RapCoalition, you’ll see that she tweets a lot of good info on the music business and other issues , don’t tweet AT her about your new single or video. Listen first, read her tweets, learn about her and what she does…then when she tweets about something of interest to you, engage her in a conversation on that topic.

The more you use twitter as a tool to converse with others, the more you’ll learn and improve your ability to really network with people. Your mastery of this ability will place you in a position to meet new people who can really help you move forward with your goals in the music industry.

Social Media is only one piece of the pie in promoting your music. You’ve got to tie in street promotions, performances, press, promotional touring, etc with internet marketing in order to maximize the potential of your music. A Scratchy Throat ensures that you have a powerful & professional online presence.

Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A Scratchy Throat. A Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of industry mainstay Wendy Day – provides professional social media marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists.

Networking At SXSW

March 11, 2013

By, Wendy Day (www.IndustryReport.com)

It’s time once again for SXSW and it’s easy to get overwhelmed at such a large conference. If you are traveling to Austin, TX to attend SXSW, you are committing a substantial amount of dollars to do so. It’s a good investment in yourself and your career so it would be smart to make the best of it before, during, and after.

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Before You Leave Home

1) Print Business cards. Your card should be clean and easy to read. It should have your name, phone number, email address, website, and all of your social media addresses/links. The goal is that as you meet people, you have something to leave with them to contact you after SXSW is over. And hopefully the folks you meet have one to give you as well (I always jot notes on cards so after I have collected 300 of them, I kinda can recall who’s who). Because I do so many different things in the industry, my card has a paragraph on the back that explains everything I do.

2) Print out the schedule: the list of panels, round table discussions, and events that are ideal to boost your knowledge of the music industry. Be certain to highlight the events and people speaking who will benefit you the most. Make sure you attend the discussions that will strengthen you where your knowledge is weakest and offer direct solutions to build your career. For example, if you haven’t placed music in TV shows or films, but would like to, be sure to attend the panels on those topics. Not only will you boost your knowledge, but you will be in the same room with folks who do this for a living which gives you access to those who may be able to help you place your songs.

3) SXSW is very big and there’s a lot going on at once. Most people are going for the performances and showcases, so if there’s a performance you really want to see, get to that event early or arrange a hook up now to get you in ahead of the crowds. Everything fills up very quickly.

4) Try to get added to one of the showcases if you are an artist. The Summer or Fall is a good time to apply to SXSW for a performance slot since usually by Christmas the schedule is full.

5) Reach out to your network of friends and associates and see who else is going. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn are ideal for asking your circle who is attending. If there’s anyone that you should meet with, setting up appointments for lunch, dinner, or coffee would make sense to schedule ahead of time. Folks may be hesitant to commit because they know once they get to Austin they will be pulled in multiple directions. Breakfast meetings may be best because folks can start the day with your meeting provided they aren’t too hung over, and you won’t get lost in the myriad of things going on at SXSW. Be flexible with folks if they need to cancel or reschedule. It’s a huge event with way too much to accomplish.

During SXSW

1) Check the SXSW smart phone Apps frequently to know what’s going on and to stay abreast of changes. Check Twitter and Facebook often for posts from folks who have discovered great events that you should attend. Stalk the #SXSW hashtag frequently and be sure to check your own phone, texts, and email for updates. These are the places that will list impromptu performances by artists that you might care about. Bear in mind that moving around the city of Austin during SXSW can be very slow and cumbersome if you need to get from one club to another quickly during the day or at night. Traffic is a nightmare.

2) At the showcases and events, meet as many fans and industry people as you can. Gather their email addresses, names, and twitter @’s of potential fans; and gather names, email addresses and phone numbers of industry folks and other artists. Keep your lists separate. You don’t ever want to treat an industry person like a fan.

3) At the educational events, be sure to network with other attendees as well as the panelists. Get names, phone numbers, email addresses, and social media addresses whenever possible. Google company names and people so you know who they are and what they do. Divide the people you meet into multiple lists: the ones who could help your career, the ones who are like-minded and who you may want to collaborate with, the ones you aren’t sure what they do yet, potential fans, etc.

4) Try to relax as much as possible and be sure to eat small meals often. Make sure you stay hydrated, especially if you are drinking. Sleeping will probably be challenging, but get as much rest as you can.

