Tapping Into a Popular Industry Helped Artists Reach New Heights
How Tapping Into a Popular Industry Helped Artists Reach New Heights
Over the last few decades musicians who have tapped into popular industries, trends, and current events have been able to speak to their audience on a level that is aligned with their interests and passions. Similarly,our ‘How To Submit to Music Blogs, Magazines, and Radio, and Get Heard’ article discussed several tips on how aspiring musicians can tap into a larger audience base and get their music heard. Here, we’d like to go over a few examples of how tapping into pop culture aspects has generally helped artists reach new heights.
The Gospel of Kanye
Case in point, Kanye West’s latest gospel album Jesus is King has been a controversial release, and despite mixed reviews, it has proven quite effective at generating buzz about the recently converted rapper. Many are calling his born-again Christianity nothing more than prosperity gospel for the rich that’s more about Kanye and his money rather than religion. Others focus solely on his new gospel music andhave given Jesus is King generally favorable reviews. Whether a publicity stunt or a true intention to spread the gospel through his music, no publicity is bad publicity when you’re constantly the talk of the town.
From Gucci to Adidas
Run-DMC’s My Adidas, released in 1985 announced hip-hop’s infatuation with fashion and featured a subject that’s still very popular today – the classic Adidas sneaker. Since then, Run-DMC seemed to have started a trend that quickly caught on with rap and hip hop artists featuring clothing brands in their music which had huge appeal in popular culture.High Snobiety points out how hip-hop artist Chamillionaire has had some excellent beats in his storied career and seems to have been obsesses with Gucci as the song Gucci & Fendi was featured on his Mixtape Messiah 7 album. It was part of a collection of 61 tracks over three CDs released in 2004. It went to become the longest and most bought mixtape in Texas history.
A Solid Poker Face
Since the early 2000s poker has been a popular topic, especially with the poker boom that began in 2003. But even long before, AC/DC’s The Jack in 1975 and Aerosmith’s Deuces Are Wild released in 1994 popularized the poker phenomenon. More recently, songs like Lady Gaga’s Poker Face, released in 2008 came at the height of the poker craze of the last decade. Even today poker remains a popular game. The World Series of Poker celebrated 50 years this past July underscoring the popularity of the game.
New platforms and new sites continue to crop up and in the span of 20 years, poker has gone from a niche industry to a revolutionary phenomenon in its prime. This is due to the rise of social media which has brought the game to a wider audience and allowed new apps like PPPoker to thrive.PPPoker’s numerous Twitter hashtags alone show how the platform is becoming more popular with people across the world. And it is this popularity that musicians are able to tap into to find new audiences – especially generations brought up on online gaming and social media hashtags.
A new musician should take the above examples on board when creating new content. By associating yourself with a brand, movement, or even a popular game you can reach out and connect to a much wider audience base.
Tapping Into a Popular Industry Helped Artists Reach New Heights
Naming your band can be a rather tedious task for most, but for some, your band name may have come with ease through something that means something to perhaps one person or possibly more members of the band.
However, just because your band name has come with no real effort and may have a specific meaning that only you and your band understand, this does not mean it’s a great name.
Too often do I see names that are hard to pronounce, let alone spell regardless of their meaning.
To be quite honest, no-one cares about the meaning of your band name, and if you need to explain your name or spell it to anyone, then remove it from the list.
On the other hand, some bands try way too hard to create or try to be ‘Clever’, naming their band, resulting in something that is almost as useless as Supercalafragilisticexpialidocious (or however it’s spelt)
People don’t and won’t, consistently move backward and forward from either email, or other sites to check the spelling if they are searching for you on the net. Furthermore, they will not be able to remember it well if they would actually like to find you and hear your music. All they will remember is that it was a weird name beginning with a certain letter perhaps.
When choosing your band name, make it a joint effort with other members of your band.
Make it something that suits your music and sound.
What do I mean by this?
