Maybe you’re working on your first album or maybe you’re a seasoned artist in the scene looking to elevate your game. This blog post is for you. In this article we’ll talk about 5 things you should be doing if you aren’t already and the steps from escaping deaf releases to having fans who can’t wait to listen to your next drop. Here are 5 things every Vaporwave artist should be doing.
1. Releasing albums on Bandcamp
It’s common knowledge that the Vaporwave scene practically owes its life to Bandcamp. It’s one of the few places on the internet that sampled music doesn’t get taken down for copyright infringement. Try being a label that releases their compilation on Youtube, before you can even finish the first track it’ll be taken down or various parts silenced.
Who knows how long we’ll be in the glory days of Bandcamp uploading but while it’s still here get your album on there and share with us on Twitter. Who knows maybe I’ll get featured in the next issue of Visual Signals.
I wrote a book about releasing on Bandcamp if you like knowledge.
2. Releasing music on Cassette or other physical mediums
One of the biggest draws of being in the Vapor-scene is artists and fans love collecting cassettes. Again this might be obvious but do you know how to put your own music on cassette? Did you know where to buy cassette mailers?
If you’re thinking about release your album on cassette soon you’ll need a few things like J-Card design, Cassette printing design and mixing your album so it’s a single track per side. I recommend using https://www.duplication.ca, as I released my own album on cassette thanks to them. They have all the requirements neatly available with templates and even email support. So what are you waiting for? Get a small run together and share it would the world on Bandcamp.
Was releasing a cassette too easy? Maybe it’s time to release a vinyl or VHS! The scene loves physical media, help add to collection of dedicated fans of the medium.
3. Releasing your albums on Spotify, iTunes, etc
Being on bandcamp is great and selling out of cassettes is eutrophic but when the hype dies down and people are now only streaming your music, Bandcamp isn’t going to pay you for the listens. That’s when you need to decide if your music is ready for the big league.
Like I mentioned previous, Spotify, iTunes, etc most likely have some kind of AI that’ll notice if your uploading sampled music, so your mileage may vary but if you’re good to go, getting on these platforms is taking your music to the next level. Plus all you need is your track to be featured in a hot playlist and you’re bringing in new ears indefinitely.
There a couple of services such as CDBaby, DistroKid, RouteNote and Soundrop. I am only familiar with Soundrop as they have 99 cent single time payment per track. They let you edit all the Spotify profile info, you can do artist royalty splits, etc. They also release on iTunes, Youtube music, Pandora, TikTok and FB/Instagram bundled together, but pretty much all these services do. So do your own research for what service fits your budget and needs best.
4. Get a shoutout from scene media figures
You’ve released your album on Bandcamp, you sold out all of your cassettes and people are still grooving to your music on Spotify… so what’s next? A major highlight for any Vaporwave artist is to get recognized by some of the biggest names in the scene.
If you’re looking for someone who will instantly increase your plays, sales and overall status, Pad Chennington is probably the biggest name in the scene to do that. In the past through live streams and tweets, he’s elevated the names of plenty of up and coming artists and also helped me when I was first starting out.
I’ve had small albums talked about on one of this videos, shoutouts about this zine and even had collabs with Pad that without his help, my projects wouldn’t be where they are today. And every time, I instantly saw a major spike in digital sales and listens.
This is the top of top when it comes to media shoutouts. With over 147K subscribers on YT, it’s a dream come true for some to be recognized by the legend himself.
George Clanton and THE BIG STREAM
I was conflicted between stating if Pad Chennington or George Clanton had more clout. On one hand, George is probably the biggest artist to ever come out of Vaporwave (next to Macintosh Plus). On the other hand, 100% Electronica’s YouTube channel only has 20.5K subscribers. But that’s not to say there isn’t an opportunity here for your own growth.
George and his streaming gang have a show called THE BIG STREAM which they hang out on a couch in VR and take Skype calls, interact with the chat and interview local LA / Scene artists. In some episodes they play various tracks live over the stream in which everyone listening gets a chance to hear your music. From what I remember you have to donate a certain amount to be selected but It might be worth it to you.
It’s been a few months since their last stream but if you find yourself watching one and have a few bucks to donate, it’s a big opportunity for endless ears to hear it. Plus, how sick would it be to get a comment from George, Negative Gemini or Adam Kane.
Visual Signals – Vaporwave Magazine
Obviously, if you’re reading this article you know about our Vaporwave inspired, Internet Culture fueled magazine, Visual Signals. Every issue we have a two page spread of the up and coming releases we found the most interested between issues. We also do artist interviews, the best design physical release and other ways of helping out artists reach more ears… and we’ve never taken a dime to do it. So if you think you have something special and worth sharing to our readership, let us know on Twitter and we can see where you fit in for the next issue.
These are just a couple but there are a couple of people I’d watch who might be more approachable; JoTomo, Tales From Vapor Fashion – Mulletovich, Daydream Deluxe, Hot Takes Podcast, and Utopia District. All of which live, breath and dream Vaporwave.
If I missed one, let me know and I’ll add it to the list.
5. Play a live or stream show
The biggest way you’re going to stand out from the hundreds of Vaporwave artists out there is get your image in front of future fans. I remember when Ahero went from just releasing a cassette to doing his first live performance on Youtube, it instantly spread his name throughout the scene. He set up a green screen, copied a few aesthetics from George Clanton but all in all, it set him up to getting a shoutout from Pad Chennington, George himself and countless other who tuned in to listen to him.
The same thing can be said for Wizard of Loneliness, Tupperwave, Adrianwave and the countless others who decided to leave their bedroom computer and actually perform their music. You too can do all of this from the comfort of your home through Youtube or Twitch, it’s such a small barrier of entry there’s no reason not to do it.
There are various labels throughout the year who do their own online streaming concerts like Utopia District, VAPOR95 and My Pet Flamingo, so watch their feeds for news when the next one happens and throw your hat in the ring.
Then when you get comfortable with your CD-J or however you plan on playing music from, get out there a do a few EDM shows. 100% Electronicon 3 might be waiting for you on the other side.
So here’s 5 tips to help you elevate from a no-name vaporwave artist to a big one in the scene. Vaporwave allows for a low barrier of entry and what you do once you have a foot in the door is up to you. Hopefully this little post helps you achieve the dreams you have (big or small) and gives you a sort of guideline on what you can do next. Just remember me when you’re playing next to Yung Bae or Macross in New York City one day.