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The Urban Music Industry
Some Final Words

In conclusion, here's a recap of some of the things that matter for you as the aspiring artist in the urban music scene. Of course, alongside these things you will at one point or another also need great songs, vocals, lyrics, compositions, arrangements and quality recordings. Not to mention a compelling live show. But you'll still need these: (1) An Image. You begin your coherent marketing direction with an image that's consistent with what you are saying musically. Note this assumes that you have already composed the music. (2) A Story. Have a story that's consistent with the music and the image. Be able to sell your music. Be able to sell your image. Note: this implies that you are able to actually own or embody the spirit of your image and your music and your message. (3) Heat. Generate heat with your story, your image and your music. This is where publicity comes in big time. How you get yourself to be on the lips of people is how you get the buzz out. There may be industry conventions or popular happenings where you need to make a personal appearance, or need to have presentation materials distributed: flyers, cassette singles, CD singles, posters, placards, sandwich boards up and down the street highlighting your effort, blimps, giant balloons, sky writing, postings on bulletin board services and internet chat rooms, whatever. (4) Clever Marketing. This is where you stage the campaign and wage the war, the battle for attention, for notoriety, for recognition, for a return on your investment of time, energy and money; real music business in action. Are you going to take out an ad in Right On, Vibe magazine, or at www.360hiphop.com? Are you trying to convince the tour promoter or concert booker that your band just needs to open up for Destiny's Child or En Vogue when they come to town? Are you trying to tie down that illusive merchandising deal or that fashion contract with FuBu or Iceberg? Do you have a friend of a friend who is shooting a music video that would like you to do a cameo in the pool sequence? (5) Sales. At the end of the day, none of the other stuff matters if you are not generating an appreciable amount of sales of your records.
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