Let’s say you’re Jazz band. You wouldn’t name your band something heavy or hard, like, ‘Metal Blowtorch’ (example only)
This would be best suited to a heavy metal band.
Some tips in helping you find a great simple name is to combine the name of something familiar with a feeling, object or doing word.
Here are a few examples:
The Blue Notes
The Next Big Thing
You could go beyond and mix and match the list and elaborate.
Example: Magic Sunflowers, Lithium Candy, Falling Summer etc.
If you like the meaning of a word, but it just doesn’t cut what represents you, then simply google the ‘another word for ……’ to see what else you could substitute.
Go through pictures on the net, and get some ideas, you never know how something so simple can spark new ideas.
When you think about great movie titles, you will notice they are usually two to three words and very simple.
For example: Morning Wars, Blade Runner, The Dark Knight, The Matrix, Fight Club…
Great simple successful band name examples also contain two to three words and are very simple.
For example: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who, The Smashing Pumpkins, Panic at the disco…
Try to select a few names, then check if it’s legally available, check domain names availability, social media handles should entail the exact band name for every social media channel. If an exact match is not available on a specific social media channel, DO NOT add a number or extra characters. Add an underscore between the words. This way no-one has to try and remember your different handles for various social media platforms.
Over 90% of artists remainundiscovered. That means they don’t have a large following, barely get any traction on social media, are doing without a manager or a booking agent. How do they book gigs then? Well, most of them hassle for gigs on their own – trying to book performances as opening acts for bigger artists, arrange with bars and smaller venues to perform solo nights on the less busy days of the week, as well as join various festivals, themed events, and other multiple-artist shows.
To hold a concert on your own, you don’t necessarily need to have a manager, a concert promoter or a booking agent. Yes, all of these people can take on a huge chunk of work when it comes to concert promotion and selling tickets, but they also take an average of 15% cut of all profits.
Whether you want to put on more shows because your fans ask you to, you want to earn some money on ticket and merch sales or boost your resume, you can organize them on your own without taking any financial risks of booking a venue or making travel arrangements and not selling enough tickets to cover all production and accompanying costs.
What is concert crowdfunding
Concert crowdfunding is a simple concept based off the classic crowdfunding model that has become increasingly popular in recent years. As more and more people use the internet to buy and sell products, using crowdfunding websites has become a more approachable way to raise funding for projects, ideas, and, yes, music. Admittedly, most music projects funded via the model are albums and not shows, but a few festivals have tried the crowdfunding model andconcerts are also gaining traction.
Concert crowdfunding is essentially your fans, supporters and music lovers pre-ordering a concert from you. That means that you calculate full event budget, plan preliminary location and theme, and start a campaign to see if enough people want to attend and are ready to buy tickets at the price that will cover the event budget.
When it comes to crowdfunding platforms, there are a few ways you can go – a professional concert-specific toolset inShow4me Music Interaction Network or general-purpose crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo andKickstarter. These services are free to use and successful campaigns are charged service fee upon payout. Kickstarter and Indiegogo deduct fee from the final raised amount, while Show4me with their concert-specific toolset makes the process easier by adding the fee on top of the show budget that you enter in the built-in campaign calculator.
Once you raise the amount of money you need to hold your concert, you can withdraw the money and start producing your show. If your campaign does not raise enough funds, all contributions are refunded to all backers of your show.
Concert crowdfunding is a great model for up-and-coming or independent musicians to explore the market and gauge the demand for their shows. Unlike traditional show ticket sales, pre-selling tickets via concert crowdfunding does not require you to have a booked venue, established concert date or any upfront expenses before you even know if the show you are planning is going to be an in-demand endeavour.
Concert crowdfunding can also be used by agents and concert promoters as a way to add more dates to an underbooked tour – if a band or a musician happen to have an extra day that they can perform on, due to unexpected schedule changes for example, their team can start a crowdfunding campaign to see if they can fill the gap with another show, this time, with all the tickets sold out before the planning even commences.
