You are always faced with the question “how do I kick-start my music career” – that’s if you are an upcoming artist, mostly called underground. How do I start it looking at Ayesem, Kofi Kinaata or reading about the greats like, Papa Yankson, CK Mann, Jewel Ackah and others?
The question is very simple now compared to some years back; the modules and success stories of Kwesi Arthur, Kwamina MP and others should guide you.
The digitization of music and the introduction of some social media Apps have trickle down the hustle making young artists the luxury of growing their numbers with some real time interactions with fans at a little fee compared to before.
Artists ratio now compared to 10 years ago have increased significantly; which could also mean there’s less stress compared to before though it also breeds its own challenges.
Below are some four ways young artists should know before engaging in the industry;
Take very serious rules on Copyright, Sampling and any other on Plagiarism.
Music Copyright law is currently minefield in the music industry with many on the lookout to make millions out of those who infringe on the rules.Ghana is yet to witness its first case of copycat suit, but there are numerous examples out there. Case in point is when “Blurred Lines”; American duo Tickle and William were made to pay $5m for making out some similarities on Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give All Up” which was a 1977 hit. Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran are made to fork out excess of USD millions for having stayed very close to others works.
Have it in mind that, not only lyrics and melodies are now ineligible according to the copyright laws; tempo, rhythm and how one feels listening to the song you create can also come up as copyright, sampling and plagiarism of one’s work. Art is an independent work, showing your craft in a way that will interest others and thereby breathing in the possibility of creating several other streams of income into your barn.
Many artists have smashed the head of their careers before they even had their first breath. So, to come up as an artist, look for your own identity and present it in a way that others will join.
Hire a music lawyer when signing to record labels
This should be one of the fundamentals as a young upcoming artist. A number of artists have shared several reasons their careers could have tripled in success but for a deal they signed or a clause they missed. A music lawyer, someone who understands the record label contracts, and knows your music; wherever your budget might be there’s always someone who’s ready to listen and give you the professional advice to guide your young career.
First, as a upcomer, you need to determine your need; whether you need a music lawyer on a one time base or a retainer. It’s always advised that upcomers don’t put music lawyers on retainer, but rather on a one-time friendship base due to the low budget.
Utilize the digital sales aspect by signing up to a distribution company
Research have shown that few industries understand the need for social media more than the music industry. Many top artists are raking in millions from music streams, ambassadorial roles due to their numbers on social media.
As an upcoming artist, you might have noticed the evolution music has taken alongside media and tech – selling of CD has been slashed by 70 percent in UK with most music lovers taking to the digital streaming sites to enjoy their preferred genres and arts. So, this should be your main strength and your major source of revenue stream; Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, YouTube are but a few of the platforms you’ll want to push your music to.
There are other distribution companies that monitor and collect sales from these digital stores for their signed-up artists.
Social Media and close pals should be your strong foot.
A new study shows, 90 percent of social media users do music related discussion on their Apps being it Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other. Again, you will have to consider building your fan base throughout the digital space.
Get validation from your friends, and introduce them to your music, they are the first key to your success.
Journey well in your careers and don’t forget this article had a part to play.
By: George Duah and contributions from Torkesi and Kweku Richard.