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Leveling Up Your Music Brand

The CAB Portal blog provides articles on tricks of the trade and best practices, as well as news, interviews, artist showcases and recommended products/services, that emerging artists can utilize to take their music brand to the next level of success.

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What if My Music Isn't Gaining Any Traction, Should I Quit?

What if My Music Isn't Gaining Any Traction, Should I Quit.jpg

The movie 8 Mile, starring Eminem was all about the struggle of making it in the music industry. The film is based loosely on Eminem's actual life, and follows white rapper B-Rabbit (Eminem) and his attempt to launch a career in a genre dominated by African-Americans in Detroit. In the movie he is poor white trash working at a factory, living in a trailer with his alcoholic mom, her abusive boyfriend, and his little sister. Nobody believes in B-Rabbit. Not only is his music not going anywhere, but neither is his life. In every way this guy is a loser holding desperately onto a dream.

He has a choice to battle for his music career, or accept being trailer trash that works at a factory. He chooses to attack the microphone despite all adversity and people even want to beat his ass and shoot him for trying to spit on the mic. B-Rabbit is a character every struggling musician can relate to and we can all be inspired by this film on some level, especially when trying to decide on whether to give up on musical aspirations.

When you feel like a loser because you are getting fat and old, you might be wondering if it is time to break your guitar in frustration over a booing drunk guy's head. Nobody can tell you if it is time to give up on your music career, but making it in music is not easy and never was easy even for the best musicians. Almost everyone at the top, fought for their success. Honestly, ask yourself, have you done everything you can and should be doing. You need to think about your appearance, your sound, and your commercial appeal. You need to be practicing, marketing and gigging out consistently.

Most people who quit never even started. So ask yourself what have you done to be a successful musician and if you really feel like you have done everything in your power to get your name out there, then after you read these 5 Tips, QUIT!

1. THINK 2 CHAINZ!

In 2010 nobody ever heard of Playaz Circle’s Tity Boi. If they did hear the name, people forgot it because the name was too long. Playaz Circle’s Tity Boi was on his 6th album and his career was going nowhere fast. The rap artist decided to clean up his image and become ‘family friendly’, rebranding himself as 2 Chainz. His seventh mixtape, "T.R.U. REALigion", jumped onto the charts when he was 34. Since then, he's topped the Billboard 200 and rapped with the best in the rap industry, recording songs with Nicki Minaj, Kanye West and Lil Wayne.

Before you quit the music industry, ask yourself, do you have a stupid name that is hard to remember and doing nothing but hindering your career and making you sound stupid?

My wrist deserve a shout out, 'I'm like what up wrist?' My stove deserve a shout out, 'I'm like what up stove?'“ - 2 Chainz

2. WHO IS PLATTEN?

Rachel Platten was born May 20, 1981. Nobody knew who Rachel Platten was before she was the age 35, which some people consider really old for the music industry because often the industry can be dominated by teen singers. Platten didn’t just suddenly wake up and say I want to be a songwriter. She has been grinding a way for years and dragging her butt to open mic nights and she broke into the industry when everyone was telling her it was too late in life to make it.

You know women face an age stigma all over the world, not just the music industry of Hollywood, and Platten said, fuck that stigma. You don’t come up with lyrics like, “this is my fight song/ take back my life song,” if you have never been through anything like being a struggling female musician over 30.

It wasn't until 2015, when she released her Fight Song EP, that Platten rose to fame. -- since then, it's been used by Hillary Clinton at presidential rallies and on the show Pretty Little Liars.

I learned a lot from playing those late-night, 1-to-4 A.M. gigs with my band, and playing when no one was listening.” - Rachel Platten

3. THINK KATY HUDSON

Pop singer and sensation Katy Perry was born Katy Hudson, but a similar name Kate Hudson was crushing her in the Google search engine. She would have never become a star under the name Katy Hudson because there already was a star named Kate Hudson.

In fact, Katy Perry signed with Red Hill Records and released her debut studio album Katy Hudson under her birth name in 2001, which was so commercially unsuccessful we didn’t know who she was. We did know who Kate Hudson was, a famous blond actress known for movies such as How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days and her mom Goldie Hawn, who is also an actress for films such as Private Benjamin and The Banger Sisters. We can talk about Kate Hudson the actress all day, which is why Katy Hudson the singer had to change her name to Katy Perry or we would have never noticed her.

When Katy Perry was first starting out, there is no way she was competing with the blond bombshell as an unknown brunette singer. Katy Perry didn’t see massive success until seven years later. In 2008 the hit single Kissed A Girl, had People everywhere singing, I kissed a girl and I liked it!

I'm happy, I'm in a good place, I'm looking forward to my future.”- Katy Perry

4. THINK MICHAEL JORDAN

Where would Michael Jordan be if he quit basketball after he didn’t make the cut for varsity as a sophomore at Laney High School in Wilmington North Carolina? Michael Jordan literally had to grow six inches before he made the varsity basketball team in the fall of 1978. If he would of quite when he wasn’t good enough for varsity, instead of pushing himself as an athlete, he would of never played 15 seasons in the NBA and won 6 championships.

Here is what assistant coach Ron Coley had to say about Jordan. “Michael threw up a couple of 40-point games for the JV team but never got called up to the varsity as a sophomore. Never even discussed it, but Jordan started growing and he kept working, day after day after day".

"He never wanted to lose in anything," said Ruby Smith, a physical education teacher at Laney. "That was in-born into him. I normally get to school between 7 and 7:30. Michael would be at school before I would. Every time I'd come in and open these doors, I'd hear the basketball. Fall, wintertime, summertime. Most mornings I had to run Michael out of the gym.”

I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”- Michael Jordan

When you feel like giving up on your music, think Michael Jordan.” – Lyon Brave

5. ASK YOURSELF THE IMPORTANT QUESTION!

Are you a musician? If you are a musician, you never need to think about giving up on your music. Mastering music is something that can literally take a whole lifetime. There is a big difference between Justin Bieber and Thelonious Monk.  Are you trying to be a pop fad in the music world or a serious contender like Queen?

Are you going to be a musician that stands the test of time or someone who trends on Twitter for a month and fades out? Are you someone who is looking to be Instagram famous, or someone looking to compose a piano ballad that is truly beautiful?

Being a musician has nothing to do with fame and everything to do with how it makes your soul feel. Being a musician means music is important to your soul and you are happiest playing. The only reason anyone should ever quit music is because it’s not making them happy.

If music be the food of love, play on.”- William Shakespeare