One of the most important things you can do as an individual in this scene is focus on creating a broad variety of content. This is not just on a band level but on a personal level. We are living in a period where your personal brand and your bands brand are conflated. Where if you are active on Facebook on your personal account you actually have a better chance of boosting what your band does than if you are constantly trying to push your bands brand. So you want people to see that you have tentacles all over. The people who showcase deep connections throughout the industry are frequently the people who get taken seriously. The thing is, to be taken seriously and to have these connections is not as hard as you might think. I know that it can be intimidating, but if you look at what some of these bands and movers and shakers do it becomes clear that you are really only limiting yourself. There are a lot of ways to break through.
To sustain a living in the music industry, I can only speak from experience. It’s all about being all over all the time. For example, I have a radio show, five blogs that I write for, five video series and a habit of introducing two people every day. Not all of these things are directly monetized. In fact most of them are not. But that’s not the point. I use them to grow a reputation that helps to protect me and helps to make me a more effective individual trying to grow his name. When people get to know me, they usually only know about one or two things I do. Maybe one of the record labels I work with, or perhaps the video series. As they uncover more of what I do, they get excited because they realize there are a lot of connections made as a result. The other advantage for me of course is that by doing a lot more people find out about me, and if more people find out about me than I will keep making money and can pay my goddamn rent.
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Of course this isn’t a column giving advice to people who are trying to be up and comers in the music industry. This is a column trying to help bands understand how to better grow their brands and get higher visibility thus making more money. But the lessons transfer. In fact most lessons from business transfer over to a musicians lifestyle, people just don’t want to hear it. It’s a tricky thing to be sure, but when you look at the people who make the most money in this business it is the people who create the most content. You see this all the time with bands, usually you only have one or two guys who are the social media guys in the band. They are the ones posting in all the groups and making friends. Well guess what, no one cares about random people in bands. There are a ton of bands, but the people who are on social media creating stuff, even if its just through interacting with others end up being super popular and inspiring people to come out to see them.
No matter what you do, your income is tied to two things, credit and productivity. Credit is something that is built up over time and you can’t really work around that. Also it doesn’t really exist for musicians. If you have credit it’s through your normal job. However productivity is something you have direct control over. This is why regular social media posting and creating lots of content is important. The people who don’t work on creating content get lost in the shuffle. When it comes down to it, putting out a record every two years isn’t enough. This is why I’m constantly writing, creating and growing, because I am trying to build something that people want to connect to. That’s why all these musicians have radio shows and thoughtful Instagrams. Otherwise people forget about them. It’s why KISS put out 13 records between 1974 and 1979!
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So what kind of content do you create if you want to go beyond just interacting with other people online, which is a manner of content creation in its own right? Well the possibilities are endless. Some bands like Forming The Void create memes, other bands like to share rehearsal videos or even do covers. A lot of this stuff just needs to be quick and dirty. I make a lot of money off of my video series and they probably don’t even take me two hours a week. With any non-directly monetized content you need to focus on two things. One is that it’s a time investment and one that will pay off in the long run, but only if you ensure regularity. This is the other problem a lot of groups face. They start creating content but get discouraged when it doesn’t blow up. It’s not going to immediately blow up. Take your time and then gradually things will evolve. As they grow you will start to see your own brand grow alongside it.
Focus on content creation and it will all come natural. But realize in this day and age constant creation can be as easy as being social. Unfortunately this requires a lot of time in front of a computer and some of you might not be predisposed towards that. Tat the end of the day I’m not always feeling it either, but I want to succeed so I do it anyway. If you really want something you are going to get it, but there are steps you need to take to show you really want it and to have the success towards getting it that you need to continue. You can either do the hard thing, interact, create content and start a conversation, or you can just whine. It’s up to you.