Some thoughts from Seth Godin and my own commentary to remember as you navigate the music industry.
1. Safe is Risky– So, then the smart thing is to dwell at the fringes. How does this apply to musicians? You can’t dwell in the “what’s already been done” area. You can’t think- oh this worked as a great marketing tactic or facebook contest. If you’re studying everyone else’s music career, stop. You can’t expect the same scenario to be recreated. Because let’s be real- we are all living different lives, know different people and have influence in different circles. Can you draw ideas in regards to revenue generation and creative strategies? Of course. Just study for a little while and then be willing to launch out into some uncharted waters.
2. Not everyone will want what you have. But that does not matter. You need to find those who desperately want what you have. Find those who are obsessed about what you do. How does this apply to me? Well, here’s the cold hard truth. Folks, people will not always love you (gasp?). Yes, I get upset about this as well, because who does not want to be well-liked. The need for belonging is deeply entrenched in our psyche. But it’s time we shook off those who would rather move on and say it’s alright. Maybe someday they’ll change their mind and return. After all, no use in crying over spilled milk.
3. Sell to those who are listening- and maybe they will tell their friends. I’ll take this a step further and say that not only should you hope for good fans who will tell their friends, you should also REWARD them for spreading the word. When you have great fans who are willing to share, you should give back. Give them swag, host a concert in their home, send them a holiday gift, write a thank you card. We are losing true connection with our fans and people in general. When we lose this, we lose a massive part of what music is supposed to do for us: connect us and unite us.
4. Acknowledge that what has worked before does not necessarily work anymore. We used to think of marketing in terms of television where if you could buy enough ad space, you could change the world. Then we think advertising- push it on the world. It gives the idea that you are in charge and you’re going to get things done. But with this idea of connection and social media came the rebirth of the Tribe. It is something that people have wanted forever. We have work, spiritual and community tribes. The internet was supposed to homogenize us but rather it has created silos of people with similar interests. You can connect if you WANT to be connected. It is not that you force people but that they want to connect. It then becomes a movement. So, as an artist, what characterizes your movement? If it sounds like something you’ve heard before, get back to the drawing board.
5. You can’t do it alone. Begin to find your supporters and build your inner cabinet first. Find trustworthy, dependable people who you enjoy working with. Don’t waste your time with people who drag you down or who do not support you in your vision. 1000 true fans is the solid foundation to get you to the next rounds. Work on cultivating those relationships and be true as the tribe leader to the vision.
Some final thoughts from Seth Godin:
Who are you upsetting? If you aren’t upsetting, you aren’t changing the status quo.
Who are you connecting? People want to be a part of a culture and they want to be missed when they are gone. Do you create that sense of community for them?
Who are you leading? They’re waiting for you to show them where to go.
So, get goin’ 🙂
And remember…. “It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.” ~Proverbs 25:27