If you’re ignoring Billboard, you’re shorting yourself

Cream of Crop stage Thomasville GA
Photo of stage at Cream of the Crop/Thomasville, GA. (Indie Art South)

As the Daysies get closer to finishing their first full-length album, I’m getting closer to a basic education in Music Biz 101. I’ve learned a lot, and I came to one conclusion that is absolute.

If you’re an indie musician ignoring the opportunities in Billboard, you’re shorting yourself.

Until now, for instance, I didn’t realize Billboard has a chart for up and comers, the new artist Heatseekers chart. Criteria for ranking isn’t out of reach for indie musicians.

Another must-site for indies, CDBaby, hosts the DIY Musician Blog. An entry there is required reading. 

To get on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, you can’t be someone who has appeared on the top 100 of the Billboard 200 or the top 10 of R&B/Hip-Hop albums. Same goes for Country, Latin, Christian, and Gospel. With that out of the way, consider what Shahida Jones wrote at DIY Musician as she recounted one artist’s success story:

“[I]n order to break into the top 25 on the HeatSeekers chart we would need to sell approximately 750 albums in the first week of release.

While that was a larger goal and not as feasible; we were confident that if we failed, we should at least earn some spot on the chart as long as were able to sell anywhere between 227 and 750 albums. We knew we could sell 227. The challenge was getting to 750.”

The 227 figure is based on another artist’s success story. Shannon Curtis sold 227 copies of her album, earning her a spot. Your rank depends on how many you sell. You need a UPC code number so sales are properly reported. A DIY Musician entry by Jamie Hill about Curtis’ success is actually a how-to.

Between Jones’ article about TykeT and Hill’s entry about Curtis, you pretty much have a blueprint of what it takes on get on the charts.

It’s also a good idea to look at the Billboard Heatseekers chart and consider the types of albums that are ranking.

Billboard Biz also features an indie news page.

I’d recommend bookmarking CD Baby’s DIY Musician blog where you’ll find a wealth of information about the indie music business.

A vast amount of work goes into writing lyrics, scoring songs, recording those songs, and getting your music to market. It makes sense to roll some time into researching how to boost your chances for connecting with a broader base of supporters, so take advantage of the wealth of free information at your fingertips.

(Band Mom/Aug. 11, 2017)

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