This year’s New Music Seminar in New York wrapped today after a series of panels which included “The Creative Conundrum – Increasing Your Odds With Radical Differentiation,” a 90-minute no-bull look at how new artists can break their careers wide open.
Yes, that’s easier said than done, as the discussion’s moderator, Billboard’s editorial director Bill Werde, pointed out that 94,000 albums were released last year. So, how does one rise above the clutter of the thousands of other releases? A round-up of tips from the panel:
Make A Personal Connection With Fans
Artists must create “religious” moments with fans – it can be on a record, it can be live, it can be online, etc. – but to truly break through and expect fans to come back for more more, artists must make an emotional connection. “If you can create a special experience in front of 30 people in a club,” said panelist Tom Jackson from OnStageSuccess.com, “and you change a life at a show, you have a shot at this.”
Whatever You Do, Make Yourself Stand Out
Hip-hop producer Just Blaze received 300 demos the last time he went to a conference, he said. The two he remembers? One that he received on an iPod Shuffle (a brilliant move, albeit incredibly expensive) and the artist who took an candy-themed approach to the CD packaging, complete with Kool-Aid and Fun Dip artwork. “That made a difference. Things like that grab my attention and I thought ‘this person’s presentation was so different that maybe their music will be just as different.'”
Artists Must Be Marketers and Entrepreneurs
Too many artists are waiting for a lucky chance meeting with Jimmy Iovine, said reality TV personality and People’s Revolution PR founder Kelly Cutrone. “Madonna is an average singer but a brilliant marketer,” said Cutrone, adding that Lady Gaga showed up in her office in 105 degree weather dressed as Kiss’ Ace Frehley. “That stood out.”
Find Your Lane
“If people want Southern rap they’ll go to T.I., if they want East Coast they’ll go to Jay-Z, if they want West Coast they’ll go to Snoop or Dre. Those slots are already taken,” said Just Blaze. The point? Find your niche and stick to it. “Make your mark in one spot then branch out.”
Work On Your Craft
At the end of the day, if you have everyone’s attention, the music has to deliver the goods. “Learn your craft,” said the E Street Band’s Little Steven. His comment that artists must first go back to the beginnings of their genre and “learn the roots,” drew the panel’s biggest applause.
By Chris M. Walsh of Billboard
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