Let’s keep it real: It’s hard being an unestablished artist. Your resources are limited and your money’s funny. But because you believe in your craft, you can’t stop now; You gotta keep the dream alive and keep it pushing.
HHMW sat down with Rap Coalition founder, Wendy Day, to talk about how unestablished artists should test their songs to see which one they should invest in.
Day was asked, “What’s the best way for a new artist to test a song and see if they should be putting money behind it?”
Wendy responds, “The way that I test songs… I do it a bunch of different ways. I’m a little bit spoiled because I’ve got relationships in the music industry — and I realize that as I tell you how I do what I do — but hoping that the listeners will try to build and get to this level. One of the ways that I do it is, I send out songs for feedback to DJs, because the DJs are on the frontlines, especially the club DJ’s. They are the ones that break records, they are the ones that know what type of music the current consumer is looking for. They know what gets people on the dance floor and what clears a dance floor.”
“If you don’t have a relationship with DJs, you can do a listening session at a high school; You can set up a listening session and invite your target market. You gotta know who your market is. Like, if you’re Yo Gotti, your market isn’t the same as Drake. All rap is not the same. The same exact person doesn’t listen to all rap music — all fans are different. So you gotta know who your fanbase is. If you pull people together in a room, offer them wings, beer, pizza, and whatever. Okay, not beer to high school kids. But if you get everybody together in a room, and play your music, and get feedback, that’s probably one of the best ways to do it. It’s very time-consuming to do it that way because it’s in real life, but you’re able to see their reactions and ask questions. Instead of a ‘yes or no’ question, it becomes, “What did you like about this song? What didn’t you like about it? Okay, you don’t like that there’s too much Auto-Tune. Would you like it if it had less Auto-Tune? Do you like the subject matter of this song? Do you like the hook? Okay, you don’t like the hook. Why? Oh, its too long. The song is too fast. The song is too slow.””
“You can really get some great feedback that you may not necessarily be able to get when you test something online. And that’s the last way I test stuff online. We’ve got access to the dashboards of Spotify, Soundcloud, Instagram, and Twitter. Pretty much all of the sites have backdoors in them, where you can go in and see whose ￼listening to your music. Okay, I have three songs on Soundcloud, and one has over a 100k listens but the other two have less than 5k. That tells me that the song with more listens is more popular and I should put more money into that song. One of the great things about Soundcloud is that people can leave comments; It’s also great about YouTube. Of course, it’s a lot of trolls out here that are gonna say dumb sh*t, but every now and again you’ll get someone giving you real, legitimate feedback like, “Man, this song is so good, but the hook is just a little bit too long.” Or, “It’s not mixed properly. The sound is off when I turn it up.” You can get some really great feedback from potential fans that can help you make a better record or tell you which direction to go. I have a client right now that can sing and he can rap and he doesn’t know which he wants to do. And it’s very expensive to market in both directions, so he is testing his rap songs and he’s testing his song songs on his Soundcloud page. At the end of a 30-day period or six-week period — whatever length of time he’s chosen to test it — he’s gonna have a feeling for which is more popular, his rapping or singing.”
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