5) I can’t stress enough the importance of meeting people. This is a “who you know” business. Try to speak to everyone if you can. Find out what they do and exchange information. Make it a personal challenge for you to talk to everyone in each room or club that you enter. I realize that’s not possible, but try. Even speak to folks you meet in your hotel. This is the one time of year where everyone in Austin is attached somehow to the music industry. Be polite and outgoing. If you realize someone has no value for your career, don’t just drop the conversation coldly and walk away, be polite and kind and then move on. Don’t ever be an asshole.

SXSW Austin Texis

After You Get Home

1) Sleep. You missed a whole lot of sleep, get caught up.

2) Reach out to the folks you met that can help your career within the first 2 weeks of being home. Thank them for their time and tell them how much you enjoyed meeting them. If you shared a special moment, mention it so they may recall who you are.

3) Don’t ever assume people will remember you. In the weeks after a major event, I always change my avatar on my social media to my face, hoping people might remember me when they see my face. I also make sure the signature on my email explains succinctly who I am and what I do in a few sentences, along with my social media links. If folks can just press a link to arrive at my Facebook page or twitter, they might just click it.

4) Reach out to the folks that you met but have no idea what they do. Of course you’ve already googled them at this point, but if you still don’t know, politely ask them. I find it better to ask intelligently–meaning it’s better to ask “I see you work in publishing, what exactly is it that you do?” than to ask a general “what do you do?” It shows that you made some effort on your own to figure out what they do.

5) Lastly, put all of your new potential fans into your fan database. You should be sending out an e-newsletter soon anyway to inform your fans of your trip to SXSW and to discuss the highlights. If your email list has a feature where folks need to opt-in, add them to your list within the first 2 weeks after SXSW so you stand a chance of them remembering you and opting in. Don’t ask them to join your list more than 2 or 3 times, a week or two apart.

6) Networking is the art of give and take. Don’t just figure out a way for the people you met to help you, figure out a way to help them as well. People will be more open to developing a relationship with you if they see a benefit to themselves as well. You being a talented artist is not enough of a benefit, by the way.

7) Make sure you keep in touch with the people you’ve met and if you’ve promised any specific follow up, be certain to do so. Most people do not keep in touch, so the few who do follow up really stand out. When interacting with folks who have established careers in the industry, don’t be surprised if you have to do the bulk of reaching out at first. You need them far more than they need you. Until you have something solid or financial to offer, you are just one of many anxious and hungry folks trying to build a career in music. Be respectful of that. Don’t take anything personal.

Attending an event like SXSW can be very informative and a great networking opportunity for your career. Make sure you spend your time wisely, prepare for it thoroughly, and follow up professionally afterwards. It might just be the best money you spent this year.

Wendy Day is a 21-year veteran of the music industry who has managed to do the impossible: stay relevant. She runs the not-for-profit artist advocacy organization, Rap Coalition, and has helped discover, build the leverage of, and shop and negotiate deals for Master P’s No Limit, Twista, Cash Money Records (BG, Juvenile, Lil Wayne, Turk, Hot Boyz, Big Tymers, and Mannie Fresh), Eminem, David Banner, and many others. She has worked with Do Or Die, Lil Boosie, Webbie, Ras Kass, Slick Rick, BloodRaw, Young Buck, C-Murder, Young Jeezy, MGK, and others. She helps build independent record labels for properly financed labels showing them hands-on how to sell music and make money in today’s music industry. She wrote her first book, The Knowledge To Succeed: How To Get A Record Deal in September of 2011, and runs a social media marketing company called A Scratchy Throat to boost artists’ Internet presence and to increase their one-on-one interaction with fans.

By, Wendy Day (www.SlavesNoMore.com music industry how-to site coming soon…) Before you read this article, please make sure you’ve already read this primer: http://bit.ly/100VB2r about the basics of securing radio spins.

Radio is still the most misunderstood aspect of this industry. I see people lose tens of thousands of dollars constantly in this industry because they either trust the wrong radio promoters or they don’t know what they are doing. I can’t teach you whom to trust, but I can tell you how I successfully pursue radio for my artists.

