Tag Archive for: Apple

Connect Feature MEME

Connect Fundamental FlawThe biggest fundamental flaw of the OLD AND NEW music business is that the creators and/or owners of the creations have no freaking idea who their customers are.


(Pssst, you’re the creator).



Yes, they have demographics, but they don’t have their contact information so they don’t REALLY know who they are exactly. It also means they can only reach out via mass media like TV and Terrestrial Radio.


Which costs millions.

But nobody is listening to the radio and certainly, nobody is watching music videos on TV anymore. Not like they used to.


Connect Mass Media MEME



Therefore, record sales suck.


Therefore, few new superstars are being created.





Half the artists who were in the top 10 grossing tours of 2016 were over 55-years-old because the market is largely unaware of the new talent. This is because nobody is listening to radio and watching videos on TV.


It’s also because the new artists aren’t trying to connect with their fans. They want to be rockstars like their heroes.


The world would be VASTLY different for indies, signed artists, and labels if they would stop “doing what they’ve always done” and expecting different results.


Connect Crazy MEME 2



Ahem, that’s the very definition of crazy.





Let me tell you a crazy story.


QUESTION: For decades and decades the richest people in Texas were in what industry exactly?


If you guessed the oil business, you’d be correct! The richest oil families in Texas are multi-billionaires and have been for quite some time.


Connect Oil TREATEDBack in the early to mid 90’s a now famous Texan decided to build a widget. He spent the money to hire the team to design the widget. He spent more money prototyping that widget to work out the kinks and get it functioning properly. He spent more money leasing the manufacturing space, hiring the manufacturing experts, purchasing the manufacturing equipment, and the necessary components to put that widget into mass production. Then he spent a literal fortune promoting that creation to ensure he was systematically penetrating the minds of consumers.




He created the product then he created the demand for the product.

Connect Texan






But this future-shaping, trend-setting Texan did one super important thing different.



You see, for centuries all the widget makers, that is to say all the creators, sold their creations through distribution. Typically, a creator would sell their product for half price to the distributor. Then, the distributor marks up the price to the full market value so they can make their profit. But these distributors don’t actually create anything. That was how it always worked if you wanted to sell anything. Clothing makers sold Connect Distributor Collagethrough huge distributors like Macy’s and Nordstrom’s.  Toys were sold through distributors like K-Mart, Target, and Toys-R-Us. Automakers sold through local privately-owned dealerships. Electronic parts makers sold their parts to original equipment manufacturers via huge multi-hundred-million-dollar publicly traded distribution companies. Airline and Cruise companies needed local travel agents to distribute their services. Farms and food companies sold their products to brick and mortar local grocery distribution companies like Kroger.


But our famous Texan was asking the right questions.



Why was it worth selling your product to a distributor for half the market value anymore?


What exactly did a distributor bring to the table thatConnect Distributor Valuable MEME 2 made it worth letting them stick their hands that far down the creator’s pocket?


Answer: A relationship with the customer. For some it was a relationship with millions of customers which made for some very powerful and profitable distributors.


They knew the end-users!


Back in the day, if your creation wasn’t in distribution you didn’t sell anything, period. So, it was mission critical. It was the way our fathers did it, and their fathers did it, and their fathers and so on.


That’s a super tough nut to crack, you know. All that history.


But our Texan didn’t want to sell his $1,000 widget to a distributor for $500. He felt that if he was the one smart enough to create the widget and courageous enough to take the risk of designing, prototyping, manufacturing, and marketing the product he should get 100% of the money for it!


Seems fair.

Connect 100 Percent of the Money MEMEPlus, distributors show exactly zero brand love. Macy’s is just as happy to sell a customer Wrangler jeans over Levi’s. They don’t care what you buy, they just want you to buy!





But there was another way.


A way to bypass the distributor now because we had this new thing called the internet. (I feel like you should say that line in Dr. Evil’s voice using your fingers as air quotes; In-ter-net).


Connect Dr Evil



The internet would allow a creator who formerly had to pay big money to advertise via mass media (like darts in the dark if you ask me considering today’s alternatives) to connect and create a relationship with their customer.





Think about that.


That creator could have complete control over their customer’s experience.


That creator could become profitable faster because they’d have to sell half as many products to make the same amount of money that they would collect via distribution.


CONNECT Dell Computer Logo


You’ve probably figured out that our mystery genius is Michael Dell of Austin, TX. He became the first computer manufacturer to utilize the internet as a tool to create a direct relationship with the end-user/customer that he worked so hard and paid so much to reach.





His plan worked because within 7 years, Dell became the richest man in Texas.


That was in the late 90’s and early 2,000’s.


As of last year, according to Forbes Magazine, Michael Dell is worth 19.1 billion dollars. The nearest oil family is worth a paltry 8.9 billion. Poor babies.


Connect Michael Dell Forbes

That tells me the plan REALLY worked.


But the story doesn’t end there because Dell changed the world.





For decades if you were an electronic component manufacturer and your components were in an Apple product, you HAD to go through distribution because they had a relationship with your end-user that you couldn’t have. So, you sold your $1 diode for .50 cents and made money in the massive amounts of volume.


