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[ARTIST ADVICE] Getting Featured On A Music Blog: Tips For Success

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Years ago, all you needed was a good magazine review and your album would sell like hotcakes. In fact, the review didn’t even really need to be good; the only thing that was important was the size of the magazine’s circulation. However, times have changed, and most people don’t even see magazine reviews anymore. All the information they need is on the Internet, which means that music blogs are becoming increasingly more popular. Stereogum and Pitchfork are two of the current big ones, and they can help a new artist get a following fairly quickly. It isn’t always easy to get featured on one of the big blogs, though, but smaller blogs can be instrumental to a beginner’s success.

How do you connect with a blogger? The truth is, you have to go about the process in the right way if you want to be a success. The following five tips are crucial in helping you get the attention of a blogger.

1. Study The Blog: Before you do anything else, you need to look through a blog you are interested in to learn as much about it as possible. When you contact the blogger, you need to be familiar with the site and showcase that you have that knowledge.

2. Comment: As you are looking through the blog, comment on posts that you find interesting. Don’t say anything about the fact that you are a musician yet; you simply want to provide interesting commentary so that your name looks familiar to the blogger.

3. Reach Out: After you spend time looking through the site and commenting, and you think the blogger has had time to recognize your name, you can contact him or her and talk a little about yourself. The blogger should be more willing to listen to you if he has seen you making valuable contributions on his site.

4. Ask A Question: Bloggers get a lot of emails, and they simply don’t have time to make personal contact with everyone. Increase your chances by asking the blogger a question about your music. This may inspire him to get back in touch with you, particularly if he knows you are a regular on his site. You can follow up as well, if you don’t hear anything at first.

5. Give Information: Don’t try to “sell” the blogger on your work. Just talk about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Hopefully this advice helps you. It comes from a blogger that often hears from others in the industry, so it is valuable information.

6. Engage in Social Media: If you’re starting a music blog, then sort out your social media. Set up some accounts, add some followers and some likes to them and then start placing your content on them regularly at the right times and watch as they grow.

These tips will help you create and grow a good music blog that will give you and your tastes exposure.

[WRITTEN BY GUEST AUTHOR]

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[Artist Advice] 5 TEDTalk Seminars to Benefit You And Your Career

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If you haven’t heard about TEDTalk here’s some homework for you. TedTalk is a company that brings speakers to seminars all over. Giving life lessons, upcoming technology, research, and social interactions. I felt I came across a couple of TEDTalk’s that can relate to a hip-hop musician/entrepreneur. Why not generate a list of my five picks for TEDTalk videos that can benefit you and your career.

Hip-Hop’s Seat At The Table || Brad Franklin


Hip-hop may be the most influential genre in popular music but its artists are not always seen as community leaders in other contexts. Brad Franklin explains his idea that the creators of hip-hop are vital representatives of the culture they reflect, which has become mainstream.

Brad “Kamikaze” Franklin is a Hip Hop artist, entrepreneur, writer and activist. Kaz’s extensive career spans several mediums, including music, TV, and radio. He is one-half of the critically acclaimed hip-hop duo Crooked Lettaz with David Banner. He’s also garnered much success as a solo artist with 5 releases though his own company, OurGlass Media Group. Those albums sold nearly 20,000 copies independently and led to extensive tours of both the Czech Republic and Ghana, West Africa. OurGlass is a full service Public Relations/Marketing/Entertainment Consulting Firm with a recording label, management company, film production company, concert promotions, and property management arms. Currently, Kaz is the marketing specialist for the City of Jackson, Department of Human & Cultural Services. He also writes columns for both the Clarion Ledger & Jackson Free Press. But his greatest achievement is being a loving husband and proud father of 3.

Keep Your Goals To Yourself || Derek Sivers


After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone — but Derek Sivers says its better to keep goals secret. He presents research stretching as far back as the 1920s to show why people who talk about their ambitions may be less likely to achieve them.

Why Videos Go Viral || Kevin Allocca


Kevin Allocca is YouTube’s trends manager, and he has deep thoughts about silly web video. In this talk from TEDYouth, he shares the 4 reasons a video goes viral. (This is the first talk posted from an amazing TEDYouth event. Many others will come on line next month as part of our TED-Ed launch. We can’t wait …)

How Winning in Hip-Hop Led To Winning in Business & Life || Glenn Bolton


In this short but entertaining talk, Glenn Bolton, aka Professor Daddy-O, shares the secret to his success in the highly competitive music industry that is relevant to anyone from any industry.