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I am NOT a radio promoter, I am a consultant. I help people start labels and make money with their music, so one of the many things I do is hire and interact with radio promoters. I have relationships with 10 or 12 different top independent radio promotion people all across the country. I trust them. They have all delivered results for my clients in the recent past. But just because they do a great job for me doesn’t mean they will do a great job for you. [I protect my connections at radio, so if I don’t know you well, I won’t share an introduction with you. Don’t even ask!]

There are MANY variables with radio: time of year, how crowded the radio market is, money, your song, sound, subject matter, money, tempo, features, who’s behind it, the artist, work ethic, money, how established the artist is, how likable the artist is, how likable and knowledgable you are, money, relationships, power, experience, catchiness, money, frequency of your releases, your money, their money, competing labels’ money, etc.

I’m going to assume you’ve done these things before you start spending money at radio:

1. You’ve gotten your single hot on the streets and in the clubs in your region (not just your city, but in the cities that are within a 5 hour driving radius of where you or your artist live) because you’ve already read http://bit.ly/ZvYfJu and maybe even had the chance to read http://bit.ly/YXtwUN as well.

2. You have a radio ready song that’s not only marketable for radio and fits the format, but is mixed and mastered to compete with everything already at radio such as Kanye, Jay Z, 2Chainz, Rihanna, Ke$ha, Lil Wayne, etc. There’s no cursing, the song is around 3 and a half minutes in length, and the subject matter is palatable (even clean versions of songs like “I Wanna F#ck Your B#tch” are harder to work than songs about love and respect, for example, especially for new artists who are scrutinized more harshly).

3. If you have a feature from an established artist on the single, you’ve already gotten the necessary clearances, in writing, from both the artist AND the label to whom he or she is signed giving you “single rights.” If an outside producer (someone not signed to your company) produced the beat, you have a contract with that producer saying you can use his production.

4. You have a good reason for wanting radio play–to sell single downloads, to increase awareness and build show opportunities, etc. By the way, just wanting to hear yourself on the radio, or because you want to be famous are really bad reasons to spend $15k to $100k on radio spins. If you only have one song to work, and no plan, you are wasting everyone’s time and your money.

5. You have registered every version of your single with both MediaBase and BDS. If you don’t know how, your radio promoter can help you do this. You’ve established your ASCAP and/or BMI, and SoundExchange registrations. If you don’t know how to do this, add “.com” to the end of each company and do the research online (such as BMI.com).

Once you’ve accomplished the basics, it’s time to decide which markets are best to break for your artists. The majority of artists that I consult are southern in their sound, so I usually focus on radio in the south initially and then spread into the Midwest. I choose which radio promoter to use based on my target markets.

Each radio promoter has key relationships, and what you are buying IS his or her relationships with program directors in key markets. You also need relationships with multiple radio promoters because when one is overwhelmed with a lot of records to work, you don’t want to hire him or her to work your record. It could easily get lost.

I always focus on a workable area so we can back up our records with contests, give-always, performances, etc–for example, I don’t really want the single spinning simultaneously at radio in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami, and Baltimore. They are too spread out for a small label or an indie artist to affordably work them. I prefer to stick to regions: Southeast, or Mid-south, or Midwest. I back up the radio spins by continuing to promote on the streets (promotional tours work wonders) in each area where we get radio play.

I don’t initially go after major markets like Houston, Dallas, Chicago, or Atlanta. I secure the surrounding smaller markets and then build into the larger cities once we have a story to tell about the single–once it has legs. I do NOT have people call in to request the song because I believe real reaction is superior over fake results. I do, however, print thousands of flyers with radio request line phone numbers for each market to inspire fans to request our song. I also use targeted social media to encourage my artist’s fans to support our single.

With rap music, there are 3 radio formats we can target depending on the sound of the song (and subject matter): Urban, Rhythmic, and Top 40 (Pop). Urban is the easiest to get added, Rhythmic a bit more challenging (and more costly), and Pop is the hardest (and most expensive). Think of them as 3 steps, provided your song fits at all three formats; you can start at Urban, grow into Rhythmic stations, and then expand into Pop. Again, IF the sound of your song warrants that–most do not.

I’ve never seen a record climb backwards, meaning I would never go after Pop radio and then try to secure Rhythmic or Urban. Urban, Rhythmic, then Pop. If your song is more mainstream, I’d bypass Urban and go right to Rhythmic and then Pop. In charting single sales, Urban spins rarely turn into single download sales, while Rhythmic and Pop almost always directly correlate to single sales. Urban spins do help build a rapper’s initial popularity at securing shows or being able to increase his or her show price.

