YOU Are Your Only Hope
This is the absolutely most exciting time in the history of the music business. It’s unprecedented because you can create any kind of art you want and bring it to the world with the least amount of roadblocks. If you choose to, as an artist, you can create without a committee. Some of you are probably scoffing at that but most of you inadvertently create by committee because you’re too focused on emulating what is popular instead of finding your own voice.
What is popular these days whether it’s good or bad in your subjective opinion, was created by committee.
Finding your own voice is mission critical to true originality.
Finding your own voice is important to me mostly because, like you, I care mostly about ME.
That is what will make you stand out from the crowd. Your own voice is truly interesting because somewhere in your own story, there are a couple threads, gestures, stories, experiences, downfalls, victories, struggles, and failures that I can relate to.
If I can relate to your reality, instead of a concocted image or alter-ego, our artist-consumer bond will strengthen.
The music business has always been about relationships and most of you are aware of this to point of it becoming a cliché. You think about these relationships in terms of business relationships. However, I would take it a step further and tell you that the music business is now all about relationships with your fans. Deep relationships at that or at least far deeper than a “follow” or a “like”.
The music business used to be about B2C or business to consumer. Now it’s about P2P or people to people.
The artist that focuses on how to do that, how to make the fans feel as if they have a relationship with said artist, is the artist who cracks the code for success in the NEW music business, You will be the artist that fans will pay money to see live, to download your whole record, and to be a part of your tribe.
Today is so freaking exciting because YOU have the power. YOU have the strength, YOU have access to all the knowledge you choose to seek out, YOU have the ability, YOU have the talent and as long as YOU are willing to do something about it, there is hope.
Hope that your music will become the soundtrack to a specific beehive of people.
Hope that your song will become my jam.
As long as YOU embrace the challenge of reaching the fans through marketing as seriously as you take the challenge of reaching them through your music, YOU will be successful. There is HOPE
YOU will live your dream.
Or at least there is hope that you will live your dream.
I want you to read this excerpt from an amazing book I am reading called The Content Code by Mark W. Schaefer.
This is a marvelous, inspiring period of history when you can shed the traditional burdens of authority and build true influence on the web through your own merits. On the web, nobody cares where you went to college or how much money you have. The color of your skin or your body mass index don’t keep you from connecting to people on your own terms. Your ability to walk or run or even speak doesn’t matter because you can publish.
Yes, you can bring your work of art to a targeted audience of people who are predisposed to liking your style of music.
You can learn the psychological steps a consumer needs to take to internalize your music and make your song their jam.
You can find 1,000 Superfans that will pay $100 per year to experience you in all your glory.
The music business will be better for it.
Gone are the days where a couple radio Program Directors decide what you will listen to, what you will like, and ultimately what music will become the soundtrack of your life. Now you get to choose.
Gone are the days where a committee of corporate executives get to decide whether you’ll get a record deal and a shot an entertainment career. Now you get to choose.
Taylor Swift said “Today artists get record deals because they have fans, not the other way around.”
The internet holds the power of the radio times the whole world. The power to influence is more sophisticated but also more powerful and longer lasting.
It’s more sophisticated because the internet is decidedly NOT broadcasting which is how we are all used to being exposed to new music. The language has to change from what we know and what we’re used to. That will require innovation much like your music.
Playing an instrument well is extremely difficult.
Writing a really good song is extremely difficult because it requires simplicity and economy of words.
Singing really well is astoundingly difficult and rare. This is why we are so impressed with musical talent. This is why we put rock stars on pedestals.
They make us feel.
They make us think.
They make our lives better.
Sometimes they make our lives tolerable.
So marketing in the NEW music business can be done well. It has been done well. One has to approach it like the burden they took on to learn to play guitar. I’ll bet most people spent MONEY on lessons, practiced for hours, spent MONEY on guitars, they spent MONEY on amplifiers, straps, guitar stands, cords, pedals, strings, and seasonal maintenance.
Why not marketing?
Why not approach marketing the same way one would approach learning a new instrument with all the costs and time involved in acquiring the necessary gear and attention to learning how to make it work correctly?
What would happen if a bunch of artists took on the challenge of reaching fans and treated it like the art form that it is?
What would happen if these forward thinking artists truly understood the difference between the art of connecting with someone through music and the art of connecting with someone through the internet?
What would happen if they spent the same amount of time and money learning to master music marketing as they did to master their instrument?
Connecting with fans is easy and sadly, most artists ignore that.
Deepening the relationship is more challenging.
Once an artist master the art of creating Superfans, they will own the world.
The internet is more powerful because one video can be seen by fans all over the globe as opposed to restricted to one market like a radio station or one country like MTV.
Never before has the music industry been more pregnant with opportunity for any artist who is smart enough to see the writing on the wall.
Since most artists either can’t see it or choose to ignore it, the performers that do embrace the learning and master marketing will easily rise above the din of the abundant unheard.
I just giggled at that.
Separate yourself from the unheard.
There is hope for the artists who are smart enough, driven enough, and that really work towards getting their music heard.
This is the most exciting time in the music business but code you have to crack has changed, man.
I say it’s exciting because you are the only one standing in your way; just you and your excuses.
You have access to all the tools, all the education, and all the methodologies you need to find your real voice in your music, create that music, and master the art of exposing your music to a targeted audience.
You are your only hope.
The artists that become aware will become successful.
The artists who choose to remain naïve will disappear amongst the unheard.
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