How to leverage these important aspects of your career to your advantage
For anyone looking to create an impact, on a large or small scale, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the expansion of digital channels, changing technologies, and consumer behavior. In the music industry, being as fast paced as it is today, success remains elusive for most. Our ability to keep up with the platforms used by the masses, the changes in fan engagement methods, and the ever-changing tide of monetary compensation toward the benefit of artists leaves many of us pulling our hair out. It’s an uphill battle and the majority are clinging on for dear life.
The increased complexity of any market makes way for those who dare to break conventional methods. Anyone who’s contributing to the narrative of their respective industry as a whole and generating awareness in the process is at a significant advantage. Becoming more than just an artist or music business professional and doing things different is not only beneficial, its necessary in today’s noisy marketplace.
To have leverage on your competition is the key to your success, in any industry. Whichever way you choose to do that is totally up to you. These are the three ways I suggest taking hold of your success and grappling it into submission.
1. Your knowledge is just as important as the practical application of your craft
Being ahead of the pack requires a multitude of capabilities. We are in an age where one dimensional is simply not effective. I get the whole, “go deep, not wide” methodology, which I agree with in regard to finding your niche and not swaying in the winds of social influence. What I mean is, you have to understand multiple facets of the business you’re in and use that knowledge to your advantage. You have to possess skills beyond that of your craft.
For instance, as an artist it may be beneficial to manage yourself for the first year or two of your career. Begin to understand the ins and outs of negotiating, networking, and marketing yourself to a specific audience. As someone on the business side of things, it helps to understand the creative aspects of the music industry as well. Ultimately this knowledge will bridge the gaps and allow you to use that undestanding of “the other side” to your advantage. If your manager understands production and the basics of “good music”, which is subjective depending on their taste, it’s much easier to work together. It's a mutual understanding.
If you're an artist and you understand the basics of the music business, you're at an advantage over other artists who have no idea. You're less susceptible to manipulation or being taken advantage of by the many snakes hiding in the grass.
2. Integrate technology into your audience's journey
As I mentioned before, markets are increasingly complex. But this shouldn’t be a deterrent, it’s an advantage if you take the time to get a lay of the land. Understanding digital platforms, new technologies outside of music, and trending consumer behaviors will allow you to integrate unique experiences into your customer’s journey.
There’s no telling what platform might resonate with your audience the most. You can't bet on blind luck to be successful here. Just because some people are putting all their eggs in one basket doesn’t mean you can’t use multiple baskets - or build your own basket if you wish to do so.
A perfect example of integration done right is Vancouver based label, Monstercat. With their objective to blur the lines between gaming and music, they have provided more than 2,000 licensed tracks to a subscription platform, allowing gamers to use music in their streams without running the risk of their channels being shut down due to copyright infringement. To take things even further, the popular EDM label has been throwing VR concerts. Further engraining their brand and the brands of their artists into the gaming and technology communities.
This is outside the box integration at its finest.
3. Work outside of your comfort zone
All of this requires a level of discomfort. Nothing worth having ever comes easy, and in a world where your failures are just as public as your successes, you have to be willing to live and die by your own decisions. Doing so results in some level of pain, and the more you push the boundaries, the more likely you are to become acclimated to the feeling of discomfort.
You may not want to learn about negotiating contracts, stay up to date on the algorithms of social media platforms, or be knowledgeable about technology trends that are influencing consumers, but the temporary pain is worth the long-term reward. You have to be willing to suffer to get to the promised land. Whatever that looks like for you.
“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear” – George Addair
As you work to make an impact, great or small, begin to push the boundaries and become uncomfortable doing so. When you recognize there’s a level of discomfort, you’re most likely going in the right direction.
As a brand you should be cultivating connections with your audience and building rapport with them daily. It’s not enough to march with the masses, we all have to adopt an unconventional mindset, push the boundaries, and continue to leverage these important aspects of our careers to become successful.
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Image provided by Unsplash - Keagan Henman