Glenn “Daddy-O” Bolton is one of the most influential voices in hip-hop. Hailed by the industry as the “Quincy Jones of rap,” Bolton founded groundbreaking hip-hop group Stetsasonic, whose success inspired the alternative hip-hop genre. He later joined the executive ranks at Universal Records, where he was charged with talent discovery and development.

Bolton has worked with heavyweights Mary J. Blige, B52s, Queen Latifah, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others. Other notable projects include the And 1 mixtape, MTV’s Rip The Runway and the movies Dangerous Minds, CB4, Lean On Me, and Straight Outta Brooklyn, where he served as talent and Music Supervisor. His career has been chronicled Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture, and Rhythm and Blues, Rap, and Hip-Hop.

Bolton lives in Atlanta and most recently served as a curator for the official Smithsonian Hip-Hop Anthology. He has an album out currently on iTunes entitled #everybodybutkrs. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

The Transformative Power of Hip-Hop || Professor Lyrical


In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized

This concludes my five top Hip-Hop related TedTalk seminar segments I feel that any upcoming hip-hop artist or entrepreneur can learn a thing or two from it. I find these seminars to be very insightful. If you come across any other TedTalk’s you’ll like to add to this list, by all means contact me via Twitter @NikkiSiixx. Would love to share those videos!

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Top 25 Viewed Posts in 2015

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2015 has been one hell of a year and the most viewed post are here for your viewing pleasure! We have from music videos, artist advice articles, album reviews, even one of my unboxing videos makes it mark on the Top 25 Viewed Posts in 2015:

25. The AWKWORD – Approved Female Rappers List

24. Interview: JamalG

23. Interview: Aviant Redz

22. Beat Tape: IAMNOBODI – Elevated (Soulection) – Instrumental EP

21. Album Review: Shottie – The Blackest Rose

20. Artist Advice: How To Approach A Producer With Or Without A Budget

19. Music Video: Ziggy Lovah – Undercover featuring D-Locz

18. Download: MyVerse – State of the Art Album

17. NikkiSiixx Do’s and Dont’s: How To Promote Your Music Through Social Media Outlets

16. HOT TOPIC: HOW MEEK MILL COULD’VE ETHER-ED DRAKE

15. POLL: Who Sampled It Better? Kingdom Hearts Utada Hikaru – Sanctuary

14. Artist Advice: Avoid Being Just Another Soundcloud Rapper

13. NikkiSiixx Do’s and Dont’s: Submissions 101

12. Music Video: wiLLThaColdest – Find Out

11. Videogames: Pokémon Go App Overshooting It’s Capabilities?

10. Download: Kal-L – To Paris With Love

09. LOOTCRATE: NikkiSiixx Unboxes December’s (2014) Theme Anniversary

08. Music Video: Yuh Boy 85 – IDGAF

07. Exclusive Leak: Does Tink Take A Jab At Nicki Minaj?

06. Music Video: Jay Guira x Da Heist x Young Breed – ISSUES

05. Music Video: White Blake – Double Cups

04. Download: Eric Biddines – Planetcoffeebean 2

03. The NEW Music Scene: 10 New Jersey Rappers That Are Likely To Blow Up

02. Music Video: SEYI – Wanna Be

01. The AWKWORD – Approved Top 10 Hip Hop Artists to Watch in 2015

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Website Recommendation: CoPromote

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I’m back with another website recommendation that I find helpful to anyone who’s looking to promote themselves. This time I’m bringing you a secret weapon of mine that I’ve kept to myself for the last 5 months and I’m ready to share since I know it works! CoPromote is a co-marketing platform that helps generate boost for their posts such as on Twitter, Tumblr, Vine, and even Youtube. They have a community of over 800,000 members that relate to categories like music, gaming, blogging, brands, filmmaking, and so much more.
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Luckily, this platform is free but are limited to the features you can use. But first I have to explain how easy and accessible CoPromote is. You can access it on their site CoPromote.com or on your mobile device through their CoPromote app. You are able to boost one thing at a time and you’re able to keep tabs on how the tweet/post/blog/video is doing with their analytics. You get to know who is exactly sharing your content, how engaged is it, and helps to improve with what’s really bringing traffic.

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Since using CoPromote for the last 5 months, I find it to be extremely helpful and anyone who is trying to get more exposure on your content either with blogging or music. It works. Before I would get probably 2-3 RTs but when I boost a tweet I now get an average of 20 RTs and even some new followers. Also, helping to bringing new traffic to my Twitter account, My Website, and even my Youtube Channel.

