As an artist, there are certain things that are expected of you – from both the creative end as well as the business end of music. Understanding the needs of both sides will allow you to make better decisions in your career. When you are able to see things from different perspectives, it helps you understand what your next move should be. In order to build a fan-base there are certain things that your fans will expect from you. In order to get label attention as well as the attention from venues and other opportunities, there are other things that are expected of you. In order to make the best out of your music career you must find balance. If you learn both ends of the spectrum you’ll be able to make better decisions, which in return will get you the outcome that you desire.
To make things clearer, I’ve broken things down into a few different lists that elaborate on what is expected of artists from the perspectives of a fan, a label/manager, and a venue:
What Fans Want
– To Relate – fans want someone they can connect with, most of the time it’s through your lyrics but you can also relate through your image and even your lifestyle. In order to accomplish this, you must be sure to find your target market. Think about who will relate to your music and aim your marketing and promo at your target.
– Originality – Sure there are many other artists out there that sound exactly alike, but do they have long lasting careers? You need to give your audience something to remember by being the real you that cannot be copied.
– Authenticity – Basically if you talk about it in your music, BE ABOUT IT. If you rap about the street life, they expect you to have some attributes of a street guy. You get my drift.
– Quality – Fans want something that sounds like what’s already on the radio. Why? Because they are not in the music business, therefore they are only used to what they hear on the radio – so you have to give it to them. This doesn’t mean that you have to record in all of the most expensive studios to get the sound that you want, but you should definitely be getting your music mastered so that it’s already ready for the radio.
– Access – Fans want to see you. They want to be able to look you up and find everything about you in a matter of a few clicks. If you really think about it, this means fans also want…
– Consistency – People like to be entertained, and the more you can keep them entertained, the more they’ll keep coming back. You can do this by putting on great performance, releasing behind the scenes footage, having contests, send cool emails to your mailing list etc.
Labels and Managers Look For:
– A Marketable Artist – From your name to your music to your look, you must be marketable. You have the qualities above and have used them to build your fan base. The days of an experienced manager (or anyone an artist would WANT to manage them) signing artists because they believe they can get to the next level, are over. Managers want to see an artist who has a bit of a local buzz and then they step in and help the artist take it all the way.
– A Polished Artist – The days are gone when labels had ‘artist development departments’ so now you have to make sure you’re polished and ready to go before a label will even consider you.
– Someone Who Is Easy To Work With – No one wants to work with someone who has a bad attitude or a crazy sense of entitlement. Labels look for artists who understand how the business works and who are open to different things.
Promoters/Venues Look For:
– An artist with a decent following – They want to be able to pack a venue, plain and simple.
– Someone that can put on an amazing performance – it’s always best if you have your stage performance down to a science. The more you can captivate the audience, the more the venue will book you.
So as you can see, there is a lot that is expected of artists from all across the board. So now you have to figure out where your strengths and weaknesses are and fill in the gaps. The more well rounded you are the easier it will be to secure opportunities in your career. Your fans want that emotional connection where as the business end is mainly about money (which will come from building your fan-base). Of course, you cannot do this all on your own. You will definitely need a team behind you to make up for your weaknesses. If you don’t have a team yet no worries, you’re grind and consistency will attract people to your movement and from there you can see who will fit best.
If you are unsure where you are at in your career, need some guidance on what your next move should be, or have questions pertaining to the music business click here.