What to do to get your music career off the ground today?

Are you an artist and want to release an album or single? It is possible that you have recently released some work to the market and you are a bit lost without knowing what you have to do to make your work popular. Surely you have thought about contacting record labels, but it is possible that you do not know how to access them effectively.
There are many questions that pile up in our heads to try to take off in the world of music, and that’s why today I would like to explain you which paths you should follow in this labyrinthine world, always depending on the type of release you need to do.

EP, album or singles?

I’m sure you’ve wondered if it’s better to work on full albums or to release singles. First of all, if you don’t have a clear purpose regarding releasing an album (some commercial strategy or similar) keep in mind that nowadays releasing an album is a totally symbolic thing. That’s why you shouldn’t aspire to sell them in physical format; the idea of releasing them online is fine, but releasing an album in real format would only have value as a pure vintage fetishism.

Now, it’s true that releasing albums in general can help you maintain your career in some cases, so the answer to whether it’s better to release an album or a single is “it depends”. And as the song says … What does it depend on?
Basically on the strategy you have: if you have income beyond music and you can afford to pay an audiovisual work together with the musical part for each song you are releasing (a professional videoclip), I totally recommend you to release singles.

However, if you have little money I recommend you to release an EP working with a lowcost producer. In this case, you can pay for a video clip at most for one or two promotional singles from the EP; something visual will always attract more attention. An EP or album from time to time will come in handy especially if you are touring music, either in bars or theaters. In this case it is also a good option to keep releasing albums to have big releases and to be able to renew the tours with fresh material from time to time.

Independent artist or record label?

Here it doesn’t depend so much on you or your money. Normally it is better to make a career as an independent artist, or in the best case, first try independent and then if it goes very well, try a record label. Why should the record label be the last option? For several reasons:

  1. They are looking for known people, so you will have to bring followers and popularity in networks so that they notice you.
  2. At the same time, being known you can already have demands and get rid of abusive contracts, so they only promote you and do not interfere in your career excessively.
  3. The great advantage of being independent is that, musically, you can concentrate your effort only on separate singles, without having to think about a bigger work like an EP or an album. That way you can release track after track until one of them goes viral.

Y, ¿cómo me hago conocido como artista independiente?

  • As I said, it’s good that you use social networks, but also promotions and advertising campaigns, organic SEO on your website, FB advertising … anything goes.
  • It is important to have a peculiar and appealing art and personality, and for that it is important to create a brand image and a corporate design… here you have to de-romanticize art and start thinking in marketing terms. It is necessary to sell and provoke morbidity. Make a photo book, create a network of contacts, etc. About all this, I talk about it extensively in the blog Why my music doesn’t succeed.
  • To help you hype yourself as an emerging artist there is always the possibility of attending contests for emerging artists or bands, although they are very much aimed at concerts and festivals rather than production and albums. You can also use this alternative up to the level you can.
  • Another strategy is, with the release of the album or single, talk to the press and ask them to do interviews with you. Yes, it sounds crazy, but this is how it works when they don’t know you, and there are many radio, print, cyber and physical media that need to fill weekly spaces with cultural news. Make a good newspaper mailist and start moving!

Well, and when I have popularity in networks, what do I do?

Decide. Decide if you are doing well with what you monetize on Spotify, Youtube Music, Deezer, Itunes and other platforms or if you need a little more push, either with developed contracts or with a record label that simply acts as a publisher and distributes copies of your work (taking a percentage, of course). By being known, you will be able to have more capacity in decision making and contracts, because you will be of interest to record labels.
It is important that you engrave this in your head with fire: DO NOT think about joining any record label at any price. It is not good to get into low or mid-range labels or those with little recognition, because they can make you sign long term contracts and, within your evolution and improvement as an artist, you lose other opportunities that could be adapted to your improvements.

I already have some good material, but… how should I approach a record label?

If possible with a letter of recommendation from a known artist or manager who has contact with her. Again, make a good mailist with “premium label” options first, and then with less ambitious options. Try not to go half-assed as much as possible. Et…voilà! There you have your recognition, your career has taken off and you can now absorb the energy of the spotlight like a backstage sunflower. Show must go on!
Anyway, that’s all for today! I’ll leave you some spin-off blogs down here, and remember you can buy a rap, trap, drill, dembow, reggaeton, pop, etc. beat! A la carte.

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