How do you get your demo in the hands of someone like Jay Z or Dr.Dre? Do you have to know them personally or even personally hand it to them? The world is indeed a small place, not literally because of course there are billions of us, but figuratively speaking. We are all connected, and in this age the term “know someone who knows someone” and “a friend of a friend” has the most meaning. Having a wide circle of friends and associates is not necessary but having the right circle is, hence the theory of “six degrees of separation”.
Let’s say for example you wanted to work with a major New York producer “Firesounds” whom you do not know personally, all you know is that he works out of the fictitious “Studio X” in Brooklyn, New York. You become friends with a girl, “Dee”, who goes to a music school in Brooklyn, New York, you tell her you’re an artist, she mentions she has a cousin, “LJ”, who does your genre and introduces the two of you. You and “LJ” start working together, after a show that you and LJ performed at the club promoter “Hill” introduces you to an A&R “Alex” who is interested in your work and encourages you to produce some new stuff at a great studio in Brooklyn where he sends new artists-“Studio X”. At “Studio X” you meet the manager “Charlie” who introduces you to one of Studio X’s producers “D-cutz”. “D-cutz” starts working on your LP but you want some more producers to work with, preferably someone with a reputation for producing hits. “D-cutz” says he knows someone who will be great for the job and introduces you to “Firesounds.”
And that’s how the real life social network works, now with the advent of social media all this can be done with less leg work and through a few friend requests and facebook messages. The wonderful thing about social media is that it is structured just like society, the facebook platform being the one social network that I believe best reflects the way people socialize. Many artists think that adding as many friends as possible is a good route to go in becoming more noticeable however this may not be effective if not done strategically. Lets look at one of the features of facebook; “mutual friends”, this is an amazing tool to use because just like in real life someone is more likely to associate with you if you both are connected through a third mutually known and respected party. Now how can you use this tool to get discovered by the likes of Jay Z or Dr.Dre? Follow the same concept behind the tool which is basically the “six degrees of seperation” theory which claims that no one is out of reach; we are all connected through a “social network”. If you want to work with someone like Jay Z , a New York rapper, and your style is similar to New York style of rap but you live in Texas do you think your circle is well connected enough to reach someone in New York who would be influential in making this connection happen? I’m not saying you have to move (although this may be a major help in achieving your dream) but even the way you socialize online may not be effective in achieving this objective even though there are no barriers on the world wide web.
If you are an LA rapper trying to get more publicity in your city/state in hopes that you can get signed by one of the major labels in California, and you are using facebook, youtube, twitter and other social media to get your name known. Take a look at your friend list, if the majority of people live and work 500-1000 miles or more away from you are you really achieving your purpose? Do you think you are using social media to your advantage? Of course if your goal is simply to get signed by any major label no matter the location then yes, expanding your social circle to include people who share interest in your genre of music or music in general or who preferably work in the music industry would be the goal. But before you start “social networking” whether in reality or online ensure that your objective is clear and that you are not caught in the web of 1000s of friends; little exposure.
Written by Tamika Simon