How to break into the American music scene 

You know what’s harder than breaking into the music industry in 2017? Breaking into the music industry when you’re an artist based in any place outside of North America. You may be able to find success in your country, but most artists aspire to breakout stateside in order to cement their global appeal. This feat has never been easy, but in an age where every person with a laptop and internet connection can share recordings with anyone willing to listen the amount of noise one has to cut through to be heard is impossible for most to even imagine.

We all like to believe the best music rises to the top. This may be true on certain occasions, but that only happens if artists put in a lot of work beyond simply writing great material. Today’s artists – and labels – have to pour themselves into the business of marketing music. This is doubly true for international artists hoping to break into the stateside entertainment industry, and we believe it’s high time you heard about their experiences.

Today we are thrilled to share two sides of the same story. Rude Records and their recently signed band Stand Atlantic have each shared some insight with us about their experiences trying to gain stateside media attention from their home in Australia. You can find their stories below.

Rude Records

Every record label receives tons of music submissions every single day. It is important to give everyone a chance, taking the right amount of time to give each song a spin and consider if the art embroidered in it suits what we’re looking for. It can’t always be love at first sight for sure but sometimes it – still – happens. That’s exactly what happened between Stand Atlantic and us.

Being also Rude Records very first Aussie signing, the band is growing day-by-day on national and international basis exponentially. We’re particularly glad to have started deeper and stronger relationships within this key market; getting to know even better key people in key roles in different parts of the chain, from retail to media, it’s important to know and involve everyone from the very beginning in order to create and operate a successful campaign. A larger catalogue from the label has been available in Australia / New Zealand for a while, we thought it was the time to sign a local band and give it an international exposure through our Network. Counting on a solid team made of PRs, Label Managers, digital and marketing reps that have made Rude grow consistently during the past few years, we’re now channeling all the efforts and experience made through the years on a fresh and talented band from Sydney.

It takes time also to get things into motion, to create a solid rollout plan, pick the right singles, work on visuals, try to be the link from a band to a new and wider audience. Sometimes it’s easier, sometimes the art we have in our hands is already perfectly crafted, it just needs the right push. There’s different types of approaches that could / would work but we decided – together with the band and management – to start with a bang!

After picking ‘Coffee At Midnight’ as the campaign lead single we’ve worked hard to secure it made an impact through different channels, starting with a radio premiere, a video premiere, all supported by a well-crafted social media campaign made of teasers, correlated visuals and high potential reach content. 

Since social media are nowadays one of the most interesting tools that can be used to discover and deliver music to an existing silent audience that just needs to be woke up. Once you can find the right way to get noticed between over-saturated news feeds and see friends recommending friends a song / a band to listen to, you can start thinking about the next move, acknowledge when this growing and buzzing audience will drop their attention and be ready to feed them with another banger. Following this path ‘Mess I Made’ first and then title-track ‘Sidewinder’ were revealed, engaging the growing fan base even more and preparing the ground for a solid and successful release.

Also, the great push given by tour opportunities, support from key media and tracks being included into relevant playlists on both Spotify and Apple Music, helped a lot in giving a band the chance to be heard inside and outside Australia, quickly becoming one of the hottest bands in the scene.

Stand Atlantic

Being in a band and taking it seriously from the get-go can and will be tough, let alone being a band from Australia, holding its own separate challenges which can take a huge toll even emotionally on how far you want to take it. Being so far away from huge markets and industry hot spots (e.g. USA, UK, EU) can often make it difficult to properly network and it takes a fair bit of money to do pretty much anything or go anywhere.On top of that, trying to grow a decent fan base in a country where all the major cities are a minimum drive of 8 hours and throw in the fact you’re working with a much smaller population in comparison to the US/UK/EU – it’s daunting as hell, it’s hard, but it is 100% possible to overcome. Bands in AUS who really want to take this seriously work 10 times harder knowing all these obstacles are a huge reality, so at the end of the day, we have a really good amount of great bands and artists who work really hard.Being able to prove ourselves as a band and separate ourselves from the pack was something we strived to do with the Sidewinder EP. With a glinting light of hope that we’d catch the attention of a passionate label and team, thankfully, we got exactly that and then some.

It’s safe to say we feel very lucky to be working with Rude Records. Thanks to them and our amazing team of management / booking / PRs we’ve been able to reach people across the globe on a scale we would have not had the opportunity to achieve, had it not been for Rude. Working hard to focus on who you are as a group, individuals and sonically can take years, but it will always pay off if you’re doing it for the right reasons. 

Make good choices, write the best songs you can, invest your time and money, realize your worth and do not give up. It can feel daunting to stick it out, but when you feel your lowest and like throwing in the towel is your best option, hustle harder than you ever have to make it work and stay positive. I can guarantee that on the other side, everything is waiting for you – sometimes the universe just needs proof you want something bad enough.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.