“There is a lot of music in the world that I love that does not always get the appropriate exposure.” Moby
If the documentary Searching for Sugar Man taught us anything, it’s that you can be an incredibly talented musician, but without the right exposure, your talents really could go under the radar and never be discovered. Born in Michigan in the 40s, the artist known as Rodriguez was a cult hit in South Africa, where he was rumoured to have outsold Elvis Presley, but in his home country of the USA, he remained relatively unknown.
So how do you ensure you’re not the next Sugar Man? Well, here are some ways in which you can get you and your music the appropriate exposure it deserves.
Join Groups & Communities
Joining groups and communities online and offline is an excellent way to rub shoulders with like-minded souls and is a great place to start getting your music played to the right people. Search for genre groups, instrument groups and search local groups and join the ones that are most appropriate to you. Listen to what people have to say, join in the conversation and be active in the community – use it as an opportunity to share knowledge. Offline you should look for local meetups and open mic nights. Use them as an opportunity to network with peers but also take some photos and share them with some of the other performers – it won’t be long until you get the same in return.
Be Active Online
It seems counter-intuitive when trying to get exposure for your music, but commenting on other people’s music that is similar to yours with genuine, constructive feedback and intelligent comments is a great way for you to build your online persona and draw interest towards your personal page. Take some time each day to listen to other people’s music in the name of research and leave them some feedback. This is a long-term play, but over time your followers and fans will naturally increase.
People are always on the lookout to learn a new skill and teaching, as well as being a great way to help you to develop as a musician, will grow your personal network too. Online, maybe you can think about creating a simple how-to video for every song that you write? This could be a quick 30 second video where you teach people a chord progression or how and why you wrote a particular lyric. People are much more likely to really listen to your music, if you have helped them to develop as a musician.
If Justin Bieber wasn’t captured on the street busking all those years ago, would he be the star he is today?
By 2009, Bieber was the number 1 most subscribed to musician in Canada on Youtube and number 20 in the world. If you’re a fan of Rod Stewart, B.B. King or Tracey Chapman, then you’ll probably know that all of them started their careers busking. So whether you’re honing your craft, or wanting to show the world some new material, pick a popular place with a lot of foot traffic, and who knows, you might just find yourself the centre of the next big viral video.
To get started, take a look at the communities on BandLab here.