SXSW: Fedel gives advice on touring and streaming

At SXSW 2016, Rapzilla interviewed Fedel, one of the most successful independent Christian rappers, about two issues which every new indie artist must deal with: touring and streaming.

He stressed the importance of young artists taking every opportunity they receive to perform, as well as not overprioritizing social media.

"What I see happens now is artists build their brand on Twitter or on Instagram — they might have a few thousand followers — and somebody might give them a show ... ‘Hey, you can come [perform for] my 20 kids at the Salvation Army. I can't pay you,’ and they won’t do it because the sound system's not good or this [is] not good," Fedel said. "But what they don’t realize is that, the Twitter or social media world, the same way you build that is the same way you have to build the tour base.

"You have to start somewhere. Because even if you get the shot of 500 students the first time through, you want to grow and get better at touring, at doing live shows, so any opportunity to do shows is an opportunity to get better. … I know for me, a lot of times when I was touring and working on touring, I wasn't managing my social media as good as I wanted to because, as an indie artist, you only have so much time. So a lot of times you can get so caught up in social media that you're not going out to other people’s shows to support them, meeting the people who did the tour and saying, 'Man, if you do another show, hey, I would love to be apart,' you’re not doing any of that."

Fedel also had strong opinions about whether or not artists should stream their music, which doesn't pay as much as digital sales.

“You either adapt or die," he said. "You can fight streaming. It’s not going anywhere. … I’ma be honest with you. If you don’t put your album on Apple Music, you might sell some records, but a lot of people will never hear your record.”

World-renowned artists like Adele, Kanye West and Taylor Swift have all made headlines for not following the norm when distributing their recent albums — spurning certain, if not all, streaming services. But most artists do not have the influence to release an album without streaming and reach just as many listeners.

"If you look at the majority of artists, the 99 percent, not the Adele’s — what she did was incredible, not people like her — but a lot of the people, the other 99 percent, if you look at them and you're honest with yourself, streaming is just the way to go," Fedel said. "It's the way that artists are building their tour base. It’s the way that the future is coming."

About the Author
David Daniels is a columnist at He has been published at Bleacher Report, The Washington Times, Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, Christianity Today, CCM Magazine, HipHopDX, Global Grind and Sphere of Hip Hop.

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