We got a chance to do a one on one Q&A interview with industry guru Wendy Day. For those of you who don't know who Wendy is, you need to check the Hip Hop history books. Wendy has been influential to many rappers careers including Cash Money, David Banner, C Murder, & more. Check out the full interview
What is your advice for artist's who are in a dead zone where their type of music isn't popular?
It depends on the goal of the artist. Are they making music because they enjoy it and just want to get it out there, or are they looking for a career--to become an Eminem-sized pop star making billions of dollars? It's like someone 4'8" wanting to be in the NBA, or someone who sucks at science and biology wanting to go to Med School. There's a point where you have to be real with yourself and ask if you have the talent and skill to achieve your goals. If someone just wants to be in the music industry, there are a ton of jobs one could take beyond making unpopular music. But if the goal is to just make music and upload it online, so be it! Have fun! Go for it!! Who cares if it's popular or not if you aren't expecting to make a living with your music! If you ARE trying to make a living, you better be offering music that quite a few fans are willing to buy.
Why do you think so many artists have it in their head that the internet is all they need to succeed in the industry?
I believe so many artists solely utilize the Internet to promote themselves because it's somewhat free, and most artists are broke. What they don't realize is that this is a VERY expensive industry, and they need money/funding/investors to market and promote their music....even with the Internet. This industry isn't about talent, sadly, or about "getting discovered." It's about building a huge buzz and attracting labels/investors to your movement. If your goal is to make money with your music, it's extremely important to build fans and monetize your music--both regionally (in real life) and online.
I've been hearing about a lot of artists getting scammed over the internet. I've read where fake DJ's, promoters, managers, and other industry frauds are charging for services and not coming through with what they promised. Do you have any insight on this?
This industry has always been a hotbed of fuck boys and criminals conning unknowledgeable people out of money. The Internet and the over saturation of artists and producers has increased scams exponentially. The key is to educate yourself--learn how the music industry works and learn who's who. If you know the industry you are in, it will be next to impossible to scam or game you. We all know who the fuck boys are (male and female), it's just that the real professionals avoid them. The newbies and the ignorant get sucked into their tentacles.
Another problem we have that I've recently run into, is legitimate industry folks who have been in the industry for awhile with a chip on their shoulder because their perception is that others are making more money than they are. I just recently had a DJ in FL tell me I'd have to pay him and his crew of 11 other local club DJs $5,000 to get my record spun for 8 weeks because The Coalition DJs in Atlanta are getting paid that to break records. Excuse me? Aren't you a DJ? Aren't you supposed to spin music that you like and that your listeners will like? And now you will only spin the stuff that puts 5 grand in your pocket?? And you're in a market that's 5% the size and importance of Atlanta? Fuck you, idiot. Good luck with THAT scam. By the way, the majority of those DJs are part of a larger coalition of DJs, so now they are competing with, and taking money directly away from their own coalition, by competing with the other DJ members....but greed is currently prevailing.
I know you receive a lot of music in a day. My question for you is, do you ever actually check out the music?
I do not listen to music that is sent to me, linked to me, tweeted to me, emailed to me, or spammed to me. First of all, there's no way I can listen to all of it--there's only 24 hours in a day. Since I can't listen to all of it, I don't play favorites. So I listen to none of it. The reality is, me listening to your music won't help your career. OK, I like it. Now what? I can't help you because you have no buzz, no budget, no nothing! Sending me music and asking me to listen tells me you're an amateur and have no idea how this industry works. And since I'm constantly explaining, for free, how it works, why would I tolerate someone that doesn't take the time to learn how to succeed achieving their dream? I focus on the folks who understand, have put in the time, and have built the leverage to win. And the ones who don't waste my time asking me to listen to their music. Get the fans to listen and talk about it. Now you have something worthy of attention!
On a lot of your interviews and blogs, you speak about the importance of investing. What types of things should artist be investing in?
The most important thing an artist can invest in is their own career. It's important to have great music, a strong work ethic, and knowledge of how to succeed. Building a buzz is key, so the best expenditure an artist can make is, first and foremost, GREAT music. Then artists need to market and promote that great music, spreading it amongst fans who will support the artist with buying music, attending shows, telling their friends, and buying merchandise. This is key for all artists whether they want to sign to a record label or stay independent. By the way, promoting this great music will take money. Invest in yourself or find an investor.
How do you usually determine the artists you listen to?
I listen to those who have a strong, REAL, regional buzz. Want examples? In Atlanta: Young Thug, Trouble, Alley Boy, etc. In NY: Troy Ave. In Houston: Dough Beezy, Durty Kash, etc. In Cali: DJ Mustard, Nipsey Hussle, etc. These are the artists who will either stay independent or sign big deals--like Yung Thug at YMCMB.
I saw you tweet the other day about artists and how they need to "OWN" the streets. What did you mean by that?
OWN the streets means to create a buzz so strong that everyone knows who you are-- that fans support you by buying your music, attending your shows, and buying your merchandise. The buzz must be real and must be a combination of streets and Internet popularity.
What are record labels looking for in their artists at the moment?
Major labels are looking for artists with a strong regional buzz. They want artists who reduce their risk that they have when signing new artists....they want artists who OWN the streets with a buzz so strong that everyone knows who that artist is-- the artists that fans support by buying their music, attending their shows, and buying their merchandise. The labels call around the country asking tastemakers who's who. The buzz must be real and genuinely created--not bought. That NEVER works.
What are your future expectations for the recording industry?
I believe the music industry is currently over saturated. So I expect it to thin out a bit and leave the most talented and most motivated and enduring artists. I also see the trend of artists finding investors and staying independent, instead of signing one-sided deals with record labels. Who knew artists would finally want to make more than 12% of the income?! That was in my sarcastic voice...