New Media Pioneer: Martin Berrios Music Editor of Allhiphop.com discusses the key factors that independent artists needs to have in place when going after a major music site.
I was so excited to get the chance to interview Martin Music Editor of Allhiphop.com. Allhiphop.com comes up over and over in many of my conversations with urban artist as one of the top-notch sites for online exposure. I continuously let independent artists know that going after these big sites does require one thing to already be in a place a BUZZ!
In this interview Martin gives a sneak peak of how they go about choosing the artists to feature on their sites, the best way to approach them for a feature, and key factors they look for in artists they feature on their site.
Q: Can you just give us a little background on how you got started in the Music Industry?
A: In 1995 I took an internship at Warner Music Group and I never looked back. Since then I have held various sales, marketing, and A&R positions throughout BMG, Sony, and one of Universal’s distributed labels. Around 2003, I realized the music industry was rapidly shrinking due to the ever growing popularity of digital downloads.
So I took it upon myself to get my foot into the online world any way possible. I started writing for AllHipHop.com and I picked up fast. I eventually was promoted to a senior writer and would have my own column called “Streets Is Talking”. Through this I would end up freelancing for print magazines Scratch , Fuego , and Elemental as well. In November 2006 I was offered the position of Music Editor for AllHipHop.com and here I am.
Q: If I had a dollar for every time I spoke with an independent Urban Artist and they asked me to get them featured on AllHipHop.com I would be a millionaire :). As Music Editor of AllHipHop.com I’m sure your receiving music everyday. Can you give us a little glimpse of the protocol when choosing what artist to feature on AllHipHop.com.
A: I literally get hit with tons of emails every day. People will even fake the funk and name drop some event they supposedly met me at and are following up to give me music. I respect the spicy lies but that’s not the way to start a working relationship with the site.
As far as getting music on the site, there are several variables that go into effect as far as consideration. Consider us a record label in the fact that we want up and coming artists to have a buzz before we invest our bandwidth on them. Are you getting spins in your town and surrounding markets?
If I were to call some DJ’s in your area, would they know about you? Maybe you have a cosign from an already established artist that would peak my interest in hearing your stuff out? Have you been covered in other press outlets? Do you have a reputable publicist that I have dealt with in the past that would make your introduction a safer bet? Point blank you just can’t come to me saying my music is hot. My music is hot too, and I don’t even Rap!
Q: With independent artists competing with top notch major label artists how does AllHipHop.com help to expose up and coming artists, and what would be your advice for them to approach a website like yours to be featured.
A: That’s a spicy question. For independent artists on the come up we have a section on the site devoted them called “The Breeding Ground”. With The Breeding Ground we feature unsigned artists that we feel are on the verge of their big break. We have featured MIMS, Joell Ortiz, Serius Jones, and many others before they signed with any label.
But I as mentioned earlier, it’s about having more than music. Do you have some kind of buzz in your market? Is the internet buzzing about your mixtape? Nevertheless independent artists wishing to be featured on The Breeding Ground should email their myspace.com music page to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Q: A recent NYU study found blogs to be more effective than Myspace in generating album sales, do you feel that blogs and websites like All Hip Hop will be the new wave of the music industry in getting music promoted or just a phase that will soon fizzle out?
A: I think it’s a pretty much a proven fact blogs and music driven websites are the best vehicles to promote new artists. When I was coming up in the music industry you could buy an advertisement in a magazine. For starters that ad cost serious cake and your album could be pushed back while waiting for that magazine to hit the stands. With the online world it’s a different ball game.
First and foremost if you’re grind is right most of your online promotion will be free. Yeah free. Also with these blogs and websites, it’s about instant access for their readers. So every day they are looking to provide new content.
With that in mind there are more online outlets to approach compared to print magazines which raise your success ratio of getting featured. This is why I suggest to all artists, regardless of genre, to invest in a solid publicist. If your publicist has solid relationships with these websites then you could possibly be the next online star on the rise.
Q: Do you feel that record labels will be soon specifically going to online outlets to premiere music and break records?
A: They already are. Several labels are giving services like iTunes exclusives on their songs, remixes, video premieres, etc. Like I said it’s all about instant access now. Before you could have a song catch some momentum at radio and the label would have to rush to have singles manufactured and placed in stores which could take a couple of weeks. With online all they have to do is set up the audio and it’s available to the world. Sadly enough this will be the death of the brick and mortar record stores.
On top of that several artists have been signed off their online and viral efforts. Obviously we have Soulja Boy who had his youtube campaign. But on the other side we have pop artist Colbie Caillat, yes I follow all types of music, who was signed from someone catching one of her songs on her myspace page. So it only makes sense record labels are modifying their strategy to be more aggressive with their online marketing.
Q: Where do you personally go to look for new music; any specific social networking sites?
A: I literally go everywhere. I am always checking out different blogs. I prefer blogs that cater to a specific genre of music or a specific time period rather than just random postings. As far as specific social networking sites, I don’t visit many but I end up a lot off music hosted on thisis50.com.
With these social networking sites, if they are not connected to a major artist no one is going to really care. Like Max B has a social networking site but with how many registered members? Everyone can follow 50 Cent, but everyone isn’t 50 Cent.
My secret weapon is the message board. It is my honest opinion the message boards provide you the most up to date material. Plus you get to study and appreciate straight dialogue about music from real music fans.
Cyber PR Urban is Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR's new urban division that handles Hip Hop and R&B as well as urban and urban crossover artists. We connect urban artists to Blogs, Podcasters, Internet Radio Stations, Vlogs, Social Networking sites, and Webzines. Cyber PR Urban's Urban Plug newsletter is a free bi-monthly e-zine for musicians & entrepreneurs who want marketing, promotion and PR tips for navigating the new music business. Sign Up here: www.cyberprurban.com. Check out past articles at: www.cyberprurban.com/blog
Christina Duren started her music career as an intern at Island Def Jam where she spent a year in the Radio and Promotions/Publicity department. At IDJ she worked with Mariah Carey, Rihanna and Ne-Yo. From there she took her first real job at Shore Fire Media working campaigns for The Roots, and Heineken Red Star Soul Tour. Christina now acts as PR Director for Cyber PR and co-founder of Cyber PR Urban.