HELLO AMERICA!─Atlanta based hip-hop duo, the Buckhead Boyz, lifts the veil of transparency as to what today’s recording artists are experiencing during the time of the pandemic. More specifically, as to what adjustments, decisions, and options independent and “new” artists on the rise must elect to make to become and stay relevant in the music industry in the sea of social media scurvy.
As independent artists, the right decision as to where to spend every, last promotional dollar is key and crucial. Not only could it be a make-or-break decision, it affects most independent artists at the household level. Not to take anything away from major labels and signed artists, those decisions at the financial decision-making level do not pull from any one person’s direct household income. Although, the wrong artist investment and a decision could affect label personnel’s job security and by way of negative action could have a similar impact.
Independent artists have been most artists who have consistently reside, live and breathe on all the major social media platforms and even the least known and obscure sites. The energy exuded by indie artists can be easily viewed as persistent, consistent, 24/7 365 days a year. Indie artists, in general, have maximized the potential of direct and indirect promotion on social media platforms. Since most indie artists are not on traditional brick and mortar radio, social media creates a level free-enterprise platform. Traditional radio requires major label machines, a built-in radio network of radio promoters, program directors, music directors, and an almost unlimited source of capital.
This brings us to our point of contention. Due to the pandemic “LIVE” performances and the revenue generated from the concert tours, club dates and merchandise has come to a halt. This affects all performing artist whether one is classified as major or independent artists. For the sake of this argument, current major artists who had tours planned will feel the loss of the promotion and the economic impact on ticket sales and merchandise. Not only for the artists themselves, but their staff, crew, band, and their label. Legacy artists who are not necessary on the current charts, but tour consistently singing he oldies as a source of income are also financially impacted.
When the social media restrictions are eased and/or lifted most bookings may be geared towards already proven artists. Venues and club owners are suffering alongside all the entertainment they normally booked. Independent artists may feel shut out to such time when a venue or club will book an unknown or independent artist. In short, venues and clubs will feel the need to book “sure” things.
In the beginning, we discussed our position as independent artists on all the well-known and not so known social media sites. Due to the current climate because of Covid-19 and social distancing, major artists and major labels are now more visible than ever and in an aggressive manner. Now indie artists must compete with those same machines and well-known artist brands. Prior to the current climate, established artists would have extraordinarily little “direct” engagement with their fans. Artists were promoted and did posts on the major platforms. What we are seeing today from these artists go far beyond previous social media strategies. The internet and social media platforms are inundated with content from music artists signed and unsigned; established as well as unknown.
The Buckhead Boyz’s strategy to compete with other artists and now the majors are to not only think outside the promotional marketing box, but to think there is no box at all. The algorithmic nature of social media is the real decision-maker as to the level of success for “any” artists signed and unsigned; established as well as unknown. Independent artists must now be more precise in their promotion and marketing on social media. A laser-like strategy could possibly garner a cult-like following amidst all the other artists who are competing for the attention. The Buckhead Boyz credit their humble southern upbringing as great preparation for such a time as now. Atlanta is the nation’s music capital. You must be aggressive on the local performance scene for the attention of possible new fans and bookings. At the same time, the “industry” is here, and you are in their contention for their attention as well.
In consideration of all the independent artists, such as the Buckhead Boyz has turned this negative into a positive and welcomes to promoted and marketed alongside major artists. As when an independent artist is played on traditional radio formats next to major artists, there is a sense of belonging to a unique club of artists who have had this experience of playing in this medium. The same feeling one gets to see their video on timelines next to major artists.
After its inception, the internet leveled the playing field for artists. In today’s climate, the major league and the minor league share the same field.