*Update: I am Officially Renaming This Post The TWO word answer to all the problems in the new music industry… CLARITY + FOCUS.
No offense at all to the client I’m referencing, but I find it a classic quote and it’s the perfect seque into a topic i’ve become very familiar with and a point I want to drive home for Modern Artists and Bands primarily. Although, the concept is certainly relevant to any form of career-content creator.
When I asked you to paint me a picture of what it is you really want, what your ultimate goal was, what your highest level musical vision looked like for you and your band…
You sort of took a short step back, finger touched your bottom lip, and sort of half-assertedly said… “Well, I just want my music to be heard, felt, experienced, by MORE people.” You also mentioned that you wanted to make more record sales too.
Now, there are many ways to look at this. But despite what some of you may think, I actually see a lot more RIGHT with this, then what’s WRONG with this.
Now, anyone who knows me knows i’m sort of a clarity geek. I love the finer details. Sometimes I get too carried away… But I digress.
Of course there is way too much “vagueness” to this vision, and there is nothing all that compelling about it, but it’s a great answer.
It’s so simple and idealistic. I love it. It tells me there HEART is in the right place. …and THAT is very very important.
Ok, now, buckle up.
Now we need to get your HEAD in the right place.
So how about going to any highly attended stadium event of any kind and just showing up with a boombox, eighties style, BLASTING YOUR TUNES!?
Or, better yet, how about you just post tons and tons and tons of flyers on an endless mass of telephone poles that no one ever reads or pays attention to?
That’s getting more people to HEAR your music, right?
So what’s the problem…
That’s not what you meant? I know.
You may even think i’m being a soup Nazi, because “you know what i mean, man…”
Well, yes, I do know what you mean, but there is a good reason i’m pointing this common scenario out, and it’s NOT to be a stickler.
After all i’m on your side. That’s the only reason i’m doing this anyway. Because i care… The pay sucks ass too…
No, the point to this short rant is to simply and clearly HIGHLIGHT the power of clarity, and it’s cumulative effect on several critical factors for your continued success including FOCUS, strategy, results, competitive advantage, and longevity of your career.
The fact is… EVERYONE wants more fans. Most Artists, most musicians, (myself included) live or have lived in a dillusional state of utopia surrounding what should, is, has, and will happen to them and their careers.
We can get caught up “spiritual powers,” universal signs, and mystical forces that are somehow intervening and propelling, or NOT propelling their careers, or supplying them with the opportunities they think they need.
I don’t know about all that stuff, but I will say however, that in my experiences, when you are COMMITTED and are DOING the right things, the right way, all things sort of flow together, and if you are able to perceive and act on those opportunities then and only then can you see how you really do MAKE your OWN luck.
But that’s a whole ‘nother topic, for a whole ‘nother day…
Now, whether that is happening by DEFAULT, or it is happening by CONSCIOUS design and a total awareness of the circumstances doesn’t matter.
The first one, when opportunities align for certain people who are prepared to handle, and aware enough to act on them, is rare.
That person most likely will not even KNOW deep down why or what made them successful in their careers other than, well this happened, then this happened, then that… Etc.
That’s fine. What I wish to ensure you of, and impress upon you, is that the SECOND option is almost scientific. You just need certain skills and to take certain actions that form certain habits and you can make your own luck.
But ALL of this requires a CLARITY and a FOCUS that notices the opportunities other people don’t see, and the skills to act on them.
If your goal is to build your fanbase, or make more sales, or launch an album… You need to start thinking in projects, and campaigns.
What’s a campaign?
An organized course of action to achieve a particular goal.
Typically, for musicians this translates into something like this…
Project: Write, record, produce, and promote new record.
Promotional Campaign: At least break even in sales, and increase our numbers (fans, branding, conversions, publicity) by at least 20% of our last album.
Resources: Included Touring, and big budget-cross channel marketing efforts by a team of full-time professionals who know what they are doing, and are seriously connected.
So as you know by now, the internet became the great equalizer and birthed the worldwide distribution of your content, your message, your music… As well as the future of everything artistic you may know is termed Direct To FAN, OR D2F marketing.
But here’s the thing…
While all that amazing synergy of connection, possibility, endless streams of new technologies, platforms, constantly decreasing cost of entry into music production may sound like god’s gift to Independent Music, Artists, Expert, and Personal brands of every size and shape…
The fact is that as an industry, we are still in our infancy. Most people have NO idea about how to actually utilize the opportunities that are available.
Record Labels, even the MOST prestigious names in the music business are looking around trying to figure out what to do next, or are forced to have to talk to people they don’t want to, to try to make things work and stay profitable…
Their are MANY DIY Artists who have found that just some basic legwork and trying a variety of things persistently until something sticks-has paid off and resulted in success they never thought was possible for them.
So WHY is everyone failing… And WHAT can we do about it?
I’m going to tell you.
But I want to make clear first, that there is never only ONE way to skin a cat…
However, what I am about to tell you is the most certain, proven, and direct way to a successful career.
The answer is one word.
The starting point for each of your campaigns whether it be to gain more subscribers, make more record sales, gain more publicity…
I’ve already mentioned it, and if you thought CLARITY, then congratulations… You are RIGHT.
It’s the solution to BOTH sides of the New Music Industry.
For DIY Independent Artists, to Record Labels staying profitable and launching successful campaigns.
Clarity in your vision, your purpose, your goals, your mission… Clarity in the skillsets, the knowledge, the habits, the experiences you need to have to do what you want.
Clarity in your message and what you are trying to give your fans…
Clarity in who your heart of your audience is.
Clarity in WHAT they love about you and your music.
Clarity about what THEY want and would find cool… What THEY would love you for doing for/with/because of THEM.
Clarity in what each campaign is supposed to achieve…
Clarity in your measurement of the results that each campaign achieved…
Clarity in the refinements you are going to make from the lessons learned through your last campaign.
The realization that just like any other cause, business, charity, or non-profit mission, the cornerstone is a clear understanding of who they are and what they are trying to accomplish.
The successful ones are CLEAR on their core values, their goals, their marketing, their numbers, and that’s how they are able to grow. Because they don’t they don’t have mission statements or visions like, “i want to change the world somehow…” They have clarity on their vision and their mission and can tell you “I want to change this thing, for this reason, by doing these things, for these people.”
“I PLAN, to do THAT, by doing THESE things at first, and then correcting course until I get results that look like THIS.”
It’s The One Word Answer To All The Problems In The New Music Industry.
That’s a lot to swallow, so i’ll end it there for you to chew on until the next post.
But I want you to think it over… Do you have any form of anything resembling CLARITY on ANY of the things listed above?
The first question you need to ask yourself, is WHAT opportunities exist around you that you are not utilizing?
What resources, contacts, platforms, do you have at your disposal that you are not leveraging?
Please share your comments, insights, ideas below.
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