Wendy Day tuned in at SlavConf Virtuality to give an outstanding lecture on making money with music in the rap music industry. As she is celebrating 30-years since the beginning of her career as a hip-hop consultant and mentor, we thought she is the best person to give advice on how to start a career as a hip-hop artist and how to promote music.
Starting her lecture, she underlined that her advice is aimed at those who want to build a career with music to support themselves with it and not for those who make music as a hobby. So the methods she described are commercial-oriented and apply both for those who are looking to attract a record deal as well as for those who want to stay independent:
“The very first thing you need to do is make great music. Mediocre music will not cut it anymore. You will not be able to build a fan base large enough to support yourself or to attract a record deal, if that’s your goal, making mediocre music. It really has to be great and it has to stand out from everything else that’s there. What I tell my clients to do is to take the song that they feel is their best song and listen to it between two commercially-successful artists. […] Put your song in the middle, listen to all three songs and make sure that the sound is the equivalent. And I don’t mean the volume. I mean the quality of the sound. It needs to be mixed and mastered and really sounding good all the way through. Once you do that, if you feel that you are competitive and that your song can compete with what’s already out there, then you need to start marketing and promoting it.”
Wendy continued her lecture talking about the strategies they use in her company when promoting artists and how they test their music to get a better understanding of which songs will perform better on social media. After explaining the methodologies she and her team apply for each artist, she stated that consistency in making music or any content related to the artist’s media presence is crucial when building a fan base:
“You’ve all heard how saturated the music industry is. We all know how many songs are uploaded to distributors and platforms every day. So in order for our clients to stand out in doing what we do, we choose to be as consistent as possible. Consistency is really important. Consistency is what grows an artist to have a career. A hot single when you get behind it and you put a large budget and you blow that single up even more than it’s blowing up, that’s going to build the song. But in order to build a career, so the artist is not a one-hit-wonder, we focus on the bulk of the music.”
Wendy also talked about the importance for the artists to build their identity and make sure to share it with their audience. She explained that everything could be of importance to the fans, because people are usually responding better to artists they can somehow relate to:
“To be successful you need to be able to tell your story well and to as many people as possible. So, we use social media for that. The artists are constantly reconfirming their image, who they are, what they stand for, where they come from. Fans want to know what kind of student you [the artist] were in school, do you have brothers and sisters, are you married, do you have children. Fans want to know all about you. They want to see your lifestyle, what do you do when you’re not making music. […] The reason that people want to know that is they want a connection, they want to feel something in common with you as an artist.”