But I know by making your account Pro you can really take advantage of the CoPromote platform and reach to almost close to 1,500,000 additional reach. They have different packages and what I find to be useful is the unlimited boosts. Meaning I can have over 12 tweets being RT, Liked, and Shared. Because currently I’m using the free account which only allows 1 Boost at a time. Check out their packages and prices below:
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I’ve been able to find some pretty dope Gaming Youtube Channels. I found them by using CoPromote’s Youtube Feature. Say I find a video I like and I want to feature. It adds a clickable link to my videos on my channel. When someone watches my video a pop up of the video comes out on the bottom left corner. I choose which videos would be more relevant to my viewers. You can also boost a youtube video and get yours featured on other youtube channels.

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I seriously reinforce for you guys to check out CoPromote! If you’re an artist trying to get more exposure this is the best way to boost your content from tweets and your music videos! Best way for things to get around is word of mouth and CoPromote makes it easy. If you have a budget for promotion I highly suggest you go Pro in order to really push your content the right way. Try it out for free if money is tight, but don’t miss your chance.

P.S Follow CoPromote because sometimes they post discount codes for their GoPro Packages, Be on the lookout: 👀

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Starving Artist Suggestions No. 2: The Curse of Being Gifted

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There is a behavior that some of us independent artists exhibit – I call it the “I Don’t Wanna” syndrome. I’ve been this guy before. You know this moralistic viewpoint; it’s the artist that proudly proclaims that he could make “a million” trap beats or that she could write “a thousand” pop songs, but — to put it simply — they “don’t wanna”.

Voldemort-spell-avada-kedavra-harry-potter-14771461-500-335So please, tell me again why you make music? Is music something you do strictly for stress relief – is it a cathartic means to blow off steam? Do you spend hours crafting and perfecting the music you make just so that you can later listen to the sound recordings of yourself or of your productions?

Or do you make the music with aspirations of intriguing the listener; of leaving the listener inspired, awe struck and engaged; with dancing visions in your mind’s eye of a crowd-filled room, participants engorged with the most intensive of energies – the lips of each attendee raucously spilling forth every one of your painstakingly-crafted lyrics right down to the last drop?

pigeonThe reason I ask is because, as artists, we can sometimes find ourselves pigeonholed into creating the music that we specifically value, or into producing the type of stuff that we want to hear – and there is nothing inherently wrong with that – but I must ask: if you’re focus is creating the music that you want to hear, then why do you have aspirations of releasing it for others’ consumption?

I mean, music is a gift – and I understand that your music can undoubtedly be one of your most personal and unrequited gifts to the world – but the question still begs to be answered: when you give someone that thoughtful gift – deep down from the bottom of your heart – do you give them the type of gift that YOU like; even if it isn’t the type of gift that THEY would?

bob-marley-quoteBob Marley once said, “Live for yourself and you will live in vain. Live for others, and you will live again.” That is some serious food for your thought and nourishment for your soul. See you next post!

Previous Blogs:
Starving Artist Suggestions No. 1: Please Stop Seeking The Advice Of Profits

#StarvingArtistSuggestions
The “Starving Artist Suggestions” is a blog designed to give hard-working independent musicians and independent music executives insightful, honest and frank information that will make positive differences in their careers. @Legasey

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Website Recommendation: SCSuperFans.com

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Hey guys, I wanted to share with you a site that helps and specializes in authentic Soundcloud promotion by SCSUPERFANS.COM. I find them to be the most credited when it comes to driving real traffic to artists pages. You can see, SCSUPERFANS.COM have over 250+ positive reviews and a 99% positive feedback rating… proof that their service are exceptional. They have two ways of generating listens by their blog network and using CPV Advertising. By using these sources, your soundcloud accounts are not being viewed from spam bot accounts. And we all know about these spam accounts according to our discussion I had with Koalition when I was on the Knights of The Turntable “The Indie Rapper’s Guide of The Universe”. If you’re an artist that’s looking for ways to expose your music, here’s a way SCSUPERFANS.COM can help.

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Starving Artist Suggestions No.1: Please Stop Seeking The Advice of Profits

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Dear Starving Artist,

Please stop listening to the digital distribution sites and musicians’ blogs that try to convince you that it makes sense to “keep all of your rights” or “keep more of your percentage” of revenue. It is a marketing ploy.

Because while you are not only keeping more of your “percentage of revenue”, you’re also keeping more of the percentage of the tasks and burdens that are inherent to the process of growing a business – and undervaluing or underestimating the time and monetary costs of these types of burdens is an action that can stifle your business and your career in a long-term and/or terminal way.

