A common misconception some of us have when discovering so-called ‘new’ artists is assuming that they’ve suddenly appeared out of nowhere, like unseasoned rookies making their first attempt at musical. In general, this couldn’t be further from the truth. And when you think about, it’s somewhat condescending on our part to ignore all work an artist has done prior to the moment we first hear of them. About one month ago, Bon Iver won ‘Best New Artist’ at the Grammys. While many of us were very well aware of the music Justin Vernon was writing for several years now, he was however new to the Grammy world. By the same token, many artists live the independent grind daily, and when comes the first light of recognition; we callously define them as ‘new’. The fact that we’ve just discovered them doesn’t make them new.
Surviving as an independent recording artist in this day and age isn’t an easy thing by any means. It’s often a never-ending grind to get your songs recorded, played, and heard; and at the end of the day, unless you’re doing it primarily out of love for what it is that you do, the odds are very much against you. Hailing out of the Netherlands, independent rapper emcee Silex has been living this grind for years and has established his mark on Rotterdam’s hip-hop scene. With a new single out and an EP on the way, Silex now turns to the rest of the world.
His new single “Just You and Me” offers a hard-hitting lyrical delivery that reminds us what it’s supposed to be like to strive towards a dream despite the hardships and surrounding negativity that can sometimes hold us back, with Silex rapping about ‘staying hungry’ through some of the more difficult moments. “I’ve literally been hungry just pouring what little money I had into this dream,” he says about these times. “I didn’t think about food. If I wasn’t getting new equipment, I was buying beats or paying for studio time, photo shoots, videos, you name it.“ Through it all, it’s that same hunger to succeed that still keeps him going today. “I just feel that this is all I’m good at. You know how many times I’ve been told to give it up? To just let it go, and that it will never happen? But for some reason I just cant.”
The GROW MUSIC PROJECT was conceived by Hollywood songwriter/composer/producer CHRISTOPHER TYNG [“Futurama”, “Suits,” “The OC”] to be a new music “cultivator” and artist “launchpad” for uniquely talented independent artists and bands. Our mission is to recognize and support emerging, career-focused artists by giving them the opportunity to have their most promising song professionally produced, recorded, and mixed in our world-class studio, entirely for free and with no strings attached. These artists will also be showcased on the Grow Music Project website, a hub established to foster artists’ musical connections, opportunities for exposure and career growth.
Independent artists and bands need help now more than ever. Few places are left in the music industry that are still able to support and foster the talent of budding artists. The Grow Music Project endeavors to fill that void, to open the doors of our studio to up and coming artists and bands and give them a place to learn, develop and hone their craft. The GMP community will support their creative process, and strive to give their music the wider audience that it deserves.
It is obvious that over the past twenty years the landscape of the music industry has fundamentally changed with:
- The invention of the internet (decades earlier) spawning the world wide “web” and the social mobile web we use today.
- The rapid rise of the mp3 as the web standard for music sharing.
- The transition of full-length albums to music singles.
- The plummeting cost associated with creating professional sound recordings.
- New software and hardware that removes many of the technical barriers associated with creating great songs and music videos.
- A new generation (or two) under the age of about 30 who accepts that free music has become the model for consumption.
- Social networks giving artist access to an array of promotional/ publicity services, and music professionals in the industry.
- Social media bringing back the word of mouth ole school peer to peer networks on steroids.
Welcome to the future of music where we are now experiencing the birth of a DIY music generation of artists who will only be bound by the limits of the imagination, and are free to create and market music in entirely new ways.
Building a brand is the single most important skill a music artist, indie label or band should learn if they intend to promote their works to a larger audience. Thanks to the internet, and the growing popularity of social media, artist branding is much less complicated than it was… say maybe 10 years ago.
Regardless of the type of artist you may be, we all need to understand the importance of branding to stand out from the crowd. To do that, we must take lessons from the corporate brands and recognize how we connect and promote online is a direct reflection of how others see our own brands.
If independent artists are a truly in the game as free agents and ballers, then it’s time we started playing like it.
So here is my top 5 list of things to get you pointed in the right direction.
Be ready to be in for the long haul. It takes years to build a solid reputation as a recognized and successful brand. The branding process itself isn’t complicated, but it will require patience and perseverance to effectively accomplish your goals. You have to be unyielding and persistence in your efforts every day. If you are not up to the task, know that many of your competitors will be, and more than willing to pass you by.
I spend a great deal of my time on the unexplored highways of the web searching for and visiting artist’s music websites. Sometimes during the week, I might visit hundreds in a single day. It is just part of what I do here at Gighive.
So you can say, I maybe more of an authority on exploring the web for new and interesting artists than most who only travel the major interstates from one major city to the next. I for one think life is more interesting on the lanes less traveled than hitting the 6 to 8 lane congested highways.
So I decided to write a report on my findings and give the locals some tips on how to improve there site experience so visitors will return more often. Note* there are always exceptions to the rules!
Tip 1 – Ancient website design and web 1.0 type styling.
Old towns may have a certain charm with their rich heritage and unique architecture, but in my opinion do not translate in the online world.
There is no charm in blinking stars, colorful jpegs, animated gifs and flashing links; coupled with a confusing link structure all on the same page.
If you were packing your car for a cross country trip that you felt you had to make.. whether it was a dream, a desire or a need, here is a question….If you bought a car, bought the supplies for the trip and then started out of ..lets say Boston and then you got as far as New York… Would you take the money you had saved for gas, hotels, food and the remainder of the trip and spend it on another car or if you were running out of money, instead of saving up for those gas, hotel, food and toll costs, would you put it toward a new car?
Not really the most intelligent decision if you answered yes.
It is basically the same exact thing when some one records an album that they want to go the distance with or make a career off of and then decide to jump right back in the studio instead of properly promoting, marketing and advertising it.
Now before you jump on my case, this does not apply to the musicians that just want to record for fun, that do it as a a part time thing or just want to do more recording than traveling, performing or doing it full time.
Licensing your music is a great way to create a series of different streams of revenues and profits for your songs in ways well beyond just the sales of a song by download or CD. In addition, it can open up a series of connections for your music and your writing.
Some have gone on to careers where they do all their work scoring, composing or licensing older works to movie soundtracks, television shows, commercials, video games and even corporate training videos.
The information on licensing and music insertion opportunities has come a long way and just as it has created revenue for the artists, it has also created revenues for various agencies, companies and middlemen to be involved. Of course, many of these are legitimate but a great deal more are not. These scams play off the hopes and lack of understanding that many artists have about this side of the music industry.