Beyond Social Media
The fine art world drastically shifted in the age of technology and social media where exposure is no longer limited to walking from gallery to gallery with your portfolio in hopes of landing an exhibition. Social media has given artists a major platform to digitally exhibit their work, but the effort for exposure and success is still hard work.
Being consistent with your content and interacting with social communities is key. I set aside time to capture visually compelling photos of my work, material studies, and studio life. Compulsively posting content with lower quality photos can really hurt the overall image of your platform—photo quality and composition are always important. I also try to involve myself with social communities that focus on similar art forms as my own. I’ll like photos that speak to me, I’ll leave supportive comments, a buy work from artists I feel strongly about. My following grows the more I am involved with artists on social media.
“My following grows the more I am involved with artists on social media”
Beyond social media, digitally applying to shows is really where the opportunities come. Just because you have high engagement with your social media, does not mean exhibition opportunities will start flowing in. You have to work for it regardless. Websites like callforentry.org provide a long list of exhibitions, grants, and residencies for artists. However, we can’t ignore that applying for opportunities can be pricey. I try to set aside a small monthly budget that only goes towards exhibition applications.
In the end, the most important advice I can give, as cliché as it may sound, is to never give up on yourself. No matter how many followers you may have, how many likes you receive, how many rejections you get from galleries — push through the struggle and remind yourself why you are an artist. The more passion you put towards your work and promoting yourself, the more opportunities and following will emerge.
We live in a moment in time where music isn't enough to get the proper recognition as an artist. You have to utilize the tools given, such as Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, etc to build an organic following and to reach the masses. Things I've done and what I find important is to spend time and engage with your audience. For example, on Instagram, make sure you Like and Comment on people's post that is currently following you. Also make sure to look up trending hashtags, via All Hashtag, in your niche to find users that you can engage with, most likely they will be interested in your music and build a relationship with you.
Recently I have been focusing on my personal brand as an artist on Instagram and Facebook to market myself rather than having to rely so much on labels releasing my music. However, if I was to give practical advice for producers looking to get themselves heard, it would be to study labels you would like to get your music released on and make music specifically for that label. (Each label has its own sound, so it's very important to know where your music fits in). This works because you’ll later have a song you can refer to when doing email/label outreaches. You can say “hey, I have a song that's pretty similar to TRACK, if you have an opening coming up, I would love to have this song on your label also.” You want to keep it short, concise and straight to the point. As a result, I've had the opportunity to play on radio shows, some of the bigger clubs in NYC and Brooklyn over the past year, which was also definitely helpful in getting my name out there. My goal this year is to further my knowledge in production and to release on a few bigger labels. Check out my newest project @unseendjs.
With so much content being produced, the simple fact is that fans are looking for more than music - they want personality. Fortunately, social media allows artists to interact directly with their audiences. I understand that many musicians don't enjoy the idea of such, but it pays off when you see (or hear directly!) how your music is impacting someone's life. These interactions don't have to be outlandish, just true to voice. If it feels forced, don't do it. Fans will recognize this as much as you do. Share things that you enjoy, artists you like, things you're listening to. Personally, I may share a video of studio sessions or post music from other artists I follow. People appreciate a "portal" of sorts, that lets them feel more connected to their favorite artists.