On January 21, Yowie will be hosting the first ever Yowie Virtual Hip Hop Music Conference. Participants will be able to network online with other artists, producers, engineers, marketing experts, and editors. The conference is designed to help artists with enhancing the quality of their music, and maximizing the effectiveness of marketing efforts. The conference is free to attend and each panel will have a unique URL.
SoundCtrl spoke with Yowie Virtual Hip Hop Music Conference moderator and co-founder and president of independent LA-based label Funk Volume, Damien Ritter, about his vision for the conference and what he sees for the music industry in 2012…
On the music industry in 2012:
Not sure if we’ll ever get there 100%, but in 2012, you’ll continue to see the democratization of the music industry. Independent artists are getting much better at leveraging the tools that are available to reach out directly to their fans. They realize that opportunities that were once only available if they signed to a record label, are now available if they have enough fans. Whether it’s touring, sponsorship, management, or press coverage, it can all be obtained if the fan base is there. There are also a ton of companies developing new tools in order to assist the independent artist in making this happen.
Artists who are really getting it right in terms of building a following and creating good music:
I think artists like Nipsey Hussle and Machine Gun Kelly [prior to him signing with Bad Boy] are doing a great job. Nipsey hasn’t signed with a major label, but is consistently dropping good music, touring heavy, and building a solid fan base. Machine Gun Kelly had the grassroots “Lace Up” movement going, and now continues to build momentum under Bad Boy.
What Funk Volume does to reach its audience
Funk Volume really hasn’t used any special or unique tools. We built our fan base primarily through Facebook. We decided 3 years back to create a home on Facebook because that is where people are. Marketing is much easier when you meet people where they are.
On Facebook you can develop a solid relationship with fans by sharing our thoughts and feelings on topics, interacting with fans, sharing new music and videos, launching contests, and giving away free stuff. We’ve done pretty much everything and anything to increase fan interaction and to show our appreciation for their support.
So I would say Facebook and YouTube have been the two most valuable tools for us. We also use Twitter [although we need to get better], and Yowie, an online video chat site.
I think Spotify’s integration into Facebook was big for independent artists [as long as their music is on Spotify]. When their song is played by someone, it shows up in their Facebook feed WITH the link to their Facebook fan page. That has been great exposure for us.