You’ll never see a McDonald’s franchise owner working the register so that she can “keep more of her percentage” of profits. Keeping 100% of ten sales is not a better proposition than keeping 10% of a hundred sales. “Going it alone” is a surefire way to stagnate your progress. Money will come and money will go. Now is not the time to concentrate on your profits; now is the time to concentrate on growing your business. You can pay a team’s salary, but you can’t buy teamwork.images-1

#StarvingArtistSuggestions
The “Starving Artist Suggestions” is a blog designed to give hard-working independent musicians and independent music executives insightful, honest and frank information that will make positive differences in their careers. @Legasey

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Artist Advice: What To Do After Getting Feature On A Blog/Website

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After the mission of submitting your content to numerous amounts of sources, now its time to play the waiting game. Waiting for that special feature. When that moment finally arrives it’s now to put in work. For an indie artist you just can’t expect that one feature to make you a superstar over night. It’s all about how many people can get aware of the content.

finn-yellingFor my site, NikkiSiixx.com. When an artist gets featured you automatically receive 1 week of promotion via my twitter accounts. Daily mention of the article and the artist twitter link. I’m blasting the post in order for more people to take noticed.

That same promo approach should be done on the artist behalf as well. Say if the artist, his team, and any fans that want to help push your content. The more people that talk about it the better. Build awareness for your content, and this goes for anything related to upcoming releases. Here are a couple of tips to promote your feature on a website or blog, even including mine:

1- Get TWEETDECK! They have a special feature to help pre-schedule tweets. I use this to help the continuous promotion of a tweet for a week without having to physically tweet it myself. I highly recommend you get it and have your team as well! and this will be able to setup daily tweets for

– WEBSITE and CONTENT Links
– Features on anywhere they feature you
– RT’s or Screenshots of Feedback Given from fans or colleagues

2- How to promote the featured article on twitter:



-You know what these links are creating? They’re building the awareness that site actually featured you. This gives the listeners a good reference to why they should listen to you. And you’re building more awareness for the site that feature you. When sites notice a certain artist brings traffic, they’re going to want to keep building more with you.

3- How to promote via Instagram:

@idioticoddity is a unique artist that mixes hip-hop, pop, and rock within his genre. This presents a wide arrange of sounds that Idiotic Oddity adapted to quickly. You may think is a bit out of the norm, but who is normal nowadays? Oddity’s also does his own vocals, making an appearance on his hooks/chorus. Really catchy! Wanting me to press replay. Idiotic Oddity released his self titled EP Idiotic Oddity. I find this to be a great introduction to who Oddity is as an artist. The refreshing production and melodies reminded me of one of my favorite Indie Electronic Duos The Limousines. With a dancy 80’s synth and 90’s influenced pop. But Idiotic Oddity provides a hip-hop flow to his verses. Idiotic Oddity EP is a five track project, here’s what I thought about my favorite tracks off of it. Read the rest via NikkiSiixx.com || #review #nikkisiixx #nikkisiixxentllc #music #hiphop #pop #rock #spotify #listen #idioticoddity

A photo posted by NikkiSiixx ENT Consulting, LLC (@nikkisiixx) on


What I also recommend when posting it on instagram.

-TAG The Blog, The Writer, and anyone else who had involvement with the content.
-Hashtag keywords relevant to the post and anything regarding your campaign.
-LINK the article to your Instagram link on your bio! Fastest way to get instagram users to view the content. Have this up and promote it for a week straight.

what_should_i_write_by_vanillycake-d5dfp99_zps07a557a64- If you have a website that has a press section (this section will have every link that has ever mentioned you). I find this to showcase to anyone who wants to see how many features without having to do a complete Google search. Its right there ready for the viewer to peek and look at your references.

5- Create your own custom images for post by viewing my article Top 6 Apps for Music Artists. I recommend some pretty dope apps to give you the presence you need online.

6- Don’t just retweet one time the link from the blog. Think about it, they probably took from 2 hours to couple of days to get the post ready and review the content genuinely. Well, I know for sure that’s what my contributors and myself do for all the posts. When you show real love it’s only expected 10x more. Also, when other sites see you pushing the content they made for you. They’ll expect the same push for what they’ll write for you. That’s when sites will become aware that you support the sites.

7- I recommend to push article features for more than a month, twice a day (AM+PM). Reason why when tweeting at different times of the day, is because when someone sleeps another is awake, and vice versa. This doubles your chances in reaching different people than always the same people at the same time everyday.

