Social Media is great because it makes communication so much easier between people. Last night, someone contacted me via my Instagram and asked a very legitimate question : “Is it ok to collab with another artist to get some exposure or is it the wrong technique?”
At this, I was quick to answer : “Of course! Collabs are always a great idea, lifting each other up is also always a great idea and you can benefit from both fanbases. To actually gather people around you and your music.”.
He then added : “Awesome, because the guy is asking me $1,000 for a verse and…”
HOLD ON. That’s a different situation….
This person inspired me to make this post. It’s a question that so many starting artists want to know: how and where should I spend my money?
Some people may have financial help from their parents, from friends who believe in them, from their relatives, savings, their daily job… And that’s great! Music is expensive so having some money to start is always a great start.
I get it, from legitimate investing to getting scammed, finding a clear direction and deciding what dollar goes where can be a daunting task. You find yourself asking what investment is better than another.
Everybody will have a different need with their budget. What is your current situation? Do you need instruments? Do you need microphones? Do you need software?
So let me start by what I would strongly suggest you not to invest in :
While it may seem like a great idea at first because the other artist is talented with a larger following, there may be more beneath the surface. If it’s not mutually beneficial in some way, enhancing each others talents through music, then stop. I am a firm believer that paying to be featured is strong evidence that you want to skip over the important steps of building yourbrand. This is not a jumpstart nor, is it a very strategic move because 90% of those who ask for money in exchange of a feature aren’t in it because they love making music. Either the artist believes in the collaboration or they don’t. An artist who believes in the collaboration will, put their voice / talent / instrument into the music you are collaborating on. As well, if an artist is willing to put out a record or music with an artist who they only feature after paying a hefty fee, they aren’t exactly picking artist for their talents rather their wallets. If you’re getting into the music game, play it with the right deck of cards.
Ads on Social Media
We talked about that in a previous post, ads are a waste of money for starting artists. You may pay because you want to, for example; have people know about your new single. Generally if you’re paying for ads it’s because you have a massive following and with crippling algorithms you want to reach out to all your fans. Or if you’re in the early stages of your career you’re hoping it will build your brand and build exposure. Although building connections on social media is helpful it should not be your main strategy. That’s sending your money down the drain.
Fake views, Likes and Followers
That’s one of the most tempting and I get it. That can actually be a strategy, Universal did it in 2012 with the song Gangnam Style by Psy, when they bought millions of views on YouTube to have the headlines like “Gangname Style is the first song to hit a billion views on YouTube!”. The strategy here was to pay, which worked for them at that time. While they were paying for this and the buzz got bigger and bigger the organic views started to poor in because all of the media outlets talking about it. A fine business that they completely mastered at the end of the day. Now it’s different because people are aware of these techniques and spot it right away. We can all tell that an account is full of fake likes and followers and that is the worst image for your brand. Giving the impression you are something you are not is never the first impression you want to make.
Along with these mistakes, I would avoid spending money in useless things like business cards or self promotion.
So, here are a few things that are totally ok to invest in :
Yes, that may be obvious but I prefer that you spend $100 for a concert ticket so you can see how a show is operated, that you have a good time, something to post on social media and that your mindset is in a positive place. Practice in different genres, never stay in your comfort zone, make it a point to get to know yourself. When you truly know who you are and own it, others will see it and feel it too. Take down time when needed. Creating can take time don’t be too harsh on yourself with deadlines you set for yourself. It’s better to be genuine than push out inauthentic content.
Instruments and home studio equipment
Same thing, always pretty cool to gear up and have something at reach so you can submit some demos, upload to YouTube or on your Instagram pretty quick without spending too much money on studio time, to get your content out there.
When you have a great song and you want it to sound good, a nice studio session can be beneficial, especially to get used to it and see how all this magic works!
Be practical, have fun, love what you do, do what you do well and don’t break the bank! It’s not only about the destination but the magnificent journey getting there.