Posts Tagged ‘ Hip Hop ’

Making Moves – Building a local following

Building a local fan base has been tough because I didn’t grow up in New York, so I’m kind of starting fresh. Figuring out where to begin has been difficult. I’ve realized though that I have been thinking too big picture. It’s better to focus on smaller fish in the beginning, find exposure to different circles and try to bring people from those circles together.

I recently spit a few bars at a cypher during Barrelhouse Bklyn’s Yo Barrelhouse Raps BBQ. It felt great to introduce myself to such a tight knit group of people. Barrelhouse has, over the past few years, successfully harnessed a Brooklyn based movement of talented rappers, and true hip hop fans, with a lot of positive energy. Here’s a video from the event. I was the lone whitey in attendance, ha…

I’m grateful to have linked up with Barrelhouse and am looking forward to teaming up with them in the future. I’m still working out the details but, if all goes well, Chi Guy will be hosting its first NY shows with Barrelhouse promoting. The first show will be before the end of August.

Like I said in the beginning of the post, I am trying to bring a few different circles together with these concerts to build a solid core of Chi Guy followers. So far the concerts look like me performing (either solo or with a band behind me, The Classical Movement), Scienze and Kris Kasanova (two rappers who I was introduced to by my peoples at Barrelhouse who perform with live instruments behind them), and two electronic/dance DJ sets TBD. The hope is that the hip hop crowd will mix with the DJ crowd well. And who doesn’t like to see hip hop with live instruments?

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Musical Mission Statements

I have said before that managing your social media campaigns can be like a full time job and can eat into precious time that would otherwise be devoted to writing performing or connecting with real people. This article on The DIY Musician Blog entitled “Musical Mission Statements, Sanity & You” says KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.

I haven’t formally worked on a mission statement before. What I have done is start a campaign called The Classical Movement, which gives praise to and shines light on the period of hip hop that I find most inspiring and what I fell in love with in the beginning. This is a time period between about 1992 – 1997 during which many of my favorite rappers debuted with their smartest, and powerful material. With The Classical Movement I aim to get back to that wittiness and achieve that raw sound that I loved from that period in time. With my material outside of the realm of The Classical Movement I aim to push the boundaries of hip hop by experimenting with different sounds and genres. I also love the idea of the concept album in hip hop. Having a story line really gives the listener a more complete vision of the artist’s vision and allows the artist to express a bigger and more complete thought. So that’s a long version of my mission statement. Working on shortening that, ha.

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Here is the article from The DIY Musician Blog from CD Baby:

Practicing. Writing. Recording. Booking. Web design. Social media. Videos. Marketing. PR.  Driving yourself mad wondering where to shift your focus? Go back to the basics.

Remember your mission statement!

Don’t have a mission statement? Make one. What would it look like? Here are some examples:

1) We are in it to win it. Fame and riches are our first concern.

2) All music that has come before is dead. We must strive to blaze our own path. Uniqueness!

3) Music is only a part of our balanced lives. We make music in order to have fun and improve our sense of well-being.

4) Music is our way of creating positive change on the planet. Social-consciousness!

5) Mystery is key. We must obscure, evade, and sidestep. Through a sense of enigma, we will forge our true connection with an audience.

Why should you state what your mission is upfront?

1) It will ensure that everyone involved in your band, group, or organization is on the same page. Your goals will be aligned, and that united sense of purpose will inspire your collective work ethic and creativity. If you make music on your own and direct your own career, you should still state your mission to keep yourself in check and better understand your goals. The better you understand yourself, the easier it will be to know how to connect with an audience.

2) For sanity’s sake. DIY artists already have enough on their plates. You can’t do it all. You’re going to have to let some opportunities pass you by. You’re going to have to let some responsibilities slip through the cracks. But which ones? Worrying about this can drive you mad. But by remembering your mission statement you can hold each decision up to that light.

-Chris R. at CD Baby


Making Moves Week 3 (pt. 2)

This week I focused on expanding upon the initial fan base I built during my first two weeks, and keeping my name on peoples’ minds by maintaining a steady flow of material. I’m planning a major music video project for “The One Who Got Away,” which is scheduled to shoot in a month. Props to Emmett Adler for directing the project, he’s got production team of film majors from BU helping out with the video. I’m hyped.