Those were couple of tips I recommend for Artist to do after getting featured on my site or any other site. When you’re an indie artist, your fans will only know when they see you mention it. If your fan doesn’t follow my site and you don’t mention it. How can they support and promote you when they didn’t find out from the artist themselves?

Feel feel to comment below or send me a tweet via @NikkiSiixx

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The Epidemic of A Copy and Paste Blog

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Lately, it’s just getting out of control. Since I am a music blogger I receive a large amount of submissions on a daily basis. This is extremely overwhelming to read and listen to them all. But for some reason sites find it to be much easier to copy and paste these submissions, just to get the post in. This is called plagiarism:
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Makes me wonder if they even listen to the content and if they even have their own set of opinions. This isn’t just sites that are unknown, but alarmingly its the major hip-hop sites as well.

The process for an artist to get the content to the masses, is trying to reach these outlets to get exposure from the music fans. Makes sense right? It should. But how would an artist or publicist feel that the site copy and paste (word for word) and didn’t contribute any opinion to the content.

son-you-were-copy-and-pastedPersonally, I’ve been in the position in submitting content for an artist. I was in a hurry and I used what I had written on my site as the description and even provided the link to my article. When it got featured on 15 different sites and it was copy and paste. Word for word, even my personal opinion on the artist was used as if that’s what they felt about the artist.

What I could have done was put these sites on blasts for plagiarizing my work. But what will happen to the artist feature? Knowing how these sites work they could either delete the post entirely or they’ll just reference back to the original post from my site. How would the artist I’m working with feel about his post being removed because of my actions on defending my own words. The artist received Google Alerts and when he reads every feature, he couldn’t believe it was word for word.

This hasn’t happened just to me, I discovered on the Knights of The Turntables #44 discussion I was on via TheKoalition.com. Joe from Joehovasmf.com he brought up in our discussion that one time when he was submitting content for an artist, he wrote a beautiful write up, and noticed every single site he submitted the content was COPY & PASTE. He feels it must be that he’s write up was too good or the site was that lazy enough to not write their own opinion.
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I had to research a bit more, and I was able to ask a few questions to @MattWhitlockPM who has been submitting artist content to me over the passed four years.

NIKKISIIXX: When it comes to submitting the artist content to sites, do you see sites copy & paste what you sent?
MATTWHITLOCKPM: Well when I email blast to the generic sites, like 80% copy/paste. But that’s just for blasts. If I’m doing full pr/marketing for the guys I manage, Notoriety – I’m personalizing each email before sending and also asking for original write ups. with those, I usually have great results but thats expected, to me at least. Generic blasts gets generic results. Its more of a booster, you have to have relationships and be personable when running an actual campaign.
NIKKISIIXX: How do you feel about the sites that copy & paste?
MATTWHITLOCKPM: It used to really irritate me because I was a writer myself for many years. I just didn’t get why you would become a “writer” and not want to write, lol. Then I started to realize that it’s the same with any other line of work, some people just want the title. I stopped caring about those sites/people and re-routed that attention to the sites that cared to write actual posts. Those are the ones you want relationships with. The copy/pasters are just for the email blast list. Which is also why email blasts are cheap and marketing packages are expensive – building relationships is expensive.

From what we got from @MattWhitLockPM is that in order to get organic features from blogs you either need to know someone or know someone who knows these people to reach out to these blogs and asked them personally to take the time to actually write their own posts. He has a whopping 80% of sites (by generic email blasts approach) that copy word for word. That is an alarming rate.

I personally think having an overwhelming amount of submissions shouldn’t excuse a site to just go to the copy and paste route. I see it as a lazy route. If you’re going to blog or promote an artist, it should be done with honesty and with your own damn opinion. If I can do authentic write ups I think the other bloggers/writers/journalist should be able to do the same.

*PS – For the sites that do authentic write ups nothing but love and approval from me! I know how it is, I do run a site and I can fit in your shoes. Ya’ll deserve a trophy foreal!*

What do you think? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet via @NikkiSiixx.

