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Indie Artists Take Music Technology to the Next Level

by +FE on February 13, 2009 at 12:06 PM · Comments
+FE Music's Director of Operations and Woman-of-a-thousand-hustles Aimee Flint was interviewed for Rolling Out about the ways in which independent artists can use internet technology to help further their careers.
It seems like everyday there's a new singing sensation, rap artist or one-of-a-kind producer on the rise. In an over-saturated market where everyone has a MySpace page and is claiming to be the next big thing in music, independent artists and respective management have to stay ahead of the virtual curve to ensure that they're taking advantage of the leveraging opportunities that the internet has to offer.  

With the web providing music-related platforms and social networking sites such as Imeem, MySpace, Facebook, Vimeo, Reverbnation, YouTube, Unsigned, Tryxo, and iLike, artists and managers have their pick of the latest technologies to position themselves directly in front of consumers and fans. With so much variety they may not have to choose just one outlet, but can instead be creative in using the sites in conjunction with each other.

"We use an array of different websites as they all have their own effectiveness," says Aimee Flint, director of operations at Nicolay Music. "The best way to take advantage of these technologies is to work them all together and keep giving fans and consumers a reason to come back."  

Though Flint is an advocate of belonging to multiple music communities and using a variety of different sites, she expresses her avid support of Reverbnation, a full-service site for artists, fans, managers, labels and venues.

"I'm a super huge fan!" admits Flint, who works directly with indie alternative soul group, The Foreign Exchange. "If I have two cents for any indie artist [it would be to] get a Reverbnation page and spend some time [exploring] all the possibilities you have with that site alone where you can also link your MySpace, Facebook, YouTube as well as all kinds of cool widgets."

Even when artists are using a combination of proven online platforms and social networking sites to promote their music, it's still difficult to stand out in a sea of many.

"It now takes longer to pick the needle out the haystack, if at all," says Fadia Kader, manager of Atlanta-based hip-hop duo, Proton. 

Internet phenom Soulja Boy Tell 'Em knew exactly how to stand out in the crowd. The Southern rapper established popular pages on YouTube and MySpace debuting original songs and videos including his 2007 hit, "Crank That" which caught the attention of multi-platinum producer, Mr. Collipark, who initiated Soulja Boy's Interscope deal.

Similar to Soulja Boy, eclectic newcomer Charles Hamilton also capitalized off of internet promotion. The Sonic the Hedgehog-loving lyricist built an extensive catalog of MySpace fans and consistently blogged to captivate hip-hop fans across the net. Not only did this buzz eventually lead him to a deal with Interscope, but it also earned Hamilton his own imprint, Demevolist Music Group.

"I think using the internet as a catalyst for your career is an awesome way to put yourself out there," says Flint. "[But] I still think it's about the whole package, creating a brand and learning how to expand within that brand."

Flint executed this method on The Foreign Exchange's new album, Leave It All Behind, initially releasing the full album on iTunes, then dropping the CD a week later as a double disc followed by a vinyl with two bonus tracks. "Bottom line-- keep giving them a reason to come back."
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