Do you need to crowdfund your concert?
Well, unless you have a sold-out world tour running into 2021, you should probably consider concert crowdfunding at least as an experiment as it’s sure to add some interest to your fan interaction and give them something to root for and talk about.
Depending on your fanbase and where you are in your music career, you can start with a small intimate event for 10, 20 or 30 people at your local bar or hangout spot and pre-sell tickets via a crowdfunding campaign to meet your show budget and feel comfortable putting on a show where you don’t depend on ticket sales at the door.
Or you can come up with an out-of-the-box idea for an extravagant event on some fancy rooftop, in the middle of a vineyard, on a yacht or a bridge, and try to pre-sell tickets via crowdfunding. Events like these can be risky in terms of ticket cost (it can run high due to increased production costs) and/or remote location or bizarre theme.
Even if you have a booking agent and a concert promoter working with you, they might not love any creative and ‘out there’ ideas as they can be either a huge success or totally bomb. Even the venue itself can be reluctant to host your event on a busy night as they can’t be sure the show will be packed and staying busy throughout the weekend is crucial for most trendy places to stay relevant. Concert crowdfunding solves all of these problems.
Is experimental show funding for you? Well, I can tell you all the pros and cons, as I did above, but it’s for you to know what fits you and your music lifestyle. And, many of us know from experience, trying something out is a much better indicator of whether we enjoy something or not, rather than just thinking about it, so I guess the answer is not whether you should try crowdfunding a concert in 2020, but which one;)
Since streaming became the new norm, overtaking CD sales and now paid downloads of artists music, it’s now become more evident how streaming and music playlists are actually hurting artists and devaluing who’s behind the music.
But does anyone care?
I wish I could say they do, but it seems that every time someone say’s ‘Playlist’, artists are jumping on board to add themselves to one or more of the millions of playlists that exist only to be added to the needle in the haystack.
While I’m not totally against the playlist, the only real value of getting onto a playlist is that it’s another form of promotion for the artist. However, unless you’re making it on playlists such as ‘Discover Weekly’ and the likes of, or even those who go to the extra effort of promoting their playlists, the unknown artists are again just hurling themselves out to the 1 million playlist followers in the “HOPE” they are either listened to, discovered or streamed thousands of times to be heard, noticed and perhaps earn a few measly dollars in return for months or even years of work.
Am I the only one, who still doesn’t get this so called ‘Common Sense’. Or is it the case of the herd just following what everyone else is doing?
Let’s face it, to stand up and out as an artist, your song has to be better than good. Otherwise you’re just another artist/musician in a list of songs played in amongst other artists whom the average listener may like the sound of, but for the life of them, couldn’t even tell you the name of the artist. (Unless, as mentioned before, you do stand out from the crowd encouraging the listener to actually ‘make an effort’ to find out who the artist is)
Playlists are great for…well, having a playlist to listen to of course, but my concern as stated above goes beyond the devaluated artist and musician. It reduces conversation, opinions and discussion. It simply becomes a one-dimensional tool that does not involve point of views about the music, education and discussion…you know, the social aspect music used to be known for. When people used to go out and see a band/artist, when they used to listen to radio conversation about a song or artist, when people could read and respond to an article about an artist.
The unfortunate aspect about social media is that if anyone voices an opinion in a constructive way, then many take offence, reducing the art of real conversation, therefore not really helping an artist or anyone in that matter. We have become far too sensitive for honest discussion with those who disagree or simply not like what they hear or read as the need to block others or make threats.
Artists who don’t succeed on making it on a so-called radio show or online blog site, fail to keep up with those shows or sites in finding out why? They do not follow or gracefully accept tips to improve, learn more from those sites who offer advice and freebies, instead, they just keep moving to find a place that will accept them, often resulting in a playlist.