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NikkiSiixx on The Indie Rapper’s Guide to the Universe | Knights of the Turntable #44 via The Koalition

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n239284651846_1969Check it out ya’ll I was on this weeks Knights of The Turntable where we go in on The Indie Rapper’s Guide To The Universe! Welcome to episode #44 of the definitive Hip Hop podcast, Knights of the Turntable. The landscape of Hip Hop has evolved in such a way that independent artists can be successful and build solid careers, but not without a few rules along the way. Hip Hop and geek culture cultivator NikkiSiixx, who’s celebrating the 5 year anniversary of her site, joins the show with @JoeHovasMF @richbaileyjr @The_CSJR. To share stories and suggestions for those trying to gain exposure and building positive networks. Additionally, here are some of the stand out indie artists we mention during the show:
Art Morera || Kirby Maurier || SABA || Pope Adrian Bless || G.I. Magus || Adam Reverie || D Gut

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Artist Advice: Avoid Being Just Another Soundcloud Rapper

Artist Advice Avoid Being Just Another Soundcloud Rapper SM

NIKKISIIXX: This time around I had artist SM to bring his point of view for this week’s Artist Advice Article. SM is also a new contributor here at NikkiSiixx.com. SM’s topic of choice was AVOID BEING JUST ANOTHER SOUNDCLOUD RAPPER. Take it away SM –

Inside_Recording_Booth2So can we all agree that damn near everybody and their uncle can rap and that all of them with access to a computer are most likely recording a mixtape as I write this? OK, now that we agree on that let me give you an example of a scenario that plays out much too often. Let’s skip pass the small talk and fast-forward to the day the rapper’s project is actually here. This is the day all of their friends and family receive that “Check out my music” text or email. The day complete strangers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram get hit like an Uzi with the rapper’s music link. Often times begging us to check it out or my favorite line, “Click on the link in bio.” The music is uploaded. The cover art is uploaded. While everything seems ripe and ready for the rapper to catapult to stardom (in his or her mind), the Soundcloud numbers are saying, “Don’t quit your day job!” And from that point on, all this rapper seems to do is promote his or her project on Soundcloud. Why stop there? Why let your career stall and lose momentum? I’m going to tell you a few ways you can avoid being just another Soundcloud rapper.

Let’s be clear, Soundcloud is a great platform for artist; however, it takes a lot more than that to be successful. For instance, shooting a music video is a very important part of promoting your project. Per day, 1.5 million views on YouTube are for music videos alone. Artists are now getting signed off the buzz and number of views from their YouTube Channel. Songstuff has a great article online you should check out called “Tips For Making a Music Video”. People want to see you, so get in on this action immediately.

social-media-dataAlso, you need to hire a reputable publicist or music promotion company to help get your project out there. Your occasional tweets, posts, and status updates are not enough. Put your project in the hands of people with experience and you will see much better results. To learn more about the benefits and what to look for in a Publicist, check out David Robert’s article “9 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring A Publicist“. Another thing I suggest is getting your project out there offline. That means getting off your ass and off your computer or off your mobile device and actually network with other human beings face to face. Press up physical copies of your project and give them to DJ’s, you know the drill. Let’s not pretend like we don’t know how to operate without the Internet. Of course there are more ways and ideas you can use, I’m just scratching the surface. If you have any ideas feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll take a look. Ultimately, it’s all on you the artist to make good music and get it out there.

SM is an Author and Artist from NYC currently residing in Atlanta, GA. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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Artist Advice: How To Approach A Producer With Or Without A Budget

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For this article, I asked my Instagram followers for ideas for the next artist advice column on my site. What would they like for me to write about. I based my topic off their suggestions regarding promotions, blogs, anything related to music. This week I chose – @illtalbeats with his comment: “Do an article on how rappers should approach producers for beats (Especially for artists that don’t have a budget) lol” || Thanks illtalbeats this is the perfect topic! Here’s what I have to say about approaching producers with or without a budget. 

I know for an up and coming artist it can get really pricey in order to put a really solid project together. From the cost to purchasing a beat, to paying an engineer to mix and master it, hiring a graphic designer to create the cover art work, acquiring the licensing, trademarking and copyright. Placing your first order on printing physical cd’s, which need packaging sleeves or cases (plus the graphic designer to create the overall look). Creating and stocking up on merchandise, and then online promotional campaigns you get from official websites that support you’re kind of music. Phew! Remain Calm.

Key is to be able to manage your finances to the best of you’re capabilities. If you need to save, you save. But first things first… when it comes to creating any music content you need to find the heart to you’re song. This is where the producer plays a huge part. Because if the producer is a talented individual, who is capable of multiple genres or a new sound you’ve been searching for. Then your song comes to life, with a heartbeat to the music.

Lately, I find the best ways to find a producer is through Soundcloud.com, Twitter, and even Instagram. On Soundcloud, beat makers upload their beats and even instrumentals they’ve been working on. In hopes to finding an artist who will be interested in collaborating on something new. Networking is key when it comes to building new relationships. Comment, Share, and Like what you hear. Showing support goes a long way, especially when you’re really feeling the music.

