One of my biggest pet peeves in music is watching an artist with quality talent spin their wheels and not go anywhere. It often makes me wonder “Why is this happening? Who’s on your team?” Amazingly enough, this happens to a ton of rappers. Take those who rap about dope dealing glory – how good of a trapper or dope dealer were you if you can hardly sell yourself? I’m sure you were sitting on the package for far too long. They were NOT trappers but I’m not here to pick lies apart, I’m here to help you make a move.
Marketing is an integral part of pushing any business, career, plan or product. Marketing is life.
Part of marketing is Integrity. Take pride in your product, be real, and do what’s natural & most comfortable to you. Challenge yourself? Yes. However, don’t be so see through to where people don’t feel the
authenticity of your product. People can feel when it’s real even if it isn’t their cup of tea for the moment. If you begin to play Beanie Sigel in a car full of people (even if he’s not their favorite), they will know why you like him. No one asks “Why do you like Sigel?” They know why after a few songs. It’s even the same with artists who make party records. The mood and feeling they happen to be in while recording translated well because it wasn’t a fake feeling. Picasso wasn’t painting pictures of the sun shining on the most perfect ass you ever saw during his dark period. Art should be a reflection of the creator, making it fun and intriguing to dissect years beyond. Always be true to you, whether it’s a party record or something more serious in nature.
Another and much bigger part of marketing, is Relationships. I always tell artists 2 things when they ask for my help: 1) I have to like your music and 2) you’re paying me for my work and relationships. Relationships you nor
your last manager never bothered to build. Networking is not networking if you have nothing to offer. I see artists complain all the time that it’s a blogger’s job to find and/or post who is dope and worthy of support. Of course, this artist usually feels spurned because they feel that they should be the no brainer and always on the site. No one owes you shit! Furthermore, it’s not a blogger’s job to find you – YOU find THEM. You need them. Reach out and build with them. Also, keep in mind that nobody’s time, effort, energy, or site is free. Everything has a price. Even if someone isn’t outright charging you, there’s a price.
Prime example: last year I decided to get back into music with both feet and take a few artists under my wing. Maybe four months ago, I reached out to a young lady who’s a music coordinator at a major site
and asked, “What do I need to do to have my artists featured on this site?” She replied “Just send it to me.” I didn’t send anything because we weren’t ready yet. I did keep a pretty steady rapport going though. To the naked eye and simple mind, that says “Damn he got that for free.” I don’t look at it that way. She could’ve outright ignored my inquiry. Even if she would have responded “$1000” I would’ve assessed the possible return on investment. Even when I do decide to send over his album, If she says “This is not up to my standard – I can’t post it” … I’m still sending her lunch. It was never about the post; I value everyone’s time. I’ve gotten bloggers or tastemakers tickets to see and meet Kendrick. In regards to her, I picked up that her man loves the Patriots. See, I never went into it looking for a hand-out. I went into it looking to build a business relationship. I also never look at anything as defeat because I believe in the INTEGRITY of my product. When the time comes? BOOM! I have other artists and one may be her cup of tea. The fact of the matter is that she took time out of her day to potentially give one of my people a shot. You never know what a look that someone may give you will turn into. One look can change one of my artists’ lives and mine. No room for saltiness, it’s on to the next one up. A blogger who may love Jay Rock may not have liked Ab Soul. However, they take the time to support all things Jay Rock. It helps Rock and in return, Rock does them a favor or TDE invites them to an awards dinner. Relationships matter. I treat everyone who supports and whom are open to support me like family. At some point, you (the artists) have to step out of the predatory mindsets you have and show that same love you want to receive. Writers and bloggers aren’t all rich or well off. Show them some love the same way you want them to show you love.
The cold hard facts are like this: if you don’t have a budget for marketing, then you don’t have a business so you have no business getting mad about where you are. Think creatively about what you can offer or exchange for someone’s time or effort. Present that to them. This was just a gem or two, to help you think differently, especially since it’s income tax season. Don’t blow all that money on dumb shit. Spend it on marketing. Send a “Thank You” lunch to men or women that helped you thus far. Personally, I’ve never messaged anyone and asked for a tweet or anything else. All of the support I receive, is genuine. Doesn’t mean I should take advantage or take it for granted. In return for some people who post my links, I’ve sent them to see KanYe West, Rihanna, The Weeknd, Chris Brown, On The Run tour… the list goes on. Memories they will always have. You don’t have to; you may not have the resources that I have. However, do more investing in the infrastructure of what you’re building and do less complaining about what isn’t built yet.
You can go out and buy a 100 blog post tomorrow OR you can send someone a steak dinner. I’m not a drinker but 99% of the time I go out, I get a table. I like my space and not being bumped into. The liquor, I mostly end up giving away. Table minimums are $2500 at times. I’m not about to drink $200 in liquor let alone $2500. The table isn’t to feel or look elite. Therefore, when I genuinely show that love to people, they show it back. Invest into the people, invest into the culture, invest in yourself. I genuinely do these things, but I’ve come to realize that it’s a major reason why strangers will declare dedication to my causes.
Marketing should be a lifestyle. Always find a way to connect to people. Whether its over food. A casual or silly twitter convo or even music. All of this works. It definitely works more than entitlement does or spam. Marketing is life.
By the way… Yac House. It’s coming.