I wrote a piece a while back about 4 emerging trends in the music industry that will affect every music artist from here on out. In this piece, I want to focus instead on some more general trends in the way we do business and interact in society today that will affect every music artist enormously. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing Christian Rock or hip hop or whatever. Everybody will be equally affected.
Massive paradigm shifts like the one we’re going through right now unleash tremendous disruptive forces. Industries fall on them. But new industries also rise on them. What we’re seeing now with the thickening web of cyberconnectivity is a tremendous paradigm shift every bit as important as that ushered in by the printing press or the Industrial Revolution. It’s here to stay.
What we witnessed with last year’s economic meltdown was not just the trough of an economic cycle, but the end of an era. The world no longer favors large companies and large things. It favors the small and the personal. This has huge implications for your music career. There are far too many important trends to cover in one blog entry, but here’s two that are very important.
PERSONAL BRANDS RISE
With every message you post on your Facebook or Twitter, you grow your personal brand. Your personal brand is the essence of what you are. It’s the sum collective of your ideas, your content and whatever it is that comes out of your mind for the world to touch, feel and experience.
Now, when you put content out there, it’s permanent. It used to be that individuals like you and me were subservient to the corporations. That’s all changing fast. The online world is a playground for personal brands. Witness the rise of B level celebrities like Ashton Kuchner on Twitter or Wine Library TV’s Gary Veynerchuk or Digg’s Kevin Rose. With the rise of blogs and social media, corporations are now at the mercy of individuals. And that’s a damn good thing.
The web is nothing more than a virtual version of a large open air market. In a market you know people by name. Think of a breezy open air market in downtown Marakesh. You buy your shoes from Mohammed because you know him and you like him. Your friends and family know him. You like him personally because you like his personality, his ideas and the fact that others you know like and trust him.
Your identify with your favorite blogs and websites in a similar way. They’re like living, breathing organisms. The great news for you is that the music business has always been about personal branding anyway. We’ve always known the band and its members better than we know the record label. We don’t care about the label. The major label era was an aberration in that it subverted the band to the corporation. That’s why music went to hell. Before that music was about unbridled freedom of expression. Now we’re getting back to that.
All the new digital content publishing and distribution tools allow you to build a personal brand again to your heart’s desire. You just need to put in the time, effort and quality. Remember, the cream always rises to the top. Do what you do damn well.
THE GREAT ATTENTION CRASH
There’s too much content being created by too many people and not enough ears and eyes to consume it. Actually, let me back up and restate that. There’s too much crappy content being made by amateurs. Just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come, Field of Dreams be damned. Not if it isn’t any good because it’ll get drowned out by the good stuff.
The world is beginning to adjust itself and focus on high quality. Google started it all by developing powerful search algorithms that served up the best content to the masses. Social media took it to a whole new level. In a sense the social media sites are places where quality gets exposed. They’re places where good things get talked about and crappy things get ignored.
The biggest misconception many music artist have about social media tools is that if they use them enough, their music will rise up through the ashes. Well, as you may have noticed it doesn’t quite work that way. The way your content spreads is by others talking about you. If your content is no good, people won’t talk about you. We now are beginning to perfect the tools to filter out low quality. Don’t be on the wrong side of the filter.
Mika Schiller author blurb: Mika Schiller is a writer for the Indie music website MADE and he writes about where the music industry’s headed and how it relates to the Independent Music artist. He gives irreverent career and personal development advice to the Indie music artist. For more great writing and irresistible advice, along with a free report on effective MySpace music marketing, please visit http://www.letsgetmade.com.