The code of the beat.

What Is a DIY System?


By Amir Said

A DIY System is simply an organized plan of action that an artist uses to do it for him or herself. Although there may be any number of factors that contribute to a successful DIY system, I believe that there are seven key factors to any artist’s DIY system.

The 7 Factors of an Effective DIY System

(1) Assess Your Current Situation.
Assessing your current situation means honestly and objectively analyzing where you currently stand. This includes an analysis of your products and services, your talent level, the level of your contacts and alliances, and the city and region that you currently reside in.

(2) Create Your Own Style/Brand.
In a wide open music market, such as the one that currently exists, the best way to really compete is by offering your own unique style/brand. Although you may necessarily make the sort of music that falls in to one broad category or another, in order to separate yourself from the rest of the pack it’s a good idea to create a sound and style that is truly distinguishable.

(3) Get a Website/Blog and Create Your Own “Web Space” and Marketplace
The largest advantage to any new artist in any new artistic medium is unfiltered choice. Today there’s an “infinite menu” of music. And in the web age, where radio and TV no longer serve as the chief purveyors of taste, ALL artists compete in the same space, with the same ground rules: He who wins a presence on the web, wins indeed. Indeed, “winning” is no longer measured by the metrics of enormous (hard to repeat) record sales, but by the amount “space” you create and expand online. And the ability for your presence online to expand is most directly related to your own website/blog. Without your own website/blog, it is virtually impossible for you to build a following for your products or services.

(4) Create your own Sales & Distribution System
Traditional distribution channels, such as large retailers and major/indie distributors are no longer the only game in town. In today’s music sales environment, there are a plethora of options. Aside from the many digital download options, you can also sale and distribute your product or service directly from your own website.
In this case, the easiest way to take online payments is through an all-in-one payment gateway system like PayPal.

(5) Build a Solid Fan Base.
No matter what product or service you offer, there is no group that will consistently support you more than a solid fan base. But how do you start a fan base? Well, first of all, the oft-repeated notion of starting a fan base is flawed. You don’t just one day decide to “start” a fan base like it’s the push of a button. You have to earn a fan base; and once you earn it, you have to continue to maintain it.
So then, how do you earn a fan base? In order to earn a fan base, there are three things that you must do above all: (1) consistently create new product; (2) regularly offer something free, whether it be content or your side exclusive product; and (3) ALWAYS engage with your fan base.

(6) Manage the Rights of Your Music.
Even if you make a song/beat, and upload it to your own site, your music is NOT as protected as you think; you still need to maintain evidence that you are indeed the copyright holder of that music. Most people get caught up with the idea of sending their music off to the U.S. Copyright Office. Indeed, at some point, you may need to do that. However, perhaps an even more efficient way to “manage the rights” of your music is by joining a performing rights Society like ASCAP or BMI, and filing your music with them each time you create something for commercial release, or let’s say, for a promotional mixtape.

(7) Understand the Music Business System and Its Relevant Sub-Systems.
The music business system is a phrase that I use to describe the fundamental framework by which the music industry is organized. Up until now, the music business system was defined by the formulaic manufacturing of a few clear “hit” records, whose channel of distribution was controlled by a few major companies. Today’s a whole different system, specifically because there’s no longer a dominating mainstream that dictates what music listeners hear. In fact, “mainstream” is actually a relic notion of the old music industry; micro-streams of shared interest is the new way. Having a clear understanding of this fact, is absolutely essential to your bid to do-it-yourself music-making.

The DIY Resource Center is a trademark of Superchamp, Inc.
Unless otherwise noted, All information, articles, editorials and the like within the DIY Resource Center are written, outlined and arranged by Amir Said. Copyright © 2009 Amir Said.


About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album 'The Best of Times.' Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual

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