Each radio format has a limited number of slots for songs. These slots are filled by hit records and the most well known artists. Remember, the goal of the station is to keep people from changing the station to the competition and most listeners want to hear songs they know so they can sing along. Each week there are usually only one or two slots available yet the Program Directors receive many songs vying for those slots. It’s very competitive at radio and the best songs don’t necessarily survive.

Once you’ve got an idea of your territory and chosen the radio promoter, it’s time to start getting the spins. The radio promoter will give you an add date at radio (always a Tuesday). This date will be chosen based on the timing of what else is dropping in the marketplace, so your record doesn’t get passed over for the superstar records (a risk that is always there) or lost in a sea of other priorities. The reality is that if it’s a choice between your record or a major label record, the radio program director will most likely support the major label because there is a strong relationship there. Major labels have been supporting radio for many years before your one little record, and will for many years after your one little record. Having said that, a hit record has value to everyone and gets attention.

Program Directors (PDs) are the decision makers at radio stations that choose what gets played on the radio. Music Directors (MDs) are the people directly under the PDs who usually suggest music and often meet with artists and labels. They are rarely the decision makers but run interference for the PDs.

Payola is illegal. There is not one radio station in this country that will take money from you to play your record. There is not one radio station that will even make a move that could be interpreted as payola (like accepting a gift, or swapping a performance for increased spins, etc). But you will pay the radio promoter. You police the success of your record via BDS or MediaBase reports that track the amount and time of your spins daily and/or weekly.

If you hire a radio promoter to get you spins on twenty stations, he or she will. Whether those stations benefit you is another story, but you got what you asked for–spins on 20 stations. It’s human nature to go where there’s the least resistance, so those 20 stations might be the easiest ones to deliver, as opposed to the best stations for your project. It’s YOUR project, so it’s your job to know which stations are beneficial and which stations are not. You must know what your needs and goals are and work with the promoters to deliver what you need and what you can best afford. Radio is an expensive game. You also need to work within the realistic confines of what the radio promoter can deliver. It’s not like you make a list and say “I want these stations at this time everyday.” Those would be advertisements.

Radio is a wonderful medium to reach large amounts of people, mostly women, with your music. You focus on one single at a time and the life of a single at radio is 12 to 16 weeks. Make sure your timing is right and make sure you can back up that single with street promotions, Internet promotions, a promo tour, etc while the song still has life in it.

I work my records slowly–meaning I spend slowly at radio. I never give a radio promoter $75,000 and say ‘go get me the south.’ I test my records, usually spending around $10,000 initially to see if my record has legs. This tests a few good markets and I can see if the record stays only in the overnight slots or if it moves into better day parts. I want to see if it’s “reacting.” I can see if the Program Director embraces the record (it increases in spins naturally every week) or not. My plan is that if I’m going to lose money on a single at radio (which is unlikely because it has a strong street and club buzz, so I already know fans like it), I’m going to lose as little as possible.

Much of what I want to teach you, I can’t because it’s based on feeling. You learn to feel records and you can tell when they are reacting or not. You light the spark and then hope it catches fire. Sometimes emotion and our own love of a record can cloud our judgment of whether or not we have a strong single. I’ve seen many people chase a record and spend $50,000 or $75,000 only to learn that the single did not react at radio. I’d rather learn this after $10,000 or $20,000 is spent. The ONLY folks who determine if a song is a hit record are the fans–the listeners. You don’t know, I don’t know, your consultants don’t know, the radio station doesn’t know. Only the fans can determine if it reacts or not by whether they embrace it or not. You can’t really force a hit…I’ve tried.

Lastly, radio is a great way to reach a large amount of people at once, as long as people continue to listen to the radio. Your BDS or MediaBase reports tell you how many thousands or millions of people are potentially hearing your record. If your goal is to get a deal from just radio spins, you haven’t done enough research on how to get a record deal. If you think you can spend $20,000 to get 500 spins a week at urban radio, you haven’t done enough research on how radio works. If you don’t have a goal for your radio play, you’re wasting your time and money, and taking away the few open slots at radio for those of us who have a goal and a plan! Get out of the way.

