Exhausted with the music industry’s shenanigans, I left the world of PR in early 2013 with the intent of never looking back. But as fate would have it, it wouldn’t be long before I found myself helping artists once again, this time not as a publicist but as a consultant. The role was perfect for me and much more rewarding as it allowed me to assist artists in ways that my job as a publicist wouldn’t permit. Sebastien Elkouby, the creative consultant was born.Being a creative consultant has given me the opportunity to be much more hands-on with artists than ever before. Depending on the client’s needs, my services range from critiquing content and production to outlining unique marketing strategies. I love what I do because I see my clients truly evolve as a result of our collaboration. On the downside, my job also shows me how absolutely clueless some aspiring artists can be. And sometimes, I have to be tough and tell them things they’re not always happy to hear. Fortunately, they’re in good hands as there aren’t too many other Hip Hop creative consultants who understand both the music industry and Hip Hop culture.
So if you’re an aspiring rapper looking to pursue a career in the music industry, here are 3 reasons why you need a creative consultant.
1. Honest Constructive Criticism:
Let me start by being brutally honest. Most aspiring rappers are mildly to severely delusional. Some believe they’re much more talented than they really are. Others are flat out convinced that they’re the best thing to come out since the wheel was invented, never mind the fact that they can barely spit two cohesive bars. And because they’re surrounded by equally delusional yes-men (and women), they never get to hear the truth about their talent…or lack thereof.
Every week I still receive emails from artists looking for PR who are unaware that I’ve transitioned to consulting. I listen to their music, watch their videos, and visit their websites before informing them of my new role. What is shocking to me is the number of artists who don’t realize that before they reach out to a publicist, their material has to meet certain basic standards. You cannot have subpar material and expect a publicist, or any other professional, to represent you…unless they’re scamming you out of your money. Secondly, the project needs to possess some type of artistic merit. The rapper who still thinks that rapping about sex, cars, drugs, and violence in 2014 will get them noticed is fooling himself. There are hundreds of interesting and unique things to rap about that can actually help an artist set them apart from other dime-a-dozen rappers. Contrary to popular belief, originality and skills still matter. A creative consultant can help you identify areas of improvement to increase your odds of success but you have to come to the table ready to learn and willing to grow.
2. Learning about the latest music business trends:
The music industry is an ever-changing field. Yet, many artists are holding on to erroneous or outdated beliefs about how today’s business works. The game is already much more different than it was just a couple of years ago. Many aspiring rappers are still under the impression that social media and getting popular blogs to review their music are the end-all, be-all strategies for self-promoting. While it might have appeared that simple in the recent past, it’s going to take much more to make an impact nowadays.
Everything from how music is marketed to how artists make money is evolving to adapt to the newest technology and how audiences consume entertainment. Sometimes, all it takes is for one trend to take off and cause a ground-breaking chain reaction throughout the industry, forcing everyone to readjust or risk becoming irrelevant. Of course, most aspiring artists aren’t privy to the inner workings of the music business and end up missing out on valuable information that could otherwise give them a leg up over their less-knowledgeable competitors. A creative consultant can give you the edge you need to move forward in your career.
3. Mapping out a realistic plan of action: Once you’ve gained a greater understanding of how the game is played, you can begin mapping out a 3 to 6 months plan of action that will help you go from point A to B, C, and D. It’ll keep you on track and help you achieve your desired short term goals. However, the plan must be realistic. It has to be within your budget, timeline, and realm of expertise. If your entire team is involved, all parties must agree on the plan and remain committed to the mission. All successful businesses have a plan so if you’re serious about your career, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have one as well.
Make no mistake, no creative consultant can make you a star overnight. However, they can help you get closer to your goals. I’ve worked with many artists, some famous, some up-and-coming, and regardless of how talented they are, they’ve all benefited from the services of a creative consultant.In an industry flooded with thousands of rappers competing for exposure, isn’t it about time you put the odds in your favor and get the right person on your team?
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