Friday, March 15, 2013

3 Tips For Creating A Successful Mixtape

Hip hop has become more and more competitive in recent years, and a single mixtape can now make the difference between a career of obscurity and skyrocketing into the Billboard Charts. The hard truth is that there are a number of mistakes and misconceptions about mixtapes that many fall victim to, and the aim of this blog is to help future rhymesayers avoid those traps. If you have anything to add to my advice, or perhaps have an idea for a future column, comment below and let me know your thoughts.

1. Mixtapes are more than just a collection of free songs
Not long ago, mixtapes were looked at more as a source for promotional singles buried in throwaway material than anything else, but ever since Drake released So Far Gone the new norm has been to present as much high quality material as possible. Mixtapes are no longer another word for demo, but rather a synonym for “free album.” Approaching your mixtape with this in mind is key to finding success in hip hop today. Labels, especially majors, want artists with proven track records for success, and nothing speaks louder to A&R than having an album completed without the assistance of big names and money.

2. Tell your story, not what’s popular
If you spend enough time listening to any one style of music you will eventually begin to figure out what “sells.” While understanding what people want to hear is very important, it’s equally important to remember that your music is meant to be a reflection of you. There are countless artists able to boast about lifestyles of luxury and nights filled with beautiful women, but they are an equally countless amount of people who see right through all those well-penned lies. Being honest with who you are as a person, including your history, dreams, fears, and memories, are what people will connect with when hearing your music. If all your lines are about a life you don’t live yourself, people will sense the deception (and likely call you out for it).

3. If you give your music away for free, know why you’re doing it
Many artists today are giving away free music because they feel that is the only way to attract fans. The truth is, more people are interested in good music than free music, and they’re willing to pay for it. If you have a few great tracks that you really believe in, ask yourself whether or not offering them for free will help your career. If you believe they will, make a list of the ways you can take forge relationships with listeners through giving your music away, such as requiring emails in exchange for downloads, and outline a plan to maximize the exposure your release receives.

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