Music and Symbolic Patronage

DATE

22nd April 2014

CATEGORY

All

The average musician is failing miserably when it comes to marketing their music and creating a successful career. That’s because, to a large extent, music schools aren’t teaching musicians how to market their careers. College music classes tend to focus more on music history, and technique, and less on the realities of being a working musician after you graduate. Talk about living in an ivory tower! On top of this, some young music “creatives” figure their talent will be enough to draw in and grow fans, as well as land a music label contract. In a perfect world, that might be true, but, welcome to the real world.

 

Today, you can’t buy your way to the top.  The web has become the primary location for musical exhibition, more so than radio and Television combined. It’s also, fortunately, the great equalizer. This means, you’re going toe to toe against conglomerates like Warner, Sony and others. So, an artist must demonstrate his marketing skills, on this playing field, in order to make his/her music stand out.

 

Friends, on social media, are the main way new music is discovered these days. If those friends aren’t talking about you online, you won’t go “viral,” period. It’s all boils down to coming up with your own personal brand identity, and that is influenced by the artists you love. Let’s face it: If you don’t have a clear personal brand, you’re not going to attract attention.

 

If they’re not sure what their “brand” is, musicians may need to write a list of their favorite music performers, and why they like them. Then, they need to think about their music style, and why fans might like what they’re putting out there. It’s less about shaping their music output to reach fans, and more about identifying or focusing their type of music, then going after an audience that their style/brand might appeal to.

 

A recent study stated that 85% of all music lovers say they have eclectic taste. Because of the web, they can find Shade, Beyonce´, Gotye´ and the Rolling Stones all mixed together in a seamless playlist. Obviously, the appetite for diversity is definitely there. That means there’s an audience out there for ALL kinds of music, if you can reach them, keep them and grow them.

 

Most fans have a stronger connection to musicians who are active on the web and, as a consequence, they’re now demanding total interaction from musicians. MORE is expected from the musician now than ever before.

 

Having a social media presence is good, but you can’t just endlessly plug your latest gig. Music fans want new songs, fresh videos and fun new blogs. Music is part of the entertainment industry, so don’t forget to be entertaining while online.

 

In addition, musicians need to respect their fans. If they, via their social media outlets, are contacted, its very important that musicians respond. You can’t build a personal connection to fans with an impersonal approach.

 

Buying their music is SYMBOLIC PATRONAGE : you must earn it. This has nothing to do with ethics. In addition, the web has become entirely content and social driven. As a consequence, however, over-marketing a musician can quickly backfire.

 

On social media, the quickest way to lose the fans following you and/or your group is to self-promote in a blatantly commercial way. Don’t forget the word “social” in social media. When possible, be personal, real and funny. It is important to be a friend to your fans, as opposed to coming across as a hardcore promoter. Do this, and you’ll find your audience growing organically.

 

The success from this effort, can only be achieved with genuine content and proper artist interaction. In other words, musicians should begin growing their influence early in their careers.

 

On this note (no pun intended), the best approach for a music industry aspirant is to offer an intelligent platform and strategy that can support this kind fan growth. It must create an environment that will:

 

A) Allow its current base to become curators of their own media channels.

 

B) Deliver dynamic tools that will help them market their channel effectively.

 

C) Build the framework that will engage a thriving community to becoming the musicians´ ambassadors.

 

In the past, a record contract, and a shot at reaching a wide audience, was the nearly impossible dream for many aspiring musicians. Today, with a strong brand, and a well managed social media presence, many young musicians are finding and growing their audiences. You can too!

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