There are thousands and thousands of people playing this game right now. All trying to make it. There are millions of tracks online and something like 80% of them don’t get bought. Why are we going to listen to your track? Why should we pay attention to you? What are you doing differently?
If you’re releasing music that falls into line with the rest of the music of the genre you associate with, you’re basically another cog in the wheel. In a way, that’s a great thing, you’re adding to the scene, putting your two cents in and keeping the movement going. But that’s pretty much the same as wearing a grey suit and walking to Canary Wharf with the other grey suits.
You don’t have to have the cleanest recording any more, or the most pristine artwork or glossy video. Artists are starting to prove this by releasing distorted music, clipped vocals and videos recorded on the spot. If the song bangs, the world doesn’t care that you filmed it on a potato or recorded it in a shed, the music will speak for itself.
It’s good to be bold and try new things. A rolling stone gathers no moss – keep evolving and experimenting with different sounds. There is a huge gap in the UK for a new sound from rap artists. If you’re a rapper, rapping is your art. It shouldn’t matter what beat someone throws at you, you’ve got to be able to rap on it and make it work.
Starting with different beats is a huge step forward. When A$AP Rocky released his first mixtape – the world took notice. It was different to what we were used to, he was using unusual beats that other people wouldn’t have thought to rap on… Rocky hasn’t changed, he’s still rapping – the only thing that changes are the beats he’s on.
“Ain’t got no comparison and I ain’t being arrogant.” Gucci Mane
Think about image. When looking through video platforms, people look at the thumbnail images. Have the confidence to do something different, go somewhere you wouldn’t expect so that the thumbnail can stand out. Rather than paying a graphic designer to do your artwork – you could ask a fan to do it. They’ll do it for free, tell all their friends and it will be instantly different to all the other graphic designer out there, especially if they’re not a graphic designer. It doesn’t matter if the artwork is a meme or a photo of you from back in the day – the music is going to speak over that. Have the confidence to rely on your core product – the record.
There is a skill to standing out, I’m not saying you need to be outrageous and irrational to get those views on your music. It should be done organically and natural. A big part of that comes from you not giving a fuck what other people and believing in yourself. Audiences buy into your belief in your own music, we don’t care who did your video or how much you spent on bottles. We buy into your confidence that you feel the track is banging enough to stand alone.
To take away –
Be confident in being different – that’s essentially charisma. It will reflect in your music, your fan-base and will evoke discussion and sharing. Rather than falling into line with what’s going on, create your own lane , start your own trend and be the shepherd not the sheep.
“Weirdo but I’m real though” A$AP Rocky