Since I just put out a book about breaking into the music industry, this week I'm sifting through some of the mythology surrounding it.
In the first part of this series, I talked about a few areas where the business is probably the same as it ever was. The business and supporting technology can change all day long and certain things are likely to always remain difficult (or will become more difficult). That's just the nature of the beast and that's totally cool—if it was easy, everybody would be doing it.
But, a higher level of difficulty in certain areas doesn't mean we get to make excuses. It does require more attention and problem solving time.
Some things really are more difficult.
Cutting through the noise.
In theory, anyone who has the drive and talent to put their music out there can now self-publish with relative ease. The number of amazing, elegant tools to make music available for everyone is unprecedented.
Unfortunately, that means that more people are self-publishing than ever. Since the amount of friction between creators and consumers is lower, more people are throwing their hats in the ring because it is so easy to do it in a mediocre way.
The lower level of friction encourages the "just throw some stuff up online and see what happens" mentality that I don't agree with—it downplays the importance of strategy.
All this amounts to lots of noise. The people who have some real value to deliver to an audience have to fight harder and smarter to cut through.
A higher volume of promotion work is required with social media.
Lots of artistic types think of social media channels as distribution. They make something, then just push all of that to various the various social media channels. Some media channels actually make this easy and encourage it.
That's a bad a idea because each channel offers a different experience. People use Facebook, Twitter, email, and all the other social services for different reasons. Pushing the same promotional content to each of them ignores why people are there in the first place. It is also annoying to people who are paying attention on multiple channels to see the same things over and over again.
As someone trying to promote creative work, your life is harder here. You need to find a way to give people a reason to pay attention on each of the places you promote.
There are more services competing for people's attention than ever.
Music, video games, online wine clubs, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Netflix, and much more. People's attention spans are shorter because so many people are swamped with options and many of them are excellent.
The litany of products and services competing for people's attention is higher than it's ever been. We get 15-30 seconds to catch a person's attention and if that doesn't happen, it's over.
This isn't saying that you can't get the word out about your music, but it's more competitive than ever. Once you're above the noise, there are thousands of very high quality entertainment options to spar with.
We need to be fierce, focused, and excellent both in our art making and in getting the word out to people.
I discuss individual promotion all over the place in Make It, but what if you're in a band? An chamber group? A producer?
What are your thoughts here? These are my immediate reactions to reading this article but I'm sure you can come up with many more.
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