I’ve been contemplating the business of music a lot lately. It is still not clear what will emerge from the chaos we know as the music business but I realized this weekend that I need to start a dialog going with both artists and fans. As a typical ADD-male-problem solver, I keep looking for real solutions that will create income and testing them both online and at gigs. What I could really use is some feedback on where YOU are at with your music biz trials and tribulations.
02/27/12-Where are we going? The next decade of the music business will be all about originality and exposure. Until some kind of new paradigm emerges from the chaos know as the “music business” I believe artists need to protect and expand their individuality, spend extra time identifying what they want, face their fear of failure, learn how to sell themselves (in a way they believe in), own their relationship with their fans and create direct income streams they can count on.
Over the next few weeks, I will be expanding this posting one thought at a time in hopes of getting your input and feedback.
Please comment below.
02/28/12- Fans. Fans have no idea that the business of music is in complete disarray. They have access to music and can consume it in so many interesting ways. Fans are people who dig what you do. They are believers in your dream and may actually believe in it MORE than you! They naturally assume you are doing great. Most fans I talk to think we’re doing just fine. After all, they are listening to our music, it’s for sale all over the place, it’s so popular you can find it on sites for free, we have a youtube video and we gig a lot… That means we must be making tons of money, right? What they do not know is that, in most cases, very little money gets to the artist. Do you think for a minute that your fans know that if your song gets played on Spotify 100 times you might collect a whole .13¢? As much as you’d like fans to think of you as a rock star, they should understand that if they pay $5 to see you in a club and 200 people show up, you are not making $1,000! (Yet that’s often the perception.) So it is important to me to figure out a way to engage our fans so that they understand where we are on our journey, how to support us and how much we appreciate it.
03/06/12- Every night I’m out playing, I’m transfixed on figuring out how to create an ongoing natural supportive relationship with fans without it feeling like begging. (ie: make friends, sell music) It turns out that the “begging” feeling is all MY problem. I believe that we’ve all made too many assumptions about what our fans know about our business as well as what they perceive about our careers! What I’m discovering is that most fans want to know about the “business” and NEED to know about the business in order to know where to direct their support! (Support = Money, Telling Friends, Bringing People to Shows, Telling their Sister who works at this cool place called Sony Music Publishing…) You can never assume that fans know how much you appreciate that they are at your show and how buying music at your show directly supports your career. You can’t assume they know you care, because, believe it or not, many fans really don’t know how much you appreciate them! You have to individually connect with your fans and, if possible, in person and let them know how much you care about their support. How many times have you said from stage that you have an album for sale and then when you walk off stage everyone asks you, “do you have CDs for sale?” as if they had no idea! That’s because they have no idea! It serves me well to believe that fans are connecting with us through your music. And they don’t necessarily linger on your every lyric and certainly on every word said between songs. Fans need a break between songs so they can tune out. In just about every situation, I’ve found that making a direct connection with as many fans in the room as possible has created rewarding sales and fostered a supportive relationship. Not surprising to me, about half the amazing artists I know have a lot of trouble with this entire concept of creating a supportive fan base, yet it is what most artists want! The whole process starts by believing that your talent and music have value. That seems like an obvious start but it looks more and more to me that it’s the first big hurdle most artists have to get over so they can start changing the game.