But after Dell Computer, you built a website and the engineers at Apple could contact you directly about questions, feedback, new products, ideas, etc. Little by little over the following 15 years the parts companies refused to renegotiate their distribution contracts because they didn’t need them anymore. They now possessed the one thing they used to pay the distributor for; a relationship with Apple (aka their end user). As a result, those multi-hundred-million-dollar-publicly-traded distribution companies imploded over time.


Connect Intel Logo

All gone.


All the local travel agencies vanished seemingly overnight.


Now consumers could access cruise lines and airline companies directly to purchase tickets without paying a commission because they didn’t need the travel agent anymore.



Did you notice how quickly the brand name outlet malls popped up around America? Companies like Levis, Coach, Hilfiger, Reebok, etc. couldn’t sell direct on their own but they damn sure could if they clustered with the other brand names and gave consumers a beehive of multiple brand names which sold their products discounted prices from the distributors.


Connect Outlet MallsCompanies that didn’t adapt like K-Mart and Sears fell into crippling debt.


How about the auto industry? GM purchased back tons of once privately owned dealerships because the consumers were only coming on the car lot to test drive the vehicle they wanted to purchase. The consumers didn’t need the salesmen for knowledge. Shockingly, consumers were literally more educated on the product than the salesman when it came to options on the vehicles. Why? Because the end user could research the product directly on the manufacturer’s website.




Mind Blown.


It all happened because one really smart guy was able to adapt in a changing environment.


One clever person was asking the right questions even though he didn’t have all the answers yet.

Connect Adapt MEME


QUESTION: What does Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes have that the labels, signed artists, and indie artists don’t have?


ANSWER: A relationship with their customers.




Which is a relationship with the label’s customers.


Also a relationship with your customers.


The labels aren’t adapting because distribution is always how they’ve done it. Just like all those other computer companies back in the late 90’s.


Make sense, right?


Which means these distributors have tons of information on these customers that would help artists and labels make more money.


But they won’t share that information with labels and artists.


Connect They Wont Share


Why won’t they share that information with you, the signed artists, and the labels?


Because the second they do, they would become irrelevant, just like travel agents.




I wonder how the world will change after artists, labels, managers, and publishers open their eyes like Michael Dell and take total control of our precious creations?











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Hero Feature MEME


You’re not the hero to your audience. It may feel that way at times. It’s quite possible you may want it that way!


Hero statue MEME

But you’re not the hero, you’re the guide.





They’re Luke Skywalker.


You’re Yoda.


For the younger crowd, they’re Harry Potter.


You’re Dumbledore.



When you envision success, if you envision yourself as the hero you’re not alone. In fact, you’re in the majority.



But you’re wrong.



Hero Brand Logo Collage



You’re DEFINITELY amongst the majority of artists who see themselves as heroes.


You’re also in the majority of businesses out there who view their products as the hero.





The smartest marketing companies like Apple, Harley Davidson, and Coca-Cola understand their products are not the hero, they are the guide.




Yes, the awesome apple computer I use in my studio rig doesn’t create the killer song demos for my songwriter clients or the heartfelt content for my marketing clients; I do.


I’m the hero within the context of my relationship with Apple.



They were the guide, their product helped me achieve success for myself.


Hero Coca Cola Logo


Coca-Cola makes you feel like you’re going to have a great time with your friends and their product is there to facilitate it.


Coca-Cola helps you create lasting memories.




“But Johnny, what the hell does this mean to me as an artist?”



Here’s a great story and it’s quick.


Hero Blake Shelton Austin



I saw a clip somewhere of Blake Shelton talking about “Austin”. This was Blake’s first single and he relived his first tour describing the reaction he would get in the audience when the band would kick into that song back in 2001.


People screamed and hollered because they loved this #1 song and the new artist!




Now, 15 years later, Shelton says the reaction is different. When he looks out into the audience during “Austin” there are people holding on to each other, groups hugging one another, hitting each other in the shoulder and laughing, or crying, but They’re all reminiscing.


Do you see?


They were making the memories in 2001 and now they’re remembering those very memories.

Hero First Kiss



Shelton’s first single was a guide in their lives. They have attached that song to a memory. That song now evokes powerful emotion, one way or the other.





It’s their celebration and “Austin” is the soundtrack to that specific celebration.



I was discussing this very story with my girlfriend who told me her first kiss happened to “Austin”. That song became their song.


Who forgets their first kiss?


Hero first kiss 2 Music Was The Guide



Blake Shelton is just in the honorable position to be a part of this important recollection for many people.




Get it?


He’s the guide.



How many of you had your first kiss, first sex, first drunk, first significant something largely because the setting was perfect which included the music.



I think if y’all can internalize this concept, it will change your marketing dramatically.




When you overhaul your approach to marketing, it will be foreign and clumsy at first, but you’ll be more effective and reach more people.




Hero Cry Baby MEME Butt Hurt



When you think you’re the hero, you get butt-hurt when you don’t receive the respect you think a hero should deserve because, after all, you’re a hero.





