The reality of being an artist is a lot more than recording tracks in a booth, popping bottles, and stacking money. The key to success in any chosen career is proper planning, and strategic movements. The difference between the Jay Z’s and the unknown rappers from down the block isn’t always talent –it’s simply the right business decisions and professionalism. Every industry has its standards; the way things are meant to be done. To be successful in the entertainment industry is no different. Here are a few tips for upcoming artists and their management teams;
First impressions are everything! If you walk away from this article with only one thing – I advise you to walk away with that phrase embedded in your mind. How you present yourself to the world is how the world will perceive you. When you contact DJ’s or any media to help YOU and YOUR career remember; they do not owe you ANYTHING. Be courteous with regards to their time. On more than one occasion I have received emails from artists with salutations such as; “YO”, “Wah gwan” or my absolute biggest pet peeve, no salutation just an “I got a problem on my hands – this song is a serious banger!”. Well sorry to break it to you Mr. Rapper-sir, but even though your song may be a “banger” (and by whose standards I am not sure of), unless you communicate with me properly (i.e. using the subject line to specify what it is for, and the body of the email to explain to me who you are) I CANNOT help you with your problem- and your email will most likely be deleted. Even though I COULD have forwarded your song to my boss and got it in rotation – no problem.
Which brings me to my next point; BE HUMBLE! Unless your song is bumping on commercial radio across the country, you’re being booked consistently and your face is plastered all over the media; there’s still much work to be done! The industry has changed from the days of Biggie and Pac. If you end up signing with a label, that does NOT mean that you stop working. Too many artists grind, grind, grind and do everything right until they get in the right position, but then fail miserably once they are there. Remember; you are not working to stop, you are working to succeed!
Many artists do not familiarize themselves with the actual BUSINESS of music. I regularly receive questions such as; what is an EPK? Why do I need a PR? What’s BDS? How does publishing work? If you or your management do not know the answers, then music industry may not be for you. If you only want to do music out of love, you would be better suited singing in a church choir, making youtube videos of whatever song you’re feeling at the moment or freestylin’ with your homeboys while passing around a blunt – but you’re not so, familiarize yourself!
This is the MUSIC BUSINESS – meaning this is YOUR business as an artist. And every business takes INVESTMENT. It takes money to make money and I am sorry to burst your bubbles but radio play takes money and effective promotions take money. You want a serious beat? Well guess what THAT TAKES MONEY – so pay your producers, your PR’s, and DJ’s because they have bills too.
BE CAREFUL WHO YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH! A lot of people surround themselves with a “team” and there is nothing wrong with that. But what happens when that team of your closest friends are not up to par with your business? I cannot stress enough that this is business not personal – so your dude who’s watched your hustle all his life, but does not know a THING about the music industry, nor has any connects for you, just MAY NOT be the best choice for you. Always remember if you can do for yourself what a MANAGER offers to do for you – they are NOT the right fit in your career path. Most artists think they need a manager right away, but I have seen time and time again that sometimes managers actually make a negative impact on an artist’s career.