Dirt Bomb has already been featured in several magazines for his music, vision and success selling music on the street. He has worked with artists including Scarface, Too Short, Mario, and Scott Storch. More information can be found at www.dbomb.net From the web: “A healthy confidence in self and mature intelligence to match, his delivery and content are a cut above the average hip-Hop MC.”
What has been the single largest obstacle in selling your own music directly to the people?
Usama: The biggest obstacle in selling your music directly to the people is getting them to believe its actually good music. Most people don’t believe that they can buy a great CD in the middle of the street. So I have to sell them on my personality, more then the music. The big name artists that I have worked with help too. (Scarface, Too Short, Mario, Scott Storch)
Was a single moment that made you realize that you might have to market your own music?
Usama: When I left Floyd Mayweather’s label Philthey Rich Records, I knew I was going to have to sell my own music. I had a deal on the table with Rap a lot, but it didn’t go through because Floyd wanted to charge J. Prince too much money for my contract. So at that point I had no other choice but to do it myself.
What are some of the ways you have been marketing your music? I noticed your website had a great design, has the web played a vital role in selling your own music?
Usama: The most effective way to market myself has been to walk through the middle of traffic and sell 30 CD’s or more a day. If people don’t have any money but really want to hear the music, I give them a card and send them right to www.myspace.com/dirtbombinternational.
The web has played a huge part in selling my own music because everybody has a computer and it’s quicker then going to the store. As an independent artist, the web is great because it doesn’t cost that much to advertise and market yourself online. My whole focus with this Born Sinner album has been to increase my Internet awareness.
Speaking of the web, I noticed on your website that you have sold over 20,000 copies of Mix Tape Volume One. Without giving away any secrets can you give us some info on you accomplished this as an independent artists.
Usama: The way I made it happen was simple. I was consistent and persistent. That kills when you’re selling anything. I would stand on one corner for two weeks straight at the same time every day. After the first week, everyone would want to know what I was selling. If they were into hip-hop they would try one. If they liked it they would come back, and send more people to that block to get one.
How much have live performances factored into your own sales strategies? Which do you think have been more effective, Internet marketing or sales made through street marketing?
Usama: I like doing live shows and it does help sell some CD’s, but it’s hard to get paid if you’re not in demand. So live shows don’t help me sell as much because I don’t like to do that many free shows. I think street marketing is more effective now, because they get the CD on the spot and I get the money on the spot. Internet is cool but sometimes people will go listen to the music, but won’t really buy it. On the streets I make them buy it on the spot. I don’t care if they Got 5,7, 9, or 1 dollar. I make sure they spend money and by the end of the month that money adds up. In the future I think the Internet will be more effective though.
What aspect of your street marketing campaign do you think has been most successful?
Usama: Working traffic lights and walking up to a car is definitely the most effective. The light changes every 30 seconds and there is 50 to 100 cars at every light. So that’s thousands of people that I’m being exposed to in a 6 to 8hr span. If you don’t by the CD you still have to notice me and wonder what I’m selling, so it is still great promotion.
In general, I was wondering what your greatest influences to date have been.
Usama: Well great music influences me a lot. But I’m not talking about rap music. I love to ride around in my car and listen to some Smokey Robinson. That’s like my favorite artist right now. I got a chance to go see him perform in Vegas for my last birthday and that was very inspirational. To see Smokey still doing his thing and doing it well really influences me to keep making classic music, cause classic music lasts through time. My other influences are my family: My son, my nana, my brother, and my mother.
What movies have influenced your thinking?
Usama: That’s a good question. There are a lot of movies that influence the way I think, but Gangster movie’s the most. Deep Cover, Good Fellas, and Pulp Fiction are some of my favorites in my collection. I also like anything that Damon Wayan’s is in. Major Paine is a classic to me, but I love Moe Money cause Stacey Dash. I think comedy is healthy for your soul, so sometimes when I’m down and out, I throw on a Mike Epps, Eddie Murphy, or Chris tucker movie and it helps ease the pain.
I was also wondering what books have influenced your thinking.
Usama: Now more than movies, books really influence my thinking. My mother and Nana are really into books so they also give me great reads. One of my favorite books is Soledad Brother. It’s a book about these two brothers, George Jackson and Jonathan Jackson. My mother gave me that book in high school and I fell in love with it. 2 Pac actually wrote a song called Soldier Story on his first album based on this book.
But lately I’ve been reading books about how to market my music more effectively. One in particular that has really influenced the way I have been thinking is called “How to market your CD and create a buzz” by Bobby Borg. I would advise anybody that’s serious about marketing his or her own music to read this book.
Do you have any tips or advice for others who are selling products on the street?
Usama: The main advice I have for other people selling their music in the streets is believe in yourself. Go out and make it happen everyday. Anybody can make one CD. You have to consistently make great music throughout the years. That’s what breeds success.
What do you think is the most successful step a young artist or music can take in terms of having a successful street marketing campaign?
Usama: I think having a great team is the best thing you can do to have success in marketing. Bottom line is you can’t do everything yourself, so you have to have help. Just surround yourself with positive people and you will get positive results.