The truth behind grassroots music production.
What is grassroots music? According to the dictionary it is "the most basic level of an activity or organisation". For a music production company this will mean working with artists who may not be as well trained in their craft. The artists who have the training and skill will normally look to work with what is seen as a higher end company. So how does a studio like us attract the higher quality artists and musicians and from there improve what we are outputting.
This weekly blog will act as a self reflection, contemplating on things that I could have done better in my role at Yelmo and as a diary on the studios decisions and work. It will also tie into my last phase at university (the excellent SAE in London).
Yelmo is a three man team with a close group of friends who play the instruments we don't. We desired to be a different type of production house (at this level) so this means lots of investment in real instruments, hardware outboard and people with different skill sets making the daily musical decisions. Rather than one human trying to be all things.
Social Media Marketing
An early task was to create some interactive marketing to attract new singers and artists to work with. Looking around the internet the current themes are to create content to help others in their craft. I didn't think we could add anything to the landscape with, for instance, tutorials and checklists so we needed a different angle. We are constantly creating music and always have a surplus, so we decided to give it all away. For free. No Royalties no ties nothing. However, free is an interesting concept because we are using this to drive our email subscription list.
Every month we will send a news letter out with four free beats attached and also use that to highlight work we have done with artists. To launch this we decided to run a competition with the free music already created. The winners get a day in the studio to record their song. For "free".
One of the Instagram posts supporting the competition
The eventual winners have now been to the studio and we have fully produced their songs. This has created some great relationships with wonderful humans who normally wouldn't work with us. However, now that they have first hand experience of the quality we can produce, we are already discussing future projects with Erin and are also helping support Ella with her next release.
Ella McCready, Yelmo 1k joint winner.
Erin Bradley, Yelmo 1k joint winner.
Supporting the business via a social media platform, especially running a competition, is quite difficult, even more so when all members of the team do not heavily use social media. Finding the mental energy to communicate with hundreds of people is extremely draining and we had no good system for it. Now, after having this experience, I would make the competition smaller in scope. One instrumental instead of multiple-choice and niche down to, for example, one style of vocalist. For communications we will have to designate one person to have the conversation, just to save on confusion for the other person.
We made some early mistakes and had to learn quickly about digital artwork for our posts. We realised that a theme was necessary, also instagram itself is a store front and must be curated as such. Upping our consistency and quality whilst lowering our social media output worked wonders. This little strategy has already boosted our instagram following and brought in one paying client (a three track mix project), but more on that next time.
That's all for this first entry, lessons we learned are always to be focused on quality not quantity and to take your time to work out what makes you a little different from your peers, because there will be something.
Keep making music. Till next time.