There’s so many different people giving false advice, selling dreams, shortcuts and fake followers on social media - it drives me insane.
So how do you cut through the noise? How do you get your voice heard amongst the other 1.2 million artists on Spotify?
Now I’m no expert in artist management, I’m an independent HipHop producer with a thirst for knowledge and I’m constantly studying the game and moves that successful people make. My thought process is if someone has already made it, why not study their tactics instead of trying to figure it out on your own?
One thing I know for certain is that there are NO SHORTCUTS! You can’t pay someone on Instagram to give you a loyal fanbase, and there’s no cheat code to getting signed by a major label.
Of course there’s the rare occasion where someone’s music video goes viral, like Lil Nas X with ‘Old Town Road’, but are you really gonna bank on this happening to you? Are you gonna be so relaxed about your craft because you think one of the 6 songs you release over a year is gonna pop off? That’s like not working a day in your life because there’s a chance you might win the lottery. You make your own luck.
One artist I study is Russ, not just because I love his music, but because he’s one of the most hard working artists out there. I was introduced to Russ once his major-label debut album ‘There’s Really A Wolf’ dropped. Yeah I’ll admit I was late to the party but shit happens.
Once I heard that he produced, mixed, and mastered his WHOLE album I was like WTF! That’s crazy considering it went platinum with zero features!
So what was his strategy? How did he go from a few thousand streams to millions over a short period of time? The answer is it wasn’t a short period of time, but it was down to one tactic he changed.
Before his major-label debut album, Russ released 12 albums independently with not a lot of success. At first he dropped full albums on soundcloud and maybe got a few thousand plays but it obviously wasn’t what he was hoping for, and once the album was uploaded people would just skim through it like it was nothing and do the same with the next one.
Russ obviously put crazy amounts of work into his albums and like us all, he was pissed that people weren’t appreciating his craft. He figured that with the way the world and social media was shifting people wanted things fast, there was a high demand for new content. We all have access to unlimited amounts of content at the tip of our fingers and Russ knew that if he was gonna break through had to meet these demands.
The change of tactic was simple. Instead of putting out an album at a time, he released one single every week (bear in mind he had 50 already in his catalogue!) and this changed everything. Now there was something new for people to peep every week rather than an album to skip through every few months, and this brought crazy amounts of attention to his music and his brand, and lead him to multiple plaques, sold out shows and millions in the bank.
So how do you grow a fanbase in 2020? Work like you’ve never worked before and release regular content, weekly if possible but fortnightly would be an amazing start. Don’t sit on songs because you think it’s not quite there or you’re saving it for an album. What’s the point releasing an album if you don’t have the fanbase to invest in it? Grow your audience by dropping new tracks frequently and by the time potential fans arrive, you'll have a catalogue big enough to turn them into die-hard supporters.
Think about it, when you’re promoting a new single every week people will catch on because there’s more opportunities to post on social media, more hashtags, more times for people to spot your work and more times for people to engage with it - this is key.
Don’t get it twisted though, your music still needs to be fire so don’t slack on the quality, just don’t overthink it.
Social media guru’s like Gary Vee will tell you the same, posting new content consistently is vital if you want to be heard in this noisy world. Your brand is your business, and if you're serious about yourself you'll step up your game and give the people what they want.
I get that releasing a new single every week or two is hard, but that's the music industry for you. If it was easy we'd all break through, you have to be willing to put in the work, and enjoy it! This is what I call the "Russ Mentality".
My last point is that if you don't have the finances to keep up with purchasing beats for your weekly tracks there are definitely some alternatives. Take a look at some affordable plans such as the Cactus Care Club, where you can save over $80 per month by joining the membership and receiving a new industry standard beat each week!