Find creative ways to present the music.
"Find new and unique ways to deliver your music to your fans and followers in experiential ways. Tierra Whack is having the breakout moment she deserves because she packaged her already great music with a really unique, multilayered experience and has used it as a launch pad for even better full length content to follow." – Brandon Payano, A&R and curator for Colors
"I think artists who think about their work holistically and with purpose really stand out. Every action taken or decision made should be consistent with and be connected to the larger picture. Thoughtfulness and intent is surprisingly underrated these days." – Juliana Salazar, creative consultant
"A clear and consistent package helps. Even if you're on a shoestring budget or no budget, come up with a way to present yourself in all areas (including socials) that gives potential listeners a way to understand your worldview. I actually think there can often be a lot more creativity where resources are slim, so never feel that budget is holding you back." – Dominique Maldonado, director of A&R at Warner Bros. Records and Founder of Leaders of the New Cool
Video can set you apart.
"If you have enough creativity to write an amazing song then you have enough creativity to create an eye-catching video. Sending that video along with a track stream is going to help your chances." – Phil Taggart, BBC Radio 1 Presenter
"At any given time there are hundreds of thousands of people slinging music at tastemakers. The one thing that probably makes an artist stand out is some really original video content. If you have enough creativity to write an amazing song then you have enough creativity to create an eye-catching video. Sending that video along with a track stream is going to help your chances." – Phil Taggart, BBC Radio 1 Presenter, Hometown Records co-owner
Look at what's popular... then do something completely different.
"Listen to as much music as you can. Pay attention to what sounds and artists are popping and ask yourself what will make you stand out against them. So often I hear new artists making similar music, and if you're trying to create your own wave and sustain longevity, making music that sounds like everything else, is going to make your life a lot harder." – Chad Hillard, founder of Hillydilly
Overnight success is possible, but don't count on it.
"We live in a viral society. It can be confusing to see someone like The Boyboy West Coast go viral over a snippet, and that can happen, but its not the norm. Look at Megan Thee Stallion, who's been building a career by working at her craft, and shes probably one of the best rappers out, technically. Her rise may feel out of nowhere, but she's been pushing at it for years. Overnight success isn't always what it seems. The internet provides a viral opportunity, but you'll only have success if you're putting in the work, and I think that's something we should be reminding people of. Look at Post Malone. 'White Iverson' came out in 2015, and he worked that record. Or even someone like Billie Eilish. Her debut went crazy, she's headlining festivals, but shes been working her career for two years. If we're thinking about young artists and how to make an impact: you gotta bust your ass." – Eric Sundermann, head of content at The Fader
"My advice would be to stop trying so hard to create viral moments and trollish stunts. If your music is unique and engaging enough, it will be found by the Internet gatekeepers." – Mikey Fresh, journalist at Genius/Miss Info
Build a small but strong following before you aim for the masses.
"Overnight success isn't always what it seems. The internet provides a viral opportunity, but you'll only have success if you're putting in the work." – Eric Sundermann, head of content at The Fader
"If you do get lucky and go viral, you're at an immediate disadvantage. How many viral acts stick around? The artists who do last are usually the ones who have a built-in support system of real fans that are ride or die. In the early stages of your career, the most valuable thing you can do is foster a sense of community among everyone who really likes your music. Even if it's just 10 people, those are going to be the 10 people that tell all their friends about you, who can feel ownership over finding you early, and who will want to go to your shows, buy your merch, and do whatever they can to help you achieve your goals. Those 10 people are going to be way more powerful than a thousand people who see a meme, laugh for a minute, and then move on to the next." – Jacob Moore, founder of Pigeons & Planes
Connect with other artists.
"Without this sounding like I am encouraging social climbing, I do think there's real power in community and connecting as much as possible with other like-minded artists to grow and support each other's efforts. This might end up sparking some of the first real word of mouth you ever receive. I'm not saying you have to work with everyone, definitely not, but those genuine connections do matter. The more generous you are with your resources and connections, the more that potentially comes back to you. Rising tide lifts all boats." – Dominique Maldonado, director of A&R at Warner Bros. Records and Founder of Leaders of the New Cool
Authenticity is key.
"You gotta make real authentic, quality content that not only is authentic to your fans but authentic to you. The content—whether it’s some left-field music, some real gangsta, trap music, some goofy, lighthearted music—needs to feel so authentic and real that people can’t help but share it and talk about it amongst their friends. That happens once, twice, three times… now it becomes a game of consistency. You do this enough times, you’re gonna get the attention of the industry: blogs, labels, booking agents, DSPs. It begins with your tribe. Feed them and keep feeding them with quality, authentic content and you’ll never go wrong." – Derrick Aroh, VP of A&R at RCA Records
"It begins with your tribe. Feed them and keep feeding them with quality, authentic content and you’ll never go wrong." – Derrick Aroh, VP of A&R at RCA Records
"Especially today, fans are not just consuming the music, they're connecting with the person or the people who made it. For better or worse, that's how it is, and that's how consumers engage with artists. Unless you want to be stuck in an act for your whole career, being genuine is the only way to make that strong connection with fans. Think about what you want to communicate, and then figure out how to get that across in everything you present to the world." – Jacob Moore, founder of Pigeons & Planes