My name is Arthur Pitt.
I entered the music business just when it was making its curve towards the digital world. Perfect timing. This is not to say anything was easy. Over the years, I spent countless hours on Myspace learning the best ways to add “friends” manually. As exciting and fast as the digital world might seem to the outside eye, building your database and contacts is quite the contrary. It is a hustle of its own. It takes a relentless push forward and great product to spin. But it is the future. Luckily I had both to start.
A lot of the early marketing development of the first artist I worked with, Wiz Khalifa, was done on Myspace. We didn’t have a huge budget to get Wiz on the radio right away or a hot 16 from Jay Z. We were simply a grassroots teams with major label dreams.
I soon came to find out there was more than Myspace. Youtube was an effective tool for an artist. The Youtube hits and street videos we shot for Wiz soon led to him being featured on some of the top hip hop sites in the country. Before I knew it, I was servicing Wiz’s records to AllHipHop and XXLmag.com without a major label deal. My hustle was relentless and people were taking notice of our team. My guerilla style marketing tactics turned some off, but there was always someone standing beside a person who thought I was too much that would cosign for me. I was breaking into the business fast.
Sometime around 2007, the major labels started to notice us. We had been to places where no one from my hometown of Pittsburgh had been. With that said, a lot of these unchartered territories were places like Allhiphop, Nahright, and XXLmag.com. MTV, BET, and major radio airplay were in the works for Wiz. However, by utilizing the digital world first, we were doing things the right way. By June 2007, we had signed with Warner Bros. Records. Wiz was only 19. I had only been in the business for two years.
So what am I getting at? Can you have a meteoric rise with the right grind and product in this game? You bet. Can you quickly fall if you don’t respect the future and study what’s around the corner? You bet. Can you set yourself up for failure if you compare yourself to everything going around you? You bet.
Don’t waste your time trying to be the next Diddy or Jay Z. There will never be two like them. Do I study their words and how they achieved success? Of course. Do I compare my artists with who they have signed with their multi-million dollar budgets and contacts? Yes and no. I do it because I have to understand what type of music I am competing against. But it stops there. My sense of urgency kicks in. I know that it is pointless to compare myself or my artists/clients to an Irv Gotti’s or Jay Z’s latest signee. I have to focus on using what resources I have. I have to try to outwork them, put out better music, and utilize what I know better than them.
When my good friend Paul and I discussed me writing a column for this site, I wanted to share some of my early experiences with readers and my fellow music industry colleagues.
This past month has really been an amazing time for me. Wiz Khalifa’s latest mixtape Flight School has been downloaded over 90,000 times for free. Besides all the touring and promotion he does, Wiz has grasped the importance of the net. Just last week, he started to broadcast himself via his Twitter account. Before we knew it, he was a “Trending Topic” next to the Swine Flu and Grey’s Anatomy. Wiz understands the curve.
Another artist of mine, Boaz, a 22 year old MC from Pittsburgh was featured on the front page of Myspace Music and iTunes Music within a week. The staff at Apple loved his album so much they made him the “Featured Artist of the Week.” Boaz is a street savvy kid from the hood in Pittsburgh with a relentless grind to match mine. He can now fully grasp the importance of the net. I am proud to say that I have been a major part in showing him the future of the business. Boaz knows that while the majors can be a great avenue, it’s not the only way to make money in music.
Whether you know my name now or whom I represent you will soon. I am a huge part of the future of this business. No matter what, I will continue to go hard and put my artists up against companies with staffs and departments. I will compete against people who have longer money than we might have. I will always do my best to win. I am the future of this shit. Be inspired. Be focused. Believe. From Larimer to iTunes. What up Boaz!!
Arthur Pitt can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org