Becoming successful as an artist isn’t something you can do alone.
I often talk about there being different stages of being an artist: the noise, low, mid, high and 1% tier.
- The noise are all the artists who have just gotten started. That bought a guitar or just downloaded FL Studio (legitimately, of course).
- Low is when you hit around 10k followers on SoundCloud. Or have your first 100k plays on a record.
- Mid tier is when you start getting the first show requests, or can maybe do a small tour.
- High tier is when you can tour worldwide. It’s where I’d position our artist San Holo.
- The 1% are the Justin Biebers and Drake’s of the world.
Two of these phases are the hardest.
First is beating the ineratia of the noise tier. As the barrier to creating and spreading music today is so low, the competition is outrageous.
A label might pick you up whilst you’re in the noise, but more than anything, industry professionals look for artists that can independently get through the inertia. They don’t usually get involved unless the act has been validated.
With great music and marketing, you might grow to a mid range act, which is where you’ll start getting your first shows. This is the leverage you need to bring on a good booking agent.
As you expand your network of agents and potentially bring a publisher onboard, you might accelerate to the high tier. And that’s where the real struggle comes. Getting to the 1%. I’d argue penetrating that segment of the market is harder to do for one act than it is for 10 to get to high-tier touring level.
I’m telling you this so you realize that real industry success is impossible without a team of good people around you.
But to build that team you need to a) understand the roles in the industry and b) get through the intertia yourself.