The other end of the scale comes down to the effort required by an artist to do what’s necessary to be included on a radio show or blog site, placing them in the ‘to hard’ basket.
There’s a great saying, which reminds me to follow my intent;
|‘Do What’s Right, Not What Is Easy’.
I usually like to think outside that box, and often see where the masses gravitate and ask why? I would look at the world population of over 7 billion people with one million plus listening to playlists. For those who are in radio or online magazines, you would be excused for thinking playlists and streaming are killing us.
Sure, the radio, blog/magazine may have their own playlists along with their online presence, simply to provide for those in the one million demographic, but let’s not forget about the 6.9 billion other people.
If blogs and radio are seeing the word ‘Playlist’and ‘Streaming’everywhere, then why not find a different audience who appreciate the music and the artists behind the music.
If you are in radio, or an online blog, I would stay; artists will ask themselves after a few short years, ‘why did I only focus all my energies on the playlist’? Everything moves in circles.
Time will tell, and to me, the most important aspect of music is not just the music, but the connection. Otherwise you are an artist who is just hurled in with the masses who come and go like every other artist on a playlist.
After all, my intent when Music Talks started, was to help artists stand out from the crowd, and I’ll do my best to continue to do so.
why You need to fail & how to stand out in the crowd
How many emails do you get in your inbox with so much advice on how to succeed?
How many times have you tried something based on the advice given from your emails on how to release an EP/single/album, distribution to ‘X’ number of online stores, how to get your music on radio and blogs, what the particular source it suggests; and on it goes.
If you’re a beginner, I guess you will need some guidance on some of these points, but at the end of the day, you have an EP/single or album distributed to every online store, you’ve reached out to radio and blogs, you’ve had some cool photos and an awesome video and last of all, you’ve splashed your new music out on social media while you check every day what’s going on.?
No-one’s commented, no-one’s listened and no-one seems to really care.
Mainly because the last line is probably closer to the truth than what you would probably admit to or dis gruntingly want to admit to.
You can keep reading the ‘How to’s’ and become overwhelmed with it all not really knowing where you went wrong.
First of all, you didn’t go wrong. You have done everything that’s suggested, you’ve worked hard…..but maybe the reality of it, is that you need to work harder. You also won’t know until you’ve found the issues after making countless mistakes. Remember; mistakes are a good thing!
Lets get to it and find out what more you can do, but first, I need to clear something up before I proceed.
Your music MUST be cutting edge. Not average, not good, but outstanding.
Outstanding means these typical points most A&R, managers, labels even blogs listen for:
If the first 30 secs don’t grab anyone, then it’s unlikely to grab an audience
If your music is out of tune and out of time….don’t do it.
The beat and melody will usually always come first. Eg: If someone has their radio on and it’s at low volume, the first thing that sparks attention would be the beat and the melody. They would then turn it up to hear more….with great vocals and lyrics on top of that gaining interest and excitement. People who are general listeners of music will not crank up a song plucked out of an online store or Spotify if: Firstly they don’t know it, and secondly if they don’t like it.
You have to get people’s attention first.
If your singing doesn’t resonate with the listener and you’re not getting it across, (meaning people don’t understand it) and you’re out of tune dramatically, forget it.
Production is very much dependent on the style of music you record and is also a personal aspect, regardless if it’s a full-on orchestra or just guitar and vocal. But the quality of the sound MUST be good.
This is why there are various sites that offer ratings and feedback from PEOPLE. They comment on what they don’t like (if you’re lucky) or just give you a thumbs down if they don’t like it. These give you a great indication on whether the track will be received well. These are the general listeners ears.
Having said all that, what happens when you still have a killer song that seems to get sucked down the gurgler? The common and very natural thing to do with most artists, is to pick yourself up and go again at another song…another track. This time, you will just somehow make it better with perhaps production?? A stronger song?? Better Vocals?? Maybe it was the mix? Maybe the mastering didn’t cut?
