With my blogs and coaching I’m always hoping to inspire, share stories and always, always tell the truth at least as I know it. The truth is a pretty valuable thing to hear in a business of dreams. So with a backward nod to Clint Eastwood here goes.
If you’re an artist or writer and you’re still working a plan based on an outdated model, you have to adapt or die. It’s the ugly truth. Somehow the artist in us wants to be above the businessman and let someone else deal with it. That time is long gone and time to embrace what IS working. This is not breaking news to most people reading this but I still have lots of writers and artists coming into my coaching with unrealistic goals like landing a major publishing deal with a big advance . There are a few exceptions but for the most part that hasn’t existed in Nashville or anywhere I know of for a long, long time. Same for a major label deal.
There are so many really good writers and artists falling by the wayside because nurturing a “baby writer or artist” costs too much these days. It makes perfect sense though. If you’re a publisher or label and the pie has shrunk, you just don’t have the money to gamble with. If you give that big advance how are you going to make it back in an era of free fall music sales? This is why you’ve been reading about things like 360 deals for the past few years as well as seeing projects stay “in house” as much as possible. Reading Bob Lefsetz letter is a good way to stay up with the conversation. He’s read by most industry people as well as artists.
There’s help. Writers, artists, producers, industry pros and publishers are making themselves available in unique ways these days though workshops, online seminars or, as in my case, coaching . There is some real crap out there, so do your homework, but if you dig you’ll find experts who have actually done what you want to do and are willing to share.
I’ve been reading a terrific book called Platform by Michael Hyatt recently and it’s perfect info for any songwriter or artist looking for ways to get noticed. Michael has been the head of Thomas Nelson Publishing here in Nashville dealing mainly in Christian books but has a music business background as well.
One of the things that struck me was a section about turning really good authors away because they weren’t willing to use social media. They want to write and be left alone. Let someone else promote. These writers in his world and in the music world are going unpublished. Michael wrote the book as sort of a “how to” to help them navigate the new model of self-promotion.
The point is there are resources to help you adapt to newer models. Facebook fan pages, blogging and tons of other ways to be heard and create and nurture a fan base. The Internet is your marketing person and you can do it… by yourself and …it works. It’s not near as romantic to think about tweeting and blogging to let people know what you’re creating but none of us wants our music to exist in a vacuum so… we promote and network. We ARE the business and that’s a great thing!
One last note..if you play live go out and do it, everywhere, every night!