Cover/ Thumbnail Photo Credit : Drew Ressler /Rukes www.rukes.com
*Note, this article is written more from a " music industry " point of view. It's a touchy subject as people want to jump ship and label " sell out " . However, I simply want to provide some knowledge I've gained over the years and my opinion on such matters.
The Question I get asked more then anything else ?
" Help me mix better "?
- Nope not that one
" How can I clean up my track "
-Nope not that either, the number one question is.
Nyonyxx ! I want to be famous, like ( insert huge EDM star)
How can I get famous. Help me plz ?
Legit, I get asked this daily. Its a HARD question to answer, it truly is. Why?
Because some of the people that message me are 25, some are 13. I never ever, want to discourage anyone from their dreams.
More then anything else in life, I want everyone reading this to truly reach and aspire to their music goals, and I mean that. If you've worked with me on any mastering/ mixing project in the past, you can attest to this.
So the question still remains, how can you " get famous ".
While I don't have a direct answer, no one does and no one ever will. I have " studied " what pro's have done to get to where they are. I also know a few music insiders that I work with, that have shared some insights with me over the years.
Really, it comes down to the same thing that makes you successful at anything in life.
1. Hard work
2. Dedication ( if people say your obsessed, your on the right track)
3. Luck. (Luck, isn't something that you can rely on. It does come into play when making " super stars " but if you want to make some sort of a career , the first 2 are everything.
Those are the basic's, the defaults.
But are there any " common threads" in the world of music?
I feel there are.
The following 5 situations have launched peoples careers.
These are more from a marketing/ music industry standpoint. The following are just some ideas that popped into my head. Don't take them as a MUST DO list, you don't need to. In fact, I urge you to NOT DO THEM, they've been done.
Do what no one has to get truly amazing results.
1. First to Market ( Websites)
- A trend I found early on in my music endeavors was that a lot of people " got made " by the birth of certain sites. ( Myspace (way back when ), Youtube, Soundcloud ) etc.
These sites BLEW up in popularity, and the early adopters did as well. If I recall correctly , Calvin Harris was originally " found " in the early days of myspace which is what launched his career. In the non EDM realm, LMFAO was birthed on Myspace Popularity so to speak.
The key is to be one of the first people on these sites, before they blow up. Which is of course hard to do in and of it self.
I am sure, you could track 100's of other artists that " got made " via such sites.
2. First to Market (New Value)
- What do I mean by " new value "
Simple, offer value for people that HAS NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE.
The last part is key.
Back in the day, circa 2009 ish. I made one of my first ever remixes ( under a super old artist name). The track was horrible. Mix wise and music wise. It didn't even make sense.
However, this was before EVERYONE started to make remixes of pop songs. Making remixes of pop songs was a new thing, if you made one, most likely there would only be 1 or 2 others in the youtube search for that term. It was easy to get views/ comments/ likes ( even though it sucked )
Youtube was popular then, but it wasn't flooded with producers like it is now. I got over 100k views on that horrible song in under a week. All I did was up load it, sit back and watch the views grow.
Why was it so " popular ". Simple, it was first to market. The only one on youtube at the time.
Now a days, if you make a remix of a pop song, you are competing with hundreds of other producers. Its very hard to make and keep the top spot.
This is a prime example of how first to market with " new value " ( aka people where searching for a remix of these pop songs, thus offering the listeners a " value " and something they wanted )
Another hyper common " value " offering people have been doing over the last few years is " how to videos " on youtube. I am sure you know all the big guys that do this and have seen their names around.
From my understanding, Lucky Date was one of the first to do this . Looking at his channel, you can see 6 year old videos, with some over half a million views ! Half a million from a how to video is INSANE and you would never be able to pull that kind of audience today, however since I assume he was one of the first to do this, he was able to draw in everyone that searched for those terms.
Either way, over the years 1,000's of people have started to offer these kind of videos, and just like how remixing pop songs is now over saturated, the how to stuff is all over the place. This isn't a bad thing, its awesome there is SO MUCH value being offered out there now, for free, however its harder to get your videos seen by the people you want compared to when Lucky Date used to do it when NO ONE else was.
The gist of all this is, that if your offering value to people, try to be the " first " to do it if you can.
3. Ghost Producing / Producing for Vocalists
This is a touchy subject, the ghost producing aspect, but does have some advantages other then the obvious monetary ones.
