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.Read More
The alternative band Ok Go has done it before with their breakout video Here It Goes Again, a video which should hit 50 million views in the next few days with traffic from this new song. And in the video above, you can see they've done it again. Exactly to what extent remains to be seen, but still, a less-than-household-name band gets 2.5 million+ views on YouTube in 3 frickin' days and you better be paying attention. They aren't doing it by making sure the artists' faces are clearly recognizable. Or recreating the story of the song on screen. They did it - TWICE - by creating something unexpected and compelling and fun. They worried less about the literal takeaway and more about what the video told the viewer about the band: they are creative, smart, different, fun and I like them.
If you are gonna put money into videos, make them something people want to see. Stop meeting expectations and start exceeding them. Better yet, defy viewer expectations! Partner with a filmmaker with vision. Someone who adds to the story, not someone who just puts pretty pictures on the screen while your audience listens to a song on their TV or computer. I know that alternative audiences and country audiences are different, but everyone wants to be entertained and engaged. And it isn't about money, because both these videos were pretty cheap. And by the way, there's a time and a place for a beautiful, literal video. But right now, Nashville is doing all their videos and album covers and everything else like a checklist of elements that have to show up. Big face? Check. Live footage holding guitar (which the artist may or may not be able to play)? Check. People pretending to have fun? Check. The result? The audience remembers nothing. You are making a logical case, not an emotional one. You're telling them instead of showing them. And it sucks. It really, really sucks.
Whether you are in music, art or pretty much any industry, all the magazines and "experts" are talking about the "new model" and how the "old model is dead." Guess what? The old model didn't work that well for most folks anyway. Yes, social media is out there. And there are a million options for websites, PR, distribution, and everything else. The bad news: No one has built the new model yet. Worse news: One model may not be the new model. But here's the good news. Awesome, actually. It's not your problem. Because you don't have to figure out the new model. You just have to figure out YOUR model. The model that gets you and your products in front of your customers and gets them to open their wallets. The one that plays to your strengths and manages against your weaknesses. So maybe that's three social networks, a website and a demo video on YouTube. And maybe it's four events a year and a monthly email newsletter. Or maybe it's a corporate sponsorship and giving your product away. The point is that it doesn't matter what your model is as long as it works for you. Let me repeat that last point: It doesn't matter what your model is as long as it works for you.
And oh yeah, you don't have to get it perfect out of the box. Try some things. And if they don't work, drop them. And if they do work, invest more time, energy and money into them. Keep tweaking. Eventually, you'll find a mix that works for you. Or you'll find out that you don't have a viable business and you need to do something else. Either way, you are one step closer to getting it right.
An interesting article in the New York Times asks if the business model behind network television is irreparably broken. It's a good question. But it got me wondering something bigger. Something I never thought would cross my mind: Does it even matter?Read More