Not sure how many artists actually take the time out to listen to other established artists and even successful business people, but you really need to be doing this if you are a serious artist.
Listen to their past experiences and mistakes, hear what they are saying and how long it’s taken them to get a track going for example. But whatever you do, don’t expect it to happen overnight. (hence why I do these podcasts with people who are and have been successful….these are for you!)
Do you know why majority of artists don’t happen overnight? It’s because it takes time for them to build their audience. Please don’t come back at me saying that artists the likes of Ed Sheeran made it quickly because it wasn’t the case. Not only that, major artists are major because they have large record labels with a machine behind them. (I’ve mentioned this many times before in previous e-books and blog posts)
If you do plan to release an EP/Single or Album, know that JUST releasing with your video and great photo’s, having it up on blogs, radio and social media, quite often won’t be enough to cut through.
Suddenly another new track and/or artist is here, just another out of the thousands each week releasing new music.
(Hope that puts things into perspective a little.)
You need to get in front of people BEFORE the release. You need to get on social media, twitch, perform acoustically on twitch, Facebook video live, Periscope live, twitter live, Instagram live, Busker etc.
You need to post things about you that IS NOT music related.
Let people know who you are, what else you do…but don’t hit them with “HEY….LISTEN TO MY NEW SONG….I KNOW YOU DON’T HAVE A CLUE WHO I AM, BUT I’M JUMPING UP AND DOWN FOR YOU TO STOP AT MY POST AND LISTEN TO MY MUSIC”……Arrrrrr, right….along with every other post before you and after you.
Quite a while ago I put together a part one and part two e-book on how to create great video content, there were even tips in the books saying similar things to what I have done so in this blog post.
There was a reason to why I put this together.
That reason is because; there are not many other emails or other online music sites giving the real deal about how to really get out there, and that video is key along with your plan and your strategy. (Yes…..yet another free e-book with a complete plan and strategy which outlines all the bits in-between that others do not even delve into)
You will notice, if you haven’t already, that if you have been lucky enough to recieve all my free e-books, you will then know how to piece together great content for your plan and strategy.
If not, you can still find them either by joining, or through our store or shop.
So many artists will send me messages asking me HOW to do something……I then know they either don’t know about this page on tips, or don’t have or read the free e-books.
You have to put the work in yourself on social media too!
I’ve been very fortunate to have guidance from a team of expert marketers, business people and entrepreneurs; we all see and know how business works….but I rarely see this with artists.
At the end of day…you need:
An exceptional song
Lots of content (in various formats)
Lots on interaction
And a new way to share YOU on social media
If you do want any of the Free E-books you can join to one of our first ones.
Here are some links for the one’s via Facebook Messenger:
If you would like to know how to piece together your plan and strategy and other information to help you understand what is needed as an artist, we have our 60 page Indie Essential Guide which includes more in detail. Please know, that you need to do these things in order to see a difference in your audience growth and success. INDIE MUSIC GUIDE
All the e-books I have put together from scratch FOR THE ARTISTS to help them. (and no, I’m not mad, just still a little puzzled why so many expect to get all the answers in a few lines via a PM)
Why Some indie music artists will make it and others won’t
I have written quite a lot about social media, marketing and other related tips for artists, but I am still surprised at how many artists do not go to the effort of putting the tips in place. There is a reason for tips, and that is to learn more to create better engagement and to build your profile and audience. The one thing artists need to remember, is that it really doesn’t happen overnight. However, it will happen faster if you just put aside some time each week to perfect your overall presence.
The very first thing, which I have mentioned some time back, is to make sure ALL of your social media pages have the same images. This is your brand and this makes it easier for people to find you. When people are looking for you on other platforms, they are looking for what is familiar to them.
When you have several social media accounts, try to have the same (if you can) name on all your accounts. Preferably your name as the artist. Not some stupid and difficult name that means nothing, hard to remember, or we can’t even spell easily.
