I was once at a major music industry event in Houston, Texas, which LaunchDon sponsored. It was a celebrity basketball game that was attended by rappers, musicians, former NBA stars, a gold medal Olympian and thousands of fans.
One these fans noticed my lanyard that had my credentials on it and walked up to introduced himself.
He explained that he was aspiring rapper, lyricist and believed he was a cut-above his peers. He said that his lyrics carried weight, substance and was light-years ahead of the stuff you hear on the radio and in the club.
Naturally, I was interested in learning more about him and his goals.
He told me he wanted to grow his audience.
He wanted more people to hear his music and he needed a platform to do it. So I gave him some general pointers and gave him my business card; told him to send over his digital music portfolio with links to his social media, YouTube videos, etc.
He said he didn’t have any of that.
At this point I dialed the conversation back to what he originally wanted to do – grow an online audience. I told him, he couldn’t do it without a digital music portfolio – an online collection of his songs, photos and videos. Without this, I said, you don’t have a brand, and without a brand, you can’t grow an online music audience.
So it got me thinking…
This smart, hungry and ambitious kid doesn’t even know how critical an online music portfolio is to building his brand and rapidly growing a fan base.
Then I thought, he’s definitely not alone. For those of you aspiring artists, producers, musicians etcs out, this is how you build an online portfolio so you can share and build your musical brand.
Build Dedicated Social Media Accounts
Social media is nothing new. Everyone and their mom (literally) has a Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram account. And so does every successful music act. The only difference is that their presence on social media is about their brand, not their actual identity.
No one follows Aubrey Graham on Instagram. They follow @Champagnepapi. Go on Facebook and try to find and friend Curtis Jackson’s profile. There is none. 50 Cent has a Musician/Band page.
The point is, you already have your own personal account on these sites, now build one dedicated to your artist/band/professional brand. It will help you stand out and build credibility to your brand.
Have A Digital Musical Collection
An artist’s brand means nothing when people can’t give your tracks a listen. Build and stack your music projects digitally, so it can be shared easily.
You can sign up for a Soundcloud account and stockpile your singles, remixes, albums and mixtapes. Soundcloud accounts are also great because they share easily. Links to your soundcloud play nicely in all forms of social media so people can listen to your music easily and without having to click a bunch of links.
If you want to guard your music closely and not publicize it just yet, you can upload your tracks to cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox. Just make sure you have a link to this music that can be easily shared in emails, text messages or direct messages.
Create Tons of Photos & Videos
Photos and videos – visual media – is the number one consumed product on the internet, so give the people what they want.
Get a nice camera, or a decent smartphone, and take a ton of shots of you writing your music, mixing tracks or anything else related to your craft. People who aren’t in the music industry have virtually zero insight into how music is made or what happens in the music culture. They are sure to eat it up.
Video is even more powerful than photography. Take videos of you doing your music thing and post it to Youtube or your dedicated music social media account and do it regularly. If you don’t you’ll come off as a one hit wonder. Consistency is key so make sure you post at least 3x week.
So there it is. There’s really nothing to it. For those looking to make their first move in the music industry, I’ve just laid out the roadmap. Create a digital portfolio of your brand and your music and watch how quickly you will grow an audience online.