Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thunder and Lightning Are a Little Bit Frightening

Well-intentioned, well-meaning people should not be in the music business. It's that simple. If you have a plan that can be implemented and is working, I truly applaud you for your ability to do so.  If not, then kabetzing isn't going to help anyone. If the well-intentioned  plan isn't working, waiting for lightning to strike is a bit like waiting for hell to freeze over.

Today people stand around, and talk obsessively about how to "relate" to the new music model as if the collective force is a petulant child. To say this is dysfunctional is the understatement of the century. Facilitators step in like doctors who can diagnose symptoms, but have no cure. If there was an easy fix to this evolution people wouldn't be standing around, waiting, and talking about what might happen next.

The most successful musicians in history were, and remain, totally uncompromising. They couldn't care less about their critics. Do they face obstacles? Absolutely. Do they find a way around them? No question. Are there easy solutions? Not always.

Put one foot in front of the other and simply allow yourself to accept what music is. Perhaps it shouldn't even be a business. Monitizing music is a dilemma as old as time itself. For a very brief period we witnessed a system that appeared to work, but as most corporate models reveal, it too was a house of cards.

The vehicle for distribution of recorded music is technology. Realistically, we can't put too much stock in it as it becomes outdated the minute it is put into motion. Like a new car, it depreciates the minute you drive it off the lot. We must use technology, but using it sparingly brings art to life in ways most of us have forgotten.

For centuries, people have suffered for their art. Now, it's our turn. Agonizing over the joy of music is a huge disconnect for most people, yet many do agonize over what isn't working. Honestly, I don't think things are really as bad as people want to believe. Many people are making music work for them...we just don't hear all the success stories. There's too much thunder in the background.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What's Your Net Worth On Paper

Everyone has a To Do list. When it comes to performing and recording artists, it seems that list continues to expand with the ever-increasing integration of traditional responsibilites combined with an even broader list of outlets to engage with in the Web 2.0 model. Most gravitate toward the latest thing on the market hoping to chase something down that resembles pay dirt.

My question is what is the net result for the hustle put into the various and sundry tasks?

Most of the hustle comes prior to the launch of a new CD and then the recurring performance dates to support the release. It's all a lot of hard work. But how do you measure the results of your efforts? An even better question is, do you measure the results at all? If so, what yardstick are you using to gauge success and progress? Is it the increased fan base? Is it a return on your monetary investment? Is it getting to the next level? And exactly how do you define growth and getting to the next level?

The answer to each of these questions is important, but not as important as this: What does your music mean to your fans? If only one fan came out to a well-publicized event, what would she or he have to say about your work? With an audience of one, it is easy to sit down and simply talk to the person about the experience. With a larger turnout, that's not so easy.

If you've worked hard to get every single person possible into a room for a performance, then in the equation, what every single person has to say at the end of the performance is priceless.

Today, measuring your net worth as a performer is defined by your audience. Make sure you remind them to say whatever they like. Invite them from the stage to write a review of your show at where their words are archived to show your net worth. Like a savings account that accrues interest over time, what your fans write becomes a papertrail of growth and success you can take to the bank.