As an independent artist, there are some things you need to know before diving head first into this business. Now this is speaking from experience, so if you want professional advice, it might be hard to find it, but they will tell you the same thing.
I am going to give you first-hand information on how to ‘BREAK’ a record. Now for some who might not know the jargon of what ‘BREAKING A RECORD’ is, in short term, it’s basically having your song played on the radio, in clubs, or creating some type of demand or acknowledgment of your song, from a large amount of people.
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As an artist, your only motive starting off, once you've found your sound is Finding the Perfect Record to Push and ultimately having that record broken. Now, we all know what happens once a record has been broken... this can turn into additional bookings, single sales, sponsorship deals, appearances, I mean the list pretty much goes on... However, there are two things you cannot deny that you have to be mindful of:
you're a one-hit wonder or you’ve made it
I do a bi-weekly open mic event with the Durtty Boyz from Atlanta’s #1 Hip-Hop Station Hot 107.9 called Battleground Monday and I’ll tell you, every week there is a new artist, wanting exposure, or wanting to work without knowing the necessities it takes to ACTUALLY “work.” So from me to you, let me shine some light on what I think you should know about releasing or "breaking" your record.
1. You have to have a good record.
Weekly, artists roll in and out of our open mic event, saying how they are going to ‘tear up the stage’ or ‘take home the crown’... but how can you do that with a horrible record? Well, here are some things to evaluate before you make a fool of yourself.
- Recognize the city you are in and study the songs that are played on the radio or that are 'in demand'. In simpler terms, if you live in Atlanta and you know it is a ‘party city’ where people like to ‘turn up’ don’t make a slow record, talking about how your girl kicked you out and you have nowhere to go. Recognize the market you are in, and cater to the sound the market loves.
2. No budget, no action.
It just won’t work. You cannot be an artist without money to put into your music. You will have to finance yourself, or find an investor to invest into you. This is because you have to pay people to do the work for you. You have to pay for the mixing/mastering, the artwork (at the least), and if you are really trying to do it right? You have to create a plan and get DJs on your side.
3. Get a team of people who support and believe in you.
The #1 mistake I can say many upcoming independent artists make, is giving people money to do work, that do not do the work. The #2 mistake many artists make is paying their manager to be their manager.
- Here is what you do: get a team of people who believe or support you. This way, they will go just as hard for you and attend all of your shows. Next, begin to look for a mentor or manager who can give you incentives on how to be better. This includes, managing your career, building relationships with influencers and setting up show bookings to name a few.
Overall, many artists, like you or unlike you, lack patience. When you do not have patience, you are trying to do things quickly, not correctly, which ultimately will result in waste of money, waste of time, and waste of good music. Take your time in making sure you are choosing the right record to push. Focus on your market and the needs of your audience.
Once you do that, you will find yourself creating an even bigger buzz for yourself than you've ever imagined.
If you have any questions on this article, comment below and let me know what is on you're mind!