This Is How Hip Hop Producers Can Be Successful in the Music Industry

  1. Fade

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    The music industry is a tricky game - one that many of us are trying to win at but only a few that really succeed. Many producers, beatmakers, rappers, and everyone in between work very hard to achieve that success without even questioning why they haven't gotten it yet.

    I believe that hard work and dedication will most likely get you to where you want to go, but there has to be something else. Something that separates the few from the rest.

    What is it? What holds some back and not others?

    I think I have the solution.


    Networking in the Music Industry

    "It's all about who you know, not what you know", is a phrase I have heard many times, and yet, to this day it's still true. When I was flipping through some old Hip Hop videos on YouTube, I just happen to stumble onto this:



    "Lapdance" by N.E.R.D. was a big hit years ago, and as of this writing, that video has close to 3 million views.

    But why was that song so popular? Why was N.E.R.D. considered one of the best at the time? Of course, this song along with many others from their album "In Search Of" is what paved the way for Pharrell Williams to become one of the top Hip Hop producers, as well as a popular recording artist.

    However, this song is not all that. Matter of fact, I never liked any of N.E.R.D.'s music at all. I knew that they were onto something but I just wasn't a fan.

    Networking is one of the reasons why groups like this end up being so popular. We all know that if you knock on enough doors, you will eventually find someone that will want to give you money and promote your album (record labels), and that is what happens even today with pretty much all Hip Hop artists.

    To be successful in the music industry, you must network enough so that you know a lot of people, but also the right people. You will never get ahead in the industry if all you do is local shows and post your music online for only a few people to see and hear. It requires that you hook up with people that can help you get exposure, but unfortunately many of the artists that do this are just not that good.

    So why am I saying all of this?

    Because I have heard many beats from just IllMuzik members alone that are much better than "Lapdance".

    With all of the great beats that I have heard, why is it that N.E.R.D. gets a big hit but not a member of IllMuzik?

    Getting Lucky in the Music Industry

    There are many factors that go into catching a break, but sometimes it just comes down to pure luck. It could be an artist just happens to meet someone that knows someone at a record label, and after one thing leads to another - a record deal is signed.

    When I listen to "Lapdance" and then I also read the reviews, it just blows my mind that so many people like it. Sure, it's got a certain vibe and I can see how some people will like it, but I just don't hear anything special. And it's a shame, because with all the great beats I've heard from our members, it's too bad that most people don't get to hear the quality of music they're producing.

    But they will hear something from N.E.R.D. and instantly, their heads explode in excitement.

    I believe that if there was a record label that featured nothing but IllMuzik members, the quality of the production on every track produced would be top notch, even better than most of the biggest names in the industry.

    This is the reason why the music industry is a tricky business. It's not about talent (okay, maybe to a certain degree), but it's about what kind of connections you have and what kind of sacrifices you want to make.

    I have heard many underground groups that got airplay back in the day, and they were terrible, but why did they get airplay? Because of who they knew. They would talk to someone that knew someone and the next thing you know - their music is being played on a local Hip Hop show, which leads to them opening up for a big name rapper later on.

    In Closing

    So what can you take away from this?

    It's quite simple - get known. Posting your beats online is great, but you can't stop there. Your beats, your brand, your face, and your persona have to be everywhere. This is the only way that you will get recognized and have many more people hear your music.

    And to do all of this, you have to do like the rest - network and get lucky.

    Oh, and your beats can't suck!

    Further Reading Related to the Music Industry
     
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  2. crog85

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    Well my beats suck!! So I guess u can count me out...

    Lapdance was a pretty popular song, I always liked it... but maybe it was b/c I was into bmx back then lol
    I heard that song recently on a movie preview for some disney movie, I think... It was definitely an animated kids movie... Strange song choice for children.

    But anyway...

    Have there been any illmuzik members, that u know of, that have "made it" in the music industry?

    Do u know of any record labels or big name artists/producers that visit illmuzik.com looking for new talent??
     
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  3. SoberMindedMuzk

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    I would say Greg Savage has made it, but I define having "made it" as making a living out of creating music. Being able to pay your bills and sustain yourself through something you love doing.... That's a beautiful thing.



    And your beats clearly don't suck
     
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  4. Fade

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    Those that have "made it" - well like @SoberMindedMuzk said, @Greg Savage is doing well for himself. But besides that, years ago there were a good amount of members that were doing well. There was one guy, can't remember who, that moved to NYC and was successful as an audio engineer with lots of top names. Plus many members did pretty well being underground/just above underground artists.

    I don't know of any big names browsing here, but they could very well be but just haven't hit me up. There were some in the past few years that signed up but didn't post, like E-Swift from Tha Alkaholiks.
     
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  5. crog85

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    Thanks for that... Most of the time I'm my own worst critic... So maybe that should be included in how to be successful in the music industry as well... HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF AND IN YOUR MUSIC!! (something I'm definitely lacking)
     
  6. Ozmosis

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    @Fade, I agree what your saying about networking just not the example used. Pharell and Chad produced numerous tracks, and ghost producing/writing for Teddy Riley for years before N.E.R.D. When you have a successful production catalog you get to a point where you can put out your own music. I agree NERD is not a great band, but it was the success of "the neptunes" as a production duo that paved the way for N.E.R.D. to be successful.

