by MATT BACON >
I think that the hardest thing to do in the music industry is to maintain audience interest.
This is one of those things that is hard to properly define for a lot of artists because on the one hand it certainly can be a lot of work but on the other it’s the only way to really make the music turn into a regular stream of income these days. Simultaneously not a lot of bands really care about the sustained interest thing. They are happy to just release a record every two years, maybe tour a little bit and kind of go away for the rest of it. A lot of artists get a closed off view about this because they think that music is the only sort of content that they need to be creating when this is patently untrue. Artists need to work on moving past this old model and realize that there is a much broader idea of what an artist can be now and we need to work at making sure that our independent bands are working to create something with that.
What you need to look at is the very nature of content.
I think that not enough people can really wrap their heads around the breadth of what that means. For example, every time Selena Gomez steps out her door in a new outfit she is creating content because she is not just a pop star but also a fashion leader. Now for a band on the DIY level maybe you can’t do that, but what you can do is a really interesting and potent photo shoot that can generate press in and of itself. Not a lot of people look at content creation that way. Sure it’s not always obvious, and yeah affording a photo shoot, much less one that provokes interest can be a tricky thing, but that’s just one idea. One thing I’ve found extremely helpful over the years is stuff like the Selena Gomez thing, you are going through and figuring out what the stars do to create content and then you shrink it down to an independent level and see what you end up with.
It’s important though, when creating content to realize your place in the world. It’s important to realize that you are not Selena Gomez, by stepping out of your door you are not able to create a whole new fashion Instead you need to figure out the types of content that are going to cater to your audience and then do that. Simultaneously you need to figure out what types of content you are good at creating and then finding over the crossover with your fans. Once you are able to do that you start to cooking there then it rapidly becomes a lot easier to have a process by which you can start to do something substantial and which will generate prolonged interest in your band. Again – no one cares about your fucking outfits or you ‘fashion shoot’ that no one actually thinks is provocative, but if you continue to create content then things are going to end up working out in your favor piece by piece.
Now you might be saying that none of the big bands in you scene do this so you don’t understand why I’m saying that you need to be doing this – but again it’s because you’re not looking at content creation properly. The biggest bands in your scene are constantly doing interviews which get published everywhere. Simultaneously, they are all over social media, constantly getting ads done, going live and posting pictures of exciting things. If you do this well enough you can get surprisingly far. Just look at someone like Randy Blythe who has been able to turn his photo essays into a defining aspect of the Lamb Of God brand. That’s not unintentional on his part, he wanted to add a more intelligent aspect to a band frequently viewed as ‘bro metal’ and he did. This content creation also was able to make up for the gaps the band has had in their release schedule due to constant touring and of course his imprisonment in a Czech prison.
I have a theory that I plan on expounding upon more in a later article, but it basically goes like this – you need to be constantly creating content and it will inevitably pay off. I usually try and create three pieces of content a day when I’m at home, this translates to roughly 750-1000 pieces of content in a given year. It doesn’t make me a ton of money directly but it allows a lot of people to become familiar with my brand and lets me push my company to the next level. Ultimately content creation is for brand awareness and the more that you are able to generate significant brand awareness the more that it is going to become obvious that you are the real deal and people should pay attention. You need to be willing to turn every aspect of your band into a piece of content and the more that you are able to create then the more you are going to be able to refine this whole thing into something special and not more poser bullshit.
Of course – you’re allowed to just drop off the map for a little while.
If you can’t afford to tour constantly and produce content from that and you have no desire to create content when not touring or recording music then you simply have to accept that you are occasionally going to drop off the map for a month or two and that’s fine. Sometimes you just need to accept the fact that you don’t need to be constantly on all the time. Instead you need to figure out what makes the most sense for your band. Some people are able to drive constantly and that allows their band to grow a lot more quickly. Other bands dip out for extended periods which allows them to create a big splash when they show up. Find your path and push it to the max.