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K-Know / Blog

The Secret to Getting Signed to a Record Label

The Secret to Getting Signed to a Record Label

I really hate that I had to give this article that title, but I had to get your attention. I just have to spread the truth. The secret to getting signed does not exist because there is no secret. There, I said it and I meant it. There is no special secret. It is all about the numbers. You just have to get enough people listening to your music at roughly the same time, and those people have to like, talk, share and buy your music. There is no secret. You can either do it by yourself, or you can find someone with enough power, money or time to do it for you. It doesn't have to be a label; it can be any person or organization that can get the job done. There is no secret formula. All you need is talent, hard work, and most importantly, intelligence.

So What Should I Do?

Well, I could run off a whole list of ideas that you could try, but that would not help you very much because you can get that information anywhere. Just because someone gives you ideas does not mean that those ideas will work for you. The purpose of this article is not to give you a list to memorize, but to increase your intellect and way of thinking.

You should sit down in a quiet room and think to yourself, “What is it that I do well?” For example, if you do not have a very large budget, don’t plan to give out thousands of free CDs. If you do not have access to a computer, don’t plan to take over the internet with advertising. Find out what it is that you can do well and do it as much as possible. Always think of how your efforts can make the biggest imprint on your fans.

Don’t Be Afraid to Network Big!

That means that networking to your local radio stations and PR people are fine, but don’t be afraid to go after some big names. Be daring! Don’t sell yourself short! Try to skip straight to the top and get the attention of some big names. You may not get their attention immediately, but in time you may get lucky. If you keep trying they may see that you are serious.

Be Professional!

Please be professional. When you get a chance to meet with people that can further your career; be professional. Tell them exactly what it is that you want, how it can benefit them and how it will benefit you. Don’t be afraid to believe that you are worth their time. Be prepared to give them a sample of your talent if they ask.

Be Creative!

Try to be creative in all your promotion ventures. You have to catch the eye of the VIP people as well as your fans. Always think to yourself, “How can I put my own unique spin on this?” You must stand out and build a brand that is yours and yours alone. Make them want to know what is going on in your world.

Spend Money!

You have to spend money. Spend is wisely but spend it none the less. You can’t be cheap in this business or you will get cheap return. You cannot get there for free. Invest in something that will get you closer to your goal and get you noticed, rather it be locally or nationally. Get noticed!

Have Persistence!

Be persistent! You have to be determined to be noticed for your talent. You may have to knock on some doors five times. You may have to go back to the drawing board several times. You may have to work many hours, but you must out work the competition and out think your obstacles.

Have Good Music.

There is nothing to say about that. That is obvious.

How Long Should You Promote an Album?

How Long Should You Promote an Album?

My name is K-Know, the R&B singer and I have been an independent musician for about twelve years. I promoted myself right into getting noticed by a prominent indie label by the name of KBJ Records. I like to think that I have learned a little about perseverance, when it comes to promotion. I do not pretend to know all of the answers, but I will say that I have seen many independent musicians make big mistakes in regards to how long they should promote an album. A major label will sometimes spend as much as six months vigorously promoting an album or single before that album even touches the shelves of any store. So an independent artist should promote an album for at least a year.

Why Should You Promote Twice as Long?

Well, it is all about the numbers. Major labels usually expose their singles and albums through the use of mass radio, and TV mediums. This allows them to expose their music to millions of people all at one time. When your music is exposed to such a large portion of people at one time, your music will get old to all of those people at roughly the same time. They must strike while the iron is hot. An independent artist may not have the same budget or connections. Instead of releasing his or her music to thirty million listeners at once, they may only have the ability to release their music to a couple of hundred or a thousand people at once. It will take an independent musician longer to reach thirty million listeners and therefore increasing the length of his or her promotion cycle. I have found that most independent musicians give up to quickly and stop vigorously promoting an album or single after about two or three months.

Why Do Independent Musicians Give Up so Soon?

Independent Musicians usually give up early because the music simply gets old to them. When your music gets old to you, it is natural to feel like you do not want to promote it anymore. You just don't want to hear those songs anymore. It is hard to go out and convince other people to listen to a song that you don't want to listen to. You have to resist the urge to stop promoting. You have to remember that although your music may be old to you, there are still millions of people in the world that are yet to hear your music.

So What Should I Do?

Promote your music without stopping. Resist the urge to stop promoting. Keep in mind that your music is only old to a small portion of people. When an album or single gets old to a small group of people, just give them a new song or two, but don't stop vigorously promoting your older tunes. One trick you can use is to not listen to your music so much. Take breaks from listening to your songs so that you do not tire of listening to them so quickly. And please get your music mastered by a professional CD or audio mastering engineer. Your music will sound better I promise you. And the better your music sounds, the longer people will want to listen. Why do people still love Michael Jackson's songs after all these years? It is because they sound great. They sound great because they were recorded well, and mastered professionally.

Crumbs!

Should You Give Away Your Demo CDs For Free?

