Come up with a concept.
The best mixtapes always have a theme or concept that runs throughout, including the cover art. If your mixtape has direction and is not just a collection of random tracks, your listeners will be able to get more out of it.
Keep a balance between old and new.
A mixtape is supposed to create buzz and buzz about you, so you want to make sure your fans hear something new. But at the same time, you don’t want to give away all your new material for free.Try to avoid re-using songs that were on the previous mixtape. This will give the listener the impression of being lazy. The only re-release of a song would be a significant remix.
Pick up the beats.
If you’re not comfortable with making your own beats, or if you don’t have anyone to help you with it, there are thousands and thousands of beats available online. Anything from instrumental versions of your favorite songs to salable tracks from enterprising internet producers, the possibilities are almost endless.
Keep samples in line.
It’s very popular to record over other musicians’ tracks these days, but not everyone wants to hear the overused beats over and over again. Try to be original. And the side effect will be your audience, which will appreciate your talent.However, there is always room for rapping on someone’s beat. Artists like Drake and Lil Wayne have shown that smart sampling and poetic skills can take you to the next level. Let your skills shine over the sample, or use them in a unique, inspiring way.
Since you’re not making any money off of your mixtape, you usually don’t have to worry about copyright issues. Just make sure that you’re not using the same overplayed sounds that everyone else is using.
Since the mixtape is not commercially released, this could be a chance to use samples that would never fit on an album. The Beatles, JamesBrown, SteelyDan, Pink Floyd, and many other artists have notoriously had a hard time getting sample clearance, but you can freely drop them onto your mixtape.
Find a producer or DJ friend to record the beats.
If you want to sound really professional, ask a DJ/producer to prepare some tracks for you to rap along to. This will provide an opportunity to demonstrate yourself and your unique bits not only to you but also to the DJ. Who knows, maybe you will find a musical partner.
Get good equipment.
Make sure you have a good microphone and decent mixing software and hardware. The basic set will not prevent you from creating miracles with sound.See this guide for details on setting up a cheap home recording studio.
Order or create a cover.
A good mixtape needs a catchy cover image. If all else fails, then your photo will be enough to strengthen your own brand. If you think a mixtape is all about the music, then a lot of people choose mixtapes based on the cover art alone. Make sure yours catches the eye!
Avoid cluttering logos and links on the cover. Attach your website and contact information to the insert.
Playing music with a DJ
Make friends with local DJs.
DJs control the music scene. They decide what sounds good and what their listeners will like. You want to get your mixtape into the hands of as many DJs as possible, whether they’re on the radio or on the turntables at the local club. If the DJ decides your song is hot, you will reach more ears.
Many club DJs offer pay-per-play services. Find contact information for your local DJs and ask them about prices and services for playing your song.
A mixtape isn’t technically a mixtape until a DJ mixes your tracks together. Partnering with a professional DJ will go a long way toward legitimizing your mixtape.
Have a DJ put your mixtape on his program.
Many DJs and promo companies give you the option to pay to have your mixtape included in their programs. Often this includes mixing and adding transitions by a professional DJ. Inclusion in the program may include help with promotion and some serious air time. Inclusion in the program can be a little pricey, but it provides a lot of opportunities.Viral Mixtapes is a popular online mixtape inclusion service that promotes mixtapes on many social networks.
Coast2CoastMixtapes is another popular online service that boasts a very large audience.
Add your own transitions.
If you don’t have the cash to DJ to include your mixtape in your program, you can mix your own swings and tags. They will let listeners know what they are listening to, ensure your name is known when your songs start to spread, and add buzz to the tape as well. You can use your recording tools to make your own, or if you have some spare cash, you can buy special drops.Some popular specialty drop sellers include Wigman and KnockSquared. You can usually get a few tags and drops for less than $50.
Add your tags at the beginning, middle, and end of your tracks. This ensures that people will know who they are listening to, no matter where they got the song from.
Without inclusion in the program, you will need to do most of the promotion work yourself. See the next section for some tips and ideas for promoting your feed.
Promoting your mixtape
Advertise in clubs.
Go to the people and start spreading information in the clubs of your city. Print flyers and get people talking. Make sure you have enough tapes (or discs, flash drives, QR codes, etc.) to hand out to anyone who looks interested.
Post on social networks.
You should blow up all available social media immediately after the release of your mixtape. If people like what they hear, they will share it with their friends, increasing your audience and name recognition. Social media isn’t the only place you should promote a mixtape, but it’s very important these days.Facebook – Everyone you know is on Facebook, as well as everyone they know. Your Facebook audience is potentially limitless, so you should reach out to them regularly. Create a Facebook page for your music project and post your upcoming mixtapes. Share these posts with all your friends.
Twitter – Twitter is more than promoting your music, it’s promoting you. People follow people they find interesting. Make your tweets personal and easy to follow, and you’ll soon find a large following. Once you get a following, start dumping mixtape releases.
Submit tracks to Soundcloud and Bandcamp.
These two online services have a large number of dedicated listeners and should not be missed while promoting the mixtape. If you don’t have an account, create one and download some tracks from the tape. The task of these services is to whet the appetite of the audience. Give them one or two free tracks and a link to your mixtape or albums.
Get media coverage.
Submit a press release to every music blog, magazine, and other publication you know about. Gaining press support can have a big impact on your audience. A good review in the local music paper can greatly increase your presence.Contact your local university radio station and try to be interviewed on any program related to your music. Even if it’s 3 am, it’s better than no airtime at all.
Make a video.
If you really want to rock your tape, make a music video for the hottest singles on the tape. A mixtape/video combo can do wonders for increasing word of mouth, and YouTube can be a real way to get noticed.Videos don’t have to be high budget. With good direction and a good camera, your video can look as professional as the most famous videos you’ve seen.