    The point I'm trying to make is that networking gets your foot in the door, but they have to trust you and your previous work before they put you out there. Neyo was a writer for years before he got is shot at a solo career.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
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  7. Fade

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    @Ozmosis I know what you're saying, but I the main thing I was trying to point out is that the Lapdance track is not all that, especially when compare to some other great beats out there. But it's other tracks too that are just not that good, yet get massive airplay. We see it all over the place today.

    In other words, you might see some well known singer going on a big tour, yet her music is shit. And at the same time there's some unknown artist performing in a small venue to about 20 people and has ten times the amount of talent.
     
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  8. MaseedProd

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    Whoa, this topic hits so close to home. I've been in the music business for about 25 years now (not consecutively...had to do the life/job/family thing). I have some fairly notable placements with underground artists such as Rapper Big Pooh formerly of Little Brother, Chandon of the J.U.S.T.I.C.E league, Skyzoo, Boog Brown, top 4 finalists in the hnhh.com Phryme Remix contest, and a fairly popular web series TV placement on blacknsexytv.net to name a few.

    Although I am extremely grateful for these opportunities, none of them were profitable. Also another thing I should note and perhaps some of you can identify with this too... I wasn't in a position to leverage these opportunities at the time they were presented. Ever heard of the saying "You gotta strike while the iron's hot"? Well, that saying is true as hell! See, it's one thing to produce a "product" that is good, well packaged, in demand and able to be marketed. It is an entirely different animal to know you have a basket of sweet fruit that people at the market will buy but have no way to get it there. That's the proverbial position that I was in. I had a small buzz going but I didn't follow through the way that I should've because I couldn't be all the places that I needed to be, when I needed to be there. You have to be able to deliver on demand and my creation process is not one that yields an endless supply of beats. I take a more personalized approach with production so the rate of songs I produce may be a lot less than other producers that have catalogs with hundreds or even thousands of beats. If you wanna get in the game, you gotta be ready to play and although I had a cool little buzz, I simply wasn't ready. See a lot of people want success but actually being ready for success is a whole different story. I had a full time career in IT that paid my bills and took care of my son at the time. I couldn't just take off work, hop on a plane to go to another state just to meet with an artist/label/company to discuss something that potentially may or may not happen with my music. In my mind I couldn't justify jeopardizing my full time career in which my money was virtually guaranteed for the "lucky break" or "potential" of the big pay off in music.

    I don't think people hear this side of the story often enough and I feel that if more artists were able to overcome some of these issues that I just mentioned that many more would see the success that their music deserves.

    Peace.
     
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  9. Ozmosis

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    @MaseedProd, that's real homie I don't even know how to reply to that. I've never came close to any of the placements you had. but I know it would be nearly impossible for me to leave the job and position in life I'm in now to make that unknown jump.
     
  10. MaseedProd

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    That was the position I was in exactly. I had to be honest with myself bro...I wasn't ready. I wanted more than anything to achieve my dreams of being successful in the music business but I wasn't prepared to make those type of sacrifices to achieve that goal.

    See, it's not about who's got more talent, it's about who's willing to take the most risks and to what extent. In the case of Pharrell and the Neptunes, I think they were blessed enough to find someone that believed in them enough to take the risk for them. That's what I want, someone to bet on me, not necessarily me betting on myself. When you look at it like that, you can quickly see how a person who knows how to talk to and convince people to believe in them will win everytime.
     
  11. Naked

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    Awesome article... thank you for the advice!
     
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  12. A.R. DASUPASTAR

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    Amen
     
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  13. A.R. DASUPASTAR

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    This article sparked an idea for the illmuzik brand. You said, how you enjoy more no name producers on this site, than the more famous producers like NERD. Why don't the staff pick out the producers on this site to turn in tracks for a illmuzik mixtape. I think it would attract many people because of course, many of us would be sharing it.
     
  14. MaseedProd

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    I'd be down to do that. Who did you have in mind to rap on these tracks or are you gonna be looking for completed songs?
     
  15. Fade

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    That's actually part of the reason I wrote this article. I was looking to see what you guys thought about what I said.

    A mixtape has been done years ago with good results and I'm always down to do another one. Hell, it would be great if we could get enough material to do it regularly. Like a monthly mixtape.

    The other thing is, I've been thinking of offering a service but I won't go into detail yet. The bottom line is that a lot of people on here need help or need to be pointed in the right direction so I want to do something with that.
     
  16. MaseedProd

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    Will this be "on spec" or profitable?
     
  17. Fade

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    What do you mean? And to what, the mixtape?
     
  18. MaseedProd

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    Spec, meaning a free download release or is it going to be a release that listeners will have to pay for.
     
  19. Fade

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    Free. All the mixtapes we've done are free, it's more or less a promo type of thing.
     
  20. huggyHG

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    I'd certainly contribute to said idea because that's what this creative outpouring is for exposure and practice.