Artist development in the music industry has evolved over time, leaving most of the early progress to the artist themselves. For the most part, the days are gone when a record label developed up and coming talent. The question continuously arises for those young artists, “where do I start”? Most newcomers to the music industry think of artist development as learning what to say during an interview, what to say on stage, maybe a little stage show planning, and very little more. And yes, these are a handful of the topics covered by artist development, but these are only the tiniest of details. True artist development twists itself into an artist’s entire life and career. Artist development is what turns an “IT” factor artist into an International super star – seemingly overnight. But in reality – that overnight success took months of planning, working, developing, and maintaining a tight artist work schedule that groomed an artist into a music industry success story.
Artist development takes raw talent and molds it into a presentable package. It can include image, style, branding, song selection, artwork, video, publicity training, artist back story, and much more. Artist development is what separates the haves from the have nots. Think about how many artists, producers, musicians, or groups you have seen perform in your life time. I am not talking about the super stars; I am talking about the local artist playing for a few beers or pennies. You have seen some great music – in fact – I would bet you have seen some the world’s best musicianship right in your home town, but why are they still performing for the home crowd if they are the best in the world?
Lack of Understanding the Basics; Artist Development does Matter
Artist development starts with training and understanding the music industry including; what to expect, how to get around in the industry without putting your foot in your mouth, who the power players are and what you need to do to get their attention, what a marketing campaign is -vs- a strategy, who you really are promoting to when performing a retail marketing campaign, and the list goes on! True artist development is about understanding the music industry from inside out and knowing how to gain industry attention through the new found knowledge.
Most artists understand how to make great music, deliver a great stage show, or connect in a live setting with their fans, but artist development teaches and prepares an artist to captivate even potential fans they are not standing in front of through developed audio, video, media, graphic, and online presentations and merchandising material. Think about it; if you don’t get potential fans attention – LIKE RIGHT NOW – then how will you ever become a super star? You can’t! Becoming a super star requires that everything anyone ever sees, hears, or reads about you makes them want to listen more, read more, or get closer to you in one way or another. If your career packaging is lacking this ability your success is very limited. Artist development develops your image, branding, marketing, and creative direction into a complete package that sells an artist’s personality better than he or she can do on their own.
A music career is a charted path to follow. Artist development involves all the issues surrounding and arising from that charted path, and crosses into knowledge of product development – the ultimate sale of the music.
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