Best ways to search for producers are through hashtags! Here’s where the producer who puts #Producers #FreeBeats #HipHop #Music while appear before your eyes. Don’t forget to follow them and become a familiar face. Once that, obtain their contact info; usually an email address, phone number, or straight through a direct message. Let em’ know how you’re interested in working together and how can it be possible? Here’s where it comes to whether or not your wallet comes into play.

Producers work in many different ways when it comes to selling their beats. They can set a price for the track, lease the beat, or accept royalties off any sells/plays. When a producer sets a rate for a beat, you have to understand and respect it. You can either pay in full or even make payments in order to own the music, rightfully. I’ve heard producers leasing beats for a certain amount of time. But this might be helpful for an artist who might not be completely sure if music is the right path for them. But hey! Reader, right now if you’re an artist who knows for sure what they want and their going to work as hard as possible to make it happen… Continue to read Right? Cool!

So, next option is accepting royalties. Royalties occur when you’re content is registered with BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC. For example, BMI has connects with licensed holders who use/play your music; such as radio stations, television stations, clubs, and restaurants. These license holders maintain a monitoring system that provides licensing fees in order to get you paid. 50% of a song is credited to the songwriter and the remaining 50% is left to the publisher.

Once you’ve selected the beat, picked which type of purchase choice, then it’s time to make a payment. When making a transaction, make sure the producer sends you an invoice for exactly what you agreed upon. This will guarantee this service or ownership of the beat you wanted to purchase. You also have to take into consideration any fees that may take place such as Paypal. You should pay to make the difference so the producer fully gets the amount he/she asked for. 

Say, you don’t have a budget. You’re an independent artist and all funds goes towards maintaining your life and your living situation. This is where networking and friendships come into play. I would say search for a producer who’s starting just like yourself and you feel a common base in music and interests. Proclaiming how you really want to work with them on a small scale when it comes to collaborating on music. You two can select a certain amount of beats and then you come with the verses, and then a project is born. A free project, this will help promote both parties. With heavy online promotion, you’re definitely guarantee to gain more fans this way. Now the producers followers, friends, associates become familiar with you as an artist as well.

Also, during the recording process you should have the producer present. Build together on the sound the project will have and hook them up with their favorite goodies as well during the session. Drinks, Snacks, Coffee, and even some funny smokes. Positive Vibes = Amazing Music. After working together.. when you’re in works on any future project, they might possibly hook you up with free beats.

FREE BEATS?? Yeah, it’s possible. When you network and play your cards right. But don’t forget to give credit to the guy who created the song that inspired the lyrics to the best song you’ve ever written. It takes from hours till days and even months to get a beat sounding the way it does. Take into consideration, they deserve the credit too. Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 2.52.50 PM I’ve received music submissions from the artist himself and he did not give credit and not even mention the producer at all. How rude is that? The producer should always get mentioned on anything related to the track/project promotion, getting tagged in every photo of the cover art, and getting notified when the track gets featured on a popular website. This also will benefit the artist because now you have an extra individual who will help promote it because they are involved. This concludes my take on how artist should handle approaching producers on purchasing their beats and even sometimes working without a budget. Any comments or suggestions, provide them below.

Artist Advice: Ways To Promote Your Music Online Without Social Media

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When it comes to promoting your own music, there are a lot more options today than there were even a couple years ago, thanks almost entirely to the Internet. We posted an article a little while back on the do’s and don’t’s of social media promotion, and it’s true that social media can provide some of the most effective ways to promote your sound. But in this post we’ll take a quick look at 5 ways to promote your music online without the use of traditional social media apps and sites.

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1. Use Soundcloud
It’s probably the most obvious suggestion to an independent artist, but it’s one that just can’t be ignored. Soundcloud has become an enormous service for new artists and music fans alike, and failing to upload your sounds there leaves you at a disadvantage. Don’t just rely on Soundcloud’s own site though – you can also use the service to play live tracks for free on your own artist website, letting any visitors hear your sound. It goes a long way to offer some listening for free.

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2. Upload Sounds To Last FM
This is just one more way to get your sound out there on a massive listening service. There are a few added bonuses though. For one thing, the royalties program at Last FM gives you a bit of cash as people listen to your music; additionally, the service has a Pandora-like “discovery” tool that can make your sounds come up when people listen to something similar.

3. Be Accessible
If you have an artist website (and let’s face it, you should), try to be accessible. Provide an email address for fans to reach out to you, and answer emails. You can even look into conducting live chats once your audience broadens a bit. You won’t be able to keep it up if you make it big, but being personable and accessible gives you appeal and makes you memorable.

