One thing people ask me about a lot in my actual real life off the internet is tactics to marketing their music (or brand, or other product, etc.). In most cases people want to know how they can better utilize the internet to promote themselves. How to stand out. I figure maybe I’ll start addressing some of the questions people bring to me, or just things I happen to think about relating to the topic, here at the site. And, as always, if you want to submit something or ask a question, you can always hit up untitledtype[at]gmail. It’s not like I’m a marketing genius or anything, I’m really not (if I was I’d have like a million twitter followers, right?), but I do know a few little things.
Today, I said something on Twitter that I’d like to elaborate upon right quick.
Many artists these days are hiring Public Relations professionals, teaming up with DJ’s, or getting their friends to help blast out their newly released mp3′s to as many contacts as possible. Of course word of mouth is an important aspect of getting your numbers up, but who is doing the talking also matters. Let’s make a hypothetical situation, shall we?
Let’s say that among the various things that Kim Kardashian does, but doesn’t seem to do well (like sex tapes [open to debate], reality TV, and singing), she decides she wants to start a boutique PR firm and help upcoming rap artists by sending their materials to her bevy of important industry contacts and then hopefully gaining them media opportunities, etc. off the strength of their product. Let’s also say that Jay-Z found some time in his day to do the exact same thing with different clients.
Kim K. and Jay-Z both know a lot of people. The “right” people. This can’t be argued. But as far as Hip Hop is concerned, which person’s opinion would you trust more? As a member of the media, I’d be way more likely to open an e-mail about a new artist coming from Jay-Z than I would from Kim K, never mind that Kim K’s artist may actually have more talent. What has she cosigned in the past? Skechers? Well, they’re still ugly kicks. Midori? Yeah, still not drinking that, and neither is anyone else I know. Meanwhile, on the Jay-Z side of life, Carol’s Daughter seems to be doing well (and I’ve heard good things about it), Roc Nation is chillin’, and nobody ever questions what Jay-Z is or isn’t good at doing, unlike Kim K. See what I’m saying with this?
It goes beyond a person’s prior success stories and aptitude for business tactics as well. If they’re a person who deals with multiple clients, are the other people they’re representing also people you want to be associated with? Does the person cosigning your product have a reputation for being a shady, sketchy individual? Have they done people dirty in the past? Does their taste in music generally suck? Sure, people may change for the better over time, but trust if you know about some things in that person’s past, so do other people. Though that may have nothing to do with your music, you need to consider how that will reflect upon you if you hire them to be a brand ambassador of sorts to people you need to be working with. Choosing someone to help you handle e-mail blasts or field media opportunities should not be a matter of choosing the cheapest price or picking out your most accessible friend who knows the most people and is enough of a “yes man” to give you that semi-public and oh-so-important cosign.
In summary, to quote Nas: “you should watch the people with you, let them street rules hit you, if you hang around snitches you get judged for that, cuz you condone it, you know it ain’t no love for that, it’s slugs for that, oh you ain’t know your man was talkin? That’s why you stand with em, til you both land in a coffin?“