I think that a lot of people don’t understand how much of this job can be research. Large chunks of my time spent in the music industry just involve reading articles about marketing or social media or keeping up with the news. In fact I would go so far as to say that this is the key job and what we need to base all of our work around if we want to really move forward in this industry in a productive way. Everyone knows the best sites out there, spots like Digital Music News and Billboard serve to keep us up to date on the industry side of things, while we hve our Consequence of Sound’s and Rolling Stone’s of the world in order to help make sure that we can stay up to date with the times and what’s hip these days. These are all important things for you to follow if you want your band to get anywhere because you need to be able to make relevant changes to your marketing plan and development as things progress in this ever evolving space.
What’s important to note first though is why there are so many music industry guides out there today and why so many creators are tackling the internet with their social media strategies and road maps for your band to be able to find success. When it comes down to it almost all of them are trying to sell a product usually in the form of eBooks or consulting. Now while this can be really awesome and is a business model worth following it’s also just important to realize that this is the landscape of written content these days. People aren’t writing articles because they are getting views and thus advertisers for their site, they are doing it because they want to promote the products that they have to sell. If it wasn’t already clear that’s pretty much the explicit purpose of this blog. While some folks might find that obvious, I like to point these things out simply because seeing where your content is coming from is just as important as the content itself.
So why bother? Aren’t these sites just going to all tell you the same basic information anyway? If they are trying to sell you a product then aren’t they just going to be hiding a lot of their best nuggets of information? Well – that’s not exactly true. There are two ways to circumvent these problems. First and foremost I think this is exactly why it’s important to read a lot of articles. Sure a lot of them rehash the same content, but every once in a while you are going to see something new and exciting popping up that can stimulate you a little bit and give a new sense of direction as you delve ever deeper into the music industry world. Beyond that, these people are trying to prove value, so they want to give you as much information as possible and show they know what’s up. When it comes down to it most of these eBooks aren’t much more useful than the articles trying to sell them. This is a huge part of why a lot of these former eBook sellers are now diving deeper into consulting anyway.
Another reason that I love reading as many articles as possible is that it facilitates brainstorming. Seriously – I know that a lot of the ideas listed in social media post idea lists are hokey, especially when you’re trying to schedule a whole bunch at once and have minimal content to go off of, but they aren’t all supposed to be for you. If you can get even a 20% success rate with ideas that they pitch then you’re getting somewhere significant! When you get right down to it, figuring out what to post on social media is a bitch for everyone involved and it can be so situation specific that any help is good. This transcends just post ideas. It goes for marketing and everything else too. Once you start to read these articles with the philosophy of “Only 20% of this is for me” then it makes them a lot easier to understand and gets those brain juices flowing. When it comes down to it we all just want to be able to create better, and industry articles help with that.
The final key of course is that these articles keep you abreast of relevant changes in the industry and things to watch out for. This can be anything from new scams and threats impacting bands or it can be new things to take advantage of. If you’re not keeping informed then you are just shooting to help develop and grow your brand. This ranges from everything from new Instagram strategies to ideas for new routings based on the coolest venues going right now. In many ways studying the music industry is able to help your band by giving you a sense of what people are really going for and what clubs they really need to be targeting if they want to be able to get anywhere in the world. That’s what so much of this comes down too – that people don’t pay attention to the things that can tangibly be done because they don’t spend any time looking into how to grow their brand and finding a reliable path forward for themselves and their peers.
When all is said and done – odds are most band aren’t going to heed this advice or even get to the end of this article. It’s the bands who take their time and try to understand what’s going on around them in order to adjust their marketing and find a sustainable route to success that are going to have a good time. The groups who just try to hop on whatever trend or don’t really pa attention to the actionable and divisive core of the industry are going to routinely find that there is a lot of bullshit that they really get themselves involved in on their own. While they may never admit it’s their fault you can certainly see it coming.