The Secret to Getting Signed
Posted Aug 12 2008
I don't know, maybe this should've been a blog, but lately I have been getting a lot of requests to do work for artists on myspace and on here. But then I wonder to myself, why would I do work for you when you don't do work for yourself? Don't get me wrong, I have worked with the bottom of the bottom and have done work for people who are recording straight off of their PC with no real studio! But EVERY LAST ONE of them already had exhausted their own options of what they could do on their own before they came to me for my help. While I admit, I love making money, I am an honest (person). I will not let anybody compromise what I have built because they have a half a** work ethic. I refuse to invest my time, energy, advice and creativeness into an artist who isn't willing to invest in themselves. I personally believe that it is easy to get on. If this is something that you truly want (a deal or whatever your goal may be) you will invest your time and all your resources to making that happen. I am sick of (dudes) who rap on the side and feel like they should be on...look at most NBA or NFL players for example, they lift, run, eat well, and dedicate their lives to doing all of the necessary things they need to do to make it to the league at all costs. Apply that same work ethic to your craft and you too will be able to reap the benefits of your hard work one way or another. I had the opportunity of doing work with Tech 9, who is in my opinion the epitome of what an independent artist should be. He is totally self financed and put his all into his craft, and even though he may not have the fame or a deal with a major label, he has built a SOLID fanbase who will purchase anything he puts out! Check his first week of sales from his latest album Killer - 32,000 units sold at $16.97 a pop! Dont worry I will do the math for you...that is $543,040 in one week! So even if your work doesnt pay off in the form of a deal with a major label, if you work hard and build a fan base, you can still get paid like a major artist (in Tech 9's case even better!)
With that being said, look at the resources you have as an artist in this forum right in front of you! Use the forums to network with real life people connected to the industry! From magazines, to promotors, to B-Gyrl, to radio DJ's, to TV shows and DVD's, they are all her for you to connect with at your disposal. Of course it isn't free but its a hell of a resource, and who knows, by talking to one of these people you never know what kind of barter system you may be able to work out if money is an issue! Yes myspace is a hell of a tool for finding new fans and getting exposure, but it is not the only tool and if you have any clue about the industry and its trends, you can see that myspace isn't the best place for you to get a deal. There are a million artists on myspace and only a handful of success stories. And to let you in on a little secret, labels don't really care about myspace numbers anymore! I know its surprising to all of you myspace hustlers but its true! Ever since Souljah Boy, people (especially rappers) hopped on the bandwagon and do anything to pad their myspace numbers, this is the reason why most artists have more friends than they do plays. Also plays are padded because anybody with wifi and multiple computers can put their computer on myspace and let it play all day while they are at work/school/wherever. And once again to sum that all up, I am not (knocking) myspace, because it is a great way to network and meet people and gain new fans, but THE DAYS OF GETTING A DEAL SOLELY OFF MYSPACE IS OVER!!!!
"So what should I do?" one might ask. Simple. Sit down and evaluate your product. Be honest with yourself and compare your product to what else the market has to offer. Not just "do I sound like everyone else" cuz that's just gonna water down the game. You should evaluate your total package from the presentation to the quality, to the various other aspects that a successful artists has that you dont. Then you should look at the things that you don't have and research what it would cost you to obtain these things or if you could do it yourself at the same quality of your competitors. After you do that you have to ask yourself if it is feasible or not that you take the necessary steps to do what it takes to raise that money and put it into your project. Even if that mean cutting back on the clubs, and extracurriculars (dub sacks add up) in order to get the capital to do this for real. If you aren't willing to do that then your next step is to stop rapping. If you can then your next step is to invest everything you have into making a professional product to bring to the market place.
But where do I get the money? Once again, check out these forums, ask a family member, go to local businesses, but first and foremost, you must invest in yourself. If someone came to me and asked me to do a video for them and asked me to work with them on the price and/or do it for free and they don't show me that they put their every red cent into their craft, I'm gonna laugh at them and politely kick them in their a** on the way to the door. Why do you think you hear about so many artists that say "I slept in my car for (insert X amount of time here) before I got on" or "I worked 8 jobs and went to the studio and slept on the couch at my (boy's) house for (insert X amount of time) before I got on"? No not because its a trend, but because people who are dedicated to this put their ALL into it at ALL costs, and because of that they get to reap the rewards. If you don't believe in yourself enough to put your hard earned money into yourself, then why the hell would I put mine into you? I have done many projects and even shot a few short films on other people's money, not because necessarily believed in me from the start, but because I showed them how hard I work and that I believed in myself. This gave them the confidence to give me their hard earned money for my projects. You can do it too!
Finally, if you want to get a deal, do not compromise when it comes to your money. Im not saying go spending money like a mad man, but don't skimp on quality to save a buck. So many rappers have "videos" that most people don't get past the first 10 seconds whether the song is great or not, because the quality of it. I for example make videos for client who want their videos to be major network ready (BET MTV VH1 quality). I REFUSE to sell or put my name on something that is less than superb, and if it ends up not as great as we envisioned, I will do it again free of charge, but quality does cost. Their are companies that will do videos for way less than me, but the only views you will get are from yourself and whoever you MAKE sit through it. Same thing with album graphics. Your first point of sale is at the visual level. If someone knows nothing about you as an artist and your album/mixtape isnt visually appealing, it is gonna collect dust. Once again, I don't do graphics but there are people who will get you a high quality major-chain ready product and those who will give you b.s. for a cheaper price.
All in all, the lesson is this, GET ON THESE FORUMS AND START MAKING CONNECTIONS AND USING THE RESOURCES YOU HAVE IN FRONT OF YOU!!! YOU CAN STILL MAKE ALOT OF MONEY IN THIS GAME YOU JUST HAVE TO BE WILLING TO PUT SOME INTO IT!!!