If you’re an artist  waiting to be “discovered” or hoping to be given a record deal based on your perceived talent or the “uniqueness” of your sound, it’s time to educate yourself on the basics of the music business. The belief that major labels are LOOKING to sign new artists because of their talent is very far from the truth, and the sooner a person who desires to be an entertainer learns this, the better.

The process of getting “on” doesn’t require a co-sign or “hook-up” from an established artist or record label executive. You get on by building relationships with people who like your music, support it by buying it, and actually listen to it – these people are called FANS. When you get enough fans talking about you and your music, you’ve created a buzz. how to succeed

If you’re able to create a buzz around your music you’ll first attract the scammers, douchebags and con-men. These bottom feeders are the people who want to “sign” you to a “development” deal, or in other words, they want to pay for your studio time in exchange for owning half (or more) of what you create. If you’ve educated yourself on how the business of music works you’ll be very wary of these types of offers. Today’s artists have NO EXCUSE for getting shafted.

All aspiring artists coming up in this “internet age” have heard of or read about the ways that artists have gotten used, abused, and swindled in the past. From the earliest days of recorded music all the way up to the latest headlines, the music industry has been a place where you lose everything if you don’t know the business. Too many of our favorite rappers who were once superstars are living day to day or paycheck to paycheck because they made the hit music while someone untrustworthy handled the business. You’ve seen it happen enough to KNOW that you need to learn how the business works in order to protect yourself.

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Now, more than ever, whether you’re a musician, singer, rapper, producer or other kind of recording artist, you can earn a living doing what you love. Don’t let the desire to be “popular” override the necessity of getting paid. If you’re doing music for fun or “for the love” then these words aren’t for you. I’m speaking to those people who aspire to be professionals in the music industry, the people who expect to be properly compensated for their hard work and talent. Believe me, if you’re making music only “for the love”, there is no shortage of people in this industry who will make sure that you get ALL the “love” (i.e. attention) you desire…..as they walk away with the money.

Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A ScratchyThroatA Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of industry mainstay Wendy Day – provides professional social media marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists.

written by Wendy Day (wendyday.com)

money2Marketing is the overall image and awareness that is put forth by your brand as you advertise, promote, do interviews and basically spread the word about your music (which is your product). One of the keys is to know exactly who will buy your music, and tailor your marketing campaign to them. The best method to draw in fans is “word of mouth,” so therefore your goal should always be to spark positive conversation (word of mouth) about you and your music.

Who Is Your Potential Fan?

Taking it outside of music for a minute, can we all agree that the person who shops at K-Mart is different from the person who shops at Neiman Marcus? The person who drives a Hyundai, may have different interests from the person driving a Bentley? So back to music now—the person who is listening to or buying Justin Bieber’s music is different from the person who supports Trae. Beiber has a younger audience, more pop music, radio, and internet driven, while Trae makes music to ride and/or smoke to—meaning the fan is older and probably more likely to be male. They are also more likely to buy a CD at the local Swap Meet or the Car Wash, while a Bieber fan may be more likely to download his music to an iPod, smartphone, or MP3 player, or buy the CD at the Best Buy next to the Mall for $9.99.

So, if I was marketing a young pop artist, I might try to book him on Nickelodeon shows and set up a high school or Mall tour. With a rapper who doesn’t appeal to a teenage demographic, I’d probably do more of a college tour, and club dates reaching a 21 and older crowd. So, it’s important to know who is buying your music. You need to be able to figure out the demographic for your music or your song, and that will let you know the direction your marketing needs to take. If you are not able to determine who your fan base is yourself, you need to find someone around you who can. But they better be right. If you are making music that appeals to white skateboard twenty-something kids and you market to young inner city teens, you are fucked in the gate!

When I was out on the road with BloodRaw in February of ’08, I kept dragging him to college campuses because he makes anthem type party raps, and he kept telling me’ “Let’s go to the ‘Hood.“ It’s not that one is right and one is wrong, but that he knows who buys and listens to his music. In this case, we blitzed the ‘hoods first and then grew out to the college and party crowds. He had a perfect understanding of who his market is.

How Will You Reach Them?

