In the modern, online driven era, we have become obsessed by volume. In the past, the quality brought the volume. If something was good enough, people would share it for us. Now? It’s all about lists, breaking down facts and controversy.

Understanding the modern media obsession with clicks over quality, though, can be a little hard to understand. It flies in the face of all quality logic – why would you rather produce something of middling quality but with plenty of controversy over something specific and quality-driven?

It’s actually quite simple; most people today simple don’t care for the quality they got previously. Quality gets lower numbers as it can be hard to universalize the subject that is being spoken about.

This is the same for the music industry, and as a young independent hip-hop artist, especially with low resources and time, you have to get your head around these problems as soon as you possibly can!

So, how can you, as an independent hip hop artist grinding to get noticed, go about benefitting from the click-based world today? What are the best ways to move from being someone who is noticed locally to someone who can be recognized through large, viral marketing campaigns in time?

Market in the right places

Clicks come from being in the right place, at the right time. The best way to make sure that this can happen is to simply market with the right kind of places. Find locations that actively are looking for independent artists, don’t just assume that they are. Not everyone is looking to interview and promote fresh blood. Take the time to understand that clicks come from relevance as much as anything else.

So, becoming as relevant as you can be the first step that we need to take to making sure you are working with the right groups. For example, how often do you find yourself taking on interview requests from groups that aren’t all about music or hip-hop culture?

Keep it that way. Trying to market yourself to a new audience is brave, sure, but you need to make sure it’s an audience who will actually care in the first place. Take the time to understand that marketing in the right place is tough, and usually needs a significant amount of effort to make that possible.

Spend time looking into the right kind of people who would appreciate using your words, or audio, for clicks.

Concentrate on real views

While getting five-figure views to a piece of audio that you compose or an interview you are involved with is good, is it real?

Don’t start thinking you have made it just because one video got five-six figures on YouTube, or an interview got shared a few hundred times on Twitter. How many people actually paid attention to what was being said?

From a music standpoint, you want to make sure you are getting real views, not just clicks. With analytics you can see how long people listened for on average. The less time, the more you need to do get a more nuanced marketing campaign on the go.

You want to see as many people as possible staying back to get the full message of the content they listened to. The same goes for any interviews that you do; the more research that you can do regarding concentrating on real views, the better.

Take the time to understand and appreciate the challenge of getting real views; the more people who stay back to see the whole thing, the better. Don’ just be satisfied by the basic volume. You can get thousands of views but if nobody is staying until the end then they are less likely to ever help you promote your music through word of mouth.

Make sure that you advertise on venues with high finishing rates from their website analytics. It’s always better to have 100 real clicks, people who actually stay around and find out the truth behind what you spit about, to having 1,000 clickbait views that will never go anywhere.

Be sure to judge who you are working with, and why you are working with them. Doing so helps you understand and appreciate the challenges that you face with being seen through the clickbait.

Avoiding clickbait

Now, it might seem like a good idea to just throw some clickbait-style content out there. A petty argument, a ‘hot take’ or anything of the sort. Do yourself a favor, though, and don’t stoop to that level of ‘promotion’ as it tends to only have negative consequences.

Avoiding the bait is all about staying true to the message. If you arrive at an interview, or you send in a track, with a specific meaning, stick to it. Don’t deviate and don’t come across as if you just want to make a bit of controversy to stand out from the crowd.

It’s a poor – and unsustainable – method of creating interest in your content. To be a good musician you want to be working with companies that genuinely care and prize quality over clicks. They aren’t as many as they once were, but people who want to find the real quality information tend to visit places outside of clickbait blogs.

Clicks matter – you won’t get much work if you never bring much interest – but be you, not the person who can get the clicks. People will want to see more of you, and check out your music, through what they see when you are dealing with them in this manner. Giving out explosive and overly ambitious clickbait content just to try and get heard is a poor idea – and a big mistake.

Using the above, you should find it easier to stay true to yourself. And that’s all avoiding falling into the trap needs; a commitment to yourself. Avoid deviating from that commitment, and success is not impossible.

The more that you turn to the world of clickbait an antagonizing people with controversial takes for attention, though, the sooner people stop talking about your music and more about your personality. For any independent hip-hop artist with ambitions of being a success, avoiding the clickbait style of self-promotion is vital.

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Written by Hao Nguyen
Stop The Breaks is an independent music marketing company focused on showcasing independent hip-hop artists. Our goal is to help motivate, inspire and educate independent artists grinding around the world. We provide branding, content marketing, social media, SEO and music promotion services.