Charting On Billboard As An Indie Artist


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The definition of success is different for every artist. Some artists will use money as the gauge for how well they’ve performed while others will use achievements. This is why being an independent artist is beautiful; you get to determine what success is to you without having the pressures of performing under label stipulations. It doesn’t matter what you strive for as long as you’re making progress and trying to obtain these goals you’ve set for yourself.

Up until recently it was difficult for indie artists to make it onto the Billboard charts. With the help of social media and music streaming services this changed a few years ago. There are three big factors considered when it comes to making it on the Billboard charts: Airplay, Social Media & Streaming, and Album Sales (How Songs Make It On Billboard, Sonicbids). These are not the only three factors that are considered but they are the big three you need to remember if you’re next goal is to make it onto the Billboard charts.

Tennessee artist Tyke T started 2017 by making it onto the Billboard charts with his new EP The PreLude. Tyke tried getting his first single, “C’est La Vie”, to chart prior to the release of the project but to no avail. Instead he got a bigger surprise, landing on the Heatseekers Chart at #14, the Rap Albums Chart at #33, the Independent Record Label Chart at #48, and finally the R&B and Hip Hop Albums Chart at #50. I spoke with him recently about the charting process for an indie artist and staying indie vs signing to a record label.

First of all, I have to say congratulations on becoming an artist to chart on Billboard! That’s a huge accomplishment for an independent artist. When you made The PreLude did you have this as a goal in mind?

Tyke T: Not at all. I started working on The PreLude last June. I ran across an article from the CD Baby DIY Blog, & the headline was something like “How We Got The Shannon Curtis Album On Billboard”. CD Baby normally highlights indie artists, so I was like let me check this out. I read it & didn’t think anything of it. Fast forward to October, and I’m about to release the first single off The PreLude, “Cest La Vie”, & I’m like okay! Let’s go for Billboard on this. I failed so miserably man lol. We didn’t close at all….So I did more research, came up with a plan, & told myself. Okay I didn’t get the single on Billboard, so f*ck it I’m gone put the entire album on the charts. Crazy that we did.

“Research & plan. Billboard doesn’t give out recognition trophies you know?”

Where does this rank for you on achievements in your career so far? 
TT: Man to be honest, I still don’t know yet. I think I still haven’t had the chance to process what just happened. I know it’s pretty high, but all of “moves” I made have a special place in my heart. I’ll just once again say, it’s very high.
 
For other independent artists who are looking to obtain this goal what would you recommend for them? Is there a special way to get Billboard to notice you or is this years of hard work and dedication to your craft? 
TTResearch & plan. Billboard doesn’t give out recognition trophies you know? They aren’t looking for you. The only way to get on Billboard is to get out & get people to buy your music. They rank your sales. If you want to get on the charts, you will have to put in work & hustle to get people to purchase your music.
Tyke T
Your EP only has four songs. The intro is a voice note depicting the direction of this project. Do you think it’s better to record fewer songs and put more work into those records or do you think albums are still a good idea? 
TTSo The PreLude is a pre-cursor to another project dropping this year called One Wednesday Night . So that’s why there was only 4 songs on it, kinda of the warm up to something else. Uhmm.. I think each artist is different. You need to find out what fits you best. You know some artists drop songs every week, while others do a couple a year. It’s about what your fans respond to. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way.
 
With all of the success you’re seeing right now as an indie, do you think artists need record labels anymore? 
TT: Do you need a record label to be in this industry? No. Does the record label still have reasons why you would want to sign with them…Yes. There really are no more barriers anymore. The internet has pretty much given indie artists the tools to be on the same playing field with signed artists on these labels, but the record labels still posses powerful relationships & deep pockets that can definitely help in an artists career. So like anything I think everything depends on the individual artist & what they think is best for their career.

 

“The internet has pretty much given indie artists the tools to be on the same playing field with signed artists on these labels…”

 

Once again I wanted to congratulate Tyke on his Billboard placements and thank him for sharing his knowledge on what artists can do to make it on the charts. Thank you for reading again this week! These articles will be posted every Monday so make sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up on upcoming posts. You can also watch Periscope chats on related topics while you wait for the next article. If you have a topic you want me to address, feel free to contact me and I’ll be more than happy to talk about it. Email questions/topics to: JoeHovasMF@gmail.com with “Indie Artist Advice” in the subject line.
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