Once you know who will buy your music, it becomes pretty clear what your image needs to be to reach your market. In Young Jeezy’s case, he’s that dope boy turned rapper who’s about making money, partying in the clubs, buying material items, and driving expensive cars. In Jay Z’s case, he’s that Billionaire Mogul running his own empire and living the life that this brings. Kanye is the intelligent around-the-way guy who dropped out of college to pursue a dream and feels a need to voice his opinion about everything publicly. Lil Kim and Foxy Brown are the old school ‘hood chicks that every guy knows and loves while Nicki Minaj is the new “Barbie” on the block. Odd Future are the zany “I don’t give a fuck” guys who act a fool and hate everything. Wiz Khalifa is your boy who all he wants to do is smoke weed.

In terms of imaging, Jeezy could rock a suit, but you’d assume he was going to court. He’s much more at home in some high end black jeans and a white or black T shirt with some Gucci or Prada shoes. Jay Z is more likely to be recognized in a button down shirt with cuff links or an expensive Italian suit. Image is a big part of marketing. What is your image? What sentence would a fan use to describe you? Is that description unique or does it fit ten other rappers?

Now, as you promote your image to the masses to gain awareness, it’s important that your message is clear, concise, and easy to understand. A flyer with 20 things crowded on it, and no empty space for the eye to rest, is a waste. Having things mis-spelled or grammatically incorrect is terrible too. Photos that are too low resolution that they look grainy and out of focus make you look cheap and clueless. The look of your promotional materials says a lot about who you are as a person. It would be easier for Yo Gotti to get away with something grimy and street than Jay Z or Puffy. Image is everything, and yours should be consistent.

If you have no understanding of design or aesthetics, find someone who does. If you suck at writing copy, find someone who has that talent to write the words for your flyers, social media pages, website, bio, and CD booklets (liner notes). Find people who are good at what they do and hire them to help you. Know your role and play it. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Teamwork is key here.

When you choose your own lane, try not to bite what has come before you. There is already a Jay Z, already a Lil Wayne, already a Drake. Try not to copy their style or image or sound. Usually the one who does it first, does it best, so be unique.

I suggest to small labels all of the time that they use one image of the artist to have consistency in marketing. First of all, you don’t have the budget of a major label who can afford to market Rick Ross in a suit, a sweatsuit, as well as street clothes. Pick one image and use that for your CD cover, vehicle wrap, website, flyers, posters, etc. It is very rare that a fan recalls a new artist’s name. There are just too many new artists. So very often they will go into the store asking for the kid who is rapping next to a Lamborghini on his posters, or that kid who is into skateboarding, etc. Make it easy for people to figure out who you are. Use one strong image that stands out to market yourself, and sets you apart from everyone else.

When I first started working with TMI Boyz in 2008, our t-shirts were so ugly that I would never wear them. We gave out like 10,000 of those ugly shirts. Finally, we had the logo and shirts redesigned. We had everybody asking for our shirts and wearing them (including me). We even had folks offering to buy them from us (truth is t-shirts are more expensive to print, so we should sell the t-shirts and give out the CDs for free. Ha ha ha ha).

Your marketing mix should consist of whatever you can afford from the following–

Promotions:
Street promotion
Radio promotion
Club promotion
Retail store promotion
Internet promotion
Social media marketing
Publicity (blog, magazine, and media mentions)
Promotional Tour

Advertising:
Magazine ads
Billboards
Cable TV
Radio Ads
Internet Banner Ads

Tools:
Videos & Behind-the-scenes footage
Snippet CDs
Mixed CDs
T-Shirts
Wrapped Vehicles
Posters/Flyers/Post Cards

Don’t forget to incorporate the internet as part of your campaign. While we still aren’t 100% digital yet in this era, it is a crucial part of your marketing mix. To those of you with no budget who think free internet promotions is enough to build an artist, you are wrong. It is exactly what it is: inexpensive promotions, but just one part of your whole marketing pie. You still need the streets, clubs, and real world promotion.

I can’t stress enough the importance of your imaging and marketing. Make sure your messages are clear, well designed, spelled correctly and grammatically correct. And most of all, make sure you are reaching the people who will buy your music, with your imaging, your design, and your marketing mix. This should put you one step closer to success whether your plan is to stay independent or to attract legitimate deal offers from established record labels. (2/2013)

Increasing Your YouTube Views

February 20, 2013

youtube-facts-figures-by-techwelkinGetting people to watch your videos on YouTube is a process. There is no one simple solution that’ll make your video go viral. First we have to realize that people upload 60 hours of video to YouTube EVERY MINUTE of EVERY DAY! Pause for a second….that’s an hour of video that just got uploaded to YouTube! It would take 8 years to watch the videos uploaded to YouTube just today.

