The Best Ways to Promote Your Mixtape
Mixtapes are promotional compilations of music you have recorded. Once a tool for DJs to showcase their turntable skills, mixtapes gradually became a means of promotion for rappers, and the medium became an industry standard after 50 Cent rose to underground prominence through tireless production, promotion, and distribution.
Choose Your Content Carefully
Successful mixtapes have a purpose. Either your tape is a reminder of your best work or a preview of what's to come. Sometimes it's a bit of both. If you intend to release an album or big single down the road, a mixtape is a good way to whet your region's appetite for the new material. Releasing a mixtape full of content that your fans already have heard can backfire, as interest may wane. However, you don't want to give away your entire new album on a free mixtape. If signed, your label would crucify you. Ultimately, you have to strike the right balance between old and new. Some artists tactfully use snippets and demo versions of new songs to avoid giving away too much of the merchandise.
Instead of paying for or developing original production, it has become a popular trend to rap over other artists' instrumentals for promotional songs. It isn't a good idea to rap over other musicians' content and release it, even for promotional use. While it doesn't happen often, you still run the risk of being on the wrong side of a copyright infringement suit.
Set a Release Date and Stick To It
The biggest problem with the mixtape takeover, aside from the fact that everyone who has ever rhymed words has a tape out, is that people think the process is an easy way to become rich and famous like 50 Cent. It's important to remember why he was able to parlay his mixtapes into a lucrative record deal in a great situation with Eminem's Shady Records imprint. 50 Cent's team treated the mixtapes like a real product. They were released on a schedule and marketed heavily.
Treat your mixtape release like that of an album. You need to set a release date that allows you enough time for months of promotion. If there's original music that can obtain radio play, you will want to look into a college radio campaign.
Promote Your Mixtape
How effectively you promote your mixtape determines what you can get out of it. There's no way to get around pounding the pavement. You'll surely be giving your mixtape out at appearances, on the subway, in class, at work, and more. But you want to get your database together for local and regional entities that can cover or play your music. Concentrate on local and college newspapers, blogs, and online video programs in your area. Sure, you'll want to get your mixtape to XXL and the big magazines, but you can't overlook the publications in your backyard. In fact, if you do overlook your backyard, your mixtape's going in the trash at the big boys' offices. If you haven't done the due diligence of building your fan base from the ground up, you won't be worth their time.