- Who & Why?
All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘musicians’
Collaborating over the years with various artists on their individual brand development, I have seen a very familiar- and somewhat sad- pattern.
Musicians are brilliant people- generous, creative, exciting, excited, eager and fun.
Yet, there are two camps. First, there’s the group with hang-ups around their art.
The biggest issue is the subconscious belief that they have to be poor. Maybe it’s the belief that to be a true artist, you have to be poor- like a darvish. Whatever the reason, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy often. Although not many artists will say it aloud (because it’s not conscious), the thought that holds them back is, “we’ll never get paid”.
Then there’s the second camp of musicians and artists. Those established and financially successful one who do get paid and do make money- lots and lots and lots of money. These successful artists very consciously see their art and music more through the framework of “how do I best run a business”. This mentality is smart and effective….if not taken to an extreme. What do I mean?
Well so often for “financially successful” artists, the money becomes TOO much of a motivator- at the expense of their true art and gift and talents. The art becomes more like a business, money-making machine. The result? The artist forgets their real passion and purpose and drive and joy in creating music and art.
So what if I told you there is a happy medium- that there must be a happy medium that works towards the highest good?
My goal is to change how the music industry, and each artist, sees their value and contribution as an artist. It can’t all be about the money, despite what our commercialized world tells us. But then again, an artist can’t pay his rent without money either.
So what’s the happy medium? In my expertise developing sincere and successful artists’ individual brands, it comes down to one word: harmony.
I’m talking the kind of harmony where each artist recognizes their brand is about an ebb and flow. The harmony of running a successful business and knowing you deserve to get paid- that you must get paid for your beautiful art. Yet, also a harmony in never forgetting who you really are, what your music and art represents and staying focused and true to your reason and message as an artist.
What does that look like? It looks like a full house at your next gig where the audience is exactly who you want to play for- those with whom you resonate best, those for whom you wrote your music, those who get you and appreciate you and your artistry. The audience is filled with those who make you happy and allow you to express yourself in a way that is natural and meant to be.
So what does this mean for you? Stop and ask yourself:
-Are you creating value? All the way from your set content (lighting, wardrobing/visual branding, and your scarcity model (how often you play: weekly, quarterly- how long each set is).
– Are you still feeling self-expressed or does it seem like the business has run away from you?
I was recently watching the 2013 BBC John Denver special on PBS. I hadn’t thought of John Denver for years! I’m not that old, but I do remember listening to his songs when I was around 10 years old. His music always seemed so effortless, kind, gentle and meaningful. His fan base was huge.
According to his website, Denver was one of the most successful entertainers of the 1970s with sales over 33 million to date, including eight Billboard Top 10 RCA Albums in the U.S. (three of which hit #1). On the BBC special, as they interviewed various people connected to Denver, I started to really see why Denver had been such a lovable musician with such a distinct brand. According to one interviewee who played guitar in his band Denver, “put people in the palm of his hands”. Wouldn’t you love to do that as a musician?
It also became very clear why Denver had critics that were so nasty. While it seems like the norm these days, sadly, these critics really aimed to take him down for being happy, communicating his talent through song and wanting to share it with others. Apparently, Rolling Stones Magazine defined him rather ludicrously in 1976 as, “…devoid of all human characteristics.”
I chuckled when I heard that last quote. It was a sad commentary on parts of society believing that happiness is not a valuable human characteristic. As I always teach, 75% of everything you and I buy is based on how we feel about it, not the content and happiness is the only emotion that sells. So you better have a happy brand!
But I get it. Sometimes it is easier to poke fun (or just be downright mean) to those who are happy and successful because it is hard to conceive that it could be so easy. Jealousy does that to us. I know that every once in while I can feel the critics eyes on me when I preach happiness as a brand necessity. It never feels comfortable when I get weird glances like I must be nuts. However, I know my truth and try to hold steady- like John Denver did.
So what does this mean for you as an artist? Build your musical brand as:
1. Genuine– Be yourself and make sure you stay true to who you are. Otherwise, your real audience will sense the dissonance and shrink. You will then be stuck with a fickle audience that is not loyal.
2. Fun & Happy– I’m not asking you to sing the Blues and be jumping up and down with joy. That’s dissonance, too. Happiness can show up in so many ways. Always remember the only emotion that sells anything- including music- is happiness. Are you happy? If not, get happier and make sure I feel that from your brand.
3. Self-Expression– don’t ever let anyone tell you that you must alter your brand and music to fit a niche that is not you. It won’t work, plain and simple. It may sell records and make others wealthy in the short term, but it will not work for you long term as an artist. Trust me, but if in doubt see #1 above.
Email me with any questions you have.
I was working with a band last week and this issue came up again- so I thought I would address it again. The reason I love working with artists and musicians on their personal brand management is because I like to see them in control- of their music, talent and business growth. So often artists who “just want to make music” or “just want to sing” forget that they can and should be responsible for the entire brand they project.
So my question is always the same: who do you want in your audience? The initial response is always something like, “whoever wants to come listen to us perform”. That’s the same as when I ask lawyers who they want as clients and they respond with, “anyone who can pay me”. Wrong answer, in my book.
After all, do you really want to cater to anyone and everyone? Even if you did, do you really have the time and/or money to spend on marketing to every one of us on the planet? Where do you start and where do you stop?
The answer always rests within yourself. What do I mean? Well, in the example of the band mentioned above here’s how it went: after about 20 minutes of asking the same question, the lead singer finally said that he wanted himself in his audience. Bingo!
If the personal brand premise is to connect with people who like you, “get” you and want to be around you, then your target marketing/audience goal should be the same- you should aim at getting people in your audience who are like you or share your similarities and personal brand value. They can look different but in general be “like” you.
How do you figure out who is “like” you, so that you can market to them as your potential audience? Well, that’s why your Personal Connection Story is so important. Once you figure out your story- who you really are and why you are an artist (fill-in the blank with any profession), then it becomes so much easier (and more fun!) to get your perfect audience in place. I promise!