Sometimes Milwaukee's local music scene seems like its chasing its own tail. All to often when you attend a live show you'll notice something strange. The room may be filled, but the majority of the attendees will be other artists. Imagine if you were a performer and you placed mirrors all around the venue directly in front of and facing the stage. What would you see? About a hundred of yourself. Wouldn't it be odd if you watched a basketball game on t.v and the stands were filled with only the rest of the players around the league?
An artist should invite another performer on stage because the particular sound they have is complimentary to their own. Some artists may simply think if they invite as many acts as they can it will translate in to more fans they can share amongst each other. Unfortunately this is often not the case. While most acts do have a core group of people who attend their shows regularly, that group of followers tend to hold alliance with the "main" act they came to see. In a market this small the best idea when beginning to build yourself a following is to not worry about "numbers". The main concern should be about putting on the best show you can and finding new ways to attract fans. In today's always connected online world its easier to spread your music to potential listeners across the web. But when your talking up close and personal venues, the first thing you want to do is make a great impression. All eyes on you. Fighting for attention in a sea full of acts is not the way to go. A show in front of just a few people, assuming they like your sound, could do wonders for generating a buzz for your act. A hand full of people could potentially spread your music to hundreds of others. Chances are putting quality in front of quantity in this case could in turn produce large numbers for you in the long run.
Remember, things go wrong during live performances, sound is not always great. Arm yourself with material you can hand to the people in attendance. Focus on giving the actual fan a reason to keep coming out to see you perform. Your going to want to make sure you can give them something fresh they can play on the way home from the show, something they can remember you by. Something they can share with their friends. Keep in mind people are not stupid, if they came to see a Hip Hop show, they know a little bit about Hip Hop. They can tell the difference between a mix-tape and a sample filled CD your attempting to pass off as your "album". Make no mistake there is a big difference. Call it what it is. If it is all samples its a mix-tape. If its all original its your album. What ever the case may be you can never go wrong with promo Cd's, but trying to pass off a disc with you rapping over nothing but sample beats and not referring to it as a mix-tape is unprofessional. Do industry acts use samples on there record? Yes. Are they professionally cleared for usage? Yes. Chances are yours are not, in that case you are holding a mix-tape in your hand.
These common miss cues are some of the reasons people tend to not take Milwaukee rappers serious. The other part of course is the artist not being honest with the sound they have (is it any good) and what they are trying to present as their "album". Not to mention the always unusual sight of two acts who step off stage and attempt to convince each other to show support by purchasing each others record. You want to support your fellow wordsmiths? Then how about giving your comrades a shout out during an interview? A mention in a video or personal blog? Just met an A&R, got a plug on opening for a big act? That's the kind of information to share amongst each other to give one another a leg up if your actually close to them. Just be careful not to turn into a promoter for each other in a way that becomes counter productive for both of you. Bombarding a new found fan with a trillion links to all your rapper buddies before they've had a chance to familiarize them self with you and your immediate crew can spread the kind of word of mouth that will not help you as an artist. Networking is powerful, but going about it in the wrong way can do more harm than good.
Once you have the attention of a true number of real fans they will be willing to listen to what you have to say. At that point when you suggest they check out somebody you like, chances are they will and it will be a lot less confusing for them to do so, a lot less counter productive for you and much more professional. Keep things clean. Keep it simple. It goes with out saying everything mentioned here is pretty much common sense but it's often over looked. There is a number of acts in this city that mean well, but do themselves more harm then good. The initial reasoning for artists doing shows stacked with as many acts as time will permit is to ultimately show "love" to one another. Not all stack the venues for the appearance of numbers. To those some of the simple things expressed here may seem "anti-artist" but music sales are down across the board and saturation is at an all time high. So if your not willing to do things right and maximize your potential while avoiding looking unprofessional and amateur for the sake of being viewed as a lovable guy amongst your fellow peers, the music biz may not be right for you. Maybe professional pillow fighter?
These are only a very few simple things to keep in mind, got some suggestions? Leave a comment below to voice your opinion and be sure to click the subscribe button to stay up to date.
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