Does Art Have To Be Commercially Viable To Be Valuable?

In today's world of art and music, we've come to a point where we've essentially decided, "If it's isn't commercially viable, then it isn't valuable." Basically, art and music now gets funded because it has a commercial aspect to it. So if you can turn it into a product like a CD or TV show and people like it enough, then you can create it. If not, you're out of luck. But we have an opportunity to change that by becoming individual patrons of the arts. If we each give a little but we all do it, we can help to create amazing things.

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Why You Don't Get A Manager... Yet.

I know you want a manager. And I know it's all overwhelming. It really is. There's too much stuff and you don't really know what to do or what not to do. And even when you know that, there's a good chance you have no clue how to actually do a lot of it. Music is a ridiculously complicated business. And there are a million great reasons to want a manager but there probably aren't a lot of reasons for a manager to want you.

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How An Unknown Band Helped Launch The Career Of Another Unknown

I just stumbled across my own Facebook post from January 9th about this Walk Off The Earth video. At the time, I noted that it had an amazing 4.5 million views. Now here we are, a little over three months later and the video has an astounding 93 MILLION views. And oddly enough, that's not even the biggest part of the story.

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You Want To Bring Me In Later? Thanks, But No Thanks.

I hear it again and again. "I really love what you do and I think it would be great. Once we get a little further down the line, I'd love to talk to you again about working together." Would you tell an architect that you "want to go ahead and get the foundation and framing done" and then bring her in? Nope. Because all she's going to do is tell you that you built a crappy foundation and you need to start over. Same with building a career. If you're getting strategy and planning help, get it up front.

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You Get More Done When You Know What's Worth Doing

Being an independent musician or photographer is tough. Not only do you have to be a creative genius, you have to be an accountant, salesman, project manager, customer service rep and marketing guru, too. And based on my conversations with people who do it day in and day out, they're willing to do the work, they just don't know what is and isn't worth doing. So I'm launching a new idea to help on the branding and marketing front. It's called the BigHowdy Mini Brand Exam for creative professionals. Find out more after the jump. Since this is the beta testing stage, I'm going to work with the first FIVE people who raise their hands and I'm going to do it on the cheap — $199. It's for musicians, photographers, painters and other folks who need help with their marketing but aren't sure where to start and have a limited budget to consider. The key is priorities. With that in mind, I'll review your materials, sites and content and give you specific feedback on What Is Working, What Isn't Working and What's Next. This is NOT a full-on "dive in deep" brand audit. It's a short list of specific priotities that you can do to get things moving and headed in the right direction. The process is really simple:

  1. Email me at exam(at)bighowdy(dot)com and say "Examine Me, B!"
  2. Fork over $199 via PayPal, credit or debit card. Plus tip (I kid. I kid.).
  3. Fill out a short questionnaire and send links to all your work (music, portfolio, etc.), sites, pages, videos, merch and other stuff.
  4. I review everything and develop a series of insights and specific recommendations for what you should keep, what you should lose and what you should do next.
  5. We meet—either over coffee in Nashville or via Skype or phone—for up to two hours and talk through your materials and I walk you through my insights and recommendations.
  6. I tweak stuff based on our conversation and email you your very own BigHowdy Mini Brand Report in one of those fancy schmancy PDF documents a couple of days later.
  7. You go and do all your stuff and become an international sensation, guaranteed*. (*Not a guarantee in the literal sense, of course. More in the "No doubt, Bud!" or "For realz!" kinda way. You feel me on this, right?)

So what does a BigHowdy Mini Brand Report look like? Well, for starters, yours is developed 100% for you. It's broken down into three sections: What Is Working, What Isn't Working and What's Next. The first two sections include things like "You're a great writer and your blog seems to really connect." Or "Your photos and design don't fit with your music." Or "You are very focused on Twitter, but your audience is more engaged on Facebook." Or "Your website is full of typos and it reflects poorly on your attention to detail as a photographer." Or "You don't have up-to-date music on your pages."

What Next includes things like "Schedule one blog post per week and promote each post in these 3 ways…" Or "Make the photos on your website larger for more emotional impact." Or "Add a RootMusic BandPage to your Facebook." Or "Invest in a good photo shoot." Or "Check out BigCartel or Goodsie to set up an easy online store." It's specific, it's realistic and it's a realtively gentle kick in the pants.

So, if you're stuck and sick of feeling like you're spinning your wheels… If you need direction. Priorities. Honesty and objectivity… the BigHowdy Mini Brand Exam is a good fit and a great place to start. Email me at exam(at)bighowdy(dot)com and we'll get things set up. If you have questions, post them on the BigHowdy Facebook page or email me. Thanks for reading!