There has been a lot of discussion over this issue but I don’t know why. It is a no brainer. Of course you should give your demo CDs away for free and here is why. The explanation can be summed up into three words: Hear, Like, and Buy. These three steps have to be accomplished in this order or you will not sell very many CDs. You cannot skip any of these steps because it won’t work if you do. If you really stop and think about it, you will see that most professional mainstream artists are promoted using this model. #1 HEAR

First, let’s discuss the first step. People have to hear your music. People will not buy music that they have not heard. I don’t care how cute you are, how well you speak, or how interesting you may be; not very many people are going to buy music that they have not heard. This is why you have to get a lot of people listening to your music at the same time. The more people that listen to your music, the better the chances you have of getting a lot of people liking your music.

#2 LIKE

Next, now that people have heard your music, some of them have to like it as well. Not everyone will like it but some of them will. This is why it is imperative that you get as many people to listen to your music as possible because the more people that listen, the more people that like. Once you have got a large amount of people liking your music, you can now concentrate on getting them to buy your music. Remember; don’t waste time trying to get all of the people who heard your music to buy, instead spend time persuading those that like your music to buy. You will have a better chance at getting those whom already like your music to buy it from you then you will those who have only simply heard it.

#3 BUY

Lastly, you need people to buy your music. Now, all you have to do is make sure you have the music available for sale. Make sure that you let all of your fans know where and how to purchase your music. Make sure that you remind them over and over again. Don’t be annoying, but don’t be afraid to remind people about purchasing your music.

Why CDs? Can’t I Just Give Away Downloads?

Yes you can give away downloads but in my opinion, it will not work as well. You need quality listeners, not fly by night listeners. When you offer a download for free, a person may download it but the song stays tucked away on their hard drives, never to be heard from or shared again. It is too much trouble for them to download a song, find a blank disc, burn the song to a disc, and then take it out into the world. A CD can easily impact other listeners because your fans will play it in their cars and home stereo systems. People will remember your name easily because it is printed on the CD and they may glace past your name as they flip through their CD booklets. One CD can affect many. The only problem with free CD promotion is that you have to give out a large number of CDs in order to make a real impact but in order to go where many can’t, you must be willing to do what many won’t.

K-Know is Making it Rain on Memphis TN.

Hey, This is K-Know. Everyone has been asking me, "Hey K-Know, what's the deal with these sample discs we have been hearing about?". Well, here is the deal. My album, "A Moment in The Know" is coming out this Feb. 2011; however the album will be promoted with 10,000 sample discs starting this Jan. These are not your ordinary sample discs. Each sample disc will have a special code written on the back of each CD insert. You can use this code to win tons of cash prizes, gift certificates, and more. There will be a drawing held twice a month for the whole year of 2011. All you have to do to enter is join my fan club by clicking the "fan club" tab at the top of the page, scroll down, and fill out the form. Be sure to have your sample disc handy so that you can enter the code into the form. Oh, I almost forgot. The sample discs will be distributed by hand at different high schools and locations all around Memphis. You will have to stay tuned to your inboxes so that you can be there to claim your CD. I am looking forward to making it rain on you this 2011.

Image is CD Duplication

When it comes to CD duplication, image is everything. I am not saying that your CD has to look like Universal Records distributed it, but there should be some level of professionalism used when designing the graphics. Most artists plan to duplicate their demos and give them away to the public free of charge. Artists that give free Cd's away experience a loss of income in exchange for advertising their music, and therefore will try to spend as little as possible when manufacturing the discs. When you are giving away music for free it would be wise to find a cheap audio cd duplication service when manufacturing the discs, but one must not compromise the quality of the appearance of the disc in the process. When people first pick up your CD, the first thing that will make an impression on them is the way your CD looks. Money should not be the only factor that concerns you when it comes to your music. I understand that the most important factor to consider is the way your music sounds. It is true that the greatest weight of judgement by listeners will lie on the way your music sounds, but if you are an experienced unsigned artist like myself, you will know that most people who receive a CD from an unsigned artist will already expect he or she not to sound professional. You already have one strike against you just for being an unsigned artist. Appearance is a strike that you can do something about so don't receive this pre-mature strike against yourself. Do a good audio cd duplication job. How do I achieve good graphics? First of all, don't write on your Cd's. The days of writing on your Cd's with a sharpie marker are over. Secondly, you should find a company that provides a cheap cd duplication service, and will duplicate and print graphics directly on the surface of your CD at an affordable price ($0.80 per disc). Finally, you should make sure that the company uses high quality discs. You shouldn't search for the cheapest price because those with the cheapest prices will likely use the cheapest discs that may scratch easily. One day someone will ask you if they can purchase one of your demos, and you will not want to sell them a cheap disc that will scratch easily. What are good graphics? Good graphics could be anything that your heart desires, however I do recommend that your graphics be eye catching. Do not be afraid to use color with your graphics. It has been proven that color attracts people. Good Luck! http://kbjrecords.blogspot.com/

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