Or Will They?
Many artists in the music industry believe that all they have to do is record a CD and their audience is sure to show up. I believe that this mythology has had a detrimental impact on the DIY musicians’ success promoting their music.
So, let’s deconstruct this idea and really take a look at it. One thing I think we can all agree on:
If you DON’T build it …
They will definitely NOT come.Right? If you don’t create your music, record it or perform it in some way – they won’t come. If you’re waiting for someone to offer you a recording contract before you begin performing or recording your music – you will be waiting an awfully long time and have nothing to show for it.
But if you build it – will they come?
If you build it, but don’t tell anyone about it …
They won’t come. How could they? They don’t know you exist. So, if you think, all you’ve got to do is write great songs and that should be enough – it isn’t. You could be Mozart, but if no one knows about you – it won’t matter how good your music is. Oh, and by the way – Mozart was pretty good at marketing himself. So, learn how to promote yourself and your music. Learn how to use all of the tools available to you as a DIY musician to market yourself and build your fanbase.
If you build it, tell everyone about it, but it sucks…
They may come, but they won’t stay and they will probably be pissed enough to actively tell their friends to stay away. And you won’t get a second chance with these people. That doesn’t mean you should wait until you’re perfect to get out there. Because the more your play, perform, expose yourself to quality feedback and the opportunity to learn and practice your craft – the better you’ll become. The more opportunities you’ll have to make connections, and build a fanbase from the ground up.
If you build it, tell everyone about it and it’s unremarkable…
They may come. They may even politely smile and clap. But they probably won’t stay long, they certainly won’t continue to spend their money and they likely will not tell their friends to come. You may find yourself getting small gigs, but have difficulty building your email list, selling your cd’s or booking larger or paying gigs. If that’s what’s happening, continue marketing yourself – but spend some significant time learning and expanding your craft. And build your courage to really stand out, develop a unique and original sound. If you create quality and unique music, you will find your audience and be able to grow it from there.
Those folks who built it and they came – how did that work?
We hear stories about the guy who recorded a CD and suddenly, magically sold thousands of copies, got amazing gigs and negotiated an incredible recording contract and wonder – was it luck? How did that happen? It’s worth your while to study how that happened – what did it really take to make that happen?
Here’s how it happened – he built it with care and attention to quality and uniqueness. She discovered who was the right audience and made sure they all knew about it and made it stupid easy for them to find out about it, share it with their friends and purchase it. And they worked that system with focus, consistency and intention over the long haul.
Look, the truth is ANYONE can record a CD these days. And EVERYONE knows that. So just because you record a CD doesn’t mean that you will have success in the music industry. Just because you book a gig doesn’t mean you’ll be able to put butts in the seats. And if the only people who show up to your gigs are friends, family and co-workers – it’s time to take a hard look at both your talent and skills in your music and your efforts at promoting your music