I’m also organizing a promotional campaign around my mixtape and album coming out in the next months. I’ve asked an old friend from Chicago who is skilled with Photoshop to design the material for the campaign. I’m planning on taking 50-60 photos this week and hope to have videos as well, all with a political theme around me running for Trash Man of Brooklyn.

Key moves:

Facebook Artist Page

  • My artist page has become the place where I acquire new fans and where I direct people I meet outside of facebook. Thanks to ReverbNation’s Band Profile app I have an easy and customizable way for fans to listen to music, and see photos, and videos. At the same time, it’s on facebook where everyone already has a profile (unlike ReverbNation, Myspace or Twitter).
  • The “like” button is very effective because people are making an effort to follow you and share it with their friends, yet they don’t have to go too far out of their way to click that they “like” an artist. It is much more meaningful than a Myspace friend or a Twitter follower to me.

Myspace

  • I use Myspace as a place to stream my music through my ReverbNation player, and view my feed. Other than that there is a lot of open space left over to promote my music, etc. I placed a banner linking back to my ReverbNation site, and I placed an ad for Headliner.fm that earns me band bucks to spend on promotions.

ReverbNation

  • I have been working on building up a solid email list, but for so many people I have as contacts on fb or elsewhere I don’t actually have their email addresses. Right now my list includes 40.
  • Networking with other artists on Reverb has been cool. Because I can listen to artists in NY who are at a similar chart position I feel like a few collabo’s may come out of this.

As for Twitter, I’ve kind of neglected it. No disrespect to Twitter, I’m just not as familiar with it, so I have been putting it off. I am definitely looking to get more tweetery going in the future though.

A Modern Day Gold Rush (pt. 1)

Anti label sentiment is reaching a boiling point (most notably NaS’ beef w/ Def Jam and Lupe Fiasco’s beef w/ Atlantic) and it almost seems like a new niche service being offered to independent artists each day. It’s time for artists to cash in on this gold rush.

On October 27 I posted an interview by Young Guru (the sound engineer behind big hip hop stars like Jay-Z and Kanye).  In that interview he said, “What we’re dealing with now is the emergence of independence, right? And the emergence of the Internet. So people are finally waking up to these things that I’ve been saying for, I’d say about 20 years. That you don’t need a record label. At all, whatsoever. I work with ‘em, I know I don’t need ‘em.” He also said, “Don’t deal with the company. Period. Start your own company. This is the perfect time for musical independence. The perfect time.” And he went as far as to call the labels slave masters.

The lesson is clear. If you’re trying to start out as an artist right now don’t focus all of your efforts on getting signed to a label! Ten years ago you probably would, but the landscape has changed. The outlets that were controlled by labels have opened up somewhat and access for everyone is increasing each day.

What remains to be seen is whether an artist can use these tools to become huge. It is definitely true that at some point you need a team of people to help you, but when you do need help be smart about it. A number of services have started that allow fans to help the artists they love. Involve your fans in the process. The change is coming, and all it takes is one mega success to come out of one of these services and others will flock.

More on the services available to you in pt. 2

Review of Headliner.fm

In line with my previous post about Headliner.fm I signed up for the service the other night. It’s a pretty interesting idea for promoting your music and discovering other artists in your genre that are also trying to spread their music. Headliner.fm is an artist community where artists can earn “band bucks” by sharing the music of other artists with their fans. You can earn 1 band buck for each fan that you expose someone else’s music to. These band bucks can be used to buy promotions on other artists’ social media pages.

When you sign up you start out with 10,000 band bucks (theoretically enough to expose you to 10,000 fans of other artists). The first thing I did on the site was to schedule a promotion. Headliner.fm found 10 other artists involved with Hip Hop and scheduled a promotion for Saturday, Nov 6 (a time that these other artists agreed to allow posts on their sites). Within hours after I signed up I had 6 requests from other artists to share their music on my social media sites. It definitely makes you want to listen to these artists music so you can tell if you want to share their music with your fans.

So, overall, nice idea. We’ll see if it works…

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