I’ve mentioned about posting your music up previously, but I still see artists constantly just posting their music, and worse still, you haven’t told us anything about the music? Is it new, is it a new video to a previously released single? Where did you record it? Who produced it? What’s it about? Does it grab your attention?
If you are trying to build your fan base, it’s not going to happen if you are just posting up links to your music. People do like to be entertained. Less people are now clicking over to listen to music, so you need to build a relationship with them first.
Engage in other social media posts, not only that, be active and make comments on blog sites; get involved. Don’t be lazy and think by posting anything quickly will actually get you anywhere. Put some thought behind it.
If you had a blog, how nice would it be to get some comments? Keep this in mind when you’re reading other peoples blogs and posts. They too would love some comments, and you know what?….they will remember you as an active player.
Before you post up all your music, and only your music, show your audience who you are. What did you do on the weekend? Do you have a sense of humour? What’s your views on other topics other than music? (preferably not politics) Let your audience get to know who you are first. You will be more inclined to build relationships with your audience, and they will be more inclined then to listen to your music.
Be nice. Some people find it hard to be nice, I know. But if you don’t want to get blocked or lose fans, think twice before you press that post button.
DO NOT send those PM’s saying‘I have new music for you to check out’, to busy blogs…please. 🙏🏼 It just tells us one thing about you. You’re lazy.
Ok, so that may seem a little harsh, but really. What do you think it tells the people running busy blog sites? Ok, I’ll tell you.
When there are other artists going to the effort of reading actual blog sites and checking out radio sites to take the time out to email those sites, it tells us that, “hey, they made an effort”, Cool…then we open the email…and we’re either really loving it, or our jaw drops. Why?
The difference between an email with just a link and no introduction as to who you are, no information, no social media links to even see you, no hello…means goodbye.
Then there’s the Hi there, and some actual effort into spending a few minutes into your email is the difference in being heard and not.
Whatever you do, DO NOT play the follow and unfollow game. This is the worst! Just tells people you are not interested, really.
Have you ever heard a song or noticed a band or artist and thought to yourself, what a crap song, how did they get all the attention it did? Then you find a song that rocks your socks and think, this needs to be heard. Why hasn’t this artist been noticed?
The simple truth (generally) is that it is obvious to blogs, media and radio who is active and works hard. These artists, despite them perhaps not quite having an exceptional song, may only have a mediocre track, but is noticed because they are emailing, socialising, putting themselves out there, commenting and creating a following by getting involved. They are sharing other interests and engaging others. They are welcoming their community while building it.
Then there’s the artist who has unbelievable music who doesn’t communicate and only tells people when they have new music coming out and that’s it. Despite if that artist has gone to the effort of paying PR to distribute their music. They still need to make the most of it and get involved. It’s so unfortunate when this happens.
I have time and time again, tried to contact incredible musicians and artists asking if they would like to be featured, or asked if they could send their press release, chasing them up, only to get no response, no email back. Artists who are perhaps not aware that their music has been placed; blogs and radio would go to the effort in trying to reach out to them and tag them, and still no response. Not even recognition. After several times of trying to reach out to artists who have incredible music, they really only have themselves to blame in not responding or at least recognising the effort made to help them out. After all, they could have been asked for an exclusive interview.This is why so many great artists and great music goes down the gurgler and sucked in by those deep dark cracks never to be heard.
While this all may seem a little rough for some, it is the unfortunate reality of what goes on, on a daily basis.
So, if you are a serious artist and want to be noticed, then get it together and treat your music like you would any other business. Get out there and do what you can to show others you are serious and worthy.
Oh, and one last point. Please, check to see if all your links are working on your website and social media pages.
There’s nothing worse (than the follow/unfollow game) than when we want to actually check out who you are, click on your link to be greeted with ‘Sorry, this page isn’t available. The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed’.
Why Some Indie Music Artists Will Make It And Others Won’t