 There are over 500 million channels on YouTube. The site gets 800 million visitors per month and of course is accessible worldwide. YouTube Mobile gets 600 million views everyday. 500 YEARS of YouTube videos are watched everyday on Facebook alone. 100 million people take a social action on YouTube (likes, shares, comments, etc.) every week.

 The first thing I’d like to point out about YouTube is that 70% of the traffic comes from outside the U.S.; this means that YouTube is truly a global force. Since this blog is written for the purpose of helping aspiring artists, our focus is going to be those 8 million people in the U.S. who visit YouTube every day. We’re not going to ignore the international market, but the truth is that most of you are on a limited budget and can’t afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars that a national ad campaign costs, much less the millions required for an international ad campaign. (To our readers outside the U.S. there is still pertinent info here.) Now let’s talk about the process of getting views.

 There are several ways to get your video seen by more people. Here, at A Scratchy Throat we like to keep it simple yet effective. We assume that you’ve already created a YouTube account and named your channel. Once your account is setup and you have the video ready that you want to upload, the very first thing you’re going to do BEFORE uploading is rename the VIDEO FILE itself to contain relevant keywords about the content of the video. For example, a video name would be:

“cupid shuffle dance video.mov”

While your renamed video is uploading you can add your tags. Since I’m using an R&B artist like Cupid as an example, my keywords might include:

Cupid, New Cupid, soul, Lafayette, Hub City, Louisiana, music, family friendly, dance, dancing, fun, shuffle, “cupid shuffle”, “line dance”

 Some people even tag their video with other popular rappers names or events in hopes that their video pops up when people search for “Lil Wayne” or “Miami Heat” or “Rihanna”. I don’t suggest you try this, because it doesn’t get you more views. If you’re having problems choosing, the YouTube Keyword Tool will help you figure out what keywords to add to your video.

 Next is your video description. Start your video description with a link to your website or blog (make sure that your video is embedded on the page you link to). Write up at least 2 paragraphs for the video description section that tells what the video is about. Be creative and include your keywords in the natural flow of these two or three paragraphs. YouTube uses this description when people search for videos, so the link and the description will help you to get views more than you may think.

 Once you’ve got your tags and video description done, double check to make sure that ALL the keywords that relate to your video are included in the “tags” section of your video. This helps with Search Engine Optimization for YouTube searches.

 Now that the groundwork is laid, and the video is uploaded, it’s time to start sharing your video.

 Embed the video to your site or blog. Encourage you’re your friends and fellow bloggers to visit and comment on your video. When you “embed” a video to your site it allows your fans to view the video on your site without having to go to YouTube. If you have friends with websites, ask them to embed your video as well. Make sure you do the same for them. Multiple people working towards the same goals (increased YouTube views for all) is the definition of networking.

 On Facebook, embed your video to YOUR OWN page and your fan page. Don’t bother posting it to your friends’ pages, or putting it in people’s inboxes, it annoys people more than influencing them to check out your video. It’s better to post the video to your page, tagging your CLOSEST friends in it. Post the video as a status and either to pay to have it promoted ($7) or post it several times a day for the first few days, then maybe twice a day afterwards. You CAN ask your friends to share the video to their pages. Think about it, isn’t your video more likely to be seen if 100 people share it with their friends, instead of you posting it all over their pages without their knowledge? Don’t be the ass clown who posts their video to all of their Facebook friends’ pages. These are the posts that get deleted, not watched.

 On Twitter include the link in tweets about your new video. Do NOT @people your video link. This is annoying, doesn’t increase views, and often gets you blocked. Twitter is a means of communication and interaction. Don’t be the person who just @s links and tweets about their new “hot” mixtape or “smash” single. This doesn’t draw you any extra attention or give you more views. Engage in conversation with people on twitter, and as you connect with each other introduce them to the OPTION of checking out your video. @ing a link to your video to your followers or “important” people in the music industry is SPAM. It’s a waste of time and does much more harm than good. Don’t be the douchebag spammer who gets muted or blocked!