4. Contact Entertainment Webmasters
This one’s a long shot, but remember there’s never any harm in asking. Betfair’s Bingo site is one example of what we’re talking about here. At this site, users gamble real money not just on bingo, but on a variety of casino games – poker, blackjack, you name it. Essentially, they’re games that can be played with soundtracks! Again, this one’s always a long shot – but reaching out to arcade and entertainment sites to see if they’ll host your music isn’t a bad idea.

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5. Get Your Music On Spotify
Before you can make it to this step you need to make sure you have your music registered with BMI. Spotify essentially gives you the same benefit as Last FM – it’s purely for exposure, and once you’re up you won’t have much control over marketing or outreach. But the general idea is, there are about a dozen solid services where new artists can upload music, and there’s just no sense in ignoring any of them!

We love to help out a give artist advice. Even though this article is stating how to promote your music online without social media, but we highly recommend social media for helping to spread the word on your music. Here are a couple other advice articles that can really benefit you and your career.
SUBMISSIONS 101
Getting Booked For A Show
How To Promote Your Music Through Social Media Outlets

NikkiSiixx Do’s and Dont’s: Submissions 101

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From a bloggers perspective, submitting music should be something simple and easy to do. But sometimes the artist, manager, promotional agent, and friends don’t promote the content accurately and appropriately. I know the whole key is to have as many people listen to the content. But if they’re doing it with a wrong approach, it will lead your music to fall on deaf ears. If you don’t want this to happen you should definitely check out below my Do’s and Dont’s in SUBMISSIONS 101.

DO: Usually the way a blog or website wants to receive submissions from the public is through they’re email. Review the site you want to submit. Make sure the site is relevant to the artists and that the site features other artists in the same genre. This guarantees that there are people who would like similar music and will take a listen.

DONT: Submit your content to a site that literally has nothing to do with the genre or topic. I’ve received submissions for country and religious genres. Obviously these submissions won’t make it on to a Underground Hip-Hop site, but I see that they’re just trying to spread the word, so they can get any feature. It’s also a waste of time submitting to sites that there’s no way the music will be on there.

DO: The sites have a list of details of what they need from you the submitter to properly review the content. My site offers this here: nikkisiixx.com/submissions. I basically broke down what I need from you from any category I have listed on my site. From music-video submissions, project reviews, event coverage, or inquiry about anything else. I’ve visited other sites and I’ve seen what they’ve requested. It’s plain out simple. But unfortunately submissions don’t come out right.

DONT: HALF-ASS details you can provide about the artist! Lacking a bio, discography, producer credits, photos, and even social media links. Should get the submitter a slap on the wrist for not including these valuable details that a blogger would need to generate the best post about you. I’ve received emails saying “yo… check out my music. youtube link . pz” Really? Yes Really?! How can I take this person seriously when they’re not taking themselves seriously. There is no way this content will get posted anywhere. You’re lack of information will lead to no exposure.

DO: It’s always good to try and touch base with the site prior to submitting you’re content. At least the site is aware of the incoming email. You can let them know when you’ve already sent it. And maybe a week after submitting to follow-up with the status.

DONT: Contact the site/writer on a daily basis on the status of the post. By you’re constant harassing this will lead them to have a bad taste in their mouth about the representation and the actually artists. When this happens usually the writer will not not have a positive outlook on writing this post since of the constant reminder. Us bloggers don’t need this. We have more on our plate then what you can expect. Especially it’s a site in supporting Underground Hip-Hop Artists from all over. If you haven’t notice there’s thousands of you.

DO: Create an excel sheet and generate a list of music bloggers. This will need name of the site, link, email, contact name, twitter, date sent, reviewed, follow-up 1, follow-up 2, Notes. These columns will help out because all the information you need will be right there. Fast way to view status on submissions, if you have this as up to date as possible.

DONT: Discredit sites for not posting you’re content. By showcasing this negativity in public this can cause a backlash of other blogger sites to not support the artists. I know at times it may seem no one is supporting you but you got to have a bit more patience. Especially when we’re overwhelmed with submissions. I have to mention this more than once because it’s a lot!

This should cover the basics of SUBMISSIONS 101. Be genuine! Providing more information is always better than to have less. The more you give the more we have to work with.

If you have any questions feel free to HASHTAG #ASKNIKKI101 and mention me @NikkiSiixx. I’ll be happy to help out with any questions. & please don’t let these question be about posting your content. That would clearly mean you didn’t read my article above.