So I’m sitting on my bed this cold Saturday morning and I’m grateful because it’s an environmental sanitation day and it’s raining! Good excuse to remain in bed I must say. My family’s out on a weekend trip, so there’s no dishes to be done or breakfast to be made.
Listening to the rain and The Weeknd’s KissLand album simultaneously, my fingers were itching to do something. I figured I’d write another article after my last compilation on 6 mistakes upcoming artistes make . I read the article again and asked myself; How come artistes who don’t make these mistakes, or have corrected these mistakes still don’t end up being tagged successful artistes?
First, what is Success?
According to my dictionary, it says it’s an achievement of an action within a specified period of time or within a specified parameter. Success can also mean completing an objective or reaching a goal. Success can be expanded to encompass an entire project or be restricted to a single component of a project or task. It can be achieved within the workplace, or in an individual’s personal life.
To some fans, a musician’s success can be measured by the number of followers and fans they have on twitter, some by the endorsements they bag from telecommunication companies, pictures they see of them balling with Hollywood celebrities, or maybe nominations and international awards being won and the likes.
To others, it could be a 5-star rated album, Sales of album rights to distributors for a reasonable 6-figure cheque? International recognition and collaborations, or maybe the mad love and massive rotations they get on air and online.
From my findings especially in my country Nigeria, nearly every family can boast of an artiste or two and every body wants these artistes they are affiliated with to be somewhat successful or achieve one or three things I mentioned earlier.
Well whatever it is you may be gearing for as an artiste, a lot of things may hinder or help your success. I’ve studied a lot of artistes and situations and I compiled a list of 10 factors or elements that may and have hindered many artistes’ successes in their careers as musicians.
I’ll speak briefly and fairly on these 10 elements below:
He/She (as the case may be) is the subject of concern here. They’re held responsible for the successes and failures in their career, regardless other possible factors I’d be mentioning below.
The artiste is responsible for the genre of music they embark on whether or not they have the talents to handle that genre. They decide what song(s) to write record or perform depending on what they’re inspired or forced to do. The artiste decides on success or failure with or without knowing it.
The artiste is the first person to lie to his or herself, they start the Lying Chain. They lie to themselves on how awesome their music is; therefore expecting everybody to adhere to these lies and just say anything to please their egos and emotions. This, my people is the basic problem most artistes find themselves today.
Money plays a major role in the music industry today. Artistes need money for production, promotion, tours and the likes. It’s only mandatory that an artiste has enough money to kick start a music career. Nobody cares if you’re just an unsigned act anymore, you’ve got to have that paper to be able to breeze pass many obstacles.
Funds may come in from the artiste’s pocket, sponsors or even record labels. Without money, efforts may be wasted and honestly, time waits for no man.
They are everywhere today. I mean, anybody with a fair knowledge of Fruity loops and the likes, has a computer, good enough headphones, a mixer and a Mic can pass for a producer today. These producers tell the artiste to bring some small change for a song. Forget the terrible music quality, the producer would never tell the artiste that his music is sub-standard or “wack“, after all that’s what the artiste can afford. Everybody is hustling right? The producer doesn’t care about their feelings or reputations enough to tell them that their songs are sub-standard. So long as they’re ready to pay, he’ll lie to them!
Friends and Family
They’re supposed to be the people artistes trust. Even if the producer can’t tell them the truth, they rely on family and friends to listen to their music and be sincere with feedbacks.
Unfortunately, very few artistes get to be told the truth about what friends and families think of their music. They feel they might hurt their egos and emotions, hence they tell the artistes their songs are going to make hits; which is what the artistes want to hear anyway.
The artiste is satisfied with what his “personal people” think of his song or songs and heads on to make promotional plans.
Managers ought to be the ones who take the wheel of the artiste’s career, guide them through decisions and make sure they are always on track. So long as it’s official, the manager is supposed to be with the artiste. These days, the concept of artistes’ management is an apology.
Managers are supposed to be people who command a degree of respect from the artistes they manage and also have a say in what they do. These days, a manager is just a friend, cousin or an elder brother who fronts for the artiste who also fall under the category of people who fail to correct the artiste. Managers cannot tell their artistes what they really think about the music because he/she is really like a Personal Assistant and is not being paid for “opinions”.
The most successful artistes have people who they respect sitting over them and telling them, constructively, what they think about the music, the business and personality. There is always mutual respect. Regular reality checks help good artistes grow.
These days, setting up a record label is almost no big deal. There’s so much record labels scattered around the country and the world in general today. Artistes set up record labels, producers set up their record labels, publicists and even bloggers have record labels you know. I’ve seen some of them!
Even those who are lucky to be signed under good record labels still find themselves at risk of failing because most record labels these days do not employ the services of personnel needed to run a record label professionally. One of such personnel are the A&R reps who are responsible for the contents artistes send out. They review every song or songs an artiste brings to the table and give advices. Unfortunately, most record labels don’t have them present.
There’s a whole bunch of them out there today, thanks to the lack of job opportunities and the laziness present in our today youth. Everybody wants to earn a living by just sitting in front of their computers these days; hence the struggle to get artistes to promote is very real.
Most publicists would never give true criticisms on artistes’ material(s) because their comments may chase the artiste right out to the nest of another publicist. So they go ahead to accept the material(s), make efforts at distributing and promoting the sometimes “sub-standard” material. He “kisses ass” to get the songs on every blog possible and he’s on to the next client and really doesn’t care if people actually respond positively to the materials.
This set of people can make or mar your music career. They are a very important factor to your career because they ought to be the critics, not just download links providers. Unfortunately, most bloggers don’t criticize music. They just copy and paste whatever the publicist mailed them, drag the download links to their webpage and they’re on to the next post! What’s worse? Some of them don’t even listen to whatever music they’re posting nor encourage their readers to leave comments, hence no atom of feedback is left for the artiste.
Everybody wants to be on an On-air personality’s good side because we want air plays and possibly, massive rotations. Artistes and managers buy them gifts and pay them handsomely to get songs playing at least 3 times daily. Do not forget OAPs are humans too, like the others, they got bills to pay. They don’t tell you that your song won’t be played for long because of it’s poor quality or that fans do not request for your song(s), they keep collecting gifts from you and manage to play your songs maybe once a day before they eventually stop. They may tell you to record something new for your fans just to get that song out of the way. Well yea, you “once” had that song playing on-air. Same goes to videos too.
I stated this on my last article right, networking is very important for artistes. They need to connect to a large number of people. Being an artiste doesn’t make you a king! You’ve got to take your listeners, critics and fans seriously, communicate with them and get to know what they think about your music. Quit winning them over with recharge cards, truth is they’ll only stick around as long as you keep giving out free tickets and recharge cards to them.
Quit buying fake views/fans/followers, because honestly, it takes you no where. Who’d watch your videos, download your songs or Retweet your tweets? Dummy accounts? I guess not.
Dear artiste, endeavor to network with other artistes, producers and the likes. It helps a great deal and exposes you to a lot of things your team members may never tell you.
All that being said, managers, record labels & publicists need take control of the artistes career and show them how it can be done. Speak confidently to your artiste and make them understand all you’re doing is for their benefits.
As a musician, to earn the benefits of being a successful artiste you have to become successful. Give your time, resources and energy to create music people love and want to hear and then focus on ensuring that the supply is consistent.
Written & compiled by Joyce Imiegha (Media Agent/Consultant)