 Lastly, no matter which social network you’re using, encourage sharing and commenting. With our example above, “The Cupid Shuffle,” you might even ask your fans to create their own response video doing “The Cupid Shuffle” and then you can tweet and share the links to THEIR version of your video as well. You could even conduct a contest and give a prize to the person with the best response video. The Harlem Shake is an example of this promotional idea that went viral.

 The possibilities and probabilities for your new video are endless. Just realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day. You’ll have to stick to your guns and not give up. Don’t get discouraged and start doing what all the other guys with 100 views are doing. Don’t become a spammer. The “easy” techniques aren’t working for THEM and they won’t work for you either.

 Everybody can’t be the next “Psy” and have a BILLION views of their video. Although, you DO have a chance to be successful!! Follow these basic tips and continue to educate yourself on how to get the most views for your video, and you’ll see your channel subscribers growing daily.

 Lastly, just in case you didn’t know, buying views doesn’t work. Knowledge, dedication, hard work and persistence do work. Do what works and maybe you’ll see us tweeting about how much we like your new video (but don’t spam us your link!! LOL).

Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A ScratchyThroatA Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of industry mainstay Wendy Day – provides professional social media marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists.

The primary focus of the blogs contained here at A Scratchy Throat  are to help you boost your social reach in today’s online market. Every day, people use social networks to help them sell their music, get shows or sell merch. You can become one of these people with the right amount of research and determination.

 Negative people always know how to fail. They say YouTube doesn’t work because you can buy views; or that Facebook doesn’t give you a proper percentage of fan interaction; or that Twitter isn’t a proper platform to market your songs. They tell you that Reverbnation and Soundcloud are like ghost-towns (nobody goes there). That MySpace is dead. Negative people say that nobody buys music anymore; and that everyone downloads their music for free.

 Negative people tell you these things because they actually believe them. It’s your job to do your research and find out for yourself if what these negative people believe is true.

 Kendrick Lamar went platinum last year, and before you say it’s because he’s signed to a major label, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are independent artists and their single Thrift Shop just went 3x platinum.

It’s your choice to make the most out of every networking opportunity that comes your way. Don’t forget to look at your own expectations of social networks and decide HOW to approach promoting your music online.

AN ONLINE PRESENCE IS NECESSARY FOR YOUR SUCCESS IN TODAY’S MUSIC INDUSTRY.

So where do you start? What network do you use? Well, that depends on the kind of music you make and who you believe is your audience. Billions of people use social networks. Here’s a list of the more popular ones for our purposes:

Now before u choose the site with the most visitors, let’s look at the ages of the users of some of the various network sites:

Modified graphic from pingdom.com

We all know music doesn’t appeal to everyone in all age groups (although I’ve heard many of you say “everyone is my target market”). Even though there are 60 year old women who like 2 Chainz, his main target market is 18-34 men. Even though some 10 year olds may like to groove with Maze & Frankie Beverly, the band’s target audience is 35+ (they haven’t released new music since 1993). So evaluate your music and content. You don’t want to target people 45+ years old if you’re a hipster or gangster rapper; and you don’t want to target 0-17 year olds if you play traditional jazz. Choose your target audience appropriately, and use the network where you will have the biggest possible audience.

Paying close attention to the chart above, you’ll notice that Tumblr has the most 18-24 year old users. If you’re a young rapper and want to engage people from 18-34, then it looks like your target audience uses mostly Tumblr, Blogger, & MySpace. But if you’re more of an R&B type artist and want to target ages 25-44, your audience is biggest on Twitter, Blogger & WordPress. Finally, if you cater to a more mature audience, like 35+, then Facebook, WordPress & LinkedIn hold bigger parts of your target market. Now these indicators don’t mean that you should shut down or not use ALL social networks. This is just an example of the research that you have to do to locate your potential audience.

If you dedicate the time, an internet search will show you which social networks have the most women, the most college graduates, or the most high school dropouts. I think that I’ve given you enough to get you started in locating the people you want to share your music with online. Now it’s up to you to get your profiles setup and to start engaging the people who have similar interests to you. Remember, DO NOT spam your links to people’s pages!!! That doesn’t work!! Get to know ’em first– you’ve narrowed down your prospects and are talking to your target market. Make sure that your aim is steady before you fire!

Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A Scratchy Throat. A Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of industry mainstay Wendy Day – provides professional social media marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists.