I’m about to break one of the cardinal sins of blogging: I’m going to tell you why I haven’t updated recently.
I know I’m notorious for my gaps in posting, but that was usually due to time management issues, or writer’s block, or laziness. This time it was for a different reason.
When I originally launched this blog, it was to discuss topics involving the music industry and chronicle a few of my experiences in it. While I did that for a while, it forced me to stay current on industry news so I would have new content to discuss & post. I always made it a point to stay up-to-date on everything before, but now I had to do so more actively & was set up to receive updates left, right and center from every site related to music news, music marketing, and everything to do with “Music 2.0”. I had a pool of information to go through every day.
As I kept up to date on everything, I became increasingly annoyed with what I kept hearing on every blog, newsletter and in every conference seminar and general discussion.
I know a few of my peers are going to hate me for saying this, but the truth is, most advice about Music 2.0 and “succeeding in today’s music business” is bullshit. There are very few real leaders around nowadays; the rest just regurgitate the same few buzz words over and over until somebody believes them enough to pay them – mind or money.
Same thing with “social media experts”; most of them have no clue what the hell they’re talking about. And when you actually take a closer look, you realize that most of them are each other’s only fans. It’s a flock of sheep supporting a flock of sheep. But where’s the leader?
Although, I’m annoyed with the flood of these self-proclaimed experts, the real problem is not them – it’s the people who follow them.
Is this not the entertainment industry?
The entertainment industry is the biggest cultural influencer on the planet. So then, why are so many people who are supposed to be leaders and influencers still following?
The industry can complain about the internet, and leaks, and everything else that’s not within its complete control – and I’m not saying those aren’t issues – but one of the biggest problems is the lack of real leaders and innovators.
Everybody wants a ready-made template to achieve success. If there was a ready-made template, that ensures everybody success, don’t you think everybody would jump on it immediately?
Oh wait, it already exists – they’re called trends.
Neptunes & Lil Jon tracks are what’s hot? Then get a Neptunes or Lil Jon track.
Auto-Tune hit big? Then Auto-Tune every vocal you ever speak, rap, sing or bark.
Ustream is poppin? Then live stream yourself every night so other bored people can guess what toppings you got on your pizza delivery to the studio.
Skinny jeans are in? Then wear the skinniest jeans until your little soldiers stop swimming.
Once something is proven to work once or twice, everybody jumps on it and milks it until it’s completely over-saturated and the audience hates you for it. It’s like a bunch of hungry cockroaches, feasting away until the thing they’re feeding from is completely devoured.
And then, of course, you have the people who argue with everything.
An artist or group will actually find a strategy that works for them, yet, they’re greeted by unsuccessful artists and wannabe marketing strategists crying that it only worked because the successful artist had A, B and C in place, and without A, B and C, they couldn’t have done it.
Don’t you think maybe that’s why they did it?
If someone develops a strategy that works for them, then it works for them because it was made FOR THEM!
Why would anybody stop themselves from making progress just because it can’t be converted into an industry standard? Fuck an industry standard! If you can’t develop an effective strategy for yourself, that’s your own problem. Stop whining about it and go back to the drawing board to develop one that can.
Like I said earlier, the entertainment industry is the primary influencer of mainstream culture – keyword: influencer.
That means you lead; you don’t follow.
That means you make the trends, you don’t follow them.
There’s a plethora of “Music 2.0” advice out there, and while some of it may be valid, everything should be taken with a grain of salt.
The reality is, technology and social media are developing far quicker than most can develop strategies for. I was creating Facebook campaigns in 2005 (while it was still only for college & university students), and Twitter campaigns at the beginning of 2008; and while they’re both still useful, I’m already developing strategies for other upcoming social networks and mediums, for the near future.
It’s about paying attention to the direction that technology and culture are moving. It’s about experimenting, and trial and error. It’s about using your own mind to develop a strategy that works for you.
Anybody who tells you “_____ is the only way to be relevant now” is a sheep.
Stop putting your career in the hands of random people who speak nothing but buzzwords. If the idea of social media or new technology intimidates you, then find someone to help, but what matters most is that you know yourself, and you know your music. Develop around that.
Stop changing yourself to fit a marketing plan. Change your marketing plan to fit you.
I guess that’s it for now. Just remember that as entertainers, and those who work in entertainment, you are meant to be leaders. So stop following and LEAD!