You must have spent a lot of money trying to push your songs in the market yet the result and turn up gets more and more absurd as days go by. You must have had a second thought on whether to continue pursuing your career in music or to give up right away. Most of your deejay friends who you hoped on to play your music free of charge, must have received some cash from you and later did not render his services to you. It’s a big turn down because as I always believe, music industry is a business and never a play ground. I repeat:
“Music industry is a serious business and never a play ground”
If you invested in a business for years and through the years, you are not likely to break even, it is always a wise decision to try out other businesses. A lot of upcoming artist find it difficult to give up on music because music is always a business mixed with passion. The funny part of it is that while the burning passion motivates to create even better songs, the same passion is the biggest setback in the success of every unsuccessful upcoming artist. I will in one of my future article discuss the word PASSION and how to get over it in other to be successful in music business.
Let us always bear in mind:
“Music venture is a very large scale business that cannot be handled alone by a sole proprietor, external investors and contributors must always be targeted alongside general fans”
The success story of every artist has something in common. The one common thing is that it always started with a one-man’s dream of singing and becoming a big star. Along the way, many other people get involved.
To get people attracted to your intellectual property is always a big challenge. This is the reason why almost 96% of upcoming artists sponsor their first promotion single by themselves.
From the survey I earlier conducted, out of 100% songs promoted within a year, only 3% got viral. Out of the 3%, only about 0.05% comes from a fresh artist.
From this analysis, over 97% songs became liability to the owners.
“You would be sad to find out how much you would have made if only you made the right choice”
It’s laughable when I hear people say that music is a try your luck business, while from my own point of view, music business is straight forward just like every other buy and sell business. Once you are able to appeal to your fans, investors have no choice than to join your business. Remember:
“The risk taking starts from you”
I hereby present to you the key failure points that attributes to unsuccessful music promotion
- Lack of quality: Talking about quality in music, I mean a total justification of the lyrics, instrumentals, vocals and mixing (mastering). There is no short cut to achieving quality production. To every quality production, a lot of work has been invested.
I once had an experience of an upcoming artist who produced all his songs locally but was taken to the next level once he met a little more experienced producer. Getting a good producer might be very expensive but sometimes, it’s worth it.
A good producer will change the sound of your song and force you to sing well; A good producer will pitch correct your vocal renderings and ensure your song sounds good; A good producer will inspire you the more; A good producer is always more experienced than you are and will not hesitate to show his confidence when criticizing your delivery; A good producer will be patient with you; A good producer will finally achieve the purpose of your song.
Most times, people confuse a popular producer to a good producer. It is accepted that every popular producer has a good job that made him/her popular, but I can argue that not all popular producers are good. I can also put it that almost all popular producers in Nigeria charge so high for production. Now, if all popular producers are not good producers, why spend a lot of money for bad production?
Yes you did a little more achievement by having a big name attributed to your song production, but if the song is not good, the song is not good.
If your song lacks quality, you will spend your savings on the song and nobody will play it. Remember:
“No matter how much you paid a Deejay, Radio presenter or any promotion agent, it will never influence their business and will never make them displease their audience with a displeasing song.”
I will soon provide a guide to achieving a quality song.
- Improper DIY (Do it yourself): There are a couple of relevant steps you can take in other to kick start a musical promo. These steps include, having a google account and owning a youTube channel, creating a personal blog and owning an online artist profile, uploading on notjustok.com, starting off a social media campaign, listening and sharing your song among friends etc.
There is nothing wrong in introducing yourself to a neighbour as a musician and playing your song to him or her. The truth is that if you were not able to market your stuff by yourself, who do you expect to do it for you?
Create a facebook account and twitter account. Create a facebook page with your artist name. Intimate yourself with your friends. Comment on their post and reply to their comments on yours. Reply to every direct message no matter how annoying.
One thing about facebook is that even if you have 5000 friends and do not engage them, another user with just 200 engaged friends holds a better profile that you do.
Facebook has a technology of ascertaining whose post is more interesting to you according to your previous records of interaction. Whoever liked or commented on your post, will be able to see your next post. So get them commenting and engage them by replying promptly to their comments.
To kick start a successful promotion, start with a constructive DIY moves.
- More than one versions of the same song released: You are trying to promote your song and make people get used to your voice and the sound of your song, what is the point in confusing your audience with inconsistency.
Inconsistency emanates mostly as a result of hurricane release of undone audio or video. Most times artistes release their song to the market only to discover that they need to add backup vocals to the song or retouch the mastering.
If several versions of a song are found in the market, it will affect the commendation of the song as the people who heard the first version may have a bad impression of your song and share the same opinion. For a non popular song, it is always safer to maintain consistency.
Also speaking of inconsistency, why would an upcoming artist record remixes of a song that is not yet blown (popular)? If you rather recorded a remix which featured big name(s) in the industry such as a recognized superstar, why not convert that remix version to original version? It is only a special case when the first version made a great impact in the market.
- Improper promo budget allocation: No matter how much you spent paying for slot on a channel that doesn’t have enough audience or wrongly targeted audience, you just threw your coin to the oceans.
Always set your budget with a well studied business plan. Check out the actual value of what you are paying for and ensure it is worth paying for. Don’t be in a rush to pay anybody to promote your song. Consult a professional and ask relevant questions about any promoter you want to associate with.
Because there are so many ways a promoter can come up with false hype, there are so many fraudsters in music industry claiming credits to job they did not do. This is where you are expected to go the extra mile and find out for yourself if the person you have been in contact with is actually who he or she claims to be.
Why would you spend 50% of your promo budget on radio stations and the other 50% you share between mixtape deejays and club deejays?
Radio stations would load your song into their library and play it only when the presenter on air remembers you during his or her airtime and feel like to compensate your payment. Personally I don’t consider radio stations as a good channel for promo because it is not like a deejay mix tape that would be recorded and played at events, beer parlors, eateries and recreations even at home over and over again. Note that:
“The more repeated your song is played for particular audience, the more they are converted to fans”
“Repetition in promo is key to success”
In conclusion, it is important to note here that whenever you want to promote your song, first of all listen to the song as if it was not sang by you and with plain mind, criticize your music. Nobody wants to dull his or her moment listening to noisy song, bad vocals, uncoordinated beat or boring lyrics. Nobody wants to spend a dime over a song that is not worth it.
My name is Kins Okafor. Thank you for your time and read more of my articles on music business.