As technology in the world increases and accessibility of computer based alternatives to making music, the number of people making music has also increased. I know in South Africa that hiphop has become the dominating genre in terms of growth, sidelining local genres like Kwaito and Maskandi.
With the introduction of my specials page on my website, I've seen an increase in people inquiring about the music hustle and the services I provide. The more one interacts with artists, the more it becomes evident that some people aren't serious about their music hustle but want the rewards of the music hustle. With that said, I've been able to tell which things I'd say identify a "lazy" rapper.
1) Not Registered with a PRO aka Performance Rights Organization (SAMRO)
SAMRO or any of the alternative PROs is the be all and end all of all artists that want any radio station income or playlisting. Every radio station I've interacted with with regards to playlisting explicitly states that the songs they playlist have to be registered with SAMRO.
What I've found with the lazy folk is that they are simply too lazy to fill out a form and send an email. I'd understand if there was a registration fee but it's free to register with SAMRO. Now, I'm not taking jabs at the people that don't even know what SAMRO is but if you do know and you aren't registered yet, do yourself a favour and register ASAP! In fact, click here.
For those of you that have no clue what SAMRO is, click here to watch a how samro licensing works.
2) Lack Of Goal Setting
I recently had the pleasure of interacting with an established businesswoman, a billionaire actually. She had her PA with an iPad in hand, her bodyguard with an earpiece in ear and most likely a driver somewhere outside. I was playing the piano for them and after my scheduled time, she called me over for an exact 5 min.
She asked me with little to no hesitation, "What are your goals with your music?" I got nervous but before I knew it I was telling her about my business model, yearly targets and most importantly how this is bigger than me as an individual but a community empowerment. Just like this very blog you are reading.
The PA was instructed to take my details. Thank goodness I have business cards. I got her's and a simple "we'll be in touch". She concluded by saying "One of the things most artists in our country don't have is a plan to riches." In my head this translated to a lack of goal setting. Setting out a path for your music hustle is the most rewarding thing you could do for yourself. I wrote a blog entry about goal-setting that I think could help out with this task.
If you've been in the music hustle for a long period of time and you aren't seeing results, it's most likely due to a lack of planning. Don't be part of the lazy folk, set up your targets, set up your goals and work on achieving them.
3) Lack Of A Portfolio
A lot of rappers that I've had the privilege to talk to about the music hustle have had different views about the lack of sponsorship/funding in music. One of the most surprising things is that most of the artists that complain about this simply don't have a portfolio or a general history of who they are and what they do!
This is like saying I'm selling a car but you aren't given any further details about this car, not even the price! I'd understand more if there was a fee implication with drafting a porfolio/press kit but IT IS FREE! All that is needed is some time to draft up a portfolio. If you don't have one set up... you know what to do.
A further step that I suggest is to have a summary of this portfolio on your phone using a notes app and use this whenever someone asks you about your hustle. That initial time you spend putting in work will save you time later.
4) Lack Of A Marketing Plan
For rappers that don't have music they deem ready for a mass audience, then this point can be skipped but for those that use the spam-like posts on social media, then this one is in for you.
Spam doesn't work and if you've read any of my other posts, then you know that spam-n-tag in 2016 doesn't work AT ALL!
Getting a structured and detailed marketing plan for any project releases is crucial to get the most rewarding and less annoying effects of releasing music. It usually boils down to getting footage of the music you're releasing and posting it over a period of time. Think about it, what steps do you take to make a project?
Record, Mix & Master, listening session with reliable people (not just friends), professional reviews (I paid for these initially and now they are contacts), register with samro, release date and then choose upload website. That's seven steps that you can record footage for. If you upload one a day that means it's a week of footage. If you plan it better and you have more than one song, you can have a lot more than just one week of marketing material.
5) The Lack of A Press Release
The dark art of a press release is something that I've recently been able to get right. Getting from magazine to local newspapers may be the only way people will consider you serious (unfortunately) but if you're able to get this right, it looks good in the portfolio that you've already crafted.
I wouldn't say it's lazy if you've tried and failed but if you haven't at all then perhaps it's time to try and contact your local newspaper or favourite hiphop magazine. There are a lot of online alternatives to traditional magazines. Blogs, online magazines and podcasts are there that cover artists and I suggest trying there first. Most local newspapers need you to write the press release yourself and then they just proof read and see if it works for their edition. The very least you can do is write a press release yourself.
At the end of the day, the above "Lazy" indicators are dependent on your goals. Somewhere online I read the following "...if you don't have any goals and sub-goals for everything you do, in terms of music then you're still taking your music career as a hobby." I won't lie and say that I don't have my moments of laziness but that's usually as a reward from achieving a goal (not saying it's right though). Anyway, if you're starting or have been taking this music hustle serious and are looking for quality beats, mixing & mastering or any other of the services that I provide hit me up via whatsapp 0835709602 or email email@example.com. Don't forget to check out the specials for the month.
Until next time,
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