Why don’t they see it like you see it, right?



When you feel like the hero, your language and tone come from a different place. You feel as if you are owed respect. You speak to people with a certain air of authority, entitlement, and a certain condescension.



Maybe you don’t mean to, but y’all do because that kind of perspective comes with the hero mentality.


For instance, “Check out my new single” or “This kid is spitting mad rhymes in the mic!” or “Check us out on iTunes” then download my song and spread the word.


Coming from someone who is perceived to be a hero or at the very least has some real respect, these commands might work.


In your scenario, the reaction is the complete opposite from what you are wanting to get though, isn’t it?




You’re trying to earn the respect.


I mean, how’s that working out for you?


Does anyone care?



However, if you truly understand that you’re the guide and being the guide is a privilege, your approach, tone, and language changes.



Hero Grateful Bear MEME



Your CTA (Call To Action) posts look more like, “Wow! #Grateful 4 the love. Here’s a free download. #respect.”




Relationships aren’t transactions, their relationships. There’s a difference.



The more we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about our fan’s (customer’s) journeys, the more we will reach them.



Hero Relationships Aren't Transactions



They want to belong…to something.





Yes, they want music but they have all the music they need, just ask them, they’ll tell you.


Remember this.


You’re not trying to sell something they need like clothes, shelter, water, oxygen, etc.


Hero Grateful



You’re going to need to create a relationship and you do that online by providing real value.



You’re a business but you’re thinking like a product-centric business when you should be thinking like a customer-centric business.


Product-centric business is dangerous and short-lived.


Customer-centric business can go on forever.



Hero Building a Story Brand Logo




FYI, the muse for this article was the “Best Of 2016” episode on the Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller podcast. Quick excerpts from the best episodes and they’re quite illuminating.







Hero Piano Key Neck Tie



A good example of a product-centric business is the Piano Key tie. The manufacturer’s made a killing on a product but it ended and it was over.







A good example of a customer-centric business is Chanel.



Hero Chanel Logo RESIZED



Chanel started by inventing the mini skirt back in the 60’s (thank you Chanel!) but this iconic brand isn’t defined in any way solely on the mini skirt, was it?






Hero Apple Computer Logo




Apple used to be called Apple Computer. They dropped “Computer” from their moniker because they didn’t want to be defined by the Macintosh alone. They said they didn’t want their company to be defined by the products they sold, rather they wanted their company to be defined by the people they served.






That’s the difference between being a product-centric business and customer-centric business.



Why didn’t Blackberry OWN the smartphone business?Hero Blackberry


Why didn’t Blockbuster become Netflix before Netflix?


Answer: Because they were cemented to a certain way of THINKING and therefore, they couldn’t adapt.




You have to adapt to survive.



As an artist, when you’re thinking about your fans as opposed to yourself, your content will change and become valuable to them.



I know y’all hear me go on about business and monetization etc. I even joke sometimes about the monetization process with my cohorts like a tough guy.


But the truth is I make no mistake, it’s all about adding value to their lives.


I’m always wondering how I can add value to my client’s lives with advanced strategies, custom content, and attention that they won’t get anywhere else.



When you begin to think this way about your online community, you’ll witness a big change.



You have to think about the transactional process differently.


Don’t think of your fans like a human ATM machine, “I have to shake them down for $20.”



Think about them like a close relationship, “How can I add the most value for that $20.”


Not for nothing, but I think many of you pure artists allow this method of transactional thinking to become a deterrent to your success!



You want to make a living as an artist, but you fear being perceived as a salesman, therefore you don’t sell and therefore you don’t make a living as an artist.



Sounds simple, but I KNOW that I just rang a lot of bells.


Hero Bartender Skeptic RESIZED



Think of your bartender or your weed dealer (legal or illegal makes no difference).




You expect a certain level of service and quality. In the beginning of the relationship many of you are understandably skeptical about the outcome. But when you experience a happy result a relationship is formed and the transaction is a happy one.


You are HAPPY to pay your hard-earned money to receive the goods and services.


They are HAPPY to accommodate you in exchange for your precious money.


Then, Both of you are HAPPY to repeat the process because there is a relationship, trust, understanding, and therefore, CONSTANT COMMERCE.


Hero Happy



See, in this framework the idea of commerce doesn’t feel so bad, does it?





How can you add value (aside from your music) to a potential fan’s life on social media to create a relationship?



Good stories?


Humor?Hero Laughing Content


Your attitude on life?


Your snarky perspective?


Your artistic interpretation of their favorite song?


Thought provoking content?


All these items end up as your brand DNA.



If I like your brand, I’ll listen to your music with an open heart.



Hero Brand DNA MEME



When you begin putting their needs first, your tone, content, language, and approach completely transform.





You stop trying to be the hero and begin to guide them.



You start to help them improve their lives, even if it’s just for a second with a laugh, 3 minutes with a song, or 90 minutes with a compelling show.



You exist to help them.



You exist to transform them into better heroes.


How can you achieve a real relationship with your future fans online?


Ahh, now you’re asking better questions!


May the force be with you.









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