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How To Make A Living With Music – Feat. Ruslan KD

A lot of artists and producers want to know how to make a living with music, and Ruslan has done exactly that. Ruslan is a Christian hip-hop artist that has built up a powerful brand on multiple platforms, and helps other artists do the same through his record label. Not only that, but he’s done it all organically without Facebook ads or playlist marketing. His Spotify is crushing it at 100k monthly listeners and 12,000 followers.

In this video he shares the #1 tip he’d give artists to succeed in 2020 (that he actually uses), some of the things he did to blow up on social media and promote his music, how he approaches running ads and marketing his music on Spotify, and the best social media platform for up and coming artists.

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Important Points:

Ruslan stresses the significance of your community. By fostering connections within your ecosystem, partnering with collaborators, and broadening your community, you can effectively build your fanbase and support system.

In the music industry, there are many chances to collaborate. Ruslan explains how collaborations work. For instance, videographers can make cool videos featuring artists. New artists can team up with more popular ones to get their music noticed.

Andrew and Ruslan agree that collaborating strategically with artists whose brand and music style align with yours is important. This way, you can tap into their fanbase and reach new listeners who share similar interests, effectively growing your own audience.

Podcast Outline:

[01:43] Ruslan looked back to how he started in the music industry and his 20-year journey that started back in 1999-2000. – Ruslan

[02:32] Ruslan built a fire Patreon community that works like an ecosystem, allowing people in the music industry to collaborate, connect and help each other. – Ruslan

[03:11] Being surrounded by amazing rappers, the business-savvy Ruslan decided to put his entrepreneurial skills to use. He set up an indie label and released music with his friends. – Ruslan

[05:01] Ruslan ended up registering an LLC to establish credibility when one of his artists worked with Interscope Records – Ruslan

[09:03] Ruslan encouraged startup artists to collaborate with bigger and more popular ones. Likewise, he encouraged producers and videographers to also reach out to artists – Ruslan

[12:11] Andrew and Ruslan talk about collaborating strategically with musicians whose brands align with yours. – Andrew & Ruslan

[15:21] Andrew noticed how competitive rap artists are and how the R&B genre tends to be more entrepreneurial than others. – Ruslan

[17:09] Ruslan tackled how many in the hip-hop industry are perfecting the use of bots to market music. – Ruslan

[18:35] Doing a weekly live video and audio recording was time-consuming and generated minimal results. – Ruslan

[19:43] Unless you’re selling a tangible product, Ruslan thinks Facebook is not the best platform for ads. This is why some artists also sell merchandise to draw in new fans. – Ruslan

[26:09] Ruslan worked with Doc Watson on playlist pitching, and it generated streaming and follow results both on Spotify and iTunes – Ruslan

[30:05] Ruslan invests in being visible on multiple platforms, especially in TikTok. – Ruslan

[32:13] Ruslan emphasized that people follow those who live an aspirational life, this is why a lot of artists, especially in hip-hop, are big in building a rich image.- Ruslan

[34:01] Andrew exemplified Gary Vee as the best example of personal branding. – Andrew

[35:49] Ruslan advised aspiring vloggers to start on TikTok first because it’s easier. Once they’ve tested the idea, they can scale it up to longer formats on YouTube. – Ruslan

[37:12] Ruslan looks at TikTok as a “fire” platform that helps spread awareness and drive people to platforms like YouTube or Spotify. – Ruslan

Wise Words:

[09:03] Collaborations, collaborations in your micro tribe, collaborations as primary artists. So, that’s actually what I’m doing all summer. That is my strategy. – Ruslan

[14:15] As I’ve learned more about marketing my own music and even helping people out, marketing their music— I’ve learned more and more that there’s really the whole saying that “great music sells itself” is just a complete BS lie. – Andrew

[36:05] I would say everything you want to do on YouTube, go do it on TikTok first and slowly get into YouTube. Because TikTok… [36:14] it’s easier on-ramp. It requires less equipment to stand out. – Ruslan

Resources Mentioned:

  • Ruslan’s YouTube Channel – link
  • Ruslan’s Spotify – link
  • Learn how to grow your YouTube – link
  • Learn how to grow your Spotify – link

Learn More

If you enjoyed this interview, check out this one I did with MMXVII on how he became a full time musician and YouTube creator.