Mixtapes don't sell... connections do. Go to any corner store or even any hip-hop bar and your guaranteed to get at least one person asking you to buy their mixtape. I'm not knocking their hustle, it takes balls to ask a stranger to buy something, and if your going into the salesperson and sales is your profession than it's a good way to gain experience. But if your profession is hip-hop than your hustle should be selling connection and not selling your mixtape.
Think about how many people that you approach while trying to sell your mixtape without even having a connection to them. Then think about how much easier it would be to make that same sell if you first made a connection with that same person. It wouldn't even be considered selling at that point, it would them through having a connection with you showing their support. So here are a few ways to make a connection;
1. Interact with Social Media
One of the best ways to connect to people from all around the world through the use of social media. Social Media has proven to be a powerful tool in helping people create connections. People that use to be restricted by geographic location have seen this problem eliminated with the internet. Going on to social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, etc.., has made the world that much smaller, where now you don't have to be in the same studio to make a song together. Another way to interact on social media is by asking the same people on your friends list what do they think of your music? Would they like to buy a copy of your mixtape? Since these are your people then you should have no shame in asking for their support. That's why their your friend right?
2. Talk to other artists
Most people create connections by finding similarities and by having like interests. If you like rap most likely a fellow rapper also likes rap. Also collaborating with an artists is another way of introducing yourself to their audience and vice-versa which means more potential connections that happen organically and not outside of the corner store. Talking to other artists also is a great way to pick up tips like; checking for royalties, or ways to produce a song better in a home-made studio. They might even buy one of mixtapes.
3. Perform at Open Mic Nights
A lot of artists undervalue the importance of Open Mic Nights. The thing about open mic night events is that they are often a community of people and artists all working together to make good music. And most likely everyone from the top of the top main stream artists to underground artists that still make plenty of money have performed at these venues once upon a time. There are plenty of examples where the sound guy at the venue knows this famous rapper that use to perform there when they first started rapping. Also the audience is actually there to hear music. So why not make that connection with the audience? The the other thing most people forget about is that these venues provide you a great way to practice, and in front of a live audience. The open mic night is something every artist should do because nobody starts out performing like Diddy not even Diddy.
The most important thing to remember after you get past that 1,000 followers on Instagram is that no connection is too small. The biggest mistake most artists make is that they think that that one connection is not important or worth it. That one reply is not worth their time. I have literally asked an artists where can I get a copy of their album and didn't get a reply. There were no links to his music or any emails suggesting where to get it. And I know if I can't find it then most people probably can't either. So reply. And the other thing most artists forget is that the market determines where music gets consumed, not the artists. Don't put your mixtape on a CD when a lot of new cars don't even have CD players. Even more most consumers are consuming music on their phones. So know that the market decides and not you. So go make some connections, because without that, who cares about your mixtape.