Let's start with ghost producing.
For those unaware, this is when you produce a song for an artist, they pay you, but claim ALL RIGHTS on the track. Your name is never associated with it again, and you will be sued if you bring it up.
This never happens right ?
Wrong, its huge, happens all the time .
I'm not going to go into the ethics of this practice, as its none of my concern however it does happen and it can launch your career.
Mr. Animals himself, Martin Garrix.
Why do labels LOVE ghost producers ( other then their ghost work ). Because, its been tested. Garrix already made a hit for someone else, Spinnin knew he was " in demand " so it was a easy transition to sign him.
This doesn't usually happen, however, if you happen to make a track for XYZ artist, and it does well. That artist will come back to you and it can open other doors.
I'm not saying you should go ghost produce, in fact most producers I know won't do it for ethical reasons. However, it can be a valuable tool to launch your career for a number of reasons.
Now, the same holds true for producing tracks for vocalists, with or without credit.
There are now HUGE artists, that started producing for lesser known vocalists at the time. Off the top of my head, Diplo comes to mind.
He produced the Hit Pop song " Paper Planes by M.I.A . This is a old song now, but without a doubt having this huge hit under is belt opened up other doors.
The key in the music industry is opening locked doors that you won't have access to until you have a certain amount of " cred " to your name. Working with vocalists is a great way to explore this.
I know a lot of people don't like pop music, and I am NOT saying you need to change your style or try to make popular music, I simply want to state what has worked for others in the past.
The world of music, can be a lot like the job market.
Labels don't want to " take a chance " on you, if your not proven ( like how jobs won't hire you, if you don't have experience, but you can't get experience because no one will hire you)
The double edge sword so to speak.
Regardless, the above to options can allow you to prove your worth and thus further your own career.
4. Dat New Ish ( New Style/ Genre )
This is an easy one to talk about, as it happens time and time again.
Bring a NEW style, unique style to the music world and watch what happens.
Some great examples of this...
- Skrillex, talking synths. Nuff said. If he wasn't the first, he was the first to bring it to the masses.
-Zedd, back before Zedd did pop tunes, he did the then popular " zedd bassline" which was unique at the time , along with his complextro tracks.
-Mord Fustang, Unique use of wubs and square arps to give his signature sound. Blew up.
-Deadmau5, not sure if he created his genre, but you know a deadmau5 pluck when you hear one. Esp tracks like Jaded and Faxing Berlin in the early days created his sound.
-Madeon. What's there to say about Madeon that hasn't been said. God like unique productions.
So, whats the point of all this. These guys ALL had ( as most top people do ) a unique sound when they came out then EVERYONE tired to copy them or parts of their style.
You want to bring a new vibe to the production world if you can. It will take you MUCH farther then just copying whatever is currently in style. However, tons of people do that as well with amazing careers , so its really down to personal taste.
5. Viral Videos
Everyone knows what a viral video is, but they LAUNCH the careers of artists when they go well. You can literally go from almost no one to world wide status in a month.
1000's of people upload " viral video attempts daily, and the majority fail.
Some examples that didn't fail and launched careers are
-Madeon's - Pop Culture/ Launch Pad video. He was one of the first to do these ( now popular, like I talked about in previous topics) this along with winning a remix contest gave him his superstar status.
-Baauer - Harlem Shake . Love it or hate it. World wide status achieved in the matter of a few days.
-The ChainSmokers- Selfie . Even though this wasn't anything crazy different, the video SCREAMS let's make a viral hit, in fact
So again, the track and video where built to go viral.
Now I can read your mind ,
( fuck this shit, I don't want to be a sell out )
and I understand I truly do, you should always make the music you LOVE however just being aware that this is how the pro's are going about it can give you a leg up.
This post is a bit out there from what I normally talk about. I tend to avoid these topics as most people label anything marketing related in music as " selling out " or changing.
However, all musicians I know have one thing in common. They want to share their music with the world.
In modern day , its no longer about giant marketing budgets or about having a hit on the radio. Everything can be done from your home if you put in the time.
Serious amounts of time.
Even if you make some super abstract genre of ambient, you have a audience out there. Somewhere.
Your goal is to find them by the above steps.
If you offer amazing content that they ARE searching for , you can capture their attention.
Good Luck and I wish that all your dreams come true, truly.