Meatball Sundae - It's about them

If you’re an artist you probably have done your fair share of promoting your next show, album or newest youtube video with fliers and email blasts. That’s great, you are getting yourself out there and trying to reach someone. But, if your yelling at them (and its highly likely that you are) they will not only ignore you and feel angry about the interaction but the permission you once had to use their most precious commodity, time, is now at best framed badly (potential customers will consider you an option but be sure that you’re not the best choice) and at worst totally lost -they will unsubscribe, delete your emails and tell their friends just how awful you are.

Bands and artists do this all the time when we blast out show information to people who can’t make it with no other relevant information in the email for them (a video, news, etc). Somewhere along the line the fan opted to be on your email list but you have to realize it is not about you. It’s about them. They don’t really care about your music. They care what that music can do for them, how it relates to them, how it makes them feel and if they share your music with friends does that make their friends love them (your fan) more because they shared an exceptional product with them.

It is not about you. Not when you put out a record, not when you’re on stage, not when you write a song or write a blog.

This blog, if I’m doing this right, should be about you. It should help create a moment that takes you out of your systematic way of doing this and challenges you to grow and think differently about the world around you so you can grow. And that’s what the best records, performances and songs do.

Seth Godin’s book Meatball Sundae encompasses a lot of ideas from his other books and connected them for me. In the interest of writing a shorter blog than I did yesterday so you (like me) can get to implementing some of this stuff I’m going to bullet point what else I think is most important and how it applies to what you are doing and how you could do it better.

* In a few of his books Godin tells a story about being in a Walmart office and seeing “You can’t out Amazon, Amazon.” You can take from the greats but you will never be able to beat them at the game they created. For instance I can’t out Jewel, Jewel. I’m not even sure she could (most fans of hers are more fans of her early albums). So even when you’re putting together another album don’t try to outdo something you did before. Just make the best thing you can at that time. Maybe that means making only a video or putting out the story behind each song in the liner notes. Above all it means be authentic and be yourself.

* If you approach every interaction, from booking a show, selling your merch to fans, sending out emails and interacting with fans at shows with the question “
How can I make your job/life easier?” how would that change your business.

* With email and interactions your clients and fans expect fast responses to their emails and questions or they will start to write you off. Short of outsourcing that to someone how can you get back to people faster to grow those connections.

* “Its not us and them,
its us and us.” Old media used to be just a few people talking and selling to the masses. Now clients (and fans) are the media. With the use of forums, blogs, youtube and social media your fans and their opinions can be more important then a review in Rolling Stone or an appearance on Oprah or Late Night. Stop dreaming and instead ignite your network of fans by giving them the tools to promote for you. It’s far more realistic and profitable. Instead of yelling at your fans with a megaphone give it to the people who want to spread your music.

* Can you create merch or music that is new and novel? Something so different or the best that people will seek it out? Could you sign everything?
What if you raised the standard of quality on everything? I personally don’t sell a CD if there is even a small crack in the jewel case and have been considering special shipping options so getting something from my store is like opening a gift. What if you wrapped your CDs and merchandise like a gift before shipping them out or if your music only appealed to a small but very connected group of people because it was all recorded and produced on an iphone. Do you feel confident enough in your product or performance to offer a money back guarantee? If not, why not? How could you change it so you did?

* “What are your self imposed (but unspoken) limits on your growth?” Did you say you couldn’t offer that guarantee? Is it because you think you’re not good enough? Could you ever be good enough if you’re limiting yourself? Maybe you limits aren’t how good you could be but realizing how good you already are a great artist and that you do deserve to be paid to perform. While giving away some stuff for free your songs are worth something. It goes back to
creating moments and feelings that other artists can’t help your fans feel. “If you can’t offer something more than a commodity [CD / average performance / average love song] someone else will sell it cheaper.”

* “The web is the biggest haystack in the history of mankind and you’re just a tiny little needle.”
It is useless to try to interrupt people that are disinterested. You can leverage what your doing and help people find you by creating something remarkable and then putting it out there where your fans would like to find things. Godin talks about how in the long run having more variety leads to more sales and he is talking about flavors of soda, cereal etc. but I want you to think of it as variety of connection. Some of your fans only want to be emailed but I be a lot of them would love to hear from you ever day via text messages or twitter etc.

Thanks again for reading. I hope it got some ideas moving for you. These books have been a
blast to read and I’m very thankful for them being written by Seth Godin and I look forward to reading more of his book. Thanks again to Derek Sivers for choosing me as one of the artists for this project as well.

And thank you to you for reading!
If you want to
connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Myspace or by Email all the links are right here in this sentence. :)

Enjoy making music and
sharing it with more people than ever possible.

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