(The real reason you are struggling to get noticed by the right people.)
The life of a independent artist with no following is very hard to grasp for anyone who is not familiar with the entertainment business. You spend all this time and money producing quality music and doing everything right only to get a few streams, plays or views on your struggling music platforms.
Why are industry artist famous and you are struggling to get twenty of your closest friends to listen to your music? Assuming you have a viable sound, look and the ability to generate a buzz, it could be as simple as submitting unsolicited work.
Let’s start with social media, a haven for misinformation and new entertainers who assume this is the best way to get heard by the masses.
You post content on a regular basis and have a solid following of friends, family and co-workers. That stupid picture you posted of your dog got over 1,000 views and countless comments, so why wouldn’t your music get the same attention? How hard could it really be to get your music heard using social media?
Many of you know the answer, it’s very hard. Still, you keep pushing and double down on the things that don’t work. How many times this month did you drop a link on a tweet or post that had nothing to do with music. Your thinking was, the original tweet or post got a lot of engagement so by dropping my link a percent of people will click on my music link.
On the off chance this works for you, stick to what is getting your music attention and learn how to use the rest to amplify your reach. For most of you, the effort you spend dropping links will get you a lot less back. As a self promoting artist, you want to believe that you can get people to listen if you keep dropping links.
This is where artist go wrong. If you continue to show up where you don’t belong, that could be a huge red flag to entertainment professionals looking for talent to work with.
Learn early, FOLLOW DIRECTION. If you are told to fill out a form, fill it out. if you are told your music is not good enough for specific reasons, fix the issues mentioned. Adapt, adjust and understand that this is part of the business.
Think about it, your first day at a new school or job, are you trying to climb the ranks to CEO or valedictorian based off your potential? The answer is a clear NO. You work your way from the bottom to the top and you are happy to do so. The same goes for your music and how you get yourself heard by the right people.
The fact of the matter is that artist can be their greatest asset or liability depending on their ability to follow direction. Simply put, getting the contact information of a well known entertainment professional doesn’t mean your entitled to submit your work to that entertainment professional.
Thousands of emails with music links and other kinds of content including inflated social media links and platforms are submitted and ignored daily. A&R’s will submit content to the appropriate people because the A&R’s have a working relationship with the people they are submitting music to.
This is where things get funny, the A&R has the ability to turn this into a small side hustle and this is where many artist get caught up in bad situations. You pay someone to do something but that someone has no power, all they can do is send your music along with a few notes and that’s it. They can’t get you meetings and if they do, the people they introduce you to are not taking the meeting that serious.
Is there a chance those situations can blossom into something real? Of course. Not likely but there is ALWAYS a small chance. Like crashing your crashing into a brick wall and hitting the only soft spot on that wall. Get it?
For the sake of this article we will use A&R as the example but this translates to promoters, managers, booking agents, management companies, DJs, Radio Stations Etc. Basically, people in power who can help you get heard/seen by large audiences.
How to get yourself noticed by the RIGHT people?
You want to start by creating a PRESS KIT – the best advice we can give you is to google: What is a press kit? and create one using a simple Word Processing application. There are also websites like ReverbNation and Artist E Card that can help you create a press kit for free or for a low cost.
The press kit is a wonderful guide to help you figure out what you should do next based on the way the press kit is laid out. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT SPENDING THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON PROFESSIONAL PICTURES AND MUSIC VIDEOS IF YOU HAVE NO BUDGET.
Work with what you have but keep in mind you are building your resume and this is the FIRST THING entertainment professionals look at when dealing with new talent.
Connect with and network with artist and entertainment professionals like yourself. The best way to do this is by supporting and promoting the work they produce. You should include your own music in the promotion, but keep in mind, there is a bigger picture. You don’t want to make this a full time thing, this is a small part of building your reputation.
Document and promote your story and music on social media, blogs, interviews as well as creating behind the scenes content for your fans, this will be a part of your regular promotion and allow you to post relevant content on a consistent basis. The key here is creating and sticking to a routine.
In a pre-covid world we would say find events to perform at but we are not there yet. Performing is a HUGE part of helping indie artist get heard and seen by the right people. If you can find performances or create performance opportunities in a safe manner – do it. One of the best ways to get discovered is by doing what you do LIVE so never stop developing your performance.
Now, we can create a made up situation but let’s focus on blogs and interview opportunities. This is a low budget way to test your ability to follow directions and see if you can get people who don’t know you to help you get publicity.
Submit for opportunities with 10 platforms. See how many reply in a favorable way. Please Note: If they ask for money, that does not count as being ignored or rejected.
Some platforms do accept unsolicited work as long as their is a fee attached. *Everyone is entitled to their own business model. If you choose to ignore anything that involves a fee – do not count it as a negative thing – count it as something that doesn’t fit your business plan.
You want to get 1 response out of 10 applications. Once you get to the point where you are doing more interviews and getting more placement on blogs then you are requesting, it’s time to upgrade and focus on getting your music heard on internet and regular radio stations.
Remember, all your promotion should be directed to your followers. While promoting, look for opportunities and pay attention to the proper way to apply for those opportunities.
By following these steps, you will present yourself as a professional, increasing the chances of making the right impression to the right people. This includes upgrading your followers to actual fans.
The press kit is the guide to who you are as a musician. The content you promote on your social media, will show you have a understanding, when it comes to proper networking and promotion.
Once opportunities pop up on your time line, you will have a solid opening to present yourself. DO NOT FORGET TO CREATE A CAPTIVATING COVER LETTER TO GO WITH YOUR PRESS KIT.
In conclusion, stop submitting unsolicited word and focus on what works. Creating a press kit that compliments your music. Connecting with like minded individuals and artist, and getting yourself the right kind of publicity.
Written By Dutch Schultz of #StictlyBidness