It’s all about your core audience.

I know you’ve heard it thousands of times, thousands of true fans, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

Of course, first and foremost you need a fan base, but once you have that, ignore the exterior, it’s a waste of time!

I know, you are sitting at home thinking how you can grow up, how your act can break. Maybe you can hire a big PR agent, maybe you’re a spam writer, maybe you hire an independent radio publicity person, spread the word. No!

I’m not saying radio airplay is useless, but how many people still listen to terrestrial radio? Only the most passive and laid back. Not those who work at the station, they are still passionate, but the old days of active radio listening are history.

And the playlist… it doesn’t work either. Even if you come up on the playlist, unless someone saved the track, Spotify doesn’t encourage you, it drops you. And adjust your approach instead of avoiding people and getting frustrated.

Just satisfied to the core.

And the original always wants more.

Stay in touch, deliver regularly, and get to know who these people are!

It’s about data today, but record labels are far behind. I would fire most people there and hire data scientists. Find out exactly who is listening, who is a fan. And then I would reach out to these people and encourage them. Bring them to meet the acts, send them swag…

Don’t promote where if the fan gets someone else… that instance is history, it’s been burned on the web for decades. You know, if you get a new customer, we give you a special benefit. I see that and I puke. Are you making me your sales representative? I love Clear, but I’m going to sell it to a friend so I can get a bonus? If they find out, they will feel ripped off. No, I must feel so good about Clear that I tell people out of the goodness of my heart. If a fan wants to make money, they can become an influencer on social media. It’s not what we’re selling here, what we’re selling here is faith! This is the essence of a music career. This is why non-hits can often sell ten more tickets than hits, if hitmakers can sell any tickets at all. Without faith, you have nothing.

I’m not saying press is bad, but I won’t hunt for it, I won’t try to make it happen. Because usually it’s one and done. And people don’t see it and they don’t take action. Like Scott Galloway in the “New York Times”, did you see that full page article? It was flattering, especially as a result of its raw existence. But I have yet to speak to anyone who has seen it who doesn’t already know Galloway. The man got a full page in the horror magazine! But most people read it online, where everything except the headline story is the same, and often ignored. So Galloway can feel good about this ink, but it’s not really going to move the needle.

And then there’s the game playing those attention games. The tide has turned. Felice’s car is totaled, she has to buy a new one, she has only one rule, no Tesla! Because of Elon Musk.

And Kanye has become a joke and if you’re always in the news cycle today, you’re a laughingstock. What is your fault that you need so much attention?

And worse when we see you ripping off your fans. Forcing them to buy multiple physical albums with different covers. Why? Sure, hardcore will do it, BTS fans will buy anything the band puts out, but the optics are terrible, even if it buys you the number one chart position for a week. And everyone in the business knows it’s all about the stream, and they can see how your music really performs. Stars always make a strong debut, but how long does it last, does a track stay in the Spotify Top 50, Top 10?

But you get all the hype for a “billboard” #1… but what exactly does that buy you? Will your audience ever watch network TV attention for a slot? And as far as looking-loos, to encourage casual fans, to step up… At this point people don’t even bother to stream a track, they’re overloaded with input, they’ve done it so many times, they’ve streamed bad tracks by “Billboard” #1s. Did… as far as buying a ticket… have you checked the ticket prices recently? Never mind the parking and the alcohol and… no one is going to a freak show. And, if you’re interested in a show, there’s a plethora that matches your interest, why go to an unknown show?

So you need to buzz. And buzz is created by your core. If you blow into the gong and sustain it, it will be because the root spreads the sound. And if you’re really great, it will spread like wildfire, because active fans are looking for greatness 24/7, they’re hungry for it, they’re looking for it. But very, very, very little that is this great. Let me make it clear. If you play your track to someone and they don’t immediately ask you to play it again, that’s not good enough. duration Harsh truth, but there you have it. Good is not good enough.

But let’s say you’re not that great, that’s right, your fans will keep you alive, they’ll give you all their money. A quirk of life is that people are most attracted to and bond with those that are not very successful at first. They may personally own the law. Ground floor entry is a badge of honor. And as long as you don’t push for more attention soon and ignore the premise, your fans will be on your side.

Think about it, there is a lot of value in having a hard core fan. They go to shows, they buy products…

And they are the only ones who can spread the word.

It is better to go out with cheap tickets than to pay more for the production. Because tickets are cheap, a fan can drag a friend along. People want to do that, there’s such satisfaction in turning someone else into great music. But if your ticket is expensive, this may not happen.

Ignore the headlines, they don’t reflect today’s reality. First and foremost, many of these acts are nowhere near as big as the hype, again, the streaming numbers, easily accessible to all, tell the truth.

Everyone is a traveller/woman today. If you haven’t heard from a friend an act whose music you don’t know, without a hit, you don’t have a friend.

I will give you a few examples. Do you know how many times people have e-mailed me about Larkin Poe? Even better, the Avett Brothers. No household names, but they have a very strong, relatively large fan base, their careers have not been built on penumbra, hype, but substance, music and live performances. That’s the music business today.

Don’t compromise your music, don’t make it like everyone else, because even if the track is catchy, you won’t make any fans and next time you’ll be starting from almost zero. You want something with an edge, something that will keep people hooked.

This is the opposite of the MTV era, where the goal was world domination. Hell, there’s a good chance you’ll be successful and still be considered underground, most people won’t know you or your music. But I’ll tell you a dirty little secret, most people haven’t even heard the hits! Or maybe nothing else by hits and albums or acts. This is a false construction, the old hegemonic act that everyone knows. Hell, there are acts that people hate because they’ve seen their name too much, unrelated to music, that they’ve never heard of.

And in a world of seemingly limitless choice, we’re not stuck listening to the same thing, there’s no center, whatever. There are only a million jobs, some successful, most not.

And to be successful you have to have a fan base. Don’t try to jump the line, short circuit the process, appeal to mockery-mooks to have a hit single. Start below. Make regular people like your music. And if they don’t like it, start over. You don’t deserve a life as a successful musician. No one is stopping you from making music, but if you want to be supported in your endeavors, people will definitely not like it, but want to be